|Today you get a picture of sea bird because while I do try to have themed photos for each post, I've yet to take any photos of roosters on rocks.|
I usually don't read the Feedback letters but for some reason, today I did. I think everyone should rush out and read the phenomenal letter on page 16 from Dennis Wright Michaud. No, really you HAVE to see this. The level of snobbery, elitism and just plan jack assery displayed in this letter is simply not to be missed. Ok, you don't have to read it I'll just give you a brief synopsis.
Commenting on a previous story where the wife of a sailing couple contracted ciguatera poisoning, Mr Michaud takes excception to the fact that the able bodied sailor did not immediately seek medical attention for his ill wife. I think people who are sailing their boats around the world are probably old enough and wise enough to determine whether they wish to/need to seek medical treatment but I can see his point somewhat. What galls me is the opinion of this guy that the sailors in question probably did not seek medical attention for financial reasons. There are so many other reasons they might have skipped it- religious beliefs, accessibility of medical care, a preference for natural health (I could go on and on) but no,
But wait! It gets EVEN better. Every single time I try to put into words the feelings that are conjured up by this epistle my left eye starts twitching funny. So let me instead just quote directly Dr. Michaud's last paragraph: "I could have cruised for the past 20 years. Instead I finished my Ph.D, taught at Brown and Yale, started two companies, and now am gearing up to hire over 500 professionals in the Middle East. This is why I can now speak to the folks at S&S about a new custom yacht (which will be U.S.-built) and pay ridiculous yard bills. Frankly, I resent the glorification of sailing vagabonds who are at times viewed as celebrities by the sailing media."
Folks, snobbism in sailing is alive and well and residing in the bitter and jealous heart of Michaud. Fortunately, I haven't run into that many of Denny's ilk otherwise I would conclude that sailing is a sport for jackasses and not being one, it isn't for me. Thank goodness that the majority of sailors we've come across have nothing in common with him.
The folks we've met sailing have come from every walk of life- younger families who've done exceptionally well in business and can leave it all, retired blue collar workers, dead broke college age kids who have given up security in favor of adventure, retired white collar professionals, hippies, conservatives, Dr.s, middle aged artists, writers, scientists, engineers, painters, musicians, stock brokers- the list goes on and on. Here's the thing, the people that we've met through sailing come from every walk of life imaginable and while we have more affinity for some more than others, economic position has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not we like them.
The people we admire are the folks who try to live life a little differently, who use their ingenuity and creativity to solve problems. We admire people who have an innate ability to read the wind and trim the sails as much as we admire those who can barely get the sails trimmed enough to move the boat but they sail around the world anyway. We like the folks willing to lend a hand, share their experiences and just be all around nice people. We like nice. These are people worthy of glorification in my opinion and I hope to hell SAIL keeps on glorifying these "vagabonds" because if people like Dr. Michaud begin to be glorified (not sure what he's done besides exactly what he was told), well my right eye would start twitching as well. Besides, isn't Forbes kind of already covering the Michauds of the world?
It is probably a really good thing Michaud hasn't been cruising. can you imagine his utter disappointment to sail to a foreignland only to come ashore and find it rife with under financed people? Quel Desastre!