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Old 01-08-2014, 06:23   #1
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Flag Etiquette Question

My boat was built with a short flagstaff incapable of carrying an ensign appropriate to the size of the boat. I got tired of the stupid little ensign and bought a bigger one. Since it wouldn't fit the flagstaff, I tied it to the backstay. And that looked stupid in its own way, drooping on the deck when there's no wind.

But then I saw a Finnish boat with the ensign hauled half way up the backstay -- and I thought it looked terrific! So I hauled my ensign up on a halyard, with a downhaul.

Is this permitted? I remember reading somewhere the permitted positions of the ensign on a single-masted yacht, but can't remember them, or where to find it.
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Old 01-08-2014, 06:27   #2
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

Wearing an ensign 3/4 of the way up the leech of a bermudan rigged boat is trying to emulate the gaff rigged fraternaties style of wearing the ensign at the peak of the main/mizzen.

(pedant mode off)
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Old 01-08-2014, 07:04   #3
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

Here is what Yankees are told to do...

They indicate 2/3rd up is the go...

Flag and Etiquette Committee
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Old 01-08-2014, 07:15   #4
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

Here's RYA's overview.

The most senior position for a flag on a vessel is reserved for the Ensign - this is as close to the stern of the vessel as possible.


Apparently to get the detailed book you need to be a member. (Linked page has a left side bar with a locked link to the book.


Flag Etiquette | Regulations | Information & Advice | RYA
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:04   #5
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

Some countries are overpolicied indeed.

I can fly ours where I like it, or not at all.

What if?

The govt you pay for will jail ya?

b.
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:46   #6
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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Some countries are overpolicied indeed.

I can fly ours where I like it, or not at all.

What if?

The govt you pay for will jail ya?

b.
I've never cared much about matters of flag etiquette, but the Finns are very, very particular, and so I felt inspired to clean up my act.

One evening in Kotka, I even witnessed a man playing the Finnish national anthem on a soprano sax while lowering his ensign at exactly 20:00!
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Old 01-08-2014, 09:02   #7
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
My boat was built with a short flagstaff incapable of carrying an ensign appropriate to the size of the boat. I got tired of the stupid little ensign and bought a bigger one. Since it wouldn't fit the flagstaff, I tied it to the backstay. And that looked stupid in its own way, drooping on the deck when there's no wind.

But then I saw a Finnish boat with the ensign hauled half way up the backstay -- and I thought it looked terrific! So I hauled my ensign up on a halyard, with a downhaul.

Is this permitted? I remember reading somewhere the permitted positions of the ensign on a single-masted yacht, but can't remember them, or where to find it.
As the owner of a gaff-rigged vessel who flies his ensign in the traditional manner from the peak when sailing, that elevated position seems perfectly natural to me.

My catboat has a very long boom and no backstay, so I fly the ensign on pennants between the end of the boom and the horse when at anchor or motoring. As long as it has the place of honor in the after part of the vessel, all is good.
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Old 01-08-2014, 09:16   #8
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

I think its a matter of being polite as much as anything else.
Either don't fly them at all, or if you do, why not do it correctly?
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Old 01-08-2014, 09:22   #9
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I think its a matter of being polite as much as anything else.
Either don't fly them at all, or if you do, why not do it correctly?
...easy enough...do it right...or don't insult the flag (whose ever it might be)...

Just as bad as the yahoos who leave a tired, torn flag up without a second thought.

Those who don't give it a second thought or don't care...obviously don't give much allegiance to that flag and what it stands for.

2/3 of the way up the leech..however you do it..old references say sew it to the main leech...doubt that's really practical so backstay or topping lift would be a method.
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Old 01-08-2014, 10:29   #10
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...

Just as bad as the yahoos who leave a tired, torn flag up without a second thought.

...l

that yahoo would be me . I even came back to the boat after a month away and discovered I'd forgotten to take down the ensign . . . Didn't bother me overmuch. . .
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Old 01-08-2014, 16:12   #11
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

National pride is quite common. We love what we grew up with and saw us safely through our early years.

For me, therefore, if they care about it, and "they" are in effect my hosts and myself a visitor, then it is a simple honor I can do "them" by following their flag etiquette, in the way most convenient for me. This means we leave up the courtesy flag and our national flag full time. I even tie up my national flag when it's over 20 knots, for flag life even if it's day time, so I couldn't say we're very strict.

It's sort of like trying to learn a few phrases of the local language as a gesture of respect to the local people. One gives it a go.

So, I think flying your ensign slightly lower on the backstay than their courtesy flag is at its spreader is the way to go. It is considered "rude" to have your flag higher than theirs. Why not just get a proper sized flagstaff for your stern? one that will get your flag up?
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Old 01-08-2014, 16:41   #12
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

idealy your ensign when flown from the stern should just touch the water when flacid...
cocktails should be served no later than 5.30 pm,
dinner jackets to be worn when dining on board.
ladies should wear hats when promenading on deck,lest the sun blemish their complexions...
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Old 01-08-2014, 16:55   #13
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

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idealy your ensign when flown from the stern should just touch the water when flacid...
cocktails should be served no later than 5.30 pm,
dinner jackets to be worn when dining on board.
ladies should wear hats when promenading on deck,lest the sun blemish their complexions...

Quite right too! Dinner aboard should be treated with the same reverence as attending Ascot.
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Old 01-08-2014, 17:10   #14
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

We have two. Yawl rig, so flag staff is not practical while sailing, so one is attach to leech of mizzen 2/3 up, sail was built with grommets at the appropriate spot. Would be some what inappropriate at night, but so be it. Second larger one is used at mooring or while motoring. We had a staff that was lost overboard, so we just tie it to the mizzen sheet which sets the flag at a nice angle.


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Old 01-08-2014, 17:52   #15
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Re: Flag Etiquette Question

So, why can't you have a decent-sized staff?

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