An Uncommon Hazard

Ajax

Super Anarchist
14,767
3,046
Edgewater, MD
This weekend, I participated in a very small, very casual race in Annapolis. My daughters crewed for me. We took 3rd place and the trophy was a nice bottle of Mt. Gay, which I let the girls have for their efforts.

Annapolis is an absolute fucking zoo. I assure you, these people are not feeling the pinch of fuel prices. The first thing I encountered, was motoring into the face of an entire fleet of enormous cigarette boats racing off to the beginnings of a Poker Run. This turned the harbor into a total washing machine. I couldn't even safely dock at the Eastport Yacht Club to pick up my kids. We did a sketchy handoff from one boat to my boat.

Here's the "uncommon hazard" - Someone has started up a parasailing business. The kind where the parachute is towed behind a power boat and passengers ride in a harness or chair. This asshole cut right across my path and nearly snagged his towline on my mast. The towline is Dyneema so it may as well have been steel cable. I glanced up at the Windex to check my course and trim and saw the line. No time to utter a word or explain anything, I bore away to port but the guy was tracing an arc around me. I managed to maneuver where the tow line passed over me at sufficient height to clear my VHF. I barely had enough speed to get away in time.

Now I know a lot of you will say that depth perception is very difficult to gauge correctly when looking up (such as when passing under a bridge) and I agree, but in the beginning, the tow line was in front of me enough that I was looking up and FORWARD and I knew we wouldn't clear the tow line if I stayed on course.

I called the boat operator and got him to talk to me on a working channel. I explained as calmly as I could, what had just happened and that he needed to think "three dimensionally" while towing passengers around sailboats with tall masts. He sounded very young and he definitely had that guilty sound to his voice. He knew exactly who I was and that he'd come too close to me.

It's only a matter of time before these clowns end up snagging one of the big charter schooners like Woodwind or Libertad while trying to give their passengers a thrilling view.
 

Israel Hands

Super Anarchist
2,865
1,628
coastal NC
That’s terrible. Someone could quickly go from expecting a 15-minute ride to spending life in a wheelchair from something like that…not to mention the risk to a sailboat owner if their rig got snagged. Who authorizes parasailing in a municipal area like that?
 

Steam Flyer

Sophisticated Yet Humble
44,107
9,535
Eastern NC
That’s terrible. Someone could quickly go from expecting a 15-minute ride to spending life in a wheelchair from something like that…not to mention the risk to a sailboat owner if their rig got snagged. Who authorizes parasailing in a municipal area like that?

Authorized?
 

Santanasailor

Charter Member. Scow Mafia
1,357
706
North Louisiana
After my little report from a few days ago, I still thought boat traffic was down from previous years on our little lake. However, this morning the Caney Lake Community Page on facebook was abuzz with fisherman complaining about wakeboard boats and jet skis, homeowners complaining about tubers,Wakeboard boats and fisherman and wakeboard boats complaining about not having enough calm water to do their woopsiedoos. Of course, everyone was complaining about the wakes that wakeboard boats make while fisherman were saying their boats make virtually no wakes as the blast out of coves at 80mph. (Our lakes coves are long and narrow, leaving little room for others.

Of course, the lone sailors on the lake, were safely on shore. Being retired, we stay off of the lake on the summer weekends. (Caney Creek Lake still has the best wind of any lake in North Louisiana which is why we live here and I am very surprised that large groups of people are not complaining enough about the government not doing enough to keep the wind calmer)
 
Last edited:

Diarmuid

Super Anarchist
3,562
1,577
Laramie, WY, USA
The parasiling boats are a real hazard on Catalina Island. There are three (3) companies operating in the same tiny area. They turn their loops right at the entrance to the Avalon fairway, creating a washing machine chop and not heeding boats trying to enter or exit. Like wakeboard or water ski boats, everyone on board is busy watching the towed person instead of where they are going or nearby boat traffic.
 

kinardly

Super Anarchist
And if you happen to be waiting for an inside mooring just outside Avalon harbor in Descanso Bay you are having one wild ride in all that chop. Descanso is bad enough with all the shoreboats running back and forth through the mooring field.
 

Marcjsmith

Super Anarchist
3,876
1,041
Washington DC
Ajax, come south to herring bay. Wide open, minimal power boats, no large anchored commercial vessels to get in the way....

Congrats on the podium finish.
 

kent_island_sailor

Super Anarchist
27,192
5,122
Kent Island!
Hey - here is an even more dangerous one - Going home from the Outer Banks, we were headed up the beach at 1,000 feet. At about the same time as I spotted a hang glider 1,000 feet ABOVE me one of my passengers asked what the jeep ahead of us with the big reel on it was doing :eek:
At 2-3 miles a minute the tow line was effectively invisible until you were right on it :mad:
 

Ajax

Super Anarchist
14,767
3,046
Edgewater, MD
Ajax, come south to herring bay. Wide open, minimal power boats, no large anchored commercial vessels to get in the way....

Congrats on the podium finish.
I normally sail south. This was an infrequent trip to Annapolis.

I used to love the place. There's just nothing there for me anymore. They'd rather cater to out of town tourists than people who actually live here year around.
 

kent_island_sailor

Super Anarchist
27,192
5,122
Kent Island!
I normally sail south. This was an infrequent trip to Annapolis.

I used to love the place. There's just nothing there for me anymore. They'd rather cater to out of town tourists than people who actually live here year around.
I still love the place. Get a mooring early, sit back with a drink, and you get absolutely endless entertainment. Everything that floats operated by skippers ranging from America's Cup veterans to blind drunk n00b idiots will be by at one point or another. Where else can you get these photos with a rum and coke next to you relaxing in the cockpit?
Not every town has free dinghy docks and showers either, it could be a lot worse.
I will admit that the hardware store turning into a crappy barbecue joint and Fawcetts moving away was sad. It used to be tying up at the City Dock put you in walking distance of doing major repairs, now not so much. I do also miss the days when the harbormaster was a lazy ass and didn't come out of the office on weekdays, I commuted to work by boat Mon-Fri and never paid to tie up ever :D

DSC_1921_01.JPG

DSC_1922_01.JPG

DSC_1924_01.JPG



So THAT'S why sailboats have right-of-way, they tack and shit like that :rolleyes:
 
Last edited:

2airishuman

The Loyal Opposition
Here's the "uncommon hazard" - Someone has started up a parasailing business. The kind where the parachute is towed behind a power boat and passengers ride in a harness or chair. This asshole cut right across my path and nearly snagged his towline on my mast. The towline is Dyneema so it may as well have been steel cable. I glanced up at the Windex to check my course and trim and saw the line. No time to utter a word or explain anything, I bore away to port but the guy was tracing an arc around me. I managed to maneuver where the tow line passed over me at sufficient height to clear my VHF. I barely had enough speed to get away in time.

I called the boat operator and got him to talk to me on a working channel. I explained as calmly as I could, what had just happened and that he needed to think "three dimensionally" while towing passengers around sailboats with tall masts. He sounded very young and he definitely had that guilty sound to his voice. He knew exactly who I was and that he'd come too close to me.
Same thing locally except that they don't listen to VHF 16. Assholes. They're running a low-margin business and give fuck all about other people on the water.

FYSA after applying my Google-fu I was unable to find any reports of serious accidents involving parasailing-sailboat interactions. I believe that the most likely outcome is that the encounter will scare the shit out of everyone involved without any serious damage or injury.
 

toddster

Super Anarchist
4,256
993
The Gorge
Dunno - almost any day in the summer, I get kites coming uncomfortably close to my mast. We have everything from struggling beginners to 12-year-old daredevils zooming along without looking for traffic. IDK how they don’t entangle each other every five minutes. Or get mown down by barge traffic more often. Motivates me to install one of those tactical nuclear stereo systems (Ride of the Valkyrie’s? ) or something.
 

kent_island_sailor

Super Anarchist
27,192
5,122
Kent Island!
Same thing locally except that they don't listen to VHF 16. Assholes. They're running a low-margin business and give fuck all about other people on the water.

FYSA after applying my Google-fu I was unable to find any reports of serious accidents involving parasailing-sailboat interactions. I believe that the most likely outcome is that the encounter will scare the shit out of everyone involved without any serious damage or injury.
IIRC, the parasailor tow line hooked a sailboat mast, the boat heeled way over dumping one or more people overboard, and the line then came loose again. Annapolis is the WRONG place to be doing this, kind of like renting Segways to ride on the beltway at rush hour.
 

sailman

Super Anarchist
8,320
436
Portsmouth, RI
Ajax, Your best bet would be to place a call to the local Coast Guard office. That boat driver is supposed to have a Coast Document to operate commercially so I am sure the CG would be interested in unsafe operation. I am also fairly confident that he has defined operating areas were he can take his passengers.
 




Top