(Not so much a guest post on green boating, as
the transcript of a rant by a relative who is difficult to ignore,
over a few beers while propping up the club bar.)
give me any of your trendy Green Boating
Especially if it
comes from someone who
has a whacking great boat made of frozen plastic snot
Frozen snot was an expression
used by Francis Herreshoff to describe
Or anyone who has been clomping his great carbon
footprints all over
globe by flying to ‘eco conferences’.
When I was growing up in post war austerity in the UK, being frugal was
just a way of life.
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was wasted or thrown away if it
mended or used for something, if that is recycling or green boating,
is nothing new about it, it’s just sensible.
We didn’t need any politically
motivated pronouncements from ‘above’ to know that keeping it small
and simple gave us a lot more scope for having fun.
And even now half the fun of
sailing is in getting away
from the so called ‘conveniences’ of home.
You can kit your boat out with
all the home comforts but
then you’ll have to spend most of the time plugged into the marina
power to run it all, how pointlessly boring is that.
Sailing can be one of the
greenest activities to enjoy,
as long as you aren’t spending all your time worrying about all those
complex gadgets and the power needed to run them.
I have no problem with those
boaters who equip their
boats with all kinds of gadgetry but for me green boating is more about
And I regard it as just a
matter of common sense to use
things like a self-steering wind vane, oil lamps or manual pumps for
Now don’t get me wrong I'm not
a complete Luddite,
I'm all for innovation where it does make my sailing more fun.
For instance I wouldn’t dream
of putting out to sea
without my GPS, it does help take the uncertainty out of navigation.
But I still prefer to use my
old fashioned navigational
computer, it may not work quite as well as it used to but it is still
powerful computer around, it's
the one inside my
And unlike the electronic type
it doesn’t wear out
with use but gets better.
And it doesn’t need batteries.
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about batteries, now
there is something where the
green boating pontificators would do better to put their money instead
spending it on air fares and conferences.
Develop an affordable and
compact hydrogen cell and
I’ll be first in line to buy one.
Well I will with one caveat,
that they develop it
while at the same time considering how to dispose of it
when it has
stopped working, which it will.
And I don’t need to hear the
sort of hogwash the
snot boat industry is still touting, such as plastic boats will last
Yea right, tell me that when
the landfill sites are full
of that everlasting plastic that has ceased to be usable boats.
Already there are some
landfill sites that will no longer
allow the disposal of plastic boats.
You can recycle old sails,
make tote bags, halyard tidies
or even deck chairs from them but there is little you can do with old
Wooden boats on the other
hand, can be repaired with a
little effort and some truly have lasted for hundreds of years.
As for the contention that the
snot boat industry has
allowed more folk to go boating, my response is that it may have conned
of folk into buying boats but that isn’t the same as actually going
How many plastic boats rarely
leave the marina or spend
most of their lives sat on a trailer in a driveway, gathering moss,
I understand the power of
advertising, being male I can
just about understand the guy who is conned into believing that just
boat will turn him into a macho adventurer.
What I find hard to comprehend
is any of you girls being
conned by the boat that has been designed to appeal to the ‘wee
woman’, with its pretty little plastic galley.
If I were a woman I’d find
that is so patronizing
as to be offensive.
It is almost as patronizing as
suggesting that snot boats
will last forever.
I will admit that there are
some very good and quite
pretty plastic boats around but to say that they will out live a wooden
with little maintenance is totally unsubstantiated.
Show me a plastic boat that is
over fifty years old and
still looking good.
Or ask the owner whose boat
has osmosis and has to put
her out of the water for at least a year just to dry out before messing
with all those nasty chemicals.
Anyone truly interested in
green boating needs to
reevaluate their lifestyle and consider how and why they do things.
It is so easy to be mesmerized
by the glitter of all
those fiercely advertised gadgets and latest trends.
What could be dafter that
spending a fortune to use a
rowing machine, in a stuffy gym stinking of other peoples sweat and
a noisy smelly outboard on the back of your dinghy instead of just
You can call it green boating
or what ever buzz word you
like, to me there is something elemental about sailing that favors
"Sailors, with their built in sense of order, service and
discipline, should really be running the world."