We sailors rarely have to defend our sport because, well, we avoid arguing with nonsailors. Still, the occasional skirmish does occur, usually within range of a glass of something. “A bargument,” says Doug Hanks, “is a debate with no right or wrong answer, simple enough to discuss after three beers”—for example, Who would win in a war between California and Texas?
When Hanks met up with humorist Dave Barry and his wife, Michelle, at a Coral Gables, Florida, pub to test out the issues posed in his new book, Barguments, a collection of what-ifs, Hanks came out swinging in defense of his sailboat. The bargument posed: “NASCAR is more of a sport than sailing.” Barry agreed, spilling the ensuing debate onto his blog. One defensive sailor’s post: “Driving fast and turning left…I do that all the time.”
What’s the logic behind Barry’s rebuff? “If you screw up in sailing, the sail luffs,’’ he said. “If you screw up in NASCAR, you die.’’ Michelle, a Miami Herald sports writer (i.e. authority), stood up for sailing. “To me, if it’s more physical, it’s more of a sport,’’ she said. “NASCAR is really intense, but you’re sitting.’’
“The Barguments book deal came about after a sail with my future agent on my Pearson Ensign,” Hanks says. “He was skeptical at first, then came around after a nice upwind leg.”