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What do you do if the family that moves in next door to you turn out to be bad neighbors? Fortunately for us, we have the luxury of simply moving our boat if we find ourselves too close to those we don’t like. This situation is exactly what we found ourselves having to do yesterday.

It’s been exactly two weeks today since we arrived in Dominica and we were quite happy with our chosen anchor spot. When we first arrived we carefully picked an area away from other boats and dropped our Rocna in a nice patch of sand. After waiting an appropriate amount of time for the wind and waves to do their thing, Rebecca dove on the anchor to make sure it was well set. The winds have been blowing during our stay here, sometimes up to 40 knots, testing the holding power of our ground tackle, and happily we haven’t budged. We were close enough to shore that we felt no normal person would choose to anchor right in front of us, especially given how much free space is available in the bay. Until yesterday that is.

Just as we were sitting down to lunch a single-hander on an old steel cutter named Saga, that had rust stains running down the hull by the bow, came and anchored right in front of us, and directly beside another larger charter cat (who’s owners were not on board at the time to take notice). As would have it, the wind had just picked up and it was blowing 20-25 knots at the time. I was immediately unhappy with the situation and went out on deck to voice my displeasure. The captain on board proceeded to ignore me and went below, not even paying attention to how close he was swinging towards the other cat. Both Rebecca and I sat there on our bow for some time, dumfounded, waiting for him to reappear. When he finally did, I told him that I felt he was too close but again he ignored me and went below.

To say that I was unhappy at this moment would be an understatement. I lowered our dinghy down into the water and set off to go have a talk with this guy. I think it’s only fitting that I point out that this is the only time I have ever felt compelled to do this! I may have been unhappy with how close some people have anchored to us, and have even gestured at them once or twice, but not this.

After arriving at the guys boat and yelling to get his attention a few times (he was again down below), he came out on deck. Even though the boat had Danish markings the captain spoke French making for a bit of a language issue. He seemed totally oblivious to the fact that he was too close. He admitted that he might be too close to the other catamaran but to us, definitely not! As best I could, I explained that when the winds die around here, and they do almost daily, the boats in this part of the anchorage tend to swing around, and that his steel boat would not mesh well with the two cats right around him. That didn’t phase him. At long last I said that if he was unprepared to move, we would move, telling him that I was not willing to leave our boat anchored directly behind him. He shrugged and said OK. Quite unhappy but unwilling to drag this into any more of an extended confrontation, I returned to our boat and we proceeded to raise anchor. To give you an idea of how close he was, he had to motor forward bringing in what I assume was at least half his anchor rode just so that we could retrieve ours, he was right over top of it.

After moving to the large open space right beside us (that he could have — should have — chosen) and setting our anchor, we were visited by the captain of another catamaran who witnessed this whole exchange. He too was French and I had difficulty understanding all that he was saying. The best I could gather was that he had witnessed this same guy/boat do exactly the same thing at some other time in Martinique. The above should serve as evidence that the newbies chartering boats do not hold all the stock in anchoring blunders. Old salty sailors can be rude idiots too!

41 Comments

  1. The humorous photograph belies the agitation that I felt on your behalf by the time I finished reading!

  2. The best I could gather was that he had witnessed this same guy/boat do exactly the same thing at some other time in Martinique. The above should serve as evidence that…part of a right of passage to most English speaking cruisers of the Caribbean will at least once experience a rude French sailor anchoring way to close and ignoring you.

    • I hate to categorize people as there are many nice French people.

      Rude/stupid sailors (people) come in all forms and nationalities.

      • I’m not categorizing all french people, just that some French sailors do have a reputation of anchoring too close and being rude about it. Stay another year and I’ll bet you $50 you have the same encounter with another French speaking sailor who pretends to not speak English.

  3. Wow, what a moron! I think even beginners like us would know better! Love the picture … too funny!

  4. I love the picture. Gives me an idea for a neighbor I am having a problem with.

  5. I was really looking forward to a different ending…..You need to start thinking about your readers Mike…..You should have kicked his ass and shot flares over his bow, then swim over to his anchor in the middle of the night in a covert operation and release it, sit back and watch with cocktail in hand and in french say “don’t mess with Canadians” (oh, are Canadians not french)………My mother always said, if you want something done right, have a woman do it!!!!

  6. A bad day on the water is STILL BETTER than a good day at WORK…….always a silver lining.

  7. I was hoping for a pic of his boat from your bow…

    Anchoring relations is typically the most stressful part of cruising. Or it has been for us.

    I am usually to stubborn to move though. Next time I may take a page from your book.

  8. Hey guys it sounds like a definite case of carbon monoxide poisoning, probably from an ill running engine, you should help him out and go drill some ventilation holes in his hull to “help relieve the built up pressure and stresses”… of the gases.

  9. Hey Mike

    Hate it when that happens! Have you considered a anchor float or a potatoe cannon??

    Really enjoy your blog. Helps pass the winter!

  10. Strutting around the bow of your boat naked yelling profanities usually get the offensive vessel to move. Unforunately many French sailors consider this normal behavior so – not so effective on them.

  11. I have an anchor float on board and have never used it. I think i’m going to start. I think i once anchored in front Paul. I always wondered how the mash potato got on our boat!!! Was that you Paul????
    Terry & Anneke
    CBYC

    • We used our anchor float once. Somebody ran over it, pulled it up with there prop and set our boat adrift while we were onshore. That’s the only time our boat drug and the first and last time we used an anchor float!

      • Ouch!

        We have only used a float a couple of times in areas that are well known for having debris on the bottom which can snag our anchor. For example: http://www.zerotocruising.com/foggy/

      • See anytime you idiot proof something somebody comes up with a better idiot. 😀

        Maybe you could use the GoPro to show the great anchoring spot you found, then spot the next guy found over your anchor, and then drop by and ask him for a recommendation for insurance, If he can’t give you one leave, if he can give you one leave and email a link for the video to his agent. 😉 But with an old rush streaked steel boat probably one the top ten signs he is “self insured”. Does marine insurance have uninsured mariner coverage?

        Reanchoring gives you a better nights sleep and is less time than the insurance paperwork paperwork. 😉

        Fair winds, following seas, uncrowded anchorages, and plenty of ice cubes,
        RayG

        • Our insurance would no doubt cover us if someone dragged into us but with the deductible and potential increase in premiums, it would hardly be worth it unless the damage was serious. That is why we moved.

  12. Time to use your martial arts training guys!

  13. Some revenge may be called for. I read a funny tale in a sailing rag about a fitting prank for such a rude dude. Epoxy some tubing connecting his head effluent thru hull to his water intake.

  14. Having earned a Black Belt myself , I felt I had to tell you that your response to “Time to use your martial arts training guys!” was the answer of a TRUE martial artist!!! Very well said!
    P.S. Love your blog

  15. Hi guys

    Should have invited him for a beer, perhaps with
    A couple drops of visine . Send him home quickly
    as you don’t want your holding tank filled .

  16. Let’s just say he won’t be full of crap for a while

  17. Clearly the rustbucket fool has never read that part of the regs dealing with anchoring which says that boats which come into an anchorage after other boats have anchored must anchor in such a way as to stay clear of them, and if a problem is made known the last boat must move. Of course, he was probably too impaired to know anything that complex! Good move to get out while the getting was good!

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