From the editor: September 2006

On the whole Raggies aren't a bad lot. Blinkered, yes

On the whole Raggies aren’t a bad lot. Blinkered, yes, but not overtly evil. I’ve even been known to dabble in sailing boats myself and positively enjoy windsurfing. The only thing that really bugs me is the curious assumption by some yotties that they are inherently superior to motor boat owners.
Quite how purchasing something with sails has the power to transform whoever buys it, be they bent politician or 4×4-driving rock ape, into an intelligent, caring, environmentally aware pillar of the community is a mystery but that’s the impression they like to give off.
This asserts itself in all manner of different ways from mindless, and often incorrect, application of the col regs to patronising one-liners in the bar. You know the type. It usually starts with a polite enquiry about what model of boat you have. Your answer is immediately greeted by a glazed expression of ignorance followed by: “Isn’t that one of those plastic-fantastic things? They all look the same to me.”
Other than the fact that most motor boats are pointy at the front, blunt at the back and built of exactly the same glass reinforced plastic as most new sailing boats, it’s hard to imagine a more diverse collection of craft. You only have to look at the 12 boats featured in this month’s issue to see what I mean. We’ve got a classically styled trawler yacht with an unusual planing hull (Grand Banks 47), a voluminous sportscruiser with state-of-the-art IPS drives (Bavaria 42), a stunning retro picnic boat with coral coloured topsides (Mochi 44), a diesel-powered RIB capable of 60 knots (Goldfish 25), and a truly bizarre hardtop sportsboat called a Castello 533HT Bling Bling. No really, that is its model name.
At the risk of calling the kettle black it seems to me that it’s actually the sailing boat designers that are struggling to break out of a rut. Hampered by masts, booms, keels, rigging and the need to eke out whatever performance they can from such a fundamentally unpredictable power source, it’s hardly surprising that most sailing yachts end up looking like so many variations on a theme. Could this be the real reason their owners feel the need to mask their boat’s shortcomings under a veil of assumed superiority?