Above photo taken by Steve Domjan at the Bowl. Thank you Steve, you could have been sailing you

  • Above photo taken by Steve Domjan at the Bowl. Thank you Steve, you could have been sailing yourself instead of taking photos of me.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

What do you think?

Last week I described a situation where I was sailing on a port tack to windward. We were trying to clear Plum Point. Plum Point is the narrowest section of the bay. It is also where the 5 MPH / NO WAKE zone starts. In that particular situation; a large top heavy power boat was slowing down from 30 MPH, to the required 5 MPH. The act of slowing down, directly in front of us, created an unusually large and steep wake.Segue's freeboard is about 3 feet; so the wave this boat instantly created was at least 5 feet tall, tip to trough.
In this case, I don't believe the power boat intentionally tried to swamp us. I believe he knew that he had to slow down by law; and that he just did not understand, or care what occurred in his wake.

I learned this many years ago when I was out fishing with a friend of mine. My friend was not an asshole. In fact my friend had spent a number years in the Coast Guard Auxiliary, and had over 20 years experience with his 30 foot Tiara Pursuit. But I saw him cross in front of several sailboats; and I watched his wake smack several boats, until I said something.

"Dude why do you keep trying to swamp all these sailboats? I had no idea, you were such a 'Motorhead'." "What do you mean" he said. I'm just trying to get out of their way. You 'Ragmen' have the right of way". "Yea, I said but look at all the havoc your wake is doing. Instead of cutting in front of them why don't you just head for their sterns"? "I never really thought about it" he said. Now this was a powerboater with 20 years experience, and it never even occurred to him that he was being inconsiderate to other boaters.

The next weekend I took him sailing with me. And he understood.

So I don't believe all Motorheads are Assholes. I just think we all just need to be able to see the world from the other guy's perspective.
But yesterday, when I was close hauled, on starboard, trying to pinch my way past the point and the guy driving Dorothy B decided to go from 5 to 30 MPH right in front of me, instead of behind. And when his wake hit me so hard, I heard sailors on other boats 20 feet away gasp...now he,...was an asshole.

Sorry, I've been rambling. I almost forgot the original reason I posted today...So here it is. Last week, when I almost failed to give way to the sailboat on starboard. My wife said he had his engine on. He was motor sailing.

So, when you have your sails up, but you are still under power, in terms of "right of way" rules: Are you a sailboat, or a powerboat? What do you think?


TonyWind said...

I think you are a powerboat in that case. But, after all, what do I know? I haven't sailed (a sailboat) in a few years and I forgot the little I have learned about it. On a different note, I see you have updated your front picture. That's a great shot! Is that you in the good old days?

Anonymous said...

Yep, Greenport 1981