Thursday, January 21, 2016

Yell, No.

Yesterday morning we were docked at the marina. I was topsides puttering about when I watched another sailboat, perhaps 40' long and all decked out with solar panels, extra fuel jugs and and other things that led me to ascertain that it was a cruising boat and not a rental, approach the fuel dock. A couple, about our age I'd guess, were the only folks aboard. He had the helm and she was up front trying to get a line over a cleat to catch the dock.
I watched closely from three slips down and noticed she had a cool pole that held her dock line in such a way that she could easily catch a cleat. I thought I'd go ask about the cool tool so I hopped off Adagio and headed toward the fuel dock.
When I got there it was chaos.
The "he" and "she" were locked in a loud and bitter dispute over docking position and they just made an already bad situation worse by starting in with the dock hands as well. I changed my mind about engaging them in conversation and was turning back when they moved too far forward and crunched the rental boat in front of them.
Now they were really yelling and one actually pushed the other out of the way to get something tied or untied, I couldn't tell. It seemed that both parties were making sure that everyone around them knew that this was their partner's fault. 

With the help of another sailor I managed to move the rental boat about 10 feet forward (I don't know where those folks went) after getting the cruiser boat's anchor freed from the rental boat's aft lifelines. 
Eventually it was over, he stomped off their boat and she just sat topsides staring away from everything. You could tell by her overall countenance that she was just so ready to call this off and be somewhere else.

SO many things wrong with this scene. Among them a total lack of expectation management, pure crap for planning and communications, a complete disregard for safety in favor of ego supremacy and just plain bad seamanship.
I cannot fathom what life must be like on a long haul but after what I saw it wouldn't surprise me if only one was found aboard at the next destination. 

The boat was not ready to dock; fenders were not on the correct side of the boat and lines weren't ready.
The dock was too crowded already. They decided they didn't need dock hands' help to catch lines and secure the boat.
They changed plans at a critical moment.
They obviously don't like each other. Anger overruled common sense.
Robin and I have a lot of rules we play by in order for us to make it look "easy". One of our foundational doctrines is that we'll keep sailing "as long as it's fun." 

Even as a couple who have done docking and mooring a hundred times now we still talk out the steps of our plan and a contingency. We don't move our boat until things and systems and WE are ready. It simply makes sense, reduces stress and ultimately increases both our safety margin and fun factor. 

I am so truly blessed to sail and live with Robin. She is a great partner in so many ways, but as a sailor, whether Captain or crew, she's the best I know.
Those other two? I'll bet they wouldn't say that.
Never did find out about that dock line stick smile emoticon