Join Date: Apr 2012
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Re: Powerboaters Are Funny
Here are three more real personal experiences had with power boaters.
First, I am sailing solo on a light breeze, steady course, bright (very bright)spinnaker flying, open ocean with no channels, sandbars or rocks anywhere close by.
Off my port side, coming at right angles at about 20 knots is a large (about 80ft) professionally-crewed charter boat returning with a bunch of tourists from whale watching. It drills straight at me. I can't get out of the way, as the breeze is so light. I know he wouldn't hear my foghorn over his engines, so the only thing I think of is to hit the VHF radio with "LOOK OUT, YOU F...WIT !" I know, I know, we are not supposed to use profanities on the radio, but in extremis I had to say something in the hopes that it would grab everyone's attention. At the last minute he veered away and passed within metres, so whether he was playing chicken or really was not looking out I don't know.
Next incident, where I was in a narrow channel with rocks on both sides, under sail on a close reach in a 20 knot breeze. All good until a beat-up wooden powerboat comes at me, again on my port side. He sees me, but is clearly not going to give way and I can't change course in the narrow channel because my boat draws over six feet. This time I am really moving - a good 7 knots. So this d!ckhead passes just ahead of me, by literally two metres, giving me the bird just to add insult. Unfortunately for him, he was towing a dinghy with an outboard on a long line - which I rammed and sank. I suppose I could have luffed up to avoid it, and may have tried to if he had not flipped me the bird. Naughty, hey?
Most recent concerned a tour group on jet-skis in Tasmania. They left a harbor on the main island to do a lap of Bruny Island, stopping at a couple of places for sight-seeing. I think the idea was for them to keep Bruny on their port side all the way around until they were in sight of the departure point, to which they were expected to return. They were accompanied by a mother-ship (a small power boat that was not as fast as the jetskis, but brought up in the rear to cover any breakdowns). On the last lap the tourists decided to go for it and headed off in various directions. The mother ship couldn't keep pace and lost sight of the pack. I received a call from the coast guard to ask if I had seen any of them, as some appeared to be heading in my direction - at least 120 degrees off course and 10 miles off shore from Bruny!
Had they ended up in my area they would have been critically short of fuel. Luckily the Hobart Port Pilot was able to intercept them and get them headed the right way. How hard could it be to keep a relatively small island on your left side until you did a lap of it?