On the Bay, Youre Full of Gas or Full of Wind
by Scott Dine
The argument goes on and on and on. The one about petroleum-powered boats as opposed to wind-powered boats. Skippers of both types of vessels have little regard for the other.
Its a Mets-Yankees sort of argument. Sail-powered skippers believe that theyre Mets: members of the National League, the senior league. But the oldest league doesnt always win the World Series. Just ask the Mets.
So proceed with one thought in mind: The best boat to be on is the one youre on.
Petroleum-powered vessels are often owned by arrogant jerks who want nothing more than to go as fast as possible, regardless of conditions. Wind-powered boats are often owned by arrogant jerks who want nothing more than to go as fast as possible, regardless of conditions. Both skippers have confused speed with relaxation.
Speed is relative to power type. Powerboats are speedier, so skippers operate with northern speed and southern charm. Sailboat skippers operate with southern speed and northern charm. Sailboat skippers might note that good ol boys are in much greater demand.
Skippers of wind-powered boats tend to wear hats designed for Crocodile Dundee. Powerboat skippers tend to wear baseball hats with well-known brand names sewn on the front. Cat and John Deere are two examples.
When the hats come off for refreshments, powerboat skippers tend to drink beer imported from Americas heartland. Sailboat skippers tend to drink wine with French names imported by the gallon from Americas West Coast. Sailboat skippers often serve their wine with cheese that smells like dirty socks.
Sailboat skippers are found in an open cockpit at the aft of the boat, sometimes under an awning when the weather is especially warm. Most sailboat skippers think of themselves as rugged individuals, staying the course, sails in trim. Faces and forearms of sailboat skippers tend to look like very old shoes.
Powerboat skippers are also found in a cockpit that is open in the rear. On wet days, the rear of the powerboat cockpit may be enclosed with canvas. On hot days, the rear of the powerboat cockpit may be enclosed with canvas and the air conditioner turned on while underway. Powerboat skippers think of themselves as cool characters with every aspect of their boat under control. Air conditioning assures the cool part.
A different kind of cool sends powerboat skippers through a group of sailboats without warning, trailing a wake that will send sailboats into a dangerous roll. Some sailboat skippers will get on a collision course with a large powerboat because boats under sail have the right of way. Powerboats do not make instant right-angle turns and require considerable distance to stop. Sailboat skippers disregard the rule of tonnage.
Both skippers spend amazing amounts of money on charts, GPS receivers, Loran receivers, compasses and depth finders. Then they read that the Bay averages 25 feet in depth and begin disregarding charts, GPS receivers, Loran receivers, compasses and depth finders. So it is obvious why both skippers run aground.
Powerboats cost more to maintain and operate and are especially welcome at gas docks. Each year powerboat skippers spend considerable dollars on fuel, oil, tune-ups. Sailboat skippers also buy fuel, usually five gallons at a time. Powerboat skippers are more apt to trade up. Sailboat skippers will hold on to their vessels for decades. No wonder there are so few sailboat builders.
A favorite preening spot for powerboats is Annapolis City Dock. Powerful cigarette boats put their engines on idle, their boats broadcasting a rapid drum roll. It is interesting to watch their hands rotating the wheel in the narrow turning basin.
Sailboat skippers preen by sailing up Spa Creek to Annapolis Yacht Club. At the Yacht Club, they tack to starboard turning toward City Dock. As they reach the Marriott, they tack once again to starboard turning toward the Severn River. To sail this course, the wind must be in a skippers favor. Some sailboat skippers do not estimate wind direction correctly and invade the Naval Academy.
And speaking of preening, take note of the amazing number of middle-aged powerboat skippers cruising the Bay with only a female crew member looking as if she stepped out of a Victorias Secret Catalog. And then take note of the amazing number of middle-aged sailboat skippers cruising the Bay with only a female crew member looking as if she stepped out of a Victorias Secret Catalog. Beware of such vessels; the skipper has something in mind besides boating safety.
Powerboat skippers need to learn when to shut down the throttle. Sailboat skippers need to learn when to luff up and lay off.
Powerboat skippers have a tendency to be full of gas.
Sailboat skippers have a tendency to be full of wind.
Photojournalist Scott Dine is full of wind.