Do sailors never take drugs? Of course they do. I've seen it with my own eyes


Re: this drugs thing again.

If racing results in sailing are more about talent than peak fitness, the issue underlying this is one of ethics. It’s not really about performance enhancement; it’s about plain old drug using.

Leaving aside the brouhaha over Simon Daubney’s drug test entirely, there seems to be something of an assumption that professional sailing is as clean as a whistle. Sorry, but that’s wilfully naïve.

Sailors are no more immune to pleasurable vices than any other cross-section of well-off middle-class society. Has anyone you know ever used cocaine? You bet.

Indeed you might as well ask: is there bribery and corruption in sailing; cheating; serious alcohol abuse? Yes, of course there is. It may well be an exception, but as long as someone can get away with it, someone’s doing it.

One area of sailing where you might think it least likely to find recreational drugs is the puritan world of single-handed round the world racing. But you’d be wrong. I can think of one solo skipper whose habit was to prepare his boat with a spliff hanging from his lip. He couldn’t have cared less who saw.

At stopovers, I often used to think he was drunk. Only when I saw him hoovering cocaine at a party did it dawn on me that he’d probably been a different kind of intoxicated all along.

I wondered how he came by drugs in different places. I thought then, and I still do now, that they were on board the whole time. It was certainly the least risky way of importing them.

Is there a moral to the story? It’s not for me to say. But if you think someone’s using and you don’t like it, I wouldn’t bother asking the boys in blue (blazers) to convene at the Royal Thames. Just call CrimeStoppers.

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