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  1. Roger Long

    Roger Long

    Joined Nov 22, 2008
    3,563 posts, 8 likes
    Endeavour 32
    US Portland, Maine
    That’s what we call them in Maine. I don’t know what they call them in the Chesapeake but they certainly made my arrival in Solomons less welcoming than it has ever been before.

    Jimm and I had a nice run up with an overnight raft up in Antipoison Creek, inside Windmill Point at the mouth of the Rappahannock. We ate a very good meal he prepared and drank enough very good wine to perhaps have made me less patient with the clam cops the next day than I might have been.

    Solomons is where I always get a free siip at the Research Fleet Operation facility with my best RV design a boat length away when I look out the companionway. Two slips away, usually with no boats in between, are the clam cop boats. I needed oil and filters so, instead of pulling right in, I ran up to a marina for a quick stop.

    A brisk NW wind sprang up just as I was rounding up in the channel to set up my docklines. I was just finishing when I looked over my shoulder to see the RIB coming alongside as if I was an unoccupied dock. No siren, no hail, just sudden appearance. They made fast with hands on the lifelines and jackboots on the rail and took control of the boat. It wasn’t at all clear to me that the fellow driving realized that my keel was a lot deeper than theirs.

    I asked what was up and they said they didn’t see any state registration numbers on my boat. I told them that was because the vessel is documented in a state that doesn’t issue them. I then heard the phrase we increasingly here so much in this nation; especially on the water, “Show me your papers.”

    I convinced them, with some reluctance on their part, to hassle me at the dock I was about to land at rather than drifting around in the narrow windy channel with my lifelines serving as towlines.

    At the dock, a asked them in very polite wording but my rather toxic (reproductive act - biological waste disposal organ reference) tone* why, since I have spent weeks tied up next to them in the past couple years, they picked this time and place to inquire about my status. No answer that passes the straight face test. It must be spring practice time for sudden, unannounced boardings.

    I showed them my document and explained Maine boating law to them. My Maine local excise tax decals were still in my book since I never bothered to put them on the boat since they do not constitute a state registration. The local tax is mostly ignored in Maine for documented vessels. I used to be a Harbormaster and these were the first tax decals I ever saw. It seemed for a moment that the fact that they are expired was going to be a problem. I told them that the tax can only be paid in person since it is local to the town, they have to see the physical document, and I haven’t been back to Maine yet this year. (This may not be true for all towns but it is what I was told in South Portland). They were skeptical but said they would take my word for it. They also told me I could be sure (piercing significant look) they would research it immediately on getting ashore. That was the end of the incident. I will give them much higher marks for their politeness and demeanor than their seamanship.

    The wind was too strong by this time for me to want to try getting into the rather awkward slip so I anchored out. Jimm’s assigned slip (as a former faculty member of the same university department) was on the outside of the tee head so he was able to let the wind just blow him in. I would have been at risk of blowing through the pilings and fetching up on the clam cops boat which, considering the tone of voice I had been using with them, would have been an especially poor punctuation to an annoying incident at the end of a very long day.

    Oh yes, I then had to change the oil. Another reason for anchoring was to get that job done while the engine was hot. I was really, really, ready for a beer by this time.
    I rowed ashore the next morning and visited briefly with the captain of the R/V Rachel Carson. Jimm and I then looked at the weather and realized we’d better take advantage of a good southerly to head up the bay.

    The wind was up enough by the time I reached the Choptank that I could roll out the jib and was soon motorsailing at 7 plus knots SOG. It was a grand run. I could have shut off the motor and sailed after I passed under the Bay Bridge but I’m feeling so anxious to get north I was finding the sound of the engine comforting. It also let me run the more powered autopilot which takes much less attention dead downwind. I passed three places I planned to stop and ended up anchoring in Still Creek just before sunset at the end of a 69.5 nm day.

    * Not recommended. Always be very polite to people with guns.

  2. justsomeguy


    Joined Feb 20, 2011
    6,243 posts, 765 likes
    Island Packet 35
    US Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
    It's not their guns you've got to worry about.
    It's their egos.

  3. Misfits


    Joined Apr 14, 2009
    540 posts, 33 likes
    Sabre 28
    US NH
    Funny you bring that up. I've heard that statement used quite frequently over the last several years & it scares the snot of me. Just like watching a World War II movie from our time, papers please.:evil:

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