1. As­sess

Yachting Monthly - - EXPERT ON BOARD -

Un­der­stand­ably, we didn’t want any­one out­side us. At dusk, a big­gish yacht with three guys on board asked to raft up. Feel­ing grumpy, I said that’d be OK but that we’d be leav­ing very early. So were they, it seemed, and I knuck­led down to help­ing with their lines. My heart warmed a lit­tle when I learned they had made an im­prob­a­bly long, fast pas­sage and had not eaten a bite all day. I looked at their high­per­for­mance, light­weight cruiser and com­pared my own heav­ier craft with her bul­let-proof cleats. ‘For­get shore­lines,’ I said, to their ob­vi­ous re­lief. ‘Lie on mine tonight and we’ll leave to­gether.’ Just then, my wife ap­peared with three tum­blers con­tain­ing the big­gest whisky macs I had ever seen. By the time the glasses were dry the world for all of us was a bet­ter place. I haven’t al­ways been so open-handed and I vowed then and there to im­prove my act. We had cards from them this Christ­mas. So how do we make the best of raft­ing up and rub along hap­pily with our fel­low sailors? If the har­bour­mas­ter tells you to raft to a cer­tain boat, that’s usu­ally that. Turn up, an­nounce yourself po­litely and get on with it. Oth­er­wise, pro­ceed as fol­lows: Take a re­al­is­tic look at the options. When there’s a surge run­ning, no­body is go­ing to want you along­side scuff­ing their gel­coat. If you must raft up de­spite this, chose a boat that doesn’t look too pris­tine. If a strong stream is run­ning, opt for a raft whose shore­lines are do­ing their job and keep­ing things more or less in line. Don’t park on the end of a drift­ing raft. Ide­ally, choose the raft with the fewest boats and one whose outer ves­sel is at least as large as yours.

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