Monday, November 29, 2010

A night aboard

You've been invited to spend a nite aboard someone's boat. You don't want to commit any faux pas. But you don't know the etiquette - what should you know?

Here are some do's and don'ts (note that I am *not* assuming you have been invited aboard a mega-yacht):
  • Do leave the high heels at home. Power boat or sail boat, they are inappropriate wear because the concentration of force at the heel will damage decks, and simply because you are not safe teetering up there in an environment where the floor moves. Soft-soled, non-marking shoes are ideal. And because many owners encourage a "shoes-off" environment below decks, slip-ons are best.
  • Don't bring three pieces of hard-sided luggage.  There are no "closets" on boats.  Instead, there are "lockers", with all the lack of space that your high school memories imply.  And these will likely be loaded with the owner's stuff.  There will be no place to put the luggage, except perhaps to store it on your bunk - but then what do you do with it while you sleep?  Instead, pack very lightly, and get everything you'll need into a single soft-sided (won't damage the woodwork) bag.
  • Do arrive on time.  The boat's departure from the dock may be timed by the tide, and as has been said, "The tide waits for no man."  A late arrival could completely destroy the Captain's trip plan, while with an early arrival you could help prep the boat for departure.
  • Don't be too shy to ask about the head.  You will be using it - best not to embarrass yourself by having to ask for directions after you have filled it.
  • Do be sparing with your use of water.  It may come out of the faucet just like it does at home, but the supply is limited - very limited.  For example, don't just let the water run while you brush your teeth, or while you shave.
  • Don't use hot water unless you must.  Hot water on board is even more limited than the water itself.  If you are just rinsing your hands and don't need to use hot water, then don't.  If you only open the hot water tap briefly, you will get only cold water anyway, but nevertheless hot water will be withdrawn from the very limited supply and just wasted.
  • Do leave the hairdryer at home.  There probably won't be power to run it.  
  • Don't be concerned about heeling (tipping) on a sailboat.  They are supposed to heel (well, except for catamarans and trimarans).  It is an entirely normal part of the operation of the boat.  There is a big chunk of metal (in Eolian's case, 12,000 of lead) down deep under the boat that is resisting the heeling. 
  • Do ask to help, but don't be chagrined if your offer is declined.  Operating the boat, docking and anchoring become a fine-tuned science for boat owners - additional hands, inexperienced in the operation of this boat, may be more of a hindrance than a help.  This is especially true with docking, where unspoken (nay, subconscious!) teamwork is required.
  • Don't sit or stand on lines.  Especially on a sailboat, the free use of those lines may be needed at a moment's notice.
  • Do know how happy the boat family is to share the experience with you! Happy Sailing!
Does anyone want to add anything?



    Mike said...

    Very good post, Bob. I don't really have anything to add.

    bob said...

    Thanks Mike!

    Is ZTC set up so that you have the Owner's cabin in one hull and the guest berth in the other?


    Mike said...

    Yes, the two berths are identical, except that currently the guest berth is closer to a garage than a bedroom.

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