Why Starboards Yacht Club is Hosting Powerboat Races in the Blake Sea
by MarkTwain White
If you read the Blake Sea Code of Conduct you will see that while sailing was and is the backbone of the Blake Sea concept, the Blake Sea was created “for the enjoyment of all”. This has always been a difficult role for those of us that administer the Blake Sea. Sailors often read the “sailing first” part of that role but what they hear in their minds is “sailing only”. On the other hand for a long time we had the WWII people come in and disrupt boating in the Blake Sea by conducting warfare and making the case that the Blake Sea was “for the enjoyment of all” while ignoring the “sailing first” part of the Blake Sea mission
Now we have a new group that is making its presence felt in the Blake Sea, the powerboaters. We at SYC quickly saw that this development would likely grow significantly over the months ahead. However the potential problems were easy to see. First there would very likely be a proliferation of unrealistically fast powerboats that would not do well given SL poor performance with sim crossings. The specter of a group of rocket-fast powerboats plowing thru a sailboat race because they traveled so fast they never saw the sailboats rezz was a real fear on our part. Unless steps were taken to change the lay of the land regarding the scripting we were in for some very unhappy times. And LL would not have stepped in to stop this rapid growth. Second there were a sizable number of these newly empowered power boaters that ould have no clue that in both RL and SL SAILBOATS HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY OVER POWERBOATS.
We could have stood by and done nothing knowing that the “for the enjoyment of all” clause in the Blake Sea Code of Conduct gave them the right to be in the Blake Sea OR we could try to face reality and try to work with it instead of just sitting on the sidelines and complain about changes we could not stop.
It is these two challenges that we at Starboards Yacht Club wanted to and are addressing in ways that can help reduce the issues of unrealistic speed and lack of understanding of boating protocol and maritime rules. Towards that end we have developed at SYC a series of test and rules for power boat designers to follow in order to create safe and sane powerboats that perform and realistic and controllable speeds and the education of their customers about the RL and SL rules on right of way on the water. It is those realistically scaled speed boats we race at SYC. And along side using boats that have realistic speeds we preach the gospel at every meeting, in every document and from the roof tops that SL SAILBOATS HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY OVER POWERBOATS.
The good news is that the great majority of powerboaters using the Blake Sea are friendly, reasonable, and understand their need to use the great resource of the Blake Sea in harmony with others. Most all sailboaters and powerboaters get along amicably. But there will always be bad apples in any group: powerboaters, sailboaters, aviators, military enthusiasts who make it difficult for the majority.
Powerboats are here to stay. No one can change that. We did not make it happen. We ARE trying to administer the Blake Sea in such a way that the downside of this change can be modified to reduce the level of negative impact. We are doing all we can to try to protect the Blake Sea as much as we can for its core purpose “sailing first”.