On our 31’ trailer-sailer, we normally do our 1-week trips in the northeast US flying no flags
at all. Now I’m contemplating a trip to the Bahamas
, and it seems I need to fly a Bahamian courtesy flag, which if I do that I’ll certainly fly an American flag as well.
I’ve read a number of flag etiquette websites, but have trouble figuring exactly how to handle our situation. I’d like to do it right, but our boat is a bit of an anomaly – a duck-billed platypus among swans.
We have a lugsail yawl, with an unstayed mainmast in a tabernacle. No spreaders. The mizzensail does not raise and lower – we spin the mizzenmast in its socket to wrap the sail around the mast
I could fly the US flag from the leech of the mizzensail, but anytime we “reefed” by furling
the sail around the mast
– we also do this at anchor
– the flag would wrap around the mast.
I can fly the Bahamian courtesy flag from a light halyard
on the mainmast. But we sometimes lower the mainmast in its tabernacle, especially to damp rolling in an anchorage with any swell. What happens to the courtesy flag in that situation?
I could fly the Stars and Stripes from the leech of the mainsail
. But what do I do with it when the sail is lowered?
I could add a flagstaff to the stern of the boat, but it’s awfully crowded back there already, what with mizzen, outboard
, tiller, and swim ladder.
Which all gets me wondering – are flags
legally required in any way, or are they just polite and good form?
Thanks for any advice!