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Old 28-07-2009, 00:27   #1
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Where Has the Cruising Counter-Culture Gone - Is It Too Late?



I first took to boats bumming around the caribean almost twenty years ago and have been looking to head back and may over the next year or so. While I'm not a complete misanthrope, one of the things that appealed to me was the counter culture that existed in the cruising community. These were folks who, like me, perhaps more so, left to drop out of the standard keep up with the jonses society.

I loved that. I came back started a business which I've been running almost by accident and dealing with people who I have loathed for twenty years. But I had some family obligations that I had to attend to.

Now in reading these boards and others I find the yuppies have taken to the sea... I know they've always been there a bit, but not like it appears today.

Am I wrong? Can one still get away and find adventure or must a new cruising ground be pursued? Are there really any left? The questions are sort of rhetorical, but not entirely...

I wish I had been born to a time of wooden ships and no electronic navigation...
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Old 28-07-2009, 00:34   #2
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I'm with you Matty. I too will be joining the cruising world soon and hope not to find the same delusional people that I constantly run into. I will hope to keep with like minded people, meaning; I am planning on a modest sailboat of average size and means. Not to pigeon hole or stereotype people, I've noticed that if you hang around the high end motor yachts, you will most likely be right back to the very same people that you loathed on land.

Don't get me wrong, you will find those on sailing yachts as well but if the yacht is a modest yacht, that already tells the onlooker that they really love the life, not the stuff. If it is a $10 Million sailing yacht, then there are expectations already built into that vision.

Most of the people that I've met with sailboats have been absolutely amazing people with a wealth of stories and knowledge, this forum included!! And this is coming from a guy that basically grew up with people with sizable Italian motor yachts.
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Old 28-07-2009, 01:12   #3
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Too late saddly.

The days of the small engineless sailboat with the corrugated iron Bimini and the happy little kiddies living on deck in a tent appears all but over. The obscenely large super payouts and the advent of GPS spelt the end of an era. Everyone is now "getting away from it all" and flocking to high density marinas and rally style events.

There is however a very small niche for those pursuing the simple life, the uncrowded anchorages and the adventure. Obviously a forum is not the place to discuss this but one certainly has to work a lot harder and play their cards close to their chest so to speak. Its not hard to work out the folk that still enjoy this lifestyle, generally their the ones with a hard dingy that is sweet to row.
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Old 28-07-2009, 01:14   #4
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There are probably a similar number of interesting people cruising, but a whole bunch of people with plenty of money and not a lot of experience/skills/attitude have been added to the mix - making the interesting ones harder to find.
Try higher latitudes, look for places where there is no cruising guide or morning vhf chat show.
Good luck.
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Old 28-07-2009, 03:27   #5
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I recognise your point of view. Sailing out of Southampton UK in the Cowes waters there are a few genuine pleasure sailors out there, most of them well past retiring. And a lot of shiny sail limo's motoring the ten nm from Soton to Cowes.
Worse are the motor boats that generate so much wake, and the few sail boats that can't read the speed limit, or the log.
I can only recommend finding the marina that's furthest from the sea, that's where you'll find the cheapest rates and the nicest people. And usually the best ale house.
Beware of sail training boats and racing yachts, apparently they have right of way whatever because they are business sailors.
Good Luck, fair winds.
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Old 28-07-2009, 04:07   #6
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Originally Posted by DPMatty View Post
... Now in reading these boards and others I find the yuppies have taken to the sea... I know they've always been there a bit, but not like it appears today ...
... I wish I had been born to a time of wooden ships and no electronic navigation...
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadow View Post
... if the yacht is a modest yacht, that already tells the onlooker that they really love the life, not the stuff. If it is a $10 Million sailing yacht, then there are expectations already built into that vision.
Most of the people that I've met with sailboats have been absolutely amazing people ...
I suspect you’re just discovering that nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

As Jimmy Buffet sang (Pirate looks at 40):
“... Yes, I am a pirate, two hundred years too late
The cannons don't thunder, there's nothin' to plunder
I'm an over-forty victim of fate
Arriving too late, arriving too late ...”

Anyone out cruising on a very expensive yacht ($10M?) had enough wealth to create choices for themselves - and chose the cruising life.

Even jerks get nicer when they’re out on a boat. We get nicer the farther from home we sail.
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Old 28-07-2009, 04:19   #7
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Yuppies always sailed - counterculture always sailed. The internet is new. The counterculture should, by definition, be unplugged - LOL...

Not to be rude but it is somewhat ironic that a small business owner of 20 years is complaining about the lack of counterculture and the pervasiveness of the yuppie crowd - just sayin'

Don't judge - Just unplug and get out there.
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Old 28-07-2009, 04:53   #8
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We all say we want tyo get away from the "stupid people", wonder if that means we are all stupid people?
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Old 28-07-2009, 05:13   #9
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One of the advantages of the "Old Daze" was the absence of GPS/LORAN. While celestial is actually quite easy, it was sufficiently challenging that it, plus uncertainty about the weather, kept most recreational "boaters" (gosh I hate that term) within eyesite of shore; and, those with the skill in demand. Today anyone can buy a "chart plotter" with XM weather and head off and the islands--such as the Bahamas--are close enough that some can run over there for a long weekend. A friend of ours reported that in one area of the Abacos he and his wife counted over 400 US boats within the course of a week during a recent trip. Getting away just "ain't" what it used to be.
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Old 28-07-2009, 06:11   #10
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A friend of ours reported that in one area of the Abacos he and his wife counted over 400 US boats within the course of a week during a recent trip. Getting away just "ain't" what it used to be.
I've always said, half jokingly, if you like Miami you'll love the Abacos. The Abacos have always been "busy", at least the southern portion of the Abacos. Both shoreside and on the water. Americans flock there. Most of the folks that go to the Abacos do not want to "get away". They love the proximity of shopping, bars and marinas. But "getting away" is still very possible, even as close as the Bahamas. Try the Jumentos. Last season we saw six boats there, in this string of about 50 cays. Try Rum Cay, try another of the hundreds of cays in the Bahamas. Or even try the northern cays of the Abacos if you want to get away instead of hanging around the Marsh Harbour, Treasure Cay, Hopetown area. Don't hang around here, the center of sailing in the Abacos, and complain about too many boats.

There are more cruisers out there. Most are retired. Many are early retirees. There are more organized rallies. Join if you wish but nothing stops you from going on your own, with sextant and almanac and tables if you so wish. The one constant you will find even with the current crop of electronic sailors is that the cruising community will be the friendliest and most helpful bunch of folks you'll ever meet.
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Old 28-07-2009, 06:29   #11
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We all say we want tyo get away from the "stupid people", wonder if that means we are all stupid people?
It bears remmbering that half of us are below average (intelligence/knowlege, competence, wealth/income, etc).
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Old 28-07-2009, 06:53   #12
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I'm with Ex-Cal and Gord on this one - does anyone else think there is some sort of reverse snobbery at play here? If one starts with the attitude that anyone who owns an expensive boat, or who has been successful in life ashore is a 'jerk' and not a real sailor, then I imagine that they are going to be unhappy no matter where they sail.

I purchased a used boat because, like so many of us, I have other irons in the fire - ones that require the additional capital that would have been needed in order to purchase my 'dream' boat. Does it bother me that in so many harbours today, a 15 year-old, 40 foot cat, however well maintained or equipped, is at virtually the bottom end in terms of both size and status? Not one bit. Am I envious of boats that are bigger, newer, prettier and more expensive? No, because I am unashamed of where my life and my resources and my choices have led me.

Do I believe that people should be required to go through a series of boats and a trial by ordeal before being allowed to purchase the boat of their dreams? No, although they may have been the better for it. Do I find that the owners and crew of these dream machines are biased against me, or against others with even more modest boats than my own? No. In fact, I find that when cruisers get together, the real status comes from having experience and knowledge, rather than the best tool. From having been there and done that.

So for those experienced old salts who sail smaller, older vessels that they maintain themselves, take heart. You will get much more respect for your displays of seamanship (and your ability to repair the things aboard that break on all boats), than you would have from being able to buy a bigger boat.

Brad
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Old 28-07-2009, 06:58   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dana-tenacity View Post
...
Try higher latitudes, look for places where there is no cruising guide or morning vhf chat show....
Very true!
Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
.......... We get nicer the farther from home we sail.
Also very true

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
It bears remmbering that half of us are below average (intelligence/knowlege, competence, wealth/income, etc).
Even more true and sometimes it is hard to tell just where I am on this curve.......
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Old 28-07-2009, 07:18   #14
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Yuppies always sailed - counterculture always sailed. The internet is new. The counterculture should, by definition, be unplugged - LOL...

Not to be rude but it is somewhat ironic that a small business owner of 20 years is complaining about the lack of counterculture and the pervasiveness of the yuppie crowd - just sayin'

Don't judge - Just unplug and get out there.
The surfing and hippie counter-culter also has computers - oh noes!

My point has nothing to do with how expensive someone's boat is, as some have assumed. You don't know much about my business or how I live my life on a day to day basis, so perhaps you don't know enough to make that judgement?

My point stands. The cruising community, especially in that part of the world had a definite counter culture vibe to it. That's not something I see represented here or elsewhere really, so I'm asking if it's gone. Perhaps you never knew what I'm talking about?
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Old 28-07-2009, 07:25   #15
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Can one still get away and find adventure or must a new cruising ground be pursued? Are there really any left?
People really have not evloved much in the last 50,000 years. We are for the most part as we always have been. Infdividually we get older and by repetition see things different than we used to. It's easy to ignore some of it and recall the better parts in kinder terms than they deserve.

CF proves without question the broad diversity that people bring to the water. That never changed. You need hope and fewer excuses to find real adventure. It helps a lot if you leave the whiners home.
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