Funny you should ask. I'm headed down to the Cape for a writing assignment right now, to learn about these boats and the people who sail them. Another upcoming writing assignment is about microbreweries and the scene and culture of beer aficionados.
I'm figuring out what kind of writer I want to be, so I don't really know the answer. I like to visit people and places, and talk to them, and find out what they love, and tell people about it. In a perfect world, people would pay me to do that, in writing. Discovering people's passions, why they do what they do, how they construct their lives -- that's really fun for me. Taking in the details and the feel of something, and trying to convey it to someone else: I love that. I'm not a scientist or an expert in much. I don't want to cover politics or breaking news. I want to learn about the world and people and smells and sights in it, and show it to people who weren't there having the same conversation or the same experience.
Anyway, I'm off to the Cape to see some people who love a peculiar kind of sailboat. What I want to know is why people get attached to a particular kind of sailboat. Is it the boat itself, and if so, is it the functionality, or the aesthetics? Is it the community of other people who sail it? Is it the history and tradition? How do such things get started? How do they ebb and flow? I have lots of questions. I'll be offline for a while.