Monday, March 26, 2007

Egmont, Manatee River & bad gas, nasty power boaters

Over the weekend, as planned, we took a sail out to Egmont Key. We had a great sail out there, but found the water a little too rough to anchor over night. We sailed on to the Manatee River, across Tampa Bay.
Just as we were approaching this second anchorage our engine died. Keith, or friend on the boat "No Name" towed us the rest of the way into the anchorage. We had a pleasant night at the anchorage. It was quite a bit cooler than it had been at the dock.
Sunday morning I got up and worked on the engine. I pulled the carb, broke it down and cleaned it. Once it was replaced, the engine started right up, but died after about 10 minutes, refusing to restart.
So...we sailed back to Pass-a-Grille where we met Keith, who had sailed on ahead of us. Once again, he had to tow us.
While Keith was towing us through the narrow channel leading to the Structure C drawbridge, dozens of power boats passed us at full speed, throwing huge wakes that bounced us around rather severely. Normally this is a real nuisance, but while under tow it is downright dangerous. As the wakes pass, the boats bounce and tumble at different rates and angles placing severe shock loads on the towline and the fittings to which it is attached. On a couple of occasions yesterday, the power boats passed so close to us that we were almost swamped by the wake.
I'm not sure what these idiots think as they pass a boat under tow. It seems that 95% of power boaters are either arrogant SOB's or just plain stupid. (This is not aimed at that VERY small minority who actually slowed down as they passed us - Thank you!)
A reminder to all power boaters - you are ALWAYS responsible for any damage caused by your wake. When you see a boat in tow, slow down. If you cause any damage, you WILL be sued.
Inland Waterway Navigation Rules:
Rule 34 (c)(i) "a power driven vessel intending to overtake another power driven vessel shall indicate her intention by the following signal on her whistle: one short blast to mean " I intend to overtake you on your starboard side"; two short blasts to mean "I intend to overtake you on your port side."
Not one of the power boats we encountered yesterday used any signal of any sort to tell us of their intention.
(When we were in the Tenn-Tom waterway, almost every boat that passed us followed the rules, usually by calling us on the radio. Not like the idiots around here.)
Inland Waterway Navigation rules:
Rule 18 (a)
A power driven vessel underway shall keep out of the way of:
(i)a vessel not under command
(ii)a vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver

And Rule 3

The term Vessels restricted in their ability to maneuver shall include but not be limited to
(vi) a vessel engaged in a towing operation such as severly restricts the towing vessel and her tow in their ability to deviate from their course.

Of course, who ever heard of a power boater reading, let alone understanding the navigation rules?
Yesterday we were lucky. Lucky that Keith was available to tow us (Thanks Keith) and lucky that we suffered no damage from the idiots who populate the waters here.
Any landing you walk away from is a good landing.

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