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The most insane altercation i've ever had with a guest on board

Apr 5, 2018
93
Catalina Capri 25 Jackson
This last weekend was one for the record books, as i had the most unbelievable insane altercation with a guest on board, that was one of my friends. Sorry for the long tale.

Lead up to this, i had been telling this dude id take him sailing for about a year, multiple time he told me how great he was at sailing, and how he got his "Sailor 2" certification at some school (whatever a sailor 2 is i still don't know), and how he could "sail my boat in circles around me". This is just the kind of person he is, so i played it off and just figured id see what he knew when we got on the water. Went out with a gal im seeing, a couple of her friends, another friend of mine, and sailor 2 guy...abel.

We get the boat set up, and in the water. Everyone else shows up, and we head off. From the get go abel clearly did not know what he was doing, couldn't tie a cleat hitch (just crossed it over the dock cleat until the whole tail of the dock line was on the cleat) couldn't tie a square knot to reef the main, couldn't figure out how to hank on and attach the jib... so this goes on as we sail up the lake. Its a high wind day (for my H22) and with a storm jib and 2 reefs in the main it still takes a bit of experience at the helm and on the main to keep the boat steady and not get weather helmed in the 30kt gusts and surfing waves that would happen (this is a mountain lake, so you could do a multiple 360s in a half hour if you never change the sail plan or heading). No big deal, when its gusty i calmly take over from whoever is driving until it calms down and then i give the helm back and chill.

It probably started to go down hill when we were at the top of the lake, in a narrow-ish, light wind section, and we turn around to head back south the way we came. Abel was steering and on the main and he couldnt get the concept of tacking up away from the lee shore so we could get out to more open windier water. After a bit i was tired of waiting and told him i was going to take over and get us out of the bay. He decided to swat my hand away from the main sheet and told me i needed to tell him what we were doing so he could help. I very sternly told him to never do that again, and that he will never tell me what to do on my boat, I then asked for confirmation, and when he did not say yes, i repeated myself, asked for confirmation and made sure he understood.

So the rest of the day goes on, we sail back down the lake, i try to teach him more, but alas when I explain what were doing, and how to prevent the boat from getting weathered up into the wind he just wants to do his own thing. This then leads me to grab the tiller and adjust when i feel like were about to round up. He keeps getting mad that i just wont let him do it, and i tell him im not going to let the boat jibe in 20kts of wind over and over while you **** around. Listen or give me back the helm. I taught a few other people that day in the same conditions and they were able to get the hang of it, and politely stepped aside when it got gusty.

Now this is when it goes straight to shit. We're back at the dock, boat is tied up, motor off. We're unloading the boat, abel goes to get the truck and back it into the water. He stops it about 5 ft before the water and gets out ( i dont notice but he is heading back to the boat). I think my other friend is in the truck, so i holler at him from the dock to just back the truck in like we've done before. When the truck doesen't move i notice nobody is in there, no biggie, this other gal we were with was standing near by and I ask her to do it, she says sure. So i get her in the truck, show her what to do, get the trailer lined up, and turn around to see my boat LEAVING THE DOCK WITH ABEL DRIVING. 20 minutes ago this guy didn't even know how to operate the outboard. The outboard on my boat is not connected to the tiller, so while not overly complicated it takes some time to get the feel and figure out how to use them together so they dont counter act each other or steer the boat in an unintended direction.

While all this was happening, my friends on the shore were watching and as soon as my buddy saw the boat leaving the dock and me turning around to sprint after it his only reaction to the rest of them was "ohhhhhh this 'oughta be good"...when hearing after that sure did give me a good laugh.

So abel is driving my boat away from the dock, without me on it, presumably to put it on the trailer, while there is still significant wind and waves in this marina (its not really protected at all). So i sprint down the dock, pull my shirt off, dive in the water and climb up on the boat. I am now livid that this is happening. I take the helm, and he starts freaking out about me being aggressive. I just tell him abel shut the f*** up and sit down and let me do this. So begins this screaming match where he is telling me he was trying to be helpful and im not being grateful for his gesture. Im so mad i cant even think straight, so i just yell at him again to shut the f*** up and sit down so i can communicate with the driver in my truck and get the boat off the lake. He continues to yell. I try again, calmer, abel please sit down and shut up so i can focus and talk to the girl in the truck, we will talk about this later.

All while this is happening he tells me no less than 7 times "ill f***** kill you man, do something, i'll kill you" Nope, he has to keep interjecting and telling me he was doing a good gesture. I back the boat up a bit further away, because the waves are pushing us closer to shore and im afraid he wont shut up enough for me to do this. He keeps yelling, i yell at him again to shut up and then he SHOVES ME OFF MY OWN BOAT basically right over top of the still spinning prop. I swim back around, climb up the swim ladder in a fraction of a second, and am just so livid and feel so helpless.

Its just the two of us out there, all this in display of the marina, little pizza place with familys, and the docks, and if i start throwing punches it wont get me anywhere but in a fist fight while my boat slams into the docks or boat ramp. So trying to deescalate the situation, i tell him im going to back up to the dock, i want you to get the f*** off my boat right now. He says no, f*** you im not getting off your boat. I try again, and again he insists that hes not getting off (i realize at this point i should have just docked it anyway but i just wanted to get out of there).

So now i just ignore him and start yelling at my friend to back the truck up a bit more to the right depth. I start piloting the boat into position, and while this is happening he has the gall to tell me "show me what your doing, let me learn whats going on, show me". Im so beyond stressed with this ******* here the boat comes in and the waves push it sideways a bit. I get the bow strap on, get it tight and cranked a bit, shut off the motor have the driver ease the truck and trailer up and get it all situated. After the boat is out of the water I jump down, get in the truck to pull it the rest of the way up, and abel is STILL on his rant. I tell him he needs to go away from me, i cant stand to be around you. Since I drove him to the lake, and hes like "how am i going to get back, i need a ride". I just tell him i dont care, go away. He goes off into another storm of "f*** yous" and "i'll kill you"s as i get in the truck, and pull away. He tries to go in one of my other friends trucks but they peel away cuz they want nothing to do with him. At this point im visibly shaking with rage and confusion on what to do. We decided that were just going to leave the boat/trailer in the parking lot, and one of my friends would come back and help me take it down in a day or two, but we had to get out of there before park service or the police showed up from the yelling. At this point he must have realized none of us were going to take him and he hitched a ride back because he wasnt anywhere in the pizza restaurant or at the dock. Thank god.

I get a text from him later as he tries to apologize, blaming it on having some drinks that day (he was never even visibly drunk or close to it) and how he was "scared" and "didnt mean to respond aggressively" and was "confused by what was happening". What an insane load of shit.

I kept checking the qualified captain Instagram page today to make sure i wasnt on it hahaha
 
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FDL S2

.
Jun 29, 2014
401
S2 7.3 Fond du Lac
Wow! This is the nightmare situation for a boat owner.

I've only had something like this happen once in a sailboat, but it wasn't this bad-a guest thought he knew how to sail and tried to tell me how to sail. It wasn't the wind conditions you had so I said "have at it" he wasn't able to steer the boat in a straight line-my racing buddy's 7yr old does better-he was heading for an anchored fishing boat that I saw 1/2 mile away and kept telling him it was there, he ignored me until 100yds out I grabbed the tiller out of his hand and steered us clear. I don't hold it against him too much because he was trying to impress a girl, but she wasn't impressed by his "expertise".

I had a few similar situations happen in my old skiboat because someone knew how to drive a car so they thought they could drive a boat.....
 
Apr 5, 2018
93
Catalina Capri 25 Jackson
Is my math correct. 6 on the h22?
Ha...... that was my first double take.
Haha ya! I don't see why it's that crazy!? That's what I normally have on a day sail. Of course I haven't been around all 22 ft boats, but it's one of the biggest 22' boats I've seen, just really deep, large interior, decent cockpit. Usually one or two chilling up front, somone down below making drinks or getting food, 3 in the cockpit, we're all in our 20s/early 30s so we don't mind being closeish. I like sharing sailing and taking my friends out so it's usually pretty full. I slept 5 on it one time for a sail/ski tour accross the lake when it snowed too much that night and the person sleeping in the cockpit wanted to sleep inside and not get covered in snow lol, plus in high wind I can use the rail meat :)
 
Apr 5, 2018
93
Catalina Capri 25 Jackson
Wow! This is the nightmare situation for a boat owner.

I've only had something like this happen once in a sailboat, but it wasn't this bad-a guest thought he knew how to sail and tried to tell me how to sail. It wasn't the wind conditions you had so I said "have at it" he wasn't able to steer the boat in a straight line-my racing buddy's 7yr old does better-he was heading for an anchored fishing boat that I saw 1/2 mile away and kept telling him it was there, he ignored me until 100yds out I grabbed the tiller out of his hand and steered us clear. I don't hold it against him too much because he was trying to impress a girl, but she wasn't impressed by his "expertise".

I had a few similar situations happen in my old skiboat because someone knew how to drive a car so they thought they could drive a boat.....
Oddly enough, there was a girl on board he was convinced liked him a lot (he thinks all girls are in love with him), she in reality wanted nothing to do with him, and I'm sure he was trying to court her as well as impress everyone on the lake that day (which was nobody but one other sailboat lol and a fishing boat)
 
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Jun 14, 2010
1,593
TBD Looking for my next boat CT
Now this is when it goes straight to shit.
And I’m thinking “you mean this hasn’t already?” Incredible story. I would have ended the voyage a lot sooner. Sorry you had that experience. I was crew on a boat where I disagreed with the owner on some route and sail trimming decisions but the discussion was calm, he had final say and it never got heated.
 
Mar 1, 2012
2,153
1961 Rhodes Meridian 25 Texas coast
Beating out of the St Mary''s River once on my tri, I ordered the wife of a buddy below. She insisted on discussing some small thing and would NOT stop.I told her to wait til we were outside, she wouldn't listen . The river has rock jetties both sides. Her husband just grinned.
 
Mar 13, 2011
174
Islander Freeport 41 Longmont
Wow!!! That’s about as bad as it can get on a boat. Your lucky no one was hurt. Glad you were able to get through it.

We once had something close happen on a 14 day bareboat cruise. The skipper, who didn’t understand the international rules of the road, insisted on sailing using US rules even when in international waters and decided that several of us just didn’t know how to sail. We all solved the problem by deciding to let him and his significant other do the sailing and we would just enjoy the trip. Not worth ruining a good trip to try and be right. Certainly not an incident to your level but still could have been a very bad trip if we had let it.
 
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capta

.
Jun 4, 2009
4,195
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
I've got to hand it to you for keeping your temper and not silencing this guy with a good right hook! Chucking you off your own boat????? Again, you have my respect.
I had a young guy (I was maybe 8 years older than him) go nuts on a delivery from NZ to OZ. Third nite out I woke up to him hitting me with a winch handle, yelling and screaming incoherently. Got him under control and hand cuffed him to the mast (I always carried hand cuffs on deliveries), returned to NZ and gave him to the cops. I really understand how that captain tried a few months back could let some crazy drown himself, rather than have him aboard as a danger to everybody else.
 

capta

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Jun 4, 2009
4,195
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
Rather than kill the crazy MF. You're quite somethin'. :clap:
I'd have quite a trail of bodies in my wake if I'd killed all the nut jobs that came out after the land disappeared below the horizon in something over 4 decades of oceanic deliveries with strangers as crew. One quickly learns rope won't be secure and a better option is needed. After all, it is the skipper's job to insure the safety of all onboard, not just the sane ones. lol
 
Apr 5, 2018
93
Catalina Capri 25 Jackson
Just for reference, here's the Hunter 22 cockpit. It's pretty big.
View attachment 168879

The question that begs to be asked is, how in the world was this guy ever your friend?
It's an early 80s h22, so it's way bigger than the modern 22 (and much slower lol)

That's what blew me away!! I've known him for a few years. Everyone knows he talks 1000 ft above his actual skill level, but I've skiied with him (not a good skiied lol) climbed with him, he's been a good friend until this. I knew he'd try to show off and be a bit over confident but never would I have even predicted that behavior.
 

Joe

.
Jun 1, 2004
7,257
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
Before you allow anyone on your boat always make it clear that you're the skipper... aka the boss.... if they want to be the skipper... let them buy a boat and host the inmates.

One more thing.... I get it because you're young... but you really need to be more selective choosing crew, guests and friends. Maybe it's time to save the drinking till after the sailing.
 
Sep 30, 2016
286
Hunter 23.5 Patoka Lake, IN
Six people on a 22 foot boat, passing the controls around to inexperienced crew with 30 kt gusts, and one extreme a-hole. What could possibly go wrong? Everything about it sounds bad. And so many reasons I would never be around that one "friend" again, under any circumstance.
 
Oct 19, 2017
6,666
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
Your friend was embarrassed from the very beginning. You are probably right about the girl too. He'd talked himself up so much that, when it came time to prove himself, there was no way, in his mind, to back down. In his efforts to save face and show that he did know what he was doing, his aggression escalated while he convinced himself that you were undermining him to try and make a fool of him.

Once a situation like that gets past a curtain point, there is no way to see it do anything but get worse. He's running on emotions and paranoia and desperation. His higher order thinking has shut down. It's like he's being attacked and fight or flight responses are all he can do.

Without the threat of imminent damage to your boat or danger to him, your guests or you, the only thing that would work would be to back off and let him know you aren't trying to hurt him. Give him a moment to settle down and recover the blood flow to his brain. Sit down next to him, not face to face, and ask what he needs from you. Explain what you're trying to do. Hopefully, he'd start to see that backing down was the only way to recover for him.

Frankly, I'd have chucked him off my boat the moment I had to swim out to climb aboard, but that would have been confirmation to him that I was trying to make a fool out of him and his threats to "f****** kill you" would have made more sense to him and he would be more likely to try and carry them out. People do not like being embarrassed, even if they are the ones doing it to themselves.

-Will (Dragonfly)
 
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