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Old 23-07-2022, 10:58   #1
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More Anchoring Etiquette: should I move?

The following happened last year. Other than being run aground during a storm it is the most upsetting thing that has occurred to me in my years of sailing, basically because I upset the other party by refusing their request to move, but I don’t know whether I broke any etiquette or informal code in doing so.

The simple etiquette question is should you move simply on anchor simply because someone asks you too?

If the answer is that “it depends on whether you agree with them” what should I have done in the following circumstance?

This was at Porto Pollo in SW Corsica. East of the the town and the mooring buoys is a beach running WNW to ESE for the best part of a mile towards Propriano. We had had a lively sail from Sardinia (as usual), arrived around 4.30pm and anchored on sand in a southerly wind onshore gusting to 18kn in about 8m with 5x scope. Boats were already starting to anchor along the beach and we continued the pattern, around 40m from a blue Oceanis.

The wind was forecast to drop and then come round during the evening to a northerly maximum of about 12kn. Other boats continued to come in and anchor along the beach as we had.

Sure enough, the wind died, we began to swing with everyone else. Although the Oceanis had probably put out 4x scope, I estimated we were never less than 25m as we turned 180 degrees through the evening. Strangely, and rarely for the Med, we saw no-one on the Oceanis all afternoon and evening, nor a tender.

At around 12.30am there was a banging on the hull. I went up wearing very little to find a gentleman in a tender from the Oceanis. I am French-flagged and live in France, but I am English. The following was in French, at which I am competent but I admit, arguing in a foreign language is extremely challenging (try it). The gentlemen told me I must move (not would you move). I explained we were happy with the distance (30m or so by now lying N-S), happy with our and his scope, happy with the holding ( I had swam on the anchor) and happy with the swing. He repeated I must move. When I asked what the problem was he responded that he was there first and so I must move.

After a couple of rounds of this and without any other reason being given I mulled it over. I was on board with my wife who would not want to move at night. I could not see the need to move and so I made my position clear “Monsieur, nous restons ici” – we are staying here.

At that point he was livid, damned the entire English nation in quite colourful terms and went to his boat where he put his cockpit lights on and raised his anchor.

We were now feeling terrible and anxious. We feared that he was going to ram us or do something irrational. He did not though; he just motored south into the night towards Campomoro. We still felt terrible because he did not need to do this. We are a catamaran and it is possible he disliked them. It was fairly clear that he had been drinking, and we can only assume that he had been at a restaurant or bar all afternoon and evening and had just returned to his boat – which he had left at the end of the anchored boats - to find us and many others had joined him and had not seen how the boats were moving. Nevertheless, does that make his request justified? Should I have taken his feelings into account?
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Old 23-07-2022, 11:20   #2
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Re: More Anchoring Etiquette: should I move?

no. Absolutely not. His drunken feelings are not your responsibility.

feelings is the correct word here I think. He may have felt upset. But if the boats are not in danger of touching, good enough.

I have anchored too close to people sometimes, other times people have anchored too close to me. Yes, it’s annoying when you are the first person there and someone anchors close to you, but if the boats aren’t touching, there is no problem.
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Old 23-07-2022, 12:21   #3
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Re: More Anchoring Etiquette: should I move?

Qu'il aille se faire cuire son oeuf ailleurs, quoi. He waits until 00h30 to complain that you're too close??? Maybe his anchor was dragging and he wanted you to move so he wouldn't have to reset his own. (He certainly wouldn't have wanted to tell you that.) The first boat in an anchorage can't just tell all the other boats to leave.
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Old 23-07-2022, 13:53   #4
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Re: More Anchoring Etiquette: should I move?

From your story I'd definitely agree with you. He was way out of line. While I certainly prefer lots of space, passing with 25 m gap is more than adequate.

It was his problem, and he solved it. Too bad he had to get all pissy.
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Old 23-07-2022, 14:57   #5
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Re: More Anchoring Etiquette: should I move?

He wasn't home to deal with the problem when you anchored. When you were unable to convince him both of you were safe, you should have left.

The only thing being on a catamaran has to do with it is that you will be more affected by the wind than he, who will be affected by the currents in the area, if any. Any time it blows up in the night, your swinging circle and his could coincide in such a way that your vessel strikes his, and he was there before you.

IMO, it doesn't matter if someone is being irrational, if they claim their "I was there first rights," it was up to you to move. Even at night, even if you have to use radar and go in the pouring rain. (You might have to remind yourself "I have been wet before." It was exceedingly unfortunate that the two of you could not come to a meeting ground in daylight hours, but the time of day doesn't change the obligation to move, and nor does inconvenience.

Not to be down on your case, but I am wondering whether your fear that he might ram you was because your talk did not focus on the safety of both vessels, and more about arguing rights, and you wanted to win the argument.


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Old 23-07-2022, 15:02   #6
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Re: More Anchoring Etiquette: should I move?

I don't agree that being there first matters for much - unless there was plenty of space, and for no good reason you anchored up right next to them.

People do that all the time and it is a little strange, and I think kind of rude, but not much more than that.

"being there first" doesn't mean you own the anchorage. If you they do own the anchorage, though, I would listen to them!

People are strange. We were anchored in NJ, and had a boat UPWIND of us start to drag towards us (they were anchored directly in front of us). I was not too worried, though it was a big powerboat, I figured, what happens happens, wind isn't too strong, and we can probably put a fender out and tie them to us.

They start screaming at us, "YOU ARE DRAGGING!! YOU ARE GOING TO HIT US!!"

Amazing! We were the first boat to drag INTO the wind!
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Old 23-07-2022, 15:53   #7
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Re: More Anchoring Etiquette: should I move?

If I understand correctly, he was there first so I think it is reasonable for anyone who gets there first to expect others to anchor in such a way as to ensure they will not, even in a wind shift, put their boats in possible danger. Now to you the distance, once the wind shifted, was still acceptable, but to him it was not. By the way I am assuming you were upwind of him. His rude and aggressive demeanor didn't help things but in this case, if it were me, I would have agreed and moved. I think he had a right to expect a safer space around his boat than what had resulted after the 180, especially given the windage of a cat.
However if it were me and I was downwind of him I probably would have argued the point a bit more.
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Old 23-07-2022, 16:07   #8
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Re: More Anchoring Etiquette: should I move?

Am I misreading the OP? He says they get no closer than 25 metres. I'm sorry... someone might not like this, but it is plenty of distance. It is perfectly reasonable.

I'm really finding this "first-in" claim to be increasingly ridiculous. Just because someone is anchored ahead of someone else, doesn't give them the right to occupy more space than is reasonable. It doesn't give them some super-power to over-ride everyone else's rights. It certainly doesn't give them the right to be a dyck.

I'd love to hear the other side of this story, but based solely on the OP's information, there is no way in hell I'd move. And certainly not at night, in a busy anchorage, when there has been no contact closer than 25 metres.
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Old 23-07-2022, 16:21   #9
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Re: More Anchoring Etiquette: should I move?

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Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
He wasn't home to deal with the problem when you anchored. When you were unable to convince him both of you were safe, you should have left.

The only thing being on a catamaran has to do with it is that you will be more affected by the wind than he, who will be affected by the currents in the area, if any. Any time it blows up in the night, your swinging circle and his could coincide in such a way that your vessel strikes his, and he was there before you.

IMO, it doesn't matter if someone is being irrational, if they claim their "I was there first rights," it was up to you to move. Even at night, even if you have to use radar and go in the pouring rain. (You might have to remind yourself "I have been wet before." It was exceedingly unfortunate that the two of you could not come to a meeting ground in daylight hours, but the time of day doesn't change the obligation to move, and nor does inconvenience.

Not to be down on your case, but I am wondering whether your fear that he might ram you was because your talk did not focus on the safety of both vessels, and more about arguing rights, and you wanted to win the argument.


Ann
In simple terms maybe being there first counts. However, I don’t agree that the last one there has to move regardless of conditions. If it was roaring with wind and waves I would be staying put. I may take a watch in the cockpit at the ready but…

The OP did the right thing in this case.
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Old 23-07-2022, 17:45   #10
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Re: More Anchoring Etiquette: should I move?

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Boats were already starting to anchor along the beach and we continued the pattern, around 40m from a blue Oceanis.
Before you got there, the Oceanis was last in line? - What distance had he put between himself and his neighbour(s)? It might be an indication of what he considers a safe distance, and if there is no impediment to doing so, I would leave a similar distance.
40 m sounds more than reasonable, but how is that measured? Radar? Range-finder? Mark I eyeball?
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Old 23-07-2022, 18:31   #11
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Re: More Anchoring Etiquette: should I move?

`
If you have a laser measurer, so you could show him it actually was 25 m., not 2.5, it might have cut some slack.

But somehow the situation escalated. That takes two or more people to make happen.

The OP should have moved, and the French fellow should have been reasonable. At the end of the day, should be, should buzz! doesn't matter. He stopped in early enough to get in where he wanted to be, and the OP stomped all over that. "Stomped that sucker flat, and stomped on his aorta", if I may misquote an old country song.

Mike, you and I just have to disagree on this. I must say that having an electric windlass makes it easier to shift anchorage when you have to. But if asked, we've always moved. There's no real reason why the asker should bother with our inconvenience. The OP has now left a very dirty wake for the French skipper, and it will reflect on all his countrymen; the French skipper will dine out on the story.

I think these things are more likely to happen in high usage areas, and it is one thing different from the Med in summer and Newfoundland in summer.

Anchorages are no place for machismo aggressive encounters.




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Old 23-07-2022, 20:35   #12
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Re: More Anchoring Etiquette: should I move?

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But somehow the situation escalated. That takes two or more people to make happen.

I respectfully observe that a situation may escalate with one unreasonable person and one person insisting on fairness. To assume it always takes two to quarrel, is in many cases to take the side of the aggressor, c.f. bothsidesism.



Quote:
Mike, you and I just have to disagree on this. I must say that having an electric windlass makes it easier to shift anchorage when you have to. But if asked, we've always moved. There's no real reason why the asker should bother with our inconvenience. The OP has now left a very dirty wake for the French skipper, and it will reflect on all his countrymen; the French skipper will dine out on the story.

Serious question for you: Are there truly no circumstances where would you refuse to move? 50m? 100m? 200m? If you had arrived first? Full anchorage in a congested area such that you would be inconveniencing other boats or moving to another bay at half past midnight perhaps on an unfavorable tide?


If only all anchorages were still so uncongested that we could all just choose another spot.
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Old 23-07-2022, 22:22   #13
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Re: More Anchoring Etiquette: should I move?

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If only all anchorages were still so uncongested that we could all just choose another spot.
I better not say where I am then!
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Old 24-07-2022, 00:21   #14
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Re: More Anchoring Etiquette: should I move?

I would move if I agree with the other boat. In this case there was enought distance between the boats and I would have stayed. Anchorages in the med often get busy.
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Old 24-07-2022, 01:19   #15
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Re: More Anchoring Etiquette: should I move?

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If I understand correctly, he was there first so I think it is reasonable for anyone who gets there first to expect others to anchor in such a way as to ensure they will not, even in a wind shift, put their boats in possible danger. Now to you the distance, once the wind shifted, was still acceptable, but to him it was not. By the way I am assuming you were upwind of him. His rude and aggressive demeanor didn't help things but in this case, if it were me, I would have agreed and moved. I think he had a right to expect a safer space around his boat than what had resulted after the 180, especially given the windage of a cat.

However if it were me and I was downwind of him I probably would have argued the point a bit more.
We were lying parallel N-S. We had already swung 180 degrees and distances were sound. But he did not know that, I did. So I knew everything was fine. He did not, although if he knew the forecast he would also know that the wind had set in for the night and we were streaming parallel about 30m apart. Hence the question should I pander to someone's feelings when it is clear there is nothing to be concerned about - i.e. etiquette?
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