We’re a weird mob

Reflections from Fort de France

Reflections from Fort de France

Venturing north, where the concentration of yachtsmen appears inversely proportional to travel distances between ports, I’m clearly reminded that this getaway lifestyle attracts all sorts of individuals and groups!

Even the homeless can teach yachties a thing or two about fashion.

Even the homeless can teach yachties a thing or two about fashion.

Referring to us as “Yachties”, really doesn’t even scratch the surface of what is in fact a highly diverse group. The only common thread (myself excluded of course), is that yachtsmen have to be about the worlds least fashion conscious individuals.


  • The Patriot (or Nouveau Conquistador when abroad), identified by the ensign that’s at least 30% the overall length of the yacht ( I exaggerate only slightly ). I watched one arrive the other day while visiting a fellow yachtsmen. As soon as the anchor was deployed, a crew member was dispatched to make a standing (literally), tour of the resident yachts. Presumably to better announce their arrival?
    “You know David, I haven’t even met that woman…. and already I can’t stand her….”
    And that, from a yachtsman carrying the same ensign!

Some think this is cool… The majority however think you’re a ……

  • The Naturist ( or nudist if you will ). A group phenomenon, where members delight in raw bohemian exhibitionism. Often surround unsuspecting yachts at anchor, and  proceed to give them a show that, I for one, would rather forget…
    If only the protagonists were a little younger… Say 40 years?
  • The Frugals ( penniless but persistent ), out to see the world, but unable to appreciate anything other than the view when they get there. They almost never leave their boat as doing so inevitably leads to an unbudgeted expense.
  • The Hustler (businessman or opportunist). See other yachtsmen or the places they visit as an untapped commercial market.
    Why do I lump them together?
    Because they both have that same unsavory polished zeal about them.
    I should know.. I’m building a marina after all 😉 “Out damned spot! Out I say!!”
  • The Escapee ( Tax-man or ex-wife? ). Motto: They’ll never get me out here!!!
    I was once asked what I was running from, given that I’d chosen this unusual lifestyle… While I’ll admit that there are many yachtsmen who have indeed run away from something… Working for example… I’m not happy being tagged as an escapee… And that’s despite what I may have written in the past.
    Now it’s time to escape the self-imposed prisons of debt, monotony, and false ambition and weigh anchor.
    Perhaps that was just a phase I was going through, and now I’ve happily moved on to another category…. (or two)
  • The Seeker ( or quixotic individualist? ). I’m not talking about the I’m trying to “find my inner self” types… Those still insist on climbing mountains in Tibet or trekking through India. I’m talking about the ones who are really actively looking for their closest approximation of Shangri-La… I write “their” instead of “the”, because utopia is a matter of taste, and not even necessarily a place.
And people wonder at my fascination with leopard print....

And people wonder about my fascination with leopard prints….

  • The Playboy ( It’s not what you think…) It’s just that cruising for some yachties is a kind of game… On reflection, I’ve often been accused of exemplifying this classification… That’s not to say I don’t take anything I do seriously…
    On the contrary, playing games for me is a serious matter, to be taken most earnestly. It’s just that my honest answer to those who’ve asked…. “When will you stop sailing?” is…. When I tire of playing this game and feel then need to choose another.
    I suspect there may be others who follow suit. Or at least would like to 😉
  • The Enthusiast ( just can’t get enough ). Lives and breathes yachting. Can be rather dull at social functions due to his one topic conversational repertoire. Has not realised that not everybody, including other sailors, can stand talking about sail trim for hour upon hour. Found mostly around boat yards where his audience has difficulty escaping.
  • The Copycat ( he’s out there because you are ). In it’s mild form, I’m guessing it’s a case of being inspired by those who have gone before, be it Moitessier, Slocum, or Knox… Absolutely nothing wrong with that…
    But then there is the chronic copycat. He’s not there because of any particular plan or interest. He’s there because he couldn’t stand being left out of the “been there and done that” or the “been there bought that” crowd…
    A much healthier ( if somewhat antipodean ) response to adopt when faced with the sailing trophies of others is…Fine…And yet… “You can’t impress me because I’ve been to Bali too…”
    Note: Remind me to sail to Bali one day….

Complicating matters is that many sailors belong to more than one of the abovementioned categories. Meeting a patriot nudist playboy or a frugal copycat enthusiast is not as difficult as one might first imagine. It all just goes to show you that the cruising community can at times, be an odd one.

Feel free to comment on any other classifications I may have inadvertently missed…



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