It seems to me we have two somewhat contradictory standards here. The first is one of etiquette; every endeavor has its traditions, expectations, etiquette, call it what you will. For the cruising and liveaboard
communities that etiquette is quite extensive, and varies a bit geographically. But it certainly includes an expectation to minimize annoyances to others, including running generators/noisy wind
generators at night, loud parties late at night, and yes, slapping halyards. Unfortunately day sailors, lake sailors, and the like are often clueless to this etiquette - and to be fair, it usually isn't part of their world, much less etiquette.
The second standard is that of privacy and trespass, including boarding a boat. The law is pretty clear for a ship, and I would hazard a guess that it applies to boats as well: don't board unless permission is received, except as needed to protect the property in an emergency
. I look at it this way: If someone is aboard, or returning soon, then the direct approach is the only appropriate thing to do. A friendly tip about sailing etiquette is usually well received if delivered nicely, at least in my experience. Most new cruisers usually appreciate the heads-up, and older cruisers rarely let their halyards slap. The biggest problem comes from the day-sailors, as they are often not there to talk to, are likely to be completely unaware, and may not be back until spring. Whether it is legal
or not - I am not a lawyer - I do not consider those boats homes, and I do feel justified in respectfully boarding the boat for the sole purpose of securing the halyards. The duct tape idea was amusing, but ultimately something I wouldn't do. I really like the gift of a bungee cord as a first effort, followed by twine and ultimately cable ties, but I would hope the opportunity to have a chat would avail itself before things got that far.
As for those who don't give a damn about disturbing others, there is little to be done when peer pressure fails to stem anti-social behavior. It is rare among cruisers, but still there. Everyone has their stories about such folk. When I first left the US I got involved with the Baja Race
Week. There was one fellow, among about 50 boats, who insisted on running a dry stack generator
after dinner until bedtime. It sounded like a .50 caliber machine gun. Every night when he turned it off the applause rose throughout the anchorage. Even his lady crew was angry about it, but still he persisted until the end of the week. Such a person who cares so little for others doesn't miss the friendships they don't have. The only thing I can recommend is not to let them know where you're going next...