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Old 09-02-2016, 08:23   #1
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Boarding Neighbors in a Storm

What's the consensus on boarding a boat that needs to have its dock lines adjusted or repaired? If the wind comes up I always go down and check on my docklines but it seems there's lots of owners who don't do that and it's hard to watch someone wearing through their rubrails for lack of adjusting their spring line or similar.
I'm not sure if I was "caught" helping someone out by rummaging through their lockers for additional dock lines, whether that would be welcomed or not. I know I would welcome doing it for me but I believe a vessel is sovereign territory.
What say you all?

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Old 09-02-2016, 08:28   #2
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Re: boarding neighbors in a storm

If it were my boat I would WELCOME it. In fact if I learned that you could have done it and didn't I would consider you a hole that feces comes out of.

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Old 09-02-2016, 08:34   #3
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Re: boarding neighbors in a storm

Great question!!

Often we get that situation when a boat is dragging with no one aboard.

I try to get someone else to come out as witness.

But if damage is about to be done then you/we are behoven, imho, to help.

Others stand back and video it, some get in and help.

I think you may be a Helper, not a Bystander

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Old 09-02-2016, 08:44   #4
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pirate Re: boarding neighbors in a storm

Its a tough call.. for a mix of reasons and I've mulled it many a time..
Wintered Med style behind the finger quay at Andratx, Mallorca back in the mid '90's and we were packed in pretty well.. there were only 2 other boats with live aboards and between us we spent the whole winter doing 24hr watches on the 23odd boats we lay amongst.. it was a winter that started badly 12th Sept with a mini hurricane that left boats on roads and cliffs.. lots of damage in Palma.. bad winter.. lots of fronts..
Was told a couple of times that if anything went wrong and some boats got damaged the insurance companies would try to blame us..
Same with dragging boats.. a regular sight.. I'll go and help.. no one aboard I'll let more chain out if possible.
Had great fun in Las Brisas, Panama where it was a daily event.. reset one then speed off to another one...
Just be prepared..
The road to Hell is paved with good intentions..
PS; Town Quay.. only time one saw anyone was end of week when he'd pick up the next payment.. no facilities but cheap as chips.

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Old 09-02-2016, 08:48   #5
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Re: boarding neighbors in a storm

If in a marina, might check in with the dock master first. But my vote is help your neighbor out and protect his boat.

When I left my boat in a Mexican marina for a while, I checked with all the neighboring boats and the dock staff and let them know I would appreciate any help if such a situation came up. I kept a few spare dock lines laying in the cockpit for emergency use.
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Old 09-02-2016, 09:37   #6
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Re: boarding neighbors in a storm

Unfortunately, we live in a world of lawsuits. It has effected those who have been the unwitting victim of defending a "Good Samaritan" legal action (when good intentions were the motive) or those who fear its consequences. There is also the "don't get involved" mentality which is cross-generational that has changed the way people view helping others. Personally, I agree with the previous posters. To stand by when another's property or person is in critical need is to deny that which makes us human. In an infinite universe, nothing matters. However, when it comes to the strange life-form called Man which has inhabited our earth, in some form, for the last 6 million years there is a bond that exists among some that defines what we call humanity. This reminds me of an interview I saw back in the seventies when the famous English poet W.H. Auden was returning to Britain after living and teaching in the US. When asked by the interviewer what he would miss most about his stay in the US, Auden replied "People, just people." Good luck and safe sailing.
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."
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Old 09-02-2016, 09:47   #7
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Re: boarding neighbors in a storm

I knew a professional sailor who didn't hesitate to jump on boats to either fix spring lines or stop halyards from banging against the mast. He was never on the other boat for more than a minute or two.
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Old 09-02-2016, 10:00   #8
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Re: boarding neighbors in a storm

This is a "classic" about this kind of subject. I've always agreed with the philosophy of "treat others the way you yourself would like to be treated." If you're the type who doesn't want ANYONE on their boat FOR ANY REASON, then stick a sign on it saying "Stay off even if you could save my boat from getting demolished." Otherwise, it's only paying it forward to do so. Americans can be so stupid sometimes about this crap.

The Romantic Sound Of Clanging Halyards
Sunday, November 28, 2004
By Capt. Alan Hugenot

Have you ever been woken up at night while sleeping in a marina because the neighboring sailboat’s halyards were banging against the mast in the wind?
If you have ever tried to sleep through this constant noise, which is like someone continuously knocking on your door, then you know the dilemma which this causes for any poor sailor trying to sleep nearby.
Of course, the skipper of the offending boat is not there to hear the incessant slap, slap, slap, and he probably wants to keep those halyards ready to hoist sail as soon as he comes aboard, totally unaware that by doing so he is creating a nerve-racking noise machine.
So what can you do?
You can’t sleep and you are conflicted about what action to take.
You know that if you go aboard his boat and swing the halyards outboard around the spreader before making them fast again that the incessant slap will stop. And, you wonder why the inconsiderate skipper did not do that before he stowed his boat.
Maybe you also know that he only comes down to the marina once a month or even less to check his boat. You know he is totally unaware that you have to listen to his halyards going slap, clang, slap, clang every night.
On the other hand if you go aboard his boat to fix the problem, it will actually be trespassing - not quite breaking and entering - but trespassing none the less.
When he comes back to the boat, he may even get angry at the “prankster” who tangled his halyards around the spreaders, thinking “who would do such a thing, just to confound him.” He, of course, never realizing the true reason unless you tell him.
Yet, from a different perspective you might only be a “good Samaritan.”
For instance, if the halyard were loose and about to carry away through the top of the mast, then that same skipper would want you to quickly go aboard his boat (even though he had not given you permission) and “properly” secure it.
That simple act of neighborly seamanship would save him the grief of having to go aloft to re-thread the halyard through the top of the mast.
So wouldn’t it be the same thing here?
His halyard is clearly wearing itself out beating against the mast, and if you will just “properly” stow it for him, then it will not wear out as quickly. Also your nerves won’t wear out as quickly either.
This is no small problem.
I have lived aboard for several years, in both Seattle, Wash. and San Francisco, and have also spent a night or two in nearly every marina from San Diego to Seward, Alaska. In every one there are these slapping halyards.
At first you might think that a polite word to the offending skipper would solve the problem.
But, a couple of times when I asked the owner of an offending boat if they could take a moment before going ashore to quiet their halyards by rigging them away from the masts, they became defensive.
They acted like I was being rude for butting into their business, criticizing their seamanship.
They arrogantly pointed out that they knew what they were doing, had studied proper halyard techniques, and had graduated from ASA or US Sailing. They were not going to quiet their halyards by rigging them outboard.
Besides who was I to tell them anything.
In one case the offending skipper said that “If they found their halyards any different than how they chose to leave them” then they would blame me for trespassing on their boat, and would report it to the marina manager.
After this encounter, I could not stop the noise from his boat, and wished I had never spoken to him about it.
I knew that if I had never brought it up, I could have quieted his halyards and he would not know who “fouled” his lines.
Instead, I changed marinas and learned the lesson that my safest bet was to quiet all offending halyards myself, and do so without telling the owner that I was the culprit.
This “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy allowed me to sleep, and several weeks later when the offending skipper turned up to sail his boat I was not there to hear his wrath about “Whoever fouled his halyards was going to catch hell.”
I guess it comes down to who is more inconsiderate: Me for trespassing on his boat, or him for leaving the noisy halyard slapping against the mast.
It is such a simple thing to just tie the halyards off on the shrouds, or swinging them around the spreaders. Maybe 60 seconds to quiet every halyard on the boat.
Another, idea is to use a shock cord to pull them over toward the shrouds and away from the mast, and there are dozens of other ways to stop the slap, slap, slap.
Of course no way am I advocating that you climb on someone’s boat and adjust their halyards. Trespassing is something I would never encourage you to do.
Several times in marina parking lots I have heard novice boaters saying “Wow, listen to the clanging of the all the sailboats in the wind. Isn’t it romantic.”
So maybe it is a matter of perspective, or rather ignorance of the harm that may be caused by what may be romantic to one person and pollution to another, depending upon perspective.
It baffles me to no end why sailing instructors don’t teach this simple courtesy to their students.
It seems that simple courtesy should always be part of every lesson for novice sailors.
We live pretty close together on the water, which means we need to cultivate proper manners and respect for our fellow boaters. Learning how to rig our boat so that it does not create undue noise pollution should be part of every sailing lesson.
Actually, in California the boating laws are beginning to take notice of noise pollution.
Beginning in the fall of 2004 agencies will begin to enforce a new law that makes it illegal to have a power boat that is too noisy.
Maybe this idea that noise pollution on the water is a crime can be stretched to include sailboats that are too noisy. Clang, slap, clang - but it’s so romantic. Yea, right.
Stu Jackson
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Old 09-02-2016, 10:32   #9
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pirate Re: boarding neighbors in a storm

Its only romantic when one does not have to live with it...
1 reason I'm not a marina liveaboard.. if I can help it.

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Old 09-02-2016, 10:41   #10
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Re: Boarding Neighbors in a Storm

Tough call. I usually help. Not sure I would go as far as rummaging in someone's locker for more fenders though.
Probably have helped save a half dozen unattended boats dragging anchor over the years.
Banging halyards in a marina? If enough of an issue I just donate a bungee to the boat. Never would own up to it though!
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Old 09-02-2016, 10:54   #11
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Re: Boarding Neighbors in a Storm

I always try to help. It's what I'd want.

The liability scare stories are always trotted out in these threads but in 40 years of sailing I've NEVER heard of a boater being sued or bothered by an insurance company for putting an extra line on a boat. Does anyone have a first hand example?

I do have a first hand story of a different sort. I had a friend who got a call during a gale from his marina (in Massachusetts) that it looked like his slip was going to come apart so a local guy (not an employee of the marina) had towed his boat to a mooring. All was fine.

My friend rushed down to the marina and found the boat was indeed safely on a mooring. Oddly, his slip looked fine too. Two weeks later, his insurance company received a salvage claim for $50,000 from the local. They settled at $15,000
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Old 09-02-2016, 11:04   #12
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Re: Boarding Neighbors in a Storm

I do it routinely. Last big storm I retied my neighbors 45 footer when it tore out not just the cleat but part of the dock.

I also once boarded a boat that was dragging toward a seawall. Luckily they left the key in the ignition so I could use the engine.

And I've boarded and tied the snot out of banging halyards. Being that it's often the same offenders, it get progressively more difficult to untie the handiwork.
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Old 09-02-2016, 11:04   #13
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Re: boarding neighbors in a storm

Originally Posted by lindabarzini View Post
I knew a professional sailor who didn't hesitate to jump on boats to either fix spring lines or stop halyards from banging against the mast. He was never on the other boat for more than a minute or two.
That's exactly what I do. I don't hesitate. One reason why I keep several miles of retired rope on board is that it is needed for this kind of thing. I do, however, like this guy, get on and off again in seconds (minute or two? hah!), and preferably when no one is looking.

There is a risk that someone will sue you if something goes wrong, but so what? You're not willing to take a slight risk, for the sake of helping out another sailor? I have 5 million pounds of liability insurance, anyway.

I am not superstitious (me? a sailor? Nooooo), but karma definitely exists on the sea. How many times have anonymous other sailors do something to help me or my boat in various situations, not expecting anything in return, even a thank you? I'm just trying to give back a little. It seems seamanlike to me. Or, to look at it the other way around, it seems totally unseamanlike, to watch a vacant boat with some problem, and do nothing about it. Totally, unacceptably unseamanlike.

In a marina with a dockmaster, I might, however, just notify the office, rather than try to deal with it myself. It's part of what you pay a marina for.
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Old 09-02-2016, 11:05   #14
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Re: Boarding Neighbors in a Storm

If you adjust lines, be prepared to sit out the entire storm. High Tides and storm surge can lead to too much slack in the dock lines. If you take them in to mitigate damage to owners vessel, others vessels or dock, you should consider whether you're prepared to prevent the boat from hanging on the lines when the tied and surge drop again.
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Old 09-02-2016, 11:05   #15
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Re: Boarding Neighbors in a Storm

Some people absolutely do not want you on their boat no matter what and don't see the need to post a sign saying so -

Boarding someone elses boat

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