Powerboating vs. Sailboating
A Comparison of BDSM with D/s

by FineArt

Powerboats and Sailboats: Parallels to the dichotomy of BDSM and D/s relationships.

To the non-participants or weekend recreationalists, there may seem to be little or no difference between powerboating and sailboating. Both get you out on the water, time in the sun... great fun! Serious participants in both sports spend a great deal of time, effort in preparing their craft, honing their nautical skills. But to the true recreational mariners, there is a world of difference in these sports!

To the powerboater, there are so many opportunities for fun... skiing, sunning on the deck, powering up and driving through the waves. For the "captain," it is plot a course and let the motor drive you to where you want to go... power, speed, toys... lots of fun! Or just go where your whims take you. In the powerboat, you can always get back to where you started. The appeal to the serious powerboater is having the knowledge, equipment and toys to overcome the forces of nature and achieve whatever it is they want to do... the powerboat has the capacity to get you fairly directly to where you want to go.

To the sailor, there is a much greater need to understand the driving forces, to plan the voyages. The speed and toys are not so readily available; the "captain" must understand currents and winds, setting the sail and plotting an indirect course... the invisible, often subtle things involved in getting from here to there. The accomplished sailor must utilize the forces of nature to achieve his goals and can achieve tremendous satisfaction by combining control of the craft with the currents and winds with his expertise.

In many ways, pure BDSM is the "powerboating" end of the spectrum of BDSM and D/s. The focal center is the scene, activities, achieving pleasure (hedonism) through the use of knowledge or toys. The nature of activity oriented BDSM allows for an extremely wide range of experiences, proficiency and results. As with a powerboat, the novice, even the most inexperienced Top can achieve reasonable results. However, there is still ample opportunity for an extraordinary range of activity and there are many who achieve tremendous levels of skill. The pleasures achieved by the highly skilled Top or Dominant can be incredible!

At the other end of the spectrum, the Dominant in D/s, like the sailor, faces a much different set of considerations as he goes about his voyage. To begin with, he cannot often set a course that carries him directly from his port of origin to his destination. Both his ability to reach that destiny and his efficiency in getting there depend on many more outside forces, his ability to read them, his knowledge of his vessel and his proficiency in brining all of these things together.

Once the voyage begins, to those just observing, the sailor may appear to be undertaking a leisurely, quiet trip. The boat cuts smoothly through the water, riding the waves. The sounds of the wind in the sails and rigging can be calming. But the sailor, while pushing toward his destination, is seldom just leaning back, enjoying the ride. He is watching the sails, getting the most that he can from the invisible winds. He is plotting his course, monitoring progress so that he know when to tack, making sure he does not get out of the channel and run the vessel in his charge aground. The proficient sailor must combine knowledge about a great many things to arrive at his destination safely.

I recall my first experience in taking my "new" craft out on the open waters. With my son, we motored a short distance from the mooring into the middle of the channel. Once there, we cut and raised the motor, and raised the sails for the very first time... only to find that instead of heading down the river to the Chesapeake, as intended, we had turned and were sailing back up river to the flats! Experimenting, we were able to turn the boat and set off toward the new marina, some 8 miles away, as the crow flies.

Our "nautical charts," brought along so we could monitor the landmarks and measure our progress, consisted of an old State Farm Road Atlas and a well worn official Maryland state road map. To make a very long story short... it took us some 14 hours to make that 8-mile journey... something we could have done in less than an hour in a powerboat, or 15 minutes by car. We had no channel or depth charts, and more than once, we had to raise the keel in order to free ourselves when we ran aground on hidden hazards. We were exhausted when, well after dusk, and hours after being expected back home to a very anxious family, we finally tied the Synapse to its mooring and drug our weary bodies ashore. Looking back, it was a wonderful experience for us both! And we learned a great deal.

The next day, instead of taking the boat out again, as we had planned, we went to the bookstore and got some version of Sailing for Ninnies. We went to the boat where we read together and studied the rigging. We sought guidance from experienced, competent sailors who shared the same goals of enjoying the sport that we did. We eventually, along with an experienced friend, took the sailboat out into the channel, where we learned everything from how to raise the sail without turning the boat in the wrong direction to monitoring the sails to capture the wind's potential. I remember the pure joy we both experienced the first time we had it all right... the boat keeling over until the rail was in the water, gaining the combined feel of having the mainsheet in one hand, the tiller in the other. It was pure joy when we took on the 34' Hunter is a short race. And nearly won!!!

In time, I became a fairly proficient sailor. It came from a combination of time on the water... and of very serious study. I spend a great deal of time with experienced sailors, picking their brains. I truly grew to love it!

So, what has all of this to do with D/s and my participation in this wonderful lifestyle?

For all of my life, two things have been prominent in all that I am. First, I have an unbending need to significantly influence the outcomes of anything that I do or am involved in. Second, I have always been oriented toward personal growth, for myself and others who are important in my life (or those in my charge in the business world.) It has only been during the last few years that I realized that there was a label for me... Dominant. But I have been growing in this lifestyle, as a way of life, and living it for my entire life!

My first knowing involvement with BDSM came when I entered a chatroom. Like the occasional, recreational powerboater, I powered up and drove right in. On my first visit to the chatroom, I was involved in a cyber scene that received a great deal of attention... and very positive feedback. I was powering full speed ahead and having a blast! Soon, I met someone who caught my eye, and I hers, and within a year, she wore my collar. We had a great time Then I hit a sandbar... and was stopped dead. As much fun as we were having, something was missing... the growth and total sharing was not there. We were powering ahead, without knowing what our destination was.

As I sat grounded, I looked closely at the "sailors," those relative few who were savoring what seemed to be more satisfying, fuller relationships. In time I found that theirs were the type of D/s relationships that I needed, deep down. My submissive and I shared the pleasures, but we most certainly did not share the same goals. The relationship ended badly.

I looked at other things in my life, and back to a wonderful, growth oriented, sensually exhilarating experience I had had years before... and examined the differences.

Like my learning to be a proficient sailor, I learned everything I could about her, Sexually, well... she is amazing... but that is not the strength of our relationship. I took all of my knowledge about people, learning, leading, discipline and anything else I could and brought it into my D/s life. (I am a psychologist by training, a college professor and business executive by profession.) Using this knowledge and experience... and hundreds of hours of just getting to know one another, we set off on a marvelous voyage together.

Today, what we share seems to many, I am sure, to be a rather tranquil, not so adventuresome journey together. But looking at it from the inside, our voyage together has much in common with my very best days of sailing (only MUCH better and satisfying.) At times, together we set a leisurely course, and together bask in the sun. At others we let out the full sail, catch the wind, and put the rail in the water! I am able to bring into what we share all that is important to who I am and where I want to go. It is often hard work. Getting to where we each need to be is seldom a straight course. But we discuss and we plan where we each need to be together, and she then allows me to "captain the boat" via her gift of submission to me. As I was master of the boat, she honors me by calling me Master in her life. And I savor every moment of it. I am blessed.

Though it has been a very long time since I have sailed, I am one happy sailor!

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