by Guest Columnist
“Jolly Roger” Dory Reefingline

A Quick Guide To Sailors:

The many and varied species of sailors that inhabit our waterfront are an interesting form of wildlife for amateur study. This Quick Guide is designed to help beginners identify the most common species. For more information about the less common sailors and to distinguish between sub-species, consult “Field Guide To The Eastern Sailor,” by “Jolly Roger” Dory Reefingline.

Each species is distinguished by habitat, plumage, call, and diet. To use the guide, compare these characteristics to the specimen under observation. In most cases, the identification of the correct species of sailorus can be made with confidence.

A. Blond-Tufted Racer (s. professionalis)

  • Habitat: Bruce Farr Sloop
  • Plumage: Sportswear monogrammed with sponsor’s logo, Harken boat shoes.
  • Call: “We need to build three new sails and re-fair the keel for tomorrow morning.”
  • Diet: Power Bars, Foster’s Beer.

B. Tawny Racer-Cruiser (s. competitorus)

  • Habitat: J-Boat
  • Plumage: Sportswear monogrammed with yacht name, Sperry Topsiders.
  • Call: “Whitney got an overide on the guy and we lost 6 boat lengths before it was cleared.”
  • Diet: Turkey Sandwich/Beck’s Beer.

C. Red-Bottomed Cruiser-Racer (s. gregarious)

  • Habitat: Sabre
  • Plumage: Sportswear monogrammed with manufacturer’s logo, Sebago Docksides.
  • Call: “Muffy, is the spinnaker still in the trunk of the Mercedes?”
  • Diet: Broccoli quiche/Perrier.

D. Broad-Tailed Cruiser (s. paterfamilias)

  • Habitat: Hinkley
  • Plumage: Sportswear monogrammed with wearer’s initials, Lands’ End Boat Shoes.
  • Call: “Is there any place to buy ice on the Isle of Shoals?”
  • Call: “Bar Harbor is so touristy in August!”
  • Diet: Tuna ceviche, chilled sauvignon blanc.

E. Gray Salt (s. ancientmarinerus)

  • Habitat: Traditional type, e.g. catboat, Friendship sloop
  • Plumage: flannel shirt, jeans, leather work boots.
  • Call: “Some damn fool yachtie ran his fancy sailboat onto Smith Reef!”
  • Diet: Dinty Moore Beef Stew/Old Milwaukee Beer.


Editor's Note:  “Jolly Roger” Dory Reefingline is the nom de plume of Peter Vanderwaart who is the moderator of the Yahoo discussion group on boat design: