Hey, you scratched my anchor

Published on June 23rd, 2014

Efforts to grow sailing as a recreation need to know what they are up against. Thanks to movies and old money, there are lots of stereotypes to overcome. Culture and travel writer Kara Cutruzzula sought out to demystify our recreation in a report titled Sailing in Newport for Dummies. Here’s an excerpt…

For anyone who didn’t grow up in New England, “boating” culture can seem mysterious: Why do men wear red pants? What’s an aft? Who owns boats, anyway? Where do you park them—is it even called parking? To answer these questions and conquer my irrational fear of wearing boat shoes, I headed to Newport, Rhode Island, a charming town with a nearly 1:1 boat-to-human ratio, located three hours by train from New York. Here’s what I learned…

When’s high season? What should I wear?
Beginning Memorial Day, the docks at Newport are crowded until August, when boats usually cruise to Nova Scotia, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. Stripes are appropriate. Scarves and anything with dangly bits that can get tangled and strangle you as you raise the sail are not recommended.

Are the terms “boating” and “yachting” interchangeable?
Only if you want to be thrown into Newport’s jail for the ignorant. You’d probably fish off a boat, but get served a multi-course meal on a yacht, which usually have elements of luxury—custom details, fancy pillows—not seen on more practical fishing boats. In short, all yachts are boats, but not all boats are yachts. Size also matters, but when does it not?

Why’s the bathroom called the head?
According to Captain Herb Marshall, who sailed the American Eagle while I was onboard (and bought the boat from Mr. Turner), it’s called a head because—cue the obvious—it’s at the head of the ship. Also, conveniently, “when you turn your back, the breeze is Mother Nature’s toilet paper.”

Um, not to be crass, but where does the poop go? On the poop deck?
You’re disgusting. The poop goes in the toilet. Just like on land.

Editor’s note: After reading her report, we sought out the film classic that likely set back sailing a few boat lengths: Caddyshack. The scene with Rodney Dangerfield (“Hey, you scratched my anchor“) is movie magic.

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