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Group sailing

Discussion in 'Ask All Sailors' started by All U Get, Dec 5, 2018. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. All U Get

    All U Get

    Joined Oct 2, 2008
    2,730 posts, 402 likes
    Pearson/ 530
    US Strafford, NH
    Hi all,

    We had another experience with the group sailing the ICW and thought maybe other had the same negative views. This group of boats are mostly beginners who have joined/hired a captain (?) to take them from Norfolk to the Keys by the ICW. We had anchored in St. Mary's after 200 miles offshore expecting a nice Thanksgiving with cruising friends. The boats there had all anchored well and we went furthest away with plenty of swing room.

    During the late evening this band of boats came in and spread out among the already anchored boats which was fine for the quiet night. By noon Thursday the wind came up and the boats all began to dance in the current. For us we would come close to the boats on either side and coming within a boat length. Another boat that had been dragging elsewhere decided to anchor upstream of us and could have stayed away but kept letting out more three strand rode to get the anchor to catch.

    His boat then swung so the keel was now wrapped in the rode with the anchor behind him so he let out more rode. Now he's close to us as we swing. Then two dinghy's with outboards of low horsepower try to unwind him and cannot fight the current, so he lets out more rode. Now he's real close so I jumped on the bow and told him not to let out rode, call his leader, and call a towboat to get real help. I held our boat away as best as possible while they tried to manage.

    Their leader showed up and they got a second anchor but instead of kedging away, they just dropped it to hold position inside my anchor radius. After that all the dinghies left for the meal leaving that couple (and me) to await their tow which was about three hours. Over the radio I heard this boat was afraid to go further upstream because they didn't have a working depth finder and river is uncharted. Their leader didn't stop by to offer and apologies for the inconvenience. (I heard similar stories from other cruisers the following day but I just filed it back in my mind)

    We made another 200 mile jump on the outside to meet up with friends again in Vero Beach and had time to resupply and make repairs. I was helping a friend splice some lines when I noticed the horde finally had caught up to us again and began to raft their boats with those already there. There is an art to rafting and not just tying to someone else's boat like a dock but I can see once again there isn't any instruction for this group. Sentiments and experiences from the other cruisers are similar to ours.

    Marinas like having this group because they have a big chunk of business and they have refused individual boats that make their way independently (and competently). Since most of these folks won't go out an inlet we will eventually get away again but I feel bad for the other boaters who can't.
     


  2. Will Gilmore

    Will Gilmore

    Joined Oct 19, 2017
    3,526 posts, 1,617 likes
    O'Day 19
    US Littleton, NH
    :wow3:
    What an experience. Sometimes I feel like people drive that way on the highway too.

    You were a lot more patient than I would have been. Imagine if that guy's anchor rode became unwrapped while he was still close to you.

    -Will (Dragonfly)
     


    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
  3. Brian D

    Brian D Moderator

    Joined Feb 17, 2006
    4,198 posts, 819 likes
    Lancer 27PS
    US MCB Camp Pendleton, Ca KF6BL
    Kind of reminds me of the video on YouTube of the plastic captains. Those who don't have sailing experience, or very very little, but have the liquidity to rent huge yachts and crash them into other boats. So sad.
     


  4. capta

    capta

    Joined Jun 4, 2009
    2,807 posts, 887 likes
    Pearson 530
    na Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
    That same hoard mentality is what bothers me most about the ocean rallies. A large number of relatively inexperienced sailors setting out from a single point thinking there is some sort of security in numbers.
    The last thing I want to see on an ocean crossing is any other vessel and intentionally sailing in close proximity to so many boats just sends shivers up my spine.
    Down here we see this in the bareboat floatillas. They come into the anchorages and create havoc. 8 or 10 bareboats led around by one crew with local knowledge, flowing ashore much like cruise ship passengers and often with a similar disrespect for the locals and others in the anchorage.
     


    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
  5. Will Gilmore

    Will Gilmore

    Joined Oct 19, 2017
    3,526 posts, 1,617 likes
    O'Day 19
    US Littleton, NH
    The ICW can be a tight waterway for any group of 3 or bigger. I can hardly imagine a flotilla of 8 boats making its way along the ICW.

    -Will (Dragonfly)
     


  6. Gunni

    Gunni

    Joined Mar 16, 2010
    5,573 posts, 1,269 likes
    Beneteau 411 Oceanis
    US Annapolis
    I have found that the only thing an inexperienced sailboater knows less about than sailing a boat in open water is how to use ground tackle and put/keep their boat where it belongs when anchored. It is one the major reasons why so many of the Caribbean charter locations have set and charge for mandatory mooring buoys; properly spaced, firmly set into the bottom.
     


  7. capta

    capta

    Joined Jun 4, 2009
    2,807 posts, 887 likes
    Pearson 530
    na Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
    Where have you seen this, other than @ their home ports? Not being arguementative, but sincerely curious.
     


  8. John Tubb

    John Tubb

    Joined Feb 14, 2017
    902 posts, 230 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Guntersville, AL
    Interesting thread, although ICW cruising holds little interest in me a this time I have considered the 'group' Caribbean trips for something in the future for our first time being in an area. I don't want to be a plastic captain, YouTube famous or PO old salts but I do know I have a lot to learn and well be open to help and instruction always.
     


  9. Gunni

    Gunni

    Joined Mar 16, 2010
    5,573 posts, 1,269 likes
    Beneteau 411 Oceanis
    US Annapolis
    Most all of the overnight anchorages in the BVI had mooring balls 15 years ago. Much less as you go south off the beaten charter path. Mustique filled their harbor with them over 10 years ago. I remember being warned to make the Bight on Norman Is. before 2 pm local time or risk not finding an mooring. Pretty much true, but I heard the drunk boat (WillyT) is over at Peter Is. now.
     


  10. Gunni

    Gunni

    Joined Mar 16, 2010
    5,573 posts, 1,269 likes
    Beneteau 411 Oceanis
    US Annapolis
    The Carib1500 and SaltyDawgRally both offer coaching to get you ready to go off, not down the ditch. Then they lead the effort. These “guides” that take folks down the ICW are really just glorified relocation companies. The Carib1500 is the real deal, but you won’t be taking a 25’ boat. Maybe look for crewing opportunities.
     


  11. Ron20324

    Ron20324

    Joined Jan 22, 2008
    6,512 posts, 705 likes
    Beneteau 323
    US Annapolis MD
    My memory might have left it's container, but IIRC, BVI mooring balls are all government owned. Or maybe not?
     


    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
  12. Kermit

    Kermit

    Joined Jul 31, 2010
    4,833 posts, 2,032 likes
    Hunter 260
    US Lake Murray Sailing Club, SC
    I guess in this case there’s not necessarily safety in numbers.
     


  13. Will Gilmore

    Will Gilmore

    Joined Oct 19, 2017
    3,526 posts, 1,617 likes
    O'Day 19
    US Littleton, NH
    I would like to recommend, for your needs, as you describe, taking a sailing course as a crewed rental in thew area you're interested in. The one on one will better serve you and you get to control the itinerary. You'll leave knowing the area, learning more about sailing, and have the course sign off for future bare boat charters.
    I can't see it as anything but more learning, more experience and more fun.

    -Will (Dragonfly)
     


    John Tubb likes this.
  14. John Tubb

    John Tubb

    Joined Feb 14, 2017
    902 posts, 230 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Guntersville, AL
    Actually that is the direction we are planning to go. It makes the most sense for us and our objective. It also serves the purpose to try out living on a boat. There is no way my old O'Day 25 is going anywhere other then back and forth across our lake for day sails. My wife has zero interest in 'camping' on this boat which is fine as that wasn't the purpose of this boat.

    I saw some options with group flotillas in the Caribbean, usually there were with a bare boat charter company so that seemed interesting, but not if these turn into some sort of cluster. I ride motorcycles and hate large organized rides as they are always full of idiots and someone always messes up, I do not care to repeat such an event in a large sailboat, at sea, with my family...
     


  15. capta

    capta

    Joined Jun 4, 2009
    2,807 posts, 887 likes
    Pearson 530
    na Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
    OK, I guess I misunderstood you. I thought you were saying the bareboat companies had dropped moorings for their boats.
    In my part of the Caribbean, most moorings are not safe. Even the government set park and town moorings fail regularly. At us$80 a stay, I would assume those @ Mustique were better, but?
    I had two 10' sand screws set for our mooring and supplied the chain and line. I still wouldn't try to weather a hurricane on it, but it should be fine for anything else.
     


  16. All U Get

    All U Get

    Joined Oct 2, 2008
    2,730 posts, 402 likes
    Pearson/ 530
    US Strafford, NH
    Over the radio yesterday I heard a boater asking for information on a bridge air draft just north of where we are and this particular group leader responded "Just stay in the middle, we made it through last night". That particular bridge has flat beams so little advantage to the middle. Also the wind had been strong from the north which had driven the tide in an extra foot overnight. The tide here is less than a foot most days on the ICW. I wouldn't ask this individual for directions to a restroom in a crowded bar.
     


    jssailem likes this.
  17. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    7,325 posts, 2,803 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    I love the way you inform me in a way that is easy to understand...:yeah:
     



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