14 Feb 2011

[Captains Blog] Admiralty Bay Bequia

The more we undertake longer sails in the rough weather, the more I relaise that the job of getting the boat to our destination is just a part of the whole. Once we arrive, we have decisions to make on whether to anchor or take a mooring buoy, where to park the boat, how close we would be to others in the vicinity, whether there will be the influence of wind and/or tide on the way that Pandora swings (and  she certainly does swing more than the average boat Boo Boo said Yogi) and what to do when other boats invade the space around us and impinge upon our swinging room.

Recently, we seem to be rubbing shoulders in very close proximity with much larger and considerably more expensive boats than Pandora. She has become something of an Oyster and megayacht magnet. For those of you who are not familiar with Oyster yachts, they generally start at about £1million for a relatively small one, and we have been cosying up to some rather big ones lately, including one called 'Cookielicious' - would be great if we could join this elite club one day so we'd better start buying a lottery ticket! Anyway, these and other monster yachts have shaved by our stern within a gnat's whisker on a number of occasions to drop their anchor as they glide by, pulling up on their chains to stop close enough that if they were to swing on their anchor, we would be squashed. Also, not content with their invasion of our space, they invade our dark too by switching on every deck and mast light they have, flooding the bay with the equivalent of the Blackpool Illuminations and then they 'power walk' around the deck for their post prandial exercise. These boat owners are quite selfish to say the least, but I guess that's how they earned enough money to be able to buy the boat in the first place. 

We seem to be making a career out of yelling across the void to ask them to drop back futher to give us more space, but being the smaller party we tend to be dismissed as insignificant.  However, on one occasion after I had been over in the dinghy to ask the crew of such a boat if they had changed their mooring because their boat had rotated through 90 degrees towards us, I received the curt reply "No you have swung on your mooring." We ended up on anchor watch for the evening and twice their boat came to within 15 metres of ours. In the morning when their boat and ours came within 5 metres of each other and I pointed this out to them, the crew member suddenly woke up to the fact that we were not dramatising the situation, and the panic in his face showed.  Needless to say, the position was instantly remedied. 

It just goes to show that even professional skippers and crew are not infallible, and looking out from their gold and ivory tower bridgedecks can cloud their judgement. We mere mortals down at sea level have a far better appreciation of space and distance, and are far more careful about positioning our boats.