I don’t typically rant on gCaptain but this weekend really pissed me off.
A friend is a pilot and with his BIG$$ paycheck he bought a 54’ Hatteras yacht and invited me and the Mrs out to see the fireworks this weekend. The only catch is he has to work the morning of the 4th and suggests I take his boat out and set up on a nice anchorage spot he picked out. No problem I think, until I get underway.
The morning starts with me backing out of a tight slip in 25 knots of wind and turning the boat within the 60’ canal then doing a quick 90 degree turn out of the marina. Not a problem and remembering the slogan “slow is pro” I take my time. Now I don’t hit anything but I tapped the stern of some dude’s kayak that he had trailing off the back of his boat. The kayak had a plastic rudder which didn’t get harmed or make much of a sound when I hit it but I start drawing a crowd of gawkers. Then I hear some jackass on the VHF call “Harbor Patrol” (whoever the F they are):
Jackass #1: Harbor Patrol a guy’s trying to back out of slip 22 and is in trouble.
Harbor Patrol: How much trouble?
Jackass #1: WAY, WAY more trouble than I can describe. He’s already hit a boat.
So I ignore the jackass and continue to pay attention to getting the boat out of the harbor. On a scale of 1 to 10 my level of concentration is an 8 but my stress is about a 2 as I’m well in control of the situation. Then just as I’m lining up for the 90 degree turn here comes another jackass with “Harbor Patrol” written across the side of his boat and a dinky blue light flashing. This jackass is waving his arms at me and trying to tie his boat up to mine while his partner is hailing me on the VHF. Now my attention is divided between piloting the boat and telling jackass #2 to stand off on the VHF. This is not a wide canal, I barely have room for my friends boat and no room with the harbor patrol vessel in my way. But I make it out without touching anything.
I clear the marina and the harbor patrol boards the boat, takes my info, calls my friend to make sure I’m authorized to drive his yacht and tells him, within earshot of my wife, that I was driving recklessly and hit a boat and that they will be investigating the incident. We are now drifting toward a piling so I order them off the boat and I take off. Problem solved.
Then I get to the anchor spot my friend picked and start dropping the anchor. All is looking good until some launch driver from the nearby yacht club comes out to tell me that anchoring here - in the spot my friend, A LOCAL PILOT, hand picked - is illegal, that it’s a “restricted zone”. I tell him “nope, your wrong buddy”.
He leaves but returns 30 minutes latter with the club commodore. This guy starts in with the same line the launch driver gave me but changes tactics after I picked up a chart and a copy of the coast pilot and directed him to show me where it says the anchorage was restricted. Then, the little F’r, starts in on how my anchor rode - 150’ of 3/4 inch line attached to 100’ of chain in 50’ water depth, is unsafe. He then explains to me how nylon rope stretches and how the wind might change and put me into the boats moored at his club. So, at this point I’m still being nice even though his theory is full of holes I drop the second anchor just 100’ to tighten the swing circle. He then goes into a rant that both anchors need to be at 7 times the water depth, that owning a boat comes with responsibilities for other boaters and that I should read up on anchoring on cruiserforum.com.
“Cruiser forum?” I said. “Have you ever heard of gCaptain?” Then I lied and told him I wrote THE internet guide on anchoring and said that, if he has a problem with my actions, to call the coast guard and tell them to pull my unlimited masters license.
Jackass Commodore: “I don’t know what an Unlimited Master is but just because you wrote a book on the internet doesn’t mean you know how to do something in practice!”
Then I lost my cool and went ape shit on the guy, told him off good, and spent the evening with my wife giving me the stink eye instead of enjoy the fireworks on a very nice boat with friends.
So my questions:
When you are still in a nice mood what do you say to a yachter to let him know you’re a professional, that just because he hasn’t seen a particular maneuver before doesn’t mean it’s unsafe, and get him to back off?
And, when he just won’t listen and you need to save face in front of your wife what do you say to make him look like the fool that he is?