If you’ve been watching the countdown timer, you’ll know that it’s not long before we take ownership of our new yacht. Things happen quickly since she will no longer be able to stay at her current berth. We have a new berth, but, still, there’s a lot of things to do. So today was running around on errands to get the things we could for the 30-ish mile journey from her current berth to her new one, where she’ll be as we deal with all the things required by insurance and coast guard and us. Only once those things are dealt with will she be moved again for fun sailing.
After running around today and coming up short on a number of things, we (Anne and I) returned to a house that is upended as we organize what we’re moving onto Opus immediately for the refit: tools, supplies, etc. But today was a day to learn something new. After running errands, today was spent making a flag. Ok, not the most essential thing to do, but there isn’t a lot more that we can do until we can get onto the ship.
I’ve never really done sewing before, so this was an interesting experience. From knowing nothing, I had to engineer how I want the flag to behave. It was, fortunately, a fairly easy flag to design in terms of graphical elements.
The crazy thing is that this flag might never be needed by us. It’s flown at the starboard spreader to indicate you wish “free practique”. In essence, you fly it from the time you enter a foreign country’s waters, until such time as you are cleared through customs and into the country, at which time you remove the signal flag and hoist the courtesy ensign (flag) of the country you are visiting.
Flag etiquette has a long past and many traditions. The flag of the country in which your vessel is registered goes at the stern. The courtesy flag of the country you are visiting goes at the starboard spreader (unless that spot is taken by the “Quarantine” flag asking for entry). At the top of the mast goes your club’s burgee (basically your club’s flag). Other flags may go on the port spreader or underneath the courtesy flag, mostly, unless you’re fully dressing in which case there may be flags on the forestay, flacks on the aft stay, flags on the stern, flags at the masthead, flags on the starboard and port spreaders, etc.
Anyway, one of our stops was at a marine supply store where they had never heard of this flag stuff. It’s a little demoralizing to see. Meanwhile, in an online forum, there is an “instructor” who was insisting, incorrectly, about one of the rules for collision avoidance despite the rule stating quite literally the opposite. I realize that anyone can make a mistake, but afterwards the person basically retreated into, “well, that’s the way it SHOULD be.” He may be correct (though it’s debatable) about how it should be, but as an instructor it’s important to thoroughly know and teach the way that it is currently, especially when it comes to the basics of how to avoid hitting another boat.
I’ve also started putting together the organizing documents for the race team that I wish to put together for our new boat. That’s going to be a whole headache itself, and we’ll see if there are any people that are “takers” about it.