The Internet is a fascinating thing yes? I mean how spoiled are we that now we no longer have to go to the library and look through that small “filing” cabinet of index cards to find a book! Yes a book. Encyclopedia’s are a thing of the past. The mighty Internet has liberated us from all that toil and trouble. We now only need to “Google” something to find one-hundred and seventeen thousand, three-hundred and twenty-one websites containing the words “blah, blah and blah Kardashian”. And, as a sailboater with very little storage for said Encyclopedias, we treasure our internet service as our life-line to everything from weather to the best local pub or market. When I first began sailing and refitting my first sailboat, a San Juan 24 “Whore Of The Sea” (not my name btw) I searched the internet high and low for hard to find info on these great little boats. It was then, I discovered the FORUMS. When I did my Tartan 27, I found the Yahoo owners forum. They were oh so awesome.
If you own a boat, you know about the forums. They are great. Sometimes. The Cruisers Forum. Sailnet. Sailboatowners.com. Small boat. Wooden Boat. The list is endless. When you toss in all the individual boat forums it becomes staggering. There are forums for almost every boat made. Cal, Tartan, Sparkman and Stephens, Catalina… oi-vey! You could virtually spend weeks on these forums researching and reading about the different posts people make regarding refits they are doing or parts they are searching for. They are invaluable to someone who owns an out-of-production boat. Anytime I’ve ever addressed an issue I had little knowledge of, I’d go to Sailnet or one of the forums and search for anyone who’s ever done or asked about the job I was about to tackle. Incredible. Diesel engine problem? Go to the forum. Sail repair? Forum. Rigging? Forum… you get the gist.
Now… The bad. Yes, there is always another side to the coin isn’t there? A word to the wise when posting to a forum. As a newbie, learn the rules! For if you don’t, you should suffer the wrath of the old-timer (most likely retired with way too much time on his hands and cranky) who sits, lying in wait for the unsuspecting sucker who posts something that has already been addressed. Oh dear Lord! We can’t discuss that again! Ask a question about varnish and by the tenth post, your thread will have nothing to do with varnish. It will be hijacked and there may be posts about Obama and Bush. Oh the first and second post will contain the Bible’s volume of information about what product to use, what temperature to varnish in, what the humidity level should be and all kinds of tid-bits about the brush you should use. You know the one, it’s made from the hair of Mongolian mountain goats. But only from the hocks of their left hoof! It will cost $1700.00! And then someone will post that Mongolian Mountain goats don’t HAVE hoof’s… And then, by the end It will say something like, “That boat will never go around Cape Horn!” Ask a question as to “…which boat would be best for blue water…” And you WILL. DIE. That question friends, is like gas on a fire. You might as well kick a hornets nest cause they’re coming for you! They can’t resist. The Forum Lurkers… Query Police… The Protocol Nazi’s are going to find you. And. They. Will. Make. You. Pay.
Recently my girl joined a private “women only” sailing forum. These ladies were the epitome of helpful and supportive. They were encouraging and actually answered the questions sans all the male bravado. I would actually ask her to post questions I wanted input on so as not to have to post to the Penis Measuring Forums anymore. Then it happened… She posted a question recently as to the best Electric Razor any ladies on the water might be using. She just wanted to know if anyone could make suggestions as she wants to use less water and what-have-you but still likes soft, silky legs. By the third or fourth post on that question, there were women who were making comments like, “What did we burn our bra’s for in the 60’s?” and “…it’s such shame that young women feel like they have to shave their crotches so that their men can feel like they have pre-pubescent girls!” WHU? Really? If you post something so irresponsible and generalizing like that you should be sent to live among the Mongolian Mountain goats. And… in case you haven’t noticed, Jerry Garcia is now a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor. That’s so radical man. Personally, I like my lady’s silky smooth legs, too. Sue me.
So… Congrats Ladies. You’ve sunk to our level! Finally… Equality. You are becoming as stupid and petty as us men. First, it was Fifty Shades of Grey, you know… “Mommy Porn” that brought you to the dark side and now… the Forum. Ask a question about a razor and you’ll get Gloria Steinem responding with a Joan Baez quote. Personally I like my friend Tasha’s quote better, “You’ll never make it around Cape Horn with those hairy legs!”
Everyone needs to relax. Take a deep breath and live your own life. Don’t judge. Be kind. And it really is ok if you can’t fix the problem. Just don’t add to it.