Good question. All serious endeavours foster an elitism to those prone to wear that mantle. It's the same with climbers, brokers, insurance salesman and artists. It's a choice about how to meet the world. For the most, boat people, like potters, tend to open and friendly, and eager to communicate. But one will inevitably encounter the other sorts on occasion.
i am incredibly excited that you have brought this topic to your publication. i have been ruminating on the subject since i began serving the tall ship industry in a hospitality capacity. truth be told-it sucks to answer the same question over and over again-i understand this. my first experience on board a tall ship as a passenger (over ten years ago) provided me with a first hand experience of the unpleasant side of deck tours and crew interaction.
when asked, and at the risk of setting up my milk carton, i wax loquacious on the subject to anyone who will stand still for 10 minutes. i hope the topic remains alive and fruitful in the watery world.
*** In addition, yesterday we pulled our 30' fiberglass boat up to a fuel dock, right behind a popular tall ship in California. One of the girls was smiling. But she wasn't on the dock where people were milling about. The crew who were up there were only speaking to each other and looking very somber. To my surprise, though, as we sat at the fuel dock troubleshooting the starter, I heard a voice greeting me and went out to see the captain of this tall ship (I had never met him, and didn't even have time to tell him about the magazine). He had walked down the ramp and over to our side of the fuel dock just to ask about White Cloud. White Cloud is a very nice Olin Stephens design and gets a lot of compliments. He was very sweet.
I thought about things I might say to random unknown tall ship crewmembers on the dock - the ones with an approachable look about them. "Do you work on this cool boat? How can you guys afford to keep it afloat? Must cost a fortune!" Maybe that would spark an Aha! moment. - Kim