Saturday, 21 July 2012

Rules of the Road

I have not been sailing that long..... around seven years.John on the othet hand has been sailing most his life and there is very little he has not done with a yacht! There are are two situations that I still find quite difficult:

1. Other vessels interpretations of the collisions regulations.
This can be particularly tricky when dealing with motor cruiser (stinkpots). For some reason when you have open sea for as far as the eye can see a motor cruisers more often than not feel the need to come virtually alongside you show off their bikini clad bimbos on the bow and then speed off leaving you having to manage an unnecessary swash or worse still shouting at them that as a vessel under sail they should not be passing inches before your bow. John and I now turn our backs on them if they feel the urge to pass so close to us... if they have no audience then perhaps they will eventually find the whole performance a waste of time! I cannot get myself enthused in any way by these machines that guzzle fuel and very often seem to think they have priority over all those around them. At this time in Greece many of them are Italian flagged and have sped across the Ionian for their holiday. Personally it would break my heart to put 2000 litres into my vessel and then have to refuel again hours later. Hardly environmentally friendly!!
We have had one near miss ... we were sailing and I was on the helm a motor cruiser was heading towards us in the distance as a yacht we are stand on vessel and it was reasonable to assume that given he could see us miles ahead he would alter course. John told me to stand on and not alter course he would do this as he got closer and closer my palms got sweatier and sweatier I thaen saw him run from the stern and blow his horn at us ... one blast this means I am turning to starboard but in fact he continued to hold his course and in the end I had no choice than to baer away to starboard my self and collapse the sail. John was like a slavering rotweiller by this time calling him on the VHF and asking him what he thought he was doing!! The reply I am 65 tonnes I just held my course and you must get out my way ... a man who does not know the rules of the road!! who obviously goes for the old addage might is right. Truth of the matter is more likely to be he was at the stern of the vessel fishing and had his auto pilot on so did not see us until he was nearly on top of us. As we passed him a woman on the stern was grappling with a fishing line trying to ensure that we did not get caught on that to add insult to injury.

2 Coming into Port

In the Med coming into port involves mooring stern to which can be a tricky manuoevre but we have had alot of practice now so it is getting easier for me but in a busy port often anchors can get crossed and tempers can get frayed!
Last week there were strong winds forecast. We decided to go int Kalamos an island that should provide us with shelter from the F7 winds. The harbour is effectively run by George one of the taverna owners who helps people with where to lay their anchor and to keep the port in some semblance of order.In strong winds it is best to lay as much anchor chain as possible which we did and as we came into moor we were greeted by two very stern Austrians who informed us that we had laid over their chain. George was insistant that we had not but John said 'what time are you leaving?' the reply 'nine o clock sharp' so says John calmly' we will leave at quarter to no problem'. Well for the rest of the day they continued to get their leiderhosen in a knot as flotilla after flotilla came in to shelter from the wind which was indeed about F7. The difficulty for them was that the flotillas were rafted up right over their anchor chains. They would not be leaving anywhere in a hurry!
On the other side of us were a British family for whom this had been their first stern to mooring he had not put out enough chain and the anchor had not taken so George was forced to take it out in the dinghy and lay it manually and where did he put it? You've guessed it over the Austrians chain if I did not know any better I might have thought that he had done it deliberately!
By morning the wind had gone and slowly people started to leave, our British neighbours took some instruction from John who told them that if their was a problem he would go out in the dinghy and give them a hand. As their anchor came up the Austrians anchor began to twitch he came to the bow and shouted ' you are over my anchor chain' ..... talk about stating the obvious! No offer of help just a lot of hot air... so John went out in the dinghy did indeed sort it for them and as expected no thank you from the Austrian just a stern teutonic glare with hands on hips!
As we prepared to lift our anchor I could feel the eyes boring into my back as I went to the bow ...the operation went like clockwork... anchor came up without touching either of the Austrians chains and we were away. I have met lots of very freindly people so far but I am sorry to say I found the arrogance of these two hard to swallow. Generally the cameraderie amongst fellow yachties is something I enjoy.

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