Boating, Yachties...and Manners...

The tranquil sailing club prior to departure (photo the author)

I had a wonderful day yesterday.  My sister and her husband own a lovely power boat and they invited me to join them for a “Club Day”, when with other members of their Sailing Club we went to Garden Island, not far from Perth, to enjoy the ambiance of the island, it’s pristine waters, and each other’s company.

 A boat follows us down the Swan River (photo the author)

It was an opportunity to ask about the manners of sailing and what is expected from other sailors and what are established as “rules”. The rules are quite clear:  give way to vessels on the right of your vessel, power boats should give way to sail boats, boats should navigate a channel of water on the starboard side, etc.

Lazy days...before a refreshing swim around the dinghy (photo the author)

The etiquette, or manners are less clear, but as was explained to me, quite logical.  When in a small bay or inlet it is important to remember that those boats in close proximity might not enjoy your choice of music, so keep it to a reasonable level;  that with yachts, the halyards which secure the sails are very noisy if they are not secured properly.  And while that clanking and clicking sounds they make may be gentle to the ears of the “yachties” they annoy power boat sailors enormously!  Nothing should be dropped into the ocean and when ashore, anyway, it is appropriate to always remove trash, etc…yours and others…

"Miss Stress" launched in May 2009 (photo the author)

I am always very respectful when I am invited to join anyone on a boat…it is their territory, and usually quite a small space.  On a luxury boat the amenities are obvious and the ability to be aware of one’s surroundings is easy. But it is wise to always ask what is expected of you as a fellow sailor, and most importantly how to use the “head”…or WC, and how to live within the necessary fresh water restrictions.  

The notorious SV Discovery, Suwarrrow, Cook Islands (photo the author)

 On a more public vessel like SV Discovery Pacific Expeditions it is sometimes more difficult.  But as you will see from reading the posts about the  Pacific Expedition through the North Cook Islands last year, my then companion and I were able to integrate easily with our fellow intrepid travellers…and certainly respect for everyone, except the captain, Graham Wragg,  was obvious on a daily, if not hourly basis. Unfortunately as a captain he was neither looking for, nor deserving of our respect. We put ourselves in his hands and he treated us, and his vessel, in a most cavalier fashion.

The Maritime Museum, Fremantle Harbour (photo the author)

So, I found a day on the water most enjoyable and as we are currently enjoying an extended summer, the ambiance, the pristine environment and the wonderful company resulted in a great cruise.

Returning to the Sailing Club (photo the author)