A while back, I had an email from a reader who used the word “acceptable” as in what sort of boat the cruising fraternity would find acceptable because he really wanted to fit in. The fact that my sarcastic answer of “Any boat with a price tag of $200K or more” he seemed to take seriously was a depressing note in an otherwise interesting conversation. The fact that in some circles it actually might be true, is depressing to the max.
Luckily most cruisers just don’t care what sort of boat you have, provided it seems seaworthy and you don’t look like something out of the “Grapes of Wrath” or the “Beverly Hillbillies”.
In fact, most cruisers are way too busy being worried about what you think about their boat to be overly critical of yours. That, being the case, the whole “What sort of boat will make me popular?” doesn’t really track except on various forums where it is all about pretension, oneupmanship, and showing off.
In my experience, the best course of action is to keep a low profile and let natural selection take care of your interpersonal relations with other cruisers. Trying to become part of a “clique” is a retrograde experience and best avoided unless you’re masochistic and miss those glory days of high school angst.
Being LOUD and PROUD is also not a great idea as most folks find the whole “I’m cruising on the cheap and fuck you if you don’t like it!” both abrasive and boring because they really don’t care what you’re doing at all. Again they especially don’t care about your budget because their budget is, more than likely, a dumpster fire that keeps them up at night.
On a quick side note; I really do miss the erosion of the best social mixer in cruising circles of book trading. many times we’d anchor somewhere only to be accosted by folks in dinghies wanting to trade books. You learn a lot about people over a good book swap.