Sailing Club and Yacht Club Culture

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 19, 2009 11:35 PM GMT
    Hey guys. I'm learning to sail for an upcoming trip. I've been getting free lessons through our local yacht club. The instructors have been so generous, supportive, and helpful. They've really made me feel welcome...except...

    During each lesson I've had an instructor make a disparaging remark about gay folks. The second instructor was a real bible thumper. I wasn't in a position to complain, as I was getting a free individualized lesson. I handled it well (witty, vague, low-key, and maintaining my dignity), but I still felt a bit lousy afterward.

    Each time I showed up I didn't come right out and introduce myself as gay since it isn't relevant to the situation.

    If I want to get into this after my trip I'll want to join a club. Do any of you club guys have advice on how to deal with this element? Is it prevalent in your club? I'm sure there's a gay sailing club somewhere, but a part of me doesn't necessarily want to be in that bubble either.

    EDIT: There is no gay sailing/yacht club in my area.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 20, 2009 12:53 PM GMT
    who the fuck cares about this shiticon_question.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 20, 2009 12:56 PM GMT
    Hmm interesting thread as I'm thinking of going through a sailing course next spring. Its a certified course and quite spendy, I'd hope its professional, but who knows. How are the classes? Are you enjoying yourself besides the fact? Where is the trip?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 20, 2009 1:33 PM GMT
    MadeNUSA saidwho the fuck cares about this shiticon_question.gif


    People who frequent the sailing forum, which is where I posted it. Why did you venture to a post in the sailing forum if you don't care? I mean, the title pretty much indicates what's coming. Yet you clicked it.

    What's the matter? Did mommy take away your magnifying glass and now you can't torture any insects today? Sheesh.

    Maybe you simply don't like discussions about sports or fitness. On a gay sports and fitness site. Yeah. Well then just stick to the camming and chat rooms OK?

    P.S.: Thanks for the reply, as it bumped me to the forefront and got the discussion going.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 20, 2009 1:44 PM GMT
    Onetoughguy saidHmm interesting thread as I'm thinking of going through a sailing course next spring. Its a certified course and quite spendy, I'd hope its professional, but who knows. How are the classes? Are you enjoying yourself besides the fact? Where is the trip?


    The instruction itself is great and very enjoyable and being provided for free. There's lots of new terminology to learn, as well as some physics. I'm in a time crunch since my trip is in two weeks. So there are club members who are simply taking me out, informally, and "showing me the ropes"...heh...pun intended. I start in Newport, RI and sail north for three weeks, turning back when we think it would be smart to. I doubt we'll ever be more than three hours from a port.

    All I have to pay for is the flight and food...maybe a couple of nights ashore if the weather gets bad. My captain is just happy to have crew. I couldn't pass this up.

    I know that some of these supposed elitist sports have their share of homophobic selfish participants. I just hope it's not rampant. I like sailing, but some of the comments really smart.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 20, 2009 1:56 PM GMT
    This is irrelevant but I was first outed at the yacht club gala dinner...

    My Fathers second wife got drunk and screamed it out in front of everyone at the table

    Yes we really should plan go to New York for this christmas, it would be lovely your brother can bring his girlfriend, and you can bring yours, get one! Or a boyfriend I don't really know care which at this stage your 20, figure it out

    There was silence and someone dropped a fork icon_neutral.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 20, 2009 1:58 PM GMT
    MsclDrew saidThis is irrelevant but I was first outed at the yacht club gala dinner...

    My Fathers second wife got drunk and screamed it out in front of everyone at the table

    Yes we really should plan go to New York for this christmas, it would be lovely your brother can bring his girlfriend, and you can bring yours, get one! Or a boyfriend I don't really know care which at this stage your 20, figure it out

    There was silence and someone dropped a fork icon_neutral.gif


    Haha...did you go back, and how were you treated?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 20, 2009 2:02 PM GMT
    Howdy Rugger,

    I have been sailing for about 15 years. The thing that I have found is that where you sail, at least in terms of sponsoring clubs, tends to reflect the prevailing culture of that place.

    If your sailing in Austin, on Lake Travis or Town Lake, you might find that the place is a little less friendly as a club.

    In general sailors are interested in sailing (and drinking) and I don't think most people care one way or the other when it comes to competitive sailing.

    A few years ago my partner and I did the Rolex Middle-Sea Cup as a couple, with a bunch of straight guys, and everyone was much more concerned about the wind (which sucked) than anything else.

    That said, there is something that I have observed that I think is actually important. Not many Gay people agree with me, but this has been my experience.

    It seems that the social development of the middle class is moving at a very different pace than it is amongst poor people and wealthy people. Frankly, I think the big thing that made the difference in the Proposition 8 loss was racial and economic politics and not gender.

    Having been with my partner, doing ok economically (though not these days), and always out, I have thought that I would be fine on my own as a single guy but the reality of Gay couples just isn't acceptable with people who think of themselves as jet set but who are really very provincial.

    Yacht-club culture is very provincial because it tends to cater to a group of people who are, for reasons I don't fully understand, behind the curve of gender politics.

    I wouldn't let anything discourage me from sailing. You don't need a yacht club to sail. You don't need to belong to a club to participate in some regattas.

    Here is a list from the Knickerbocker Sailing Club in New York, which is an LGBT club.

    http://www.ksa-nyc.org/gaysailing/index.php

    Terry
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 20, 2009 2:15 PM GMT
    RuggerATX saidIf I want to get into this after my trip I'll want to join a club. Do any of you club guys have advice on how to deal with this element? Is it prevalent in your club? I'm sure there's a gay sailing club somewhere, but a part of me doesn't necessarily want to be in that bubble either.

    I've never been an avid sailor on my own, but numerous friends over the years have been with whom I've sailed, including fellow US Army officers, which might seem out of character for our career field. I came very close to buying a sailboat with another guy to take down the Intracoastal from New Jersey to Florida in 1967. I guess I had a crush on him, without realizing what it really was, that I wanted to spend all that time alone with him.

    What-ifs aside, I never noticed any particular anti-gay bias in the nautical sector, but then most of my boating friends are gay. I suppose if you consider the income demographic to own a sailboat or yacht, and you're talking Republicans, then yeah, a good number would be anti-gay bigoted jerks, and likewise be male chauvinists and minority haters, typical right-wingers. But not all.

    As for your current situation, hold your tongue until your lessons are completed, and you've received whatever certificate you may be getting. It would be lovely to then tell these instructors the truth about yourself, but if you'll be remaining associated with that club for now, their gossipy tongues will only hurt you.

    Where do you think you'd eventually be joining a sailing club? There are limitless numbers up both sides of the Florida coast, and I'm sure you could Google to find any gay ones. For starters:

    http://www.ksa-nyc.org/gaysailing/index.php

    (Most of the Florida ones have expired that used AOL & MSN groups services, but their names and the clubs may still be active somewhere)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 20, 2009 2:40 PM GMT
    Rugger,
    I'm sorry you chose to endure that.
    But did it ever occur to you to tell the guy. That you don't appreciate his remarks and that you find it offensive. How did the topic of gays even come up, did he just leap frog into topic? We have to have a zero tolerance that type of behavior.

    When we do not call people out on their bigotry we lose a part of ourselves. You could have said this in tactful way that you do not appreciate his candor.

    How can we change public perception about us when we do nothing, when we hear jerks like this guy makes whatever comments that he made and will continue to make because we don’t check them. We have a duty to ourselves and others to do so.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 20, 2009 4:10 PM GMT
    Ducky45 saidRugger,
    I'm sorry you chose to endure that.
    But did it ever occur to you to tell the guy. That you don't appreciate his remarks and that you find it offensive. How did the topic of gays even come up, did he just leap frog into topic? We have to have a zero tolerance that type of behavior.

    When we do not call people out on their bigotry we lose a part of ourselves. You could have said this in tactful way that you do not appreciate his candor.

    How can we change public perception about us when we do nothing, when we hear jerks like this guy makes whatever comments that he made and will continue to make because we don’t check them. We have a duty to ourselves and others to do so.



    Context: He was making vague religious references earlier, and talking about how he has his own theories as to why rain storms always go around Austin, leaving us in severe drought (God's punishment for a heathenistic city?). He was an opinionated suburban fellow who oddly was trying to impress us at the same time. I don't think he smiled or laughed the entire time.

    A big boat went by with a pink pirate flag on it. This fellow who was teaching us said those boats make him nervous. The other (straight) crew member asked if he was afraid his boat would be taken over by gay pirates. I merely said it looked more lesbian to me. But I have a tendency to make smartass remarks about lesbians. That's another thread though.

    Perhaps selfishly, I left it at that. I need the lesson and at that moment I needed to focus on instruction, not conflict. There was so much terminology flying about. And I needed all the focus I could get, because I was admittedly a bit hungover and my brain wasn't 100% (yes, I know, not the smartest way to prep). Was I offended? Yes. Did I get what I wanted from the guy? Ultimatetly yes. Did I shirk my duty as a gay man? I don't know. The relationship isn't over. Am I a "whore" now? Well, I'd have to remind myself of the definition. ;-)

    Sure, anyone who has seen me post in these forums long enough knows that I have little tolerance for the closet. And while in no way would I deny my orientation if asked, I may not have been the warrior that I hope all of us can be. Hell, were his kids not sailing between us and the shore, he might have tossed me overboard and told me to swim my gay ass back on my own. He seemed a bit unstable, in that creepy steely way.

    Two guys out on a very small boat with a homophobic captain. I think I have a slight sense of what "Don't Ask Don't Tell" feels like.

    (As for the guy two days before who was training me, he was more being humorous in that frat guy kind of way. I had a feeling he was just going for some ill-advised camaraderie.)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 20, 2009 10:42 PM GMT
    RuggerATX said
    MsclDrew saidThis is irrelevant but I was first outed at the yacht club gala dinner...

    My Fathers second wife got drunk and screamed it out in front of everyone at the table

    Yes we really should plan go to New York for this christmas, it would be lovely your brother can bring his girlfriend, and you can bring yours, get one! Or a boyfriend I don't really know care which at this stage your 20, figure it out

    There was silence and someone dropped a fork icon_neutral.gif


    Haha...did you go back, and how were you treated?


    I didn't care, the entire table was business associates and old school friends of my parent's I see maybe once/twice a year. I missed last years dinner (in the US) and if I go to this one around xmas it'll be 2 years, most are the well we don't like homosexuality and shoot the odd disparaging comment but it's never openly addressed, very elephant in the room
  • Pewit

    Posts: 15

    Aug 18, 2009 5:49 AM GMT
    I formed GLORY (www.glorysailing.org) in 2002 with other competitors at the Sailing Regatta during the Gay Games in Sydney - to represent the sport to LGBT sports organisations such as The Federation of Gay Games but also to encourage the formation of clubs and groups for LGBT sailors.

    I've been sailing all my life but until recently, hadn't experienced any of the homophobic attitude you mention - despite organising the first openly gay crew to compete at Cowes Week - the world's largest and oldest sailing regatta in the UK - for which we had lots of media coverage but only one was homophobic. There was no reaction from other boat crews at the time although one shouted "where's the leather" as they went past which we thought was funny and a number of people came up to us in the bar afterwards, and admitted they were gay or they had gay crew-mates .

    However, I recently moved to Sydney, Australia and started to sail with one of the local sportsboat crews. One of the crew members kept up a constant diatribe of anti-gay comments and slurs - if it hadn't been so annoying it would have been funny like something out of the Monty Python Bruce's sketch: "Rule No 1 : No Poofters!!".

    I decided not to come out at the time (because I was new to the boat) but I fully intend to come out to the owner of the boat if I get the chance to sail again - let him know that I didn't think this banter was appropriate or indeed helpful - especially as it didn't help with communicating the task of sailing the boat faster.

    UPDATE 2011: I've since changed to a different boat and came out to the crew and they couldn't have been nicer - especially when my partner was ill recently.

    The 2014 Gay Games are in Cleveland, OH, USA and will include sailing (on Lake Eire) as one of the 35 sports on offer. The sailing regatta has both recreational and competitive divisions so anyone can take part whatever their skill level - there is no pre-qualification for any of the sports at the Gay Games.

    As mentioned, GLORY also aims to help new gay sailing groups to form so if you want some assistance to get a local group going, or just to meet up with some crew-mates, send a message to info@glorysailing.org
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 14, 2010 7:54 AM GMT
    This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. It is the old what goes around comes around routine.


    SeaDream Yacht Club
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 29, 2010 8:02 PM GMT


    [i]During each lesson I've had an instructor make a disparaging remark about gay folks. The second instructor was a real bible thumper. I wasn't in a position to complain, as I was getting a free individualized lesson. I handled it well (witty, vague, low-key, and maintaining my dignity), but I still felt a bit lousy afterward.
    [/i
    I hear ya, I have often had this happen to me, too often to mention, I think it's because certain homophobes expect "gay" men to be prancing around like Mary Poppins and acting like queens. I have heard the old saying from them"you don't look or act gay". I just have to educate them (yet again) that we aren't all like that. I secretly have issue with overly effeminite men for that reason(I guess it's not a secret anymore...) You're right, it's not proper in that situation to say anything, just concentrate on the task at hand. You're getting the job done... Enjoy it, sounds like fun