Wednesday, February 17, 2016

1000 sailors a day …

manage to put up a whisker pole without bending it in half. I would not be one of them.

The day started out pretty well. Instead of enduring 2 more days of ICW / opening bridges travel to get from Lake Worth to Ft. Lauderdale, we took advantage of a weather window to jump outside. One day. Only 2 bridges. No debate. Kintala scooted out the channel on the ebb tide, doing better than 7 knots. Once turning south there was enough wind to fill the jib, but not enough to give the WesterBeast a rest.

A couple of hours in we came upon a small gaggle of sport fishing boats spread out over a couple of square miles of ocean. There are several reasons to give sport fishing boats a lot of room. People who take a million dollars worth of equipment out and burn a couple of hundred gallons of fuel just to catch a few dollars worth of fish, look at the world in a way that is beyond me. I'm never sure what they are going to do. It also seems that sport fishers, so long as they have a line in the water, are considered “commercial fishers” and thus are the “stand to” boat. It doesn't matter if they are actually charter boats who make money by taking people out to catch fish that are never going to make it to market, or if they are just rich people out playing for a day. They will still act like “commercial fishers” and drive anywhere they like with little regard for anyone else in the area. They also drag hundreds of feet of line behind their boats, line that is impossible to see. And, as we experienced a few weeks ago in Stuart, when a fisher person has something on the line pretty much nothing else that might be going on in the universe matters to them because they are catching a fish!

So, when one of the gaggle appeared off our port bow, heading north to our south, I turned to starboard just to give him room. A minute later he turned to port, and started closing in on our track again. Okay then. I turned further to starboard, now getting really close to the wind and risking back winding the jib. It was enough though, we had plenty of room, except he turned toward us once more and was now closing rapidly. Not okay then. Maybe he had caught a fish and wasn't paying any attention to where his million dollar boat was going? In any case he had put us in a bit of a bind. Just before I turned again to let the sail do what it may, he fell off to turn parallel to us. He was close enough that I could see the captain holding a phone in one hand. With the other he was waving toward shore and shouting something that sounded like “Go away, go away.” Which, in hindsight, seems kind of funny. I was making every effort to "go away" as he tried to run us down.

At least, I think that is what he said. At that moment I was sharing my own view of the last few minutes, along the lines of, “Please gentle fisher man, would you consider putting down your phone and steering your boat in such a way as to keep us from crashing into each other?” (Okay, maybe not exactly along those lines.)

Anyway, if you happen to be a couple of miles off shore and a few miles south of Lake Worth, and happen to see a sport fishing boat named Great Day, you might consider giving it an extra wide pass. Its captain is apparently a bit of a wanker. If you happen to be a person who enjoys chartering a million dollars worth of equipment and burning a couple hundred gallons of fuel to catch a fish, maybe there are better places to patronize than Great Day Charters? Surely there are companies who employ captains who are much more professional.

About the time Great Day disappeared over the horizon the winds faded to the point where the jib started to flog. We have been working out some new rigging to make poling out the jib less dramatic. This looked like a good day to test it out, but the deck monkey failed the test and managed to trash the pole. The test that came next was getting the bent pole back on deck. While struggling to get that done, a pod of dolphins showed up. I think they were getting a laugh from the deck monkey antics on the good ship Kintala. But here is the thing about dolphins. Even when they are laughing at you they bring along some magic. Even better, Deb had sent a float plan to Daughter Middle. Daughter Middle sent a message back stating that Grand Kids 5 wanted dolphin videos. The dolphins, including at least a half dozen mother / baby pairs, might have heard them and so came by to make some kids smile, staying with us for hours. And yes, we got videos.

In spite of it all the day turned out to be a really good day. Thanks to the magic of dolphins.

ps: As it turns out the deck monkey made less of a mistake than originally thought. According to Forespar (who made our pole) the one we had was several sizes too light for a boat Kintala's size. It is a bit of a surprise that it lasted this long.


Unknown said...

Why not just apply the Colregs (rule 26)? If they display the two cones, they're fishermen, if not they're just obnoxious.

S/V Veranda said...

Hopefully a barracuda got his fish.....

Unknown said...

(d) The term "vessel engaged in fishing" means any vessel fishing with nets, lines, trawls or other fishing apparatus which restrict manoeuvrability, but does not include a vessel fishing with trolling lines or other fishing apparatus which do not restrict manoeuvrability.

Sportfishers (trolling lines) are specifically disallowed.

Dunno why so many fisherdudes need to be rude.

Carl said...

Hey guys, sorry we couldn't respond to your text, we're still figuring out BTC. We're in Green Turtle Cay and enjoying ourselves. Hanging out for a couple weeks meeting local folks and cruisers. Great beaches and reefs nearby but the northers keep rolling through. We got a mention in the last Cruising World in you get a chance to see it. Sounds like your doing well (except whisker pole) hope to see you again.
Carl and Ardys