Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Jacksonville, Fl
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Of powerboats and wakes
While doing my captain thing down in Miami, the land of big fishing boats and lots of tournaments, I, naturally, was subject to being smashed by an awful lot of huge wakes.
This led me to saying things like "Gosh darn him" and much, much worse. Occasionally over channel 16.
One fine Sunday afternoon, after a little trip just out of Biscayne Bay to do a little diving, we were returning through Stilt Town when a large Viking fishing boat came roaring back from somewhere. Cat Cay, I think.
Anyway, this particular yacht was a resident at the same place I was. I knew the captain well, we're friends.
Said yacht, moving at about 25 knots, blew past me just a few yards away. I was doing about 7.5 knots, which is almost all Breeze has in her under power. Like most Sedans, the Viking was digging a trench behind her. Since I was already as far to the right of the channel as I could get, I had no choice but to take the wake of this monster beam-on.
I looked at the flybridge, and there was my friend, the captain, looking forlorn and sad. He gave me a theatrical shrug. The owner was driving.
Needless to say, the Viking was back in her slip by the time we arrived an hour or so later. I got the docklines on, and went down to have a little palaver with the owner of the Viking, who was still there with his fishing buddies, and still swilling beer.
My captain pal knew I have a bad temper, and that I have a real problem with big powerboats 'waking' their sailboat brethren. I don't think, however, that he expected what I said. I said, "Tom (not his real name), what the hell were you doing?"
He gave me a smart reply, and I just nodded. Then I said, "You thought it would be fun to hit me with your wake. I tell you what. Why don't you and your buddies come down and hop on Breeze. You captain can bring your boat out and duplicate what you did to us about an hour ago.
Well, the crew of rather inebriated fishermen thought this would be great fun. So they piled onto Breeze and we muttered back out into Biscayne Bay.
My buddy brought the Viking out, moved off a ways to get a good running start, and reproduced the wake.
Fishermen went flying all over the boat. One of them partially fell on one of the huge primary winches. All of them were shocked at how violent the motion from the wake was.
The owner of the Viking sobered up quickly. He'd been thrown nearly off the boat. "I owe you a real apology, I think. I never realized..."
This worked that one time. Sadly, not nearly enough folks who drive big power yachts get a chance to experience what their wakes are doing. Worse still, most of them don't realize they're responsible for the damage their wake causes.
I admit I have a tendency to blow my stack when someone 'wakes' me. I'm sure I'm not alone in that. But maybe, just maybe, if more of us took the time and effort to actually show these guys how violently a sailboat rolls, and how much stuff gets launched below, they'd be a little more courteous.
Just a thought, anyway...
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