November 14, 2010

Ready to charter? (2)

HERE'S PART 2 of the 5-part, 10-question quiz for would-be charterers.


3. You’re on a beam reach under full sail in open water with plenty of sea room when you notice a line of fast-approaching, low, rolling cloud. It looks dark, almost black, but you can see sunshine and calm sea behind it, so you know that whatever it is, it definitely won’t last more than 10 or 15 minutes.

Should you:

(a) Furl the foresail and double-reef the main?

(b) Hold your course and, if it starts to blow, spill wind from the mainsail for the duration of the squall?

(c) Hold your course and run dead downwind for the duration of the squall?


4. In open water you spot a disreputable-looking sailboat about two miles to windward. You can’t make out whether there’s anybody on board, but you think you hear a gunshot. Sure enough, about a minute later, you hear another. And about a minute later (but not exactly a minute) definitely another gunshot.

What’s going on?

(a) They’re drug runners warning you to keep well clear.

(b) It’s a family squabble and you’d do well not to get mixed up in it.

(c) They’re in distress and asking for your immediate assistance.


3(a). This is a line squall, capable of blowing very hard and doing a lot of damage in a short time. Spilling wind could allow the mainsail to flog and rip. Running downwind could result in a wild uncontrolled broach or dangerous jibe. Always play it safe and keep the boat under tight control.

4(c) It’s the very first distress signal listed in the international and inland regulations for preventing collisions: “A gun or other explosive signal fired at intervals of about a minute.” (It could also be a family squabble, of course, depending on the neighborhoods you frequent, so be cautious if you approach to lend help.)

Today’s Thought
After the verb “to love,” “to help” is the most beautiful verb in the world!
— Baroness von Suttner, Ground Arms

Boaters’ Rules of Thumb, #120
Reading the tropical waters. Dark blue water means deep water, 20 fathoms or more. Vivid blue-green is the color of the coral sand covering a flat expanse of reef with 4 to 6 feet of water over it. Dark brown indicates coral heads. Brown or yellow indicates reefs with 3 or 4 feet of water over them. White means beach sand. You’re probably already aground.

Two inmates of a mental home were strolling in the grounds with a nurse when a passing pigeon dropped something white on the coat of one of the men.
“Wait here a minute,” said the nurse, “and I’ll fetch a tissue.”
The man turned to his friend. “She’s nuts,” he said, “by the time she gets back that pigeon will be miles away.”

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