I may be able to answer with some authority since I am from Europe
I hoist my flags
the traditional way, with sheet bends. The flag line goes to the loop with a sheet bend and the tail goes to the next flag, or to the flag line, again with a sheet bend. It is quick, cheap
and easy and requires no iron works.
Sheet bend: Through, around and under.
We do not fly the European rag. It is still *not* a Nation Flag, and it never will be, if I have anything to say about it. As a courtesy flag we fly the the Naval Ensign of the Hosting Nation (E.G. the Red Ensign in England).
We fly the courtesy flag from the second most important location on our boat, usually the SB shroud
at spreader height, the most important location is reserved for the Boats own National Flag.
The most important location is the location closest to the Skipper
(the location from where the rudder
is controlled): The top of the (mizzen-) mast
or if that is taken (by a Wind
Burgee or indicator) the stern. Note that a courtesy flag should move to the stern if the boats own flag is flown from the mast
We leave the Courtesy flag flying during the night whereas we drop in our own flag at sunset when we are moored or at anchor
. It is a signal that the Skipper
and crew are asleep or otherwise occupied, and don't like to entertain visitors. We do not visit a boat in the morning until the skipper hoist his flag. And if he forgets, we do not speak to him until he does ;-)