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Old 07-05-2010, 19:52   #1
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Three Times Unlucky...

I'm a power boater and I'm very polite to sailboats: I always slow down so I don't throw them a wake in confined areas or I give them a wide berth. So why is it that the only accidents (or close calls) are with sailboats? Its like they have a 'hate on' for power boaters or think they rule the 'road' no matter what. I'll give 3 specifics examples:
1) I arrive at Sidney Spit on a Thursday (a popular anchorage in the PNW). I drop anchor away from the 'crowd' (they won't really arrive until Friday) and have a great couple days. On Sunday, morning a large sailboat drops anchor less than 2 boat lengths away from me and before I can let them know they're way too close, they get in their dinghy (with a 40 hp motor) and zoom off (giving me and others a big wake). 3 minutes later, their sailboat crashes into mine with no one aboard. I move off....(my outboard lost some paint from their chain and pulpit)
2) Same place - one year later (grrrrr). Sailboat drops anchor at night beside us and I wake up because the wife hear's a loud thunk. I get out and notice a sailboat rafted up to us (they crashed right beside us - minimal damage)
3) today we splashed our boat after being on the hard for a week getting work done. we're still in the sling. I'm backing my boat out from the travel lift sling and I'm only 2/3 out. A sailboat who wants to get hauled out comes perpendicular to me and doesn't stop. I have to give high power in a confined space (there's a finger behind me) to get out of the way and the jerk off just misses me - doesn't say a word. He would have hit me if I hadn't throttled up to back out.

I've NEVER had a close call with a power boat. Even without sails up I notice sailboats just piloting like they ALWAYS have the right of way. Yeah - I've had power boats throw me big wakes - but apart from that discomfort all the close calls and stupid conduct seems to come from the sailboats. OK, I'm going to tick some of you off and I know I'm generalizing my experiences - but MY experiences have been bad with sailboats. Now mind you, when I'm docked up I notice that the sailboaters are equally helpful in leaving or arriving at a dock. How about the rest of you?
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Old 07-05-2010, 20:13   #2
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Interesting. I could have sworn that all the bad guys wore black hats.

One of the problems in your area--and I'll be back in July--is that so many of the boats hanging out in places like Sidney Spit--and I love it there--are charter boats. Now, I've done the bareboat scene a few times myself, and I've got to tell you that the problem with bareboaters is that Joe Checkbook can get ASA Bareboat Certification with fewer than 15 minutes of instruction on how to anchor. He'll spend hours and hours learning MOB technique, and then he might anchor once and ASA considers that adequate. And charter companies are happy at that point to cash Joe's checks. Thus, if you anchor in an area with a high percentage of bareboaters--like Sidney Spit--you are fairly well assured that someone's gonna do you dirt. This is what you get when your home waters are a world-class charter destination.

Now, as far as getting close is concerned, those of us in the sailing fraternity who cut our teeth racing simply don't think that we're all that close if we wait until there's less that a boat length between us before we tack. Part of this comes from the fact that we can make a ninety-degree turn pretty much whenever we want, even at full speed, even under full sail. Yes, I realize that this freaks out my powerboat friends, who can't comprehend such a maneuver being possible, let alone safe, but many of my sailing colleagues, especially the racers, have no idea that you folks get spooked when we do that to you.

On behalf of all sailors, I apologize for our rude behavior.
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Old 07-05-2010, 20:39   #3
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Thanks Bash!
But I'm sure there are some power boaters out there who have committed faux pas. Incident 1 and 2 weren't charter boats. I found out later that the owner (for incident number 1) had an important meeting to get back to and just wanted to drop anchor, set up and catch a plane home. Incident number 2 was with an owner who took 15 minutes of my pounding on his hull with my fist to wake up. Despite the numerous scratches on his hull and the clear need for it to be waxed he claimed to be a very careful boater who just made a mistake. As to today, I can't imagine that a spring haulout was a charter customer. But you're right - when I'm out there, I could be dealing with a bunch of neophytes who don't know the rules of the road or the etiquette of anchoring (first in time is first in right).
Cheers,
Bill
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Old 07-05-2010, 20:54   #4
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But you're right - when I'm out there, I could be dealing with a bunch of neophytes who don't know the rules of the road or the etiquette of anchoring (first in time is first in right).
Well, the apology stands, all the more if the fellows who encroached your space were not charterers.

The fact of the matter is that most boaters--power and sail--are not equipped for anchoring. First, the ground tackle is not sufficient; second, the training is completely inadequate.

These days we'll see twenty boats in an anchorage where there were never more than five on any given summer evening a decade or two ago. The cruising community has got to figure this out.
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Old 07-05-2010, 21:04   #5
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Dude, I was going to apologize too. You've really been handed the short end of the stick. Your post will be in my head when I drop my hook.
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Old 08-05-2010, 06:57   #6
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One of the things I've notice about power boaters. Most of the idiots are on the area lakes and far fewer are in the Sound (Puget). Most of the power boat folks, with a few exceptions, are courteous and well mannered. Some of the sailing boats I've seen out there are somewhat less so. I think it's mainly newbies who really don't know any better. It's easy to find a cheap boat and go sailing without a clue out here.
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Old 08-05-2010, 07:28   #7
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Seems in the orginal posts the problems are boating event and are non sailing events. In all cases it was sailboats in a non-sailing activity. These were just plain assh... types with no sense and probably had that entitlement thing going (how big a sailboat has a dingy with a 40HP motor, I'll tell you it is the "rich dude" type).

Having said all that; while I hate the powerboaters racing to "beat" me to a spot and crossing way too close at too fast a speed (wake), by far the closest I have come to a collision is with sailboats.
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Old 08-05-2010, 07:41   #8
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My thinking is that you are either born with common sense or your not, it is not a learned trait. Poor decision making is not something exclusive to powerboaters. Last summer returning to our berth after a night sail I came very close to running down a sailor who decided to anchor his boat with no lights on in the middle of the marina's main working channel. As I went past, I pointed out this was not such a good idea and he proceeded to get beligerant. I have come to the conclusion that most people are completely self absorbed without so much as a thought about the other person.
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:47   #9
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You all make good points. In all 3 incidents (and other incidents I didn't specifically relate), the sailboats weren't sailing - they were motoring. I'm not sure how much that changes things. At 26 knots, its easy for me to avoid sailboats and close calls. I'm guessing cheap sailboats are less expensive than cheap powerboats - so CharlieCobra's point make's sense. Cburger - you are so right - I too have sen a sailboat anchor just inside the narrowest channel to our marina in the middle. I always shake my head as sailboats try and make it all the way to their berth without using their motor. They'll tack inside narrow channels (so slooooooooooooooowly) or cut right across the 'major' lanes. In fairness, this doesn't happen every day but I do shake my head at sailboats more so than at powerboats.
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:51   #10
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I have come to the conclusion that most people are completely self absorbed without so much as a thought about the other person.
Maybe I'm too optimistic or just a Pollyanna, but I prefer to think that the self absorbed, belligerent type is a minority and not most people.

There are days when I think I'm wrong.
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Old 08-05-2010, 09:16   #11
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I think that the main theme that is emerging is that as____oles come in all size and shapes. I have a motor sailer and have encountered the ignorant type mentioned in both boating fraternities. Over crowding may be a factor in the formula but I think the ME society we live in is a bigger part of the picture. I could say that this is probably more evident in the younger generation since I am an old fart, but that wouldn't be accurate. Many seniors lack the common sense as well. I think cburger summed it up well.
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I have come to the conclusion that most people are completely self absorbed without so much as a thought about the other person.
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Old 08-05-2010, 09:18   #12
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As a sailboater in a marina split 50-50 between power an sail, I've noticed that most of the power boats are either twin inboards or outboards. They can turn on a dime in tight places. I get jealous when I'm trying to back out or manuever in a tight space. That no excuse for a sailboater going out of control and hitting something, but it might explain why power boaters seem in better control.
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Old 08-05-2010, 09:44   #13
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Eight days ago mine was the outer boat in a raft up on a very small, very popular river on the South coast of England. A large expensive sailboat T boned me attempting to come alongside. There were 6 very drunk young men aboard. The 'skipper' was three times over the alcohol limit here in the UK. It wasn't because he had a sail boat, it was because he shouldn't have been in charge of dinghy, let alone a 46ft yacht. It's the poeple Bill, not the boats.

P.

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Very little damage to my boat but his bow is in a sorry state
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Old 08-05-2010, 10:20   #14
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Hi P,
Yes, of course you are right. It is the people - not the boat and panfiltp makes a good point too. My first boat had twin I/O's but wasn't very easy to control - I was jealous of the sailboats with a long deep keel who didn't have to be concerned with a cross wind while docking unlike my boat which sat like a cork on the surface. My current boat (twin screws) does spin on a dime and is easy to control. However, the idiocy that I'm complaining of is more of the "I have the right of way no matter what" attitude than anything else. My complaint is that this attitude seems more prevalent amongst sail boaters than power boaters. P - I sure hope your magnificent vessel is ok....
Cheers,
Bill
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Old 08-05-2010, 10:26   #15
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sometimes it's the boats

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It's the poeple Bill, not the boats.
The fairway where I keep my boat has 50' slips on one side, and 60' slips on the other. In the summer we get a fairly consistent beam-on breeze that makes docking a challenge. This seems to create greater problems with powerboats--which have far greater windage--than sailboats. In the past year there have been four incidents where a boat has crashed into other boats while docking or leaving port. In every case the boat causing the collision was a powerboat.

The problem in our area, frankly, is that people who have never owned a boat before are buying their first boat in the 50'-60' range. How crazy is that? In one case, the marina told the owner of a brand-new 56' flybridge yacht that he'd either have to hire a captain to run his boat, or find a berth elsewhere. Another fellow bought an amazing 60' express cruiser that not only has twin screws but has both a bow thruster and a stern thruster. I'm betting the dealer assured him that he'd have no trouble docking with that setup, but the fact of the matter is that he's already run his swim platform up over a neighbor's swim platform.

This is not strictly a powerboat problem. We've got a couple huge sailboats in the marina owned by people who don't know how to sail. However, what I'm observing in those cases is that the boats just tend to sit in the slip and are never taken out. The good thing is that neither of these boats have yet collided with anyone else in the marina.

Please note, here, that my problem is not with powerboaters. It's with boaters who purchase yachts that exceed their navigational skills. If there's a place in the boating world for rank beginners, then it's gotta be at the point where the displacement is not measured by the ton. The fact that someone can afford a million dollar yacht does not necessarily bestow upon him the privilege of managing that yacht's helm.
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