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Old 04-04-2010, 22:38   #1
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Yachties, Cruisers, Boaters, Sailors ...

Most of my friends from the U.K., who have been sailing for decades, call themselves "yachties". Just like many people from the States call themselves "cruisers". And people in New Zealand might call themselves "boaters". Amongst our friends, the term "yachtie" is simply used to describe someone who lives on a sailing boat and has been sailing for many years and over long distances. It is also used to describe us as people who don't live "on land".

My wife and I (as well as a very few close friends) have developed our own terminology to differentiate among the people who sail around on boats. First, there are the "marina sailors", who prefer the comforts of shore-power, running water, a floating dock and all that this entails. They go into the marina whenever they can and sometimes avoid places where there aren't any marinas to be had.

"Harbour sailors" don't usually stray very far from their home port. Maybe their career doesn't allow trips further afield or maybe they feel more comfortable, not to mention safe, in the vicinity of their permanent mooring or berth.

There are also "engine sailors" or "diesel sailors", who use their engines almost all the time. They usually make fast passages, bunker amazing amounts of fuel, often have a big generator installed and you can meet them usually in a hardware store looking for this or that or talking to some mechanic or other.

Then there's "real yachties", who wear the term "yachtie" as a badge of honour. These guys you'll usually find at anchor and very rarely in a marina. The boats are usually old and/or second hand, and their life-style is definitely low budget. Usually, they try very hard to make friends amongst the locals wherever they are and often they shy away from larger groups of cruisers, especially when there is one of the popular rallies about. The try to stay in spots unknown to the crowd and they spend a long time there. For many of them another life-style is unthinkable. They don't intend to live "on land" (i.e. become "tomato growers") ever again, not if it can be helped.


Roy Starkey of SEA LOONE comes to mind (built his own ferrocement boat in the early 70s, circumnavigated 2 1/2 times and makes his living carving all kinds of artwork which are sold by boutiques and the like). I met Roy while visiting Kourou, French Guyana in my first catamaran DHARMA BUM on 12 September 1989. Hopefully Roy will visit me in the Malaysia/Thailand region soon. Then there was Robert Adair, boatbuilder by trade, who first built the trimaran TANYA, sailed her to Tonga, build racing canoes there, lost a leg, and then built the very fast racing tri EPICURUS which he sailed with his wife to the Philippines. Unfortunately he has passed away. Karl & Libu on the home built steel boat ROSINANTE, launched in 1973, cicumnavigated and home-schooled two children on the boat. They still live on it somewhere in the Caribbean.

I would be proud if any of them would consider me a "real yachtie". <grin>

http://mail.im.tku.edu.tw/~jacobsen/

http://dharmabumiiivoyage.blogspot.com/
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Old 04-04-2010, 22:40   #2
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interesting...

I am aiming for "Sailor" myself ; -}
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Old 04-04-2010, 22:57   #3
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Sailor sounds good. I sometimes tell people I'm a boat bum :-)
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Old 04-04-2010, 23:10   #4
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Yeah the interpretation is interesting, I've always used the term 'yachtie' with a bit of dirision thinking of it being used to describe the marina boys. I was always kind of proud that in the years that I owned my boat and the period of the prior owner That the boat while seeing a great deal of the Pacific had spent only a couple months at a dock.
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Old 05-04-2010, 01:01   #5
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I don't really call myself a sailor or boater or anything to be honest. Those are terms people usually use to describe someone else engaged in the activity. In the same way that I play guitar but wouldn't call myself a "guitarist", I know how to sail but don't like to call myself a "sailor". And I was in the Navy so for a while I really was a Sailor.

I think my post got deleted a few years back when I said this, but the joke we have here is that the difference between a boat and a yacht is that a yacht is owned by someone who's trying to impress you. I know that's not really the case; I think technically any vessel not engaged in trade is a yacht, and different countries have different uses of the term.

If I'm talking about someone else, I generally refer to them as a "mariner" or perhaps "skipper" if they're in command of a vessel. Or "crewmember" if they're crew, or "captain" if they are a licensed captain.
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Old 05-04-2010, 03:33   #6
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Yachtie? A bit twee in my book Kinda like a 6' 6" (2 metre) 400lbs dog owner referring to their little doggie .......and yachtie has too much of the sound of Hooray Henries and Nouveau Chavs for my tastes........but maybe it is me who is the snob?

FWIW I always say I have a boat / sailing boat, not a yacht. Maybe because "messing around in boats" is really my thing.............
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Old 05-04-2010, 04:41   #7
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When asked, I say simply, "I own a sailboat." I suppose if I were truly honest I'd say that it owns me.
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Old 05-04-2010, 05:07   #8
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A yacht is a boat of any size owned by a rich person -- I will never own a yacht. As for all those distinctions, why bother? Sailor is just fine for me
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Old 05-04-2010, 07:38   #9
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Yachties, Cruisers, Boaters, & Sailors are all “Watermen”.

At least, until the PC language police morph it to “waterpeople”, or some such silliness.
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Old 05-04-2010, 08:12   #10
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It is funny that you use the word "Yachties", we use the word at our yacht club to make fun of the Rich and Shameless that feel they are above everyone else in the Yachting World. Ted Night in the movie Caddy Shack comes to mind.

I belong to the Lahave River Yacht Club, it is a great little spot with nice members that makes it so great. We do race and we do cruise and we have a small power boat membership as well. If you get a chance check it out www.lryc.ca, we don't really have any "Yachties" at our club, most of the members have come from high end yacht clubs because they like our simple down to earth attitudes.

The retired Captain of the Bluenose II is one of our members( Orval Banfield) , I myself have spent years as a charter captain in the caribbean, they call me Capt. Ron at the club, but mostly because I ran out of gas with 30 Americans on board one day, but it was a sail boat.....lol....so we sailed back to the club.

Sailor, Boater, Old Salt, Yachtie, all that matters is that we share a love of the ocean and water below us.

Cheers to what ever you call yourself as long as you call the water home!
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Old 05-04-2010, 08:27   #11
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Here in the Chesapeake, watermen has a very specific meaning -- those who earn their living fishing the bay. But as has been pointed out, it doesn't matter what we're called so long as we're sailing
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Old 05-04-2010, 08:43   #12
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How a term is used or defined is determined by a large part by the culture. Amongst merchant mariners, yachtie is definitely a term of derision. Its pretty much defined as someone who does not know what they are doing with the adjective usually being a swear word. Hey, I didn't invent or define the term.
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Old 05-04-2010, 12:10   #13
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Awhile back I had this discussion with a fellow forum member. Different areas of the world have different terms with different meanings.

Here in the Hawaiian Islands a yachtie is someone who owns a very expensive boat, seldom uses it, and doesn't know how to sail very well. Sailors on the other hand sail as much as they can on what they can afford. Cruisers sail from port to port.

I seem to remember that in Australia the term sailor has a swishy connotation?

Watermen(persons) are folks who fish, sail, windsurf, surf, swim, dive, snorkle, throw nets, spear fish and generally won't be found inland very far.

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Old 05-04-2010, 12:18   #14
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Here's the discussion:

Is the term "Yachtie" derogatory?

It turned a bit heated at times.

regards,
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Old 05-04-2010, 13:27   #15
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