Saturday, November 28, 2009

Still Going Nowhere

November 27, 2009
St. Marys, GA

Thanksgiving has long passed. Meredith has not moved.

We have 2 1/2 weeks to make 60 nm so there is no pressure to do anything. Temperatures in the low 60s during day and mid 30s overnight have us pinned in St. Marys.

Our destination for Christmas is Green Cove Springs, a working yard situate 30 miles up the St. John's River at Jacksonville. As a place to leave Meredith it had the overriding virtue of being well priced. Also a number of our friends keep their boats at the yard and we are intrigued to "check it out".

The crowd of boats attending Thanksgiving this year is about half gone. Fewer people visited this year than last. It is unlikely we will be in the area again for a decade. If we do find ourselves close we will not rush to reattend.

One reason to avoid the popular anchorages is so you can avoid the "organizers". In North America much of the cruising population is retirement age and, although they make their way to seemingly exotic locales such as the Bahamas, this group is largely sedentary. The Abacos marinas are full of boats on 3 or 4 month leases.

Wherever people coagulate you find the "organizers". There is a little PTA (Home and School Association for Canadians) in every sailing community. The members arrange social events. Partly it is done to occupy idle time. Partly it is done to provide contact with people off the boat.

There is a darker purpose too I suspect. Human organizations provide structure: rank is granted and power distributed. It is fun listening in on the "cruisers net" in popular anchorages to the machinations of the social ladder climbers fighting for position on committees to plan races, hold drinks parties or whatever. A very rigid pyramid of power exists and all who participate are working (or fighting) their way to the top.

It is all so IBM.

The rest of us benefit from the events which materialize with no effort from us. Mostly the events are enjoyable and we are appreciative if somewhat distainful of the process and its participants.

When two clots (groups of coagulated corpses) encounter one another there is competition and struggle for dominance. Last year the St. Marys Yacht Club was intimately involved in the Thanksgiving. They were offering to organize wireless internet for boaters; they gave rides to boaters bussing scores of us to local stores.

This year we were informed curtly that the St. Marys Yacht Club was no longer involved in any way. There had been a falling out. Some Yacht Club members were helping the "Committee" but the Yacht Club had nothing to do with thanksgiving. Full Stop.

We did not pursue the matter but it sort of looks like the transient "organizers" have wrested control of a years old event away from the permanent residents. No doubt this is perceived to be a major triumph by someone.

We suspect it merely heralds the decline and ultimate fall of the event. You best get here while you still can. It is fun.

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