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primerate84 07-02-2007 10:46 AM

Should I be worried?
This past week-end, I was working on my boat up on Lake Erie and I noticed three guys on an old Allied Seacraft (I think) in the transient slip down the dock. They were having a pretty good time drinking beer and trying to figure out how to rig the boat. Statements like "If that rope goes there, were does this rope go?" and "I don't think this wire should be around this round thing." led me to believe this was a new purchase by some new "sailors". Anyway, after a while, one of them stumbled over and stared at my boat and made a comment about my main halyard, which went something like, "Your rope for your big sail is pretty long; the one on our boat is attached to a wire and when we raise the sail, we run out of rope." Now, I am far from an seasoned, experienced blue water sailor, but I told him I would stop over and see if I could figure it out. It turns out that they were trying to use the topping lift for the main halyard. The owner made a comment that he got the boat at a good price and they were going to sail it to Auglaize, Michigan over the next four days. They were sure they would make it before the beer ran out. He also made the statement that if they sound like they don't know a lot about sailing, its because they don't. He did say he owned a 27' boat before buying this one. I told him he would be smart to sail during the day and stay within sight of land.

So, at around 8:00PM Saturday night, they yell over to me that they are going out into Sandusky Harbor to "try things out" before they leave Sunday morning. The last thing the owner yells is "If we don't come back, send someone after us!!! Ha-ha-ha." Having worked on my boat all day, I fell asleep around 9:30 and when I woke up in the middle of the night, I thought I'd check to see if beer drinkers were back in their slip. They were not. I thought they may have decided to make their way towards Detroit and anchor for the night. However, the next morning when I was more lucid, I thought maybe I should have notified the Coast Guard about them. I listened all day Sunday to the local news and didn't hear any reports of distressed boaters on the lake. My question is, should I have called somebody in the middle of the night to let them know about these guys? What was my responsibility in this situation?

h16Sailor 07-02-2007 10:55 AM

You can't be 'mommy' to the whole world.

these people should have made a safety plan with a responsible person and taken care of themselves.

If not Darwin has an award for them.

conrat66 07-02-2007 11:20 AM

An ol Allied AAAAAAAAAAAA.......Hell they will probably Make it Lucky Bastards would give one of my eye teeth for an ol Allied Ketch........

mstern 07-02-2007 11:35 AM

Something very similar happened to me a couple of years ago. I returned to my slip after an evening sail to find a few college age guys working on an Oday 22 a couple of slips away. They had just bought the boat and wanted to talk about how little they had paid for it, and what a great time they were going to have over the summer. One of them asked me, "so we can make it to Newport from here in a day, right?" I was a bit surprised at the question, because Newport is a long, two day sail under the best of circumstances for a boat that small. I started to get even more concerned when they said they would motor if the wind died, and they had no idea how big their gas tank was (only three gallons, and they had no other containers). I spent the next hour showing them how to set up their rig and tune the shrouds and generally make their boat ready for sea; they had installed the boom vang as their mainsheet and had no idea what the mainsheet blocks were for, or how to set up and use the jiffy reefing. They had no charts, no radio, no food or water aboard. One of them had experience with bigger sailboats (or so he said), but they were all generally clueless and as sure of their immortality as only 20 year olds can be. They had to be gone from the dock by noon the next day because they didn't want to pay any fees to the marina. Anyway, by the time I left, I think I convinced them they needed to buy some water jugs, charts, and an extra gas tank before they left. I have no idea whatever happened to them.

The next day or so, I posted an email on another sailing website almost identical to yours: should I have done more? The consensus was that I had done all I could, and that I can't be responsible for others' foolish choices. Besides, someone pointed out, even if I were to call the Coast Guard, what would I tell them? "Keep on the lookout for a bunch of college students in a small, white sloop. I think they're incompentent sailors"? How helpful. I am curious to see what others think of your predicament.

sailortjk1 07-02-2007 11:50 AM

Its amazing what stupidity you see out there.
I'm not going to loose any sleep over someone else's lack of brains.

Valdensule 07-02-2007 11:52 AM

A "hey, be aware of this craft" might be in order
I am not experienced with U.S. coast guard protocol; however I think in the same situation I might have noted the craft name (and registration numbers) and given a heads up to the coast guard or marina personnel as an FYI to them indicating their general direction and possible destination. I would be very surprised if they would not be appreciative, as it could save them time if a mayday went out. In my hiking experience I have run across similar situations of ill equipped and ill prepared people doing things they had no idea could potentially put them in grave danger. I have always made an effort to be sure "somebody" knew they were out there. In at least 1 instance I am aware of, this action saved a life, or at least a potentially frozen limb. I would hope someone would do the same for me.

poopdeckpappy 07-02-2007 11:58 AM


"If we don't come back, send someone after us!!! Ha-ha-ha."
Just based on the obvious and the comment above, I would have given a heads up to the locals or CG or both

Whenever someone tells me what their plan is, especially when followed by the insecure laughter, I take it as an informal sail plan and I do keep my eyes and ears open.

Believe me, there seems to be a major influx in new boat, new sailor right now and some of them are down right scary

poopdeckpappy 07-02-2007 12:01 PM

Sorry Valdesule, didn't mean to step on your post, you just type faster than me :o

SEMIJim 07-02-2007 12:37 PM

Holy smokes! Must be the immortality of youth at work. I can't imagine attempting such a trip with such poor preparation.

Hell, my wife and I both have past sailing experience (well, mine's more crewing than sailing); we're going to be taking ASA 101 and 103 next weekend; there'll be a GPS/chartplotter, backup hand-held GPS and charts aboard; the PO has offered to accompany us partway, and it's a relatively straight-forward route, and still we're toying with the idea of hiring a transportation captain to get our new-to-us boat home.

Maybe we're just overly cautious. Or maybe, with so many more years under our belts, we're just a bit more aware that mortality is a very real thing.


RickLaPaz 07-02-2007 01:13 PM

"Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful tr..........."

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