Put me down as another person who regards the Formula Boats essay on the "history of recreational boating" as just another exercise of ethnocentric and self-serving nonsense.
In East Asia
, the tradition of competitive races between villages of their 龙船 [dragon boats, paddled by anything up to 20-odd paddlers] has been going on for at least 2,000 (two thousand) years and perhaps 2,500 years. I think the documentation
of 2,000 years of dragon boat racing
is fairly well established.
In Malayo-Polynesian societies, written documentation
before contact with Europeans is missing. Having cruised the Malayo-Polynesia region - stretching from Taiwan
through the so-called Maritime Continent of SE Asia
to New Guinea and almost all the way across the Pacific, I find any suggestion that the commonplace activity of racing
paddled canoes is something new to be laughable. Same with the suggestion that any Malayo-Polynesian people had to get white pfellas from an industrialised economy to teach them to sail competitively. After all, these people crossed seas and most of the biggest ocean on the planet long before most everyone else. And had fun doing it.
The notion that sailing or boating is either for work or for recreation is just another construct in the heads of people in industrial economies. That's for people who have been totally domesticated by a dictatorial political economy. Everyone else enjoys being alive and gets enjoyment from the activities of life.
The drudgery of wage slaves is a recent invention. You know who is to blame.
Most any cruiser in less industrialised economies sees children
sailing and paddling for fun and young adults racing in sail or paddled boats for fun as part of their lives.
For that matter ever seen one boat (under sail, paddle, or oar) pass another of similar type/design/size without the two crews looking competitively at sail trim, or paddle or oar cadence? And smile and laugh doing it?