Monday, April 05, 2010
"My starting premise is the prediction that ten years from now, the recreational use of carbon based fuels on the water will be accorded the same level of social scorn and rejection that smoking now receives... just as we have come to resent smoking as an intrusion on our fundamental right to fresh air - so we are now empowered to newly aroused indignation over the loss of our original and fundamental right to flat wakes and blessed quiet on the water."
Not my words, but a quote from Garry Hoyt's new book Go For The Green.
Wow. Strong words. Do you think this is really going to happen?
Will the addicts of jet-skiing and water-skiing and the like be confined to small, unattractive areas of water designated for carbon hogs? Will we sailors think nothing of complaining to a power-boater about the health dangers to us of his "second-hand gasoline fumes"? Will socially responsible sailors forgo the use of auxiliary carbon-fuel based engines and actually learn to "sail" their yachts?
Of course, we have touched on this subject before. A couple of months ago I gave you 23 Reasons Why Putting an Engine in a Sailboat is the Worst Sailing Innovation Ever. And, a few weeks before, in $20 Gas and the Future of Sailing I reported on Christopher Steiner's prediction that, once the price of gasoline reaches $10 a gallon as it surely will one day soon, the "giant fleet of motorboats, speedboats, and ski boats that crowd our waters will be thinned to a tiny convoy. Sailboats, canoes, kayaks and rowboats will rule the waves."
The future is coming faster than you think. Personally I can't wait for the era of "flat wakes and blessed quiet" that Hoyt foretells...
However, in another report from the front in the war between real sailors and carbon hogs, I read some disturbing and sad news this week. I have written before of my delightful experiences at my first sailing club in the UK, Taplow Lake Sailing Club which is Where It All Started for me. I even wrote to my former club members a thank-you letter for inspiring in me a life-long love for sailing. As you can imagine I have a special affection for this club.
I didn't mention before that the sailing club at this lake shared its waters quite amicably with a group of water-skiers. The lake was way too small for sailing and water-skiing to take place at the same time, so the two clubs agreed to use the lake on different days. As I recall, when I was a member we sailed on alternate days each weekend, Saturday one week and Sunday the next and so on; and I assume the water-skiers used the other day each weekend.
However time moves on. The owners of the lake decided to increase the rent for use of the lake and the water-skiers negotiated a lease solely in their name. No big deal initially, because the sailors were still allowed to use the lake under a sub-lease on several days each week including all day Saturdays and afternoons on Sundays, and the sailing club continued to flourish.
However, when the sub-lease came up for renewal recently, the ski club (which apparently is changing its status into a for-profit business) decided it needed to use the lake at all prime times during spring, summer and autumn including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. This made it impossible to run a viable sailing club and Taplow Lake Sailing Club had to shut down at the end of last month.
On a brighter note, the former members of TLSC have all been invited to join a similar lake-based club only a mile or so away, with the added advantage that the new club has a bar!!!
So the carbon hogs won this particular battle. Or did they? Maybe they just created for themselves one of those "designated polluting areas", and eventually all the petrol and diesel addicts from other nearby waters will be forced to go and pursue their filthy habit on Taplow Lake, leaving the rest of the area's waterways free for sailors to enjoy Hoyt's "flat wakes and blessed quiet."
We can only hope.