Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Blue collar cruising.

No pictures today. I want to talk, (or bitch), about the high cost of sailing products and the crappy magazines that seem to cater to people with six figure disposable incomes. The chandleries are the worst, charging high prices for low quality stainless steel products. More on THAT later.

First off, the magazines. My God, they are nothing but adverts, every single article! I have yet to read about a corrupt customs official, or squalid living conditions on some of the islands. I know there are squalid conditions, because I've seen them in my many years in the Canadian Navy. Don't gloss over the facts, I want and need the facts to make good safe cruising plans. for the record, I'll take squalid over corruption any day of the week, hands down.

I have yet to read about any installation/repair jobs that the sailor does. I am not talking about changing a washer in a faucet either. I want to hear about a burst fuel line, runaway engines, steering systems gone wrong. I want to hear about jury rigging a quick repair in order to get ones sorry ass to a safe haven to effect proper repairs. I don't want to read about getting a tow. $$$$$.

I want to hear about the blue collar worker sailing, using the basic instruments that we can afford. Remember Scotty off of Star Trek saying "The more complicated the plumbing, the easier it is to clog the drain!', or something to that effect. A $1,200 GPS/plotter/nose picker tied in to your radar and ice maker will break down more often than a hand held GPS requiring more expensive repairs to boot! I do not want to hear about that.

I want to read about fees for clearing customs, grant you some has been said and written as I do know some places are prohibitive while others are not. The articles rarely talk about the costs of being a tourist in certain areas. I need to know this stuff.

I have the privilege of being slip neighbours to a couple who went down south for a planned 6 months and came back 5 years later! They are a wealth of knowledge. They should write a magazine article. Wait, but who would publish it? Not Bruisers World, or Bachtworld!( The actual names were butchered to protect the innocent, namely me). Those glossy rags have done nothing but prostitute themselves to the advertisers shamelessly. Nothing wrong with earning a profit, but come on, there is a whole class of people out there who you could target.

Now on to marine supply stores; I bought 16 stainless steel bolts for about $16. I was in a hurry OK! Now, one of the heads stripped while removing said bolts so I could install new backing plates for my stanchions. Drat! I figure if one stripped, the rest would so I went to a store that specializes in fasteners and bought a box of fifty grade 316 stainless steel bolts for $12 before taxes. Even just comparing the two you could see the difference, 316 shiny, chandlery stock, dull. When I change the rigging, it will be off to a wire speciality store and not to a marine supply store.

Well, that's my rant....Allan


Hampus said...

True, every word of it ;) But think of how much sweeter everything tastes when you feel you've really earned it and payed in blood and sweat instead of hard earned $$$ :) As for articles on "blue collar cruising", that's not the stuff that sells, unfortunately.

For reading, I'd recommend Robin Lee Graham's "Dove" and Tristan Jones' books. If you haven't been there already.


Allan S said...

Thanks hampus, I'll looks those references up....Allan

Johnston said...


I found your blog link on cruisersforum. I've read some of the magazines you reference and it always makes me laugh when they refer to a 30' boat as a small cruiser and other such nonsense.

I recently found a magazine that might interest you, Good Old Boat. Their tag line is "The sailing magazine for the rest of us." I've only read two issues so far, so I can't claim to be an expert, but the May/June issue I have in my hand has rather thorough reviews of the Newport 28 and O'Day 26. Both of these boats are over 20 years old. There were also several interesting boat improvement projects and a very good article on the first 10,000 miles of a circumnavigation.

Like I said, my experience with the mag is limited, but I am so far impressed. It looks to be a 6 issue/year setup and the cover says it's $8 CDN.

In any event, I hope you are enjoying your first full summer with Jackpot/Addiction/etc.


Allan S said...

Also thanks Johnston, another reference I'll look up...Allan

Anonymous said...

you make very valid points and you clearly have hit on a market opening. I gave up on television and newspapers in 2004 because it was just, well, crap. I now get my news off the internet and often through forums! I found out Martinique was in under martial law last spring through the - you can bet the slick traditional media didn't fool with that.

My Point!
Do you have any interest in starting an on-line sailor's magazine?
Request your articles from free lance authors, including the average sailor without a Phd in English but actually have been there and done that. Let advertising pay for everything. It would be a public service to us "real" people that have to live this every day.

First Mate at