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Dealing with difficult guests

Dec 29, 2008
798
Treworgy 65' Custom Steel Pilothouse Staysail Ketch St. Croix, Virgin Islands
I couldn't think of any cases, and the Admiral reminded my of a couple we took along when we were repositioning from our winter haulout marina to our summer marina on Lake Erie. They represented themselves to be very experienced sailors. He was on the genoa sheet winch when we were hit by a microburst that had to be 60 kts. I directed him to quickly slacken the sheet, and looked over to see that he had the sheet fouled on the winch and unable to free it due to the force on the sail. we heeled this 40 ton vessel well over to port as we rounded up into the wind. Exciting!
 
Oct 4, 2007
81
Oday 28 Great Salt Lake Marina
My worst passenger was my brother. He and his friend Ben had helped me do the bottom paint so I took them on an overnighter as thanks. We were anchored in a nice anchorage with several other boats. I had some high test moonshine on board and my bro drank most of it, and after explaining to Ben and I how stupid we were passed out. Ben and I enjoyed the peace and quiet for a while and turned in.
Around 2am the boat shuddered, I got up to see what was going on. We were in a 40 knot north wind, and dragging anchor. Ben woke up with me and after losing the dinghy and wrapping the dingy rope in the prop we got the anchor reset. Not a pleasant night with a lot going on, and my bro never even flinched. Around 7am I was awakened by my bro whispering in my ear. "are you awake" he said. I said yes. He said "we are out in the middle of the lake, and the dingy is gone". I said "I know". He said "ok" and went back to his bunk. Ben and I got up, made some coffee and figured out our next move. The wind was still at 30 knots from the north, so it was an excellent tack for getting back to the marina. The Great Salt Lake is heavy water and it was whitecaps and sloppy, and we would be sailing in the ditch. We pulled the anchor and got underway after diving the prop and getting the rope cleared.
My brother came up to the cockpit as we got underway. Beam reach running 5 knots, it was a great ride! Ben was at the helm and we were slugging along having a great time. Knowing that my bro was probably hungover, I kept an eye on him. He turned the most beautiful shade of green I have ever seen. He told me he was going below. I said "if your feeling sick you should probably stay up here. And, if you have to puke please go over the side of the boat, not in the head". He nodded to me and went below. 30 minutes later I hear this "thump thump thump thump" from below. I go down to find my bro in the head trying desperately to flush the head. It's a manual pump and he was pumping for all he was worth. I knew that whatever had happened was already done, so I went back up to enjoy the sail. We made it to the marina, and my bro came up as we were dropping sail and getting ready to go in. He told me that the "toilet" would not flush and he was sorry for the mess. I reminded him of what I had asked of him and he just shrugged. I went down to the head to find the worst vomit disaster I had ever seen. I popped back up to the cockpit and told Ben we were heading straight to the sanitary dock so we could pump the head and figure out how to save the boat. It was that bad. Ben is a plumber, so he has dealt with this type of horror before. We get to the the pump-a-head dock and tie up. I grabbed the key and we cracked the cap to the waste tank. When it turned a small jet of the ugliest looking water started to spray out. Ben screamed like a little girl and scared me to death. I asked him "what's your problem? You deal with sh!t water all the time!" and he said "I do, but not pressurized!" As the cap turned it just got worse, and then finally launched the cap on to the dock and the geyser that resulted created the worst sh!t show I have ever seen. Took me hours to clean the dock and gallons of water to clear the boat. We laugh about it now, and Ben still sails with me. My bro has never asked to sail again, and I have not extended him an invitation. He is on my "Blacklist".
 
Sep 29, 2008
1,865
Catalina 310 #185 Quantico
... My bro has never asked to sail again, and I have not extended him an invitation. He is on my "Blacklist".
My brother is on that same list. Nothing as bad as yours, but a stream of multiple transgressions. If he ever got a boat he would be your prototypical power boater. Amazing we came out of the same womb. :facepalm:
 
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Likes: Boomer54
Jun 8, 2004
8,885
-na -NA Anywhere USA
As a dealer who took out people on demo rides sometimes was dicey. If anyone was unsafe or verbally got out of hand, turned around and let them off at the dock. Plus would never sell a boat to them. Glad I did as it was a good call. Also if you did not like my dog, cocker spaniel, never sold a boat to that person. Sailors love dogs
 
Jan 13, 2009
362
J Boat 92 78 Sandusky
My wife was talking to a new member at our club's new member dinner. The guy was in his late fifties and professed a desire to learn about racing. He was a boat owner so we invited him out for a Wednesday night race. It was a pretty nice night with winds in the 10-12 range. The guy got on the boat at the dock and was acting strangely almost if he was drunk. He didn't smell of alcohol so we didn't think much of it. He kind of sprawled in the cockpit and almost fell out of our 29' boat on the tacks. It got so bad that I had to hold onto him during the tacks. We finished the race and got back to our dock. He just sprawled in the cockpit while the rest of the crew put the sails way. We offered him a snack and a soft drink which he refused. Weird. Time to go up to the club for the after race cookout and he wouldn't move. He said he was waiting to talk the captain (which was me) before he would leave. Of course I was talking with him and he kept asking to talk to me. He then started talking as if I wasn't there. One of my dock neighbors walked by and asked if he could help. He was a medical professional but not a doctor. After 5 minutes of questions the neighbor pulled me aside and told me that this guy was having a psychotic episode. Great. About this time the guy jumps out of the cockpit and starts jogging down the dock erratically. We chased after him because he was on the verge of falling in. He then went to his car in the parking lot and sat in it with the windows rolled up on a warm day. My wife checked the club directory and called his home number. Fortunately, his wife answered. She said he is a type1 diabetic and was probably in insulin shock (hypoglycemia). I pounded on his window and pretty much dragged him out of his vehicle. We gave him a candy bar which seemed to help. We then gave him a coke which seemed to help him come around. At that point he realized he had a problem and went with us back to the club to eat dinner. A few days later we talked with him He had no recollection of the incident before eating the candy bar. We now ask any new crew if they have any medical conditions we should know about. Insulin shock is serious. The late stages are psychosis, coma, and death. Who knew.
 
Jan 21, 2018
78
Hunter P42 Ft Lauderdale
My neighbor at the marina and I were standing on the dock talking. There was a boat a few slips down that did learn-to-sail multi day charters. As we were talking, that boat came around the corner and we both walked to their slip to help with lines. A third gentleman we did not know joined us.

Once the boat was secured, we asked the captain if there was anything else we could help with. She said, “No, I am going to do everything later. Right now I just need to get out of here and find a drink. I had a student on board who would not shut up for three days.”

At this point the unknown gentleman said, “I guess that would be my wife” in a resigned, ‘welcome to my life’ tone of voice. We could only feel sorry that his vacation was over.
 
Jan 22, 2008
8,050
Beneteau 323 Annapolis MD
I think I might know her :banghead:
" I had a student on board who would not shut up for three days.”
[/QUOTE

I think I had her aboard in the BVIs... She spoiled it for everyone. I guess I should not complain, as she helped me get my money's worth: It was the longest week I EVER had :what:
 
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Mar 20, 2015
2,255
C&C 30 Mk1 Silver Harbour, Lake Winnipeg
We learned a long time ago, to be very sélective about who we go sailing with, AND who we holiday with.

For us, It isnt just people being difficult or drunk etc. We hate when people want us to be their tour guide, the people in charge of their activities, and therefore responsible for their enjoyment.

Our rule: "we are doing this today. We dont often do foo foo things. You can come along.. Or not... Dont expect us to heavily alter our plans to cater to what you enjoy"

Our favourite BVI charter was just the 2 of us.
 

dLj

.
Mar 23, 2017
1,824
Belliure 41 Now on the Chesapeake
We learned a long time ago, to be very sélective about who we go sailing with, AND who we holiday with.

For us, It isnt just people being difficult or drunk etc. We hate when people want us to be their tour guide, the people in charge of their activities, and therefore responsible for their enjoyment.

Our rule: "we are doing this today. We dont often do foo foo things. You can come along.. Or not... Dont expect us to heavily alter our plans to cater to what you enjoy"

Our favourite BVI charter was just the 2 of us.
I've always been really selective traveling with others. Vacation is for me and the specific folks I want along. I won't vacation with new folks without doing some smaller trips first. There are simply far too many aspects that make things go less than smooth. Different folk have different levels of comfort, how much they want to spend, desires for food, decision making tendencies. I hate "clingy" types. How do they respect individual space? The list is long. And of course, whoever is traveling with me, has to deal with me... Now that's not an easy task! LOL

Add onto that the confined space of a sailboat and then I start to get really selective. That's likely the primary reason most of my sailing has been done solo.

No question though, if you have the right people onboard, it's much better than going solo!

dj
 
May 25, 2012
3,843
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
i captain aeolus totally different than what i quess yawl do. i never take 'guests' sailing with me. i take 'crew'. we campaign the boat hard. we fly all the sails. we sail in and out of port. we have themes for each sail. i'm always delegating tasks, halyards, sheets, navigating, lookout, snacks, seating requirements, play time (little kids towing toy boats off the taff rail, etc). i explain destinations, plans for the day. i'm teaching, instructing, demonstrating,......

so no, i have never experienced "difficult guests"

..... and i have lots of people the ask to go again and i'm thrilled they ask cause i want a crew to sail with.

we always loaded up condos/houses in aspen, charter sailing trips, motorcycle trips, snowmobile adventures in michigan .... never had problems.

back in the eighties we would charter 10 boats, 9 people per boat, and head out to the bahamas for rallies. even the flight down from toledo was a hoot.

i'm a lead dog, just my nature.

... and i love training newbees
 
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May 25, 2012
3,843
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
with the Ascow, you can't even leave the dock without 6 aboard and everyone has a job to make it work
 
Oct 22, 2014
16,099
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
i take 'crew'. we campaign the boat hard. we fly all the sails. we sail in and out of port. ..... i'm teaching, instructing, demonstrating,......so no, i have never experienced "difficult guests"
what only crew that are not participating? so they get to decide? In person demonstration of walking the plank or ? :yikes:

:laugh: I love the Teaching, instructing, demonstrating bit. I may not be as proficient as you in these tasks, but the idea of seeing folk on my boat sitting back on an iPad while they can be sailing just feels wrong.

Participating on the boat is so much more fun than riding on the boat.
 

dLj

.
Mar 23, 2017
1,824
Belliure 41 Now on the Chesapeake
with the Ascow, you can't even leave the dock without 6 aboard and everyone has a job to make it work
All boats I've owned have been set-up to single hand. The way I sail there is no way I can even entertain having others with me most of the time. I'm usually planning to go sailing about an hour or less before I am heading to the boat to take off. Otherwise, I'd only be sailing a handful of times a year - at best. When I'm going to sail for a week or longer, then I might be able to find others to come along. But I don't usually have a lot a freedom of time, so there are only two options in that case; if you can come with me, it's now or never; or, I go alone.

dj
 
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Oct 22, 2014
16,099
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
so there are only two options in that case; if you can come with me, it's now or never; or, I go alone.
Oh Dave... there is a third option I am experimenting with.... Retire
 

dLj

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Mar 23, 2017
1,824
Belliure 41 Now on the Chesapeake
Oh Dave... there is a third option I am experimenting with.... Retire
HaHaHa, as you well know, I'm not experimenting with that ... yet ... But it sure is on the horizon!!!! And I can't wait!!!! In fact it's getting harder every day...

dj
 
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