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Posted by Jon on 14 August 2019 - 06:12 PM
Posted by Black Panther on 21 May 2018 - 02:59 PM
I was asked for this in another thread. Flame away.
First this is about cruising, racing is a whole nuther story. And since the majority of long distance cruisers are either couples or short handed that’s what I’ll focus on.
So a few generalised thoughts about cruising in the strong stuff:
Do not be in a hurry. It is often said the most dangerous thing on a boat is a calendar and it is true.
Learn to navigate. The overwhelming majority of boats lost are lost through human error and the vast majority of them through nav error. It is actually quite rare for a boat to be overwhelmed by wind and wave
Which brings up another point: the wind will not hurt you, the waves will. A good example is one of the best days sailing I’ve had was in the Gulf of Tehuantepec. The predominant wind is off the beach at 50kn. For days on end. After a few days waiting I got bored and we left anyway. Storm jib and a deep reef, Solid 45kn plus but 100m off the beach on a beam reach that slowly went aft. Great sail in flat water at full speed.
But the waves normally are associated with the wind so we talk about heavy weather rather than big wave sailing.
Here’s another idle thought. I often hear harbour racers claim they “haven’t reefed in 20 years”. Well at sea you will reef sooner than around the coast because of the sea conditions so if you haven’t reefed in years get out there and start practicing.
The whole point of your tactics should be to preserve the crew in the best condition you can at all times. That will often mean slowing down. There’s nothing wrong with heaving to to do the dishes or cook a meal. At sea you only have the resources contained by your toerail and the most critical are the crew. Take all the time you need to sleep, make sure you poop in the first 24 hrs, eat if you are hungry, never become dehydrated. If you are vulnerable take steps before you leave to deal with seasickness.
So let’s define what we are talking about.
Up to 28 kn winds – normal sailing.
28 – 38kn wind – heavy weather, but easily handled by any well equipped offshore cruiser. You’ll probably have stopped sailing and be sitting it out.
38 – 50kn , this is getting serious and as well as sitting it out you are thinking of special techniques to orient your boat to the waves.
At around 60 kn you are in survival mode and anything over 70 kn is scary as hell and there’s a chance you won’t come home, but taking the right steps earlier will improve your chances.
Downwind the tactics are easy. Drop sail if you are going too fast. Start at the back of the boat, i.e. drop the mizzen, then the main, then the jib. There have been three well reported deaths lately from mainsheets crossing the cockpit. Get the main down early. When you get to bare poles kick the drogue over – more on that later.
Upwind your tactics will be different to downwind. Somewhere around 30kn I stop sailing upwind and heave to. If you haven’t tried this before you will be astounded. I have gone from being beaten bloody at 6kn to thinking I was at the marina when down below. If you get nothing else from this essay, go out and practice heaving to (you can practice in under 30 kn, just use a bit more sail). When hove to have some food and a hot drink and get into your bunk where you can read or sleep. (your bunk will have a secure comfortable lee cloth right?) Stick your head out occasionally to make sure conditions haven’t worsened or that a ship isn’t going to run you down. The worst storm I have been in we were all below and totally unaware that a front had gone through with a 90 deg windshift and a LOT more wind till we woke up on the ceiling.
How do you heave to? The classic was to back the jib against the main. I believe that with nearly all modern boats this won’t work. Old boats had full keels and full forefoots (forefeet?). With a fin feel and a sloop rig the force on the jib will push the bow down until you are fore reaching (bad) or beam on to the seas (very bad). With a modern rig and a cutaway forefoot you can simply drop the headsail (roll it up if that’s what you have), then pull the traveller to windward and sheet the main in hard. The main will push the bow to weather, but the boat shouldn’t have enough way on to tack , if it does then shorten the main. Lash the helm to leeward (Whatever happened to tiller combs?? I’ll look for a photo, they are cool). The goal is to come to a stop with the apparent wind about 40 -60 off the bow. You’ll probably be slipping sideways at ½ to 1kn, that’s perfect, but you want zero boatspeed.
As I said – learn this. Practice. Next time you are out on the gulf roll up the jib, strap the main in, lash the helm and go have a cup of tea. I can’t emphasize this enough.
As the wind increase and the boat tries to fore reach keep shortening the sail area. Eventually you will have just the trysail strapped to the weather quarter. This should take you up to some seriously strong wind in comfort. In the Cav I had to give up and try the next trick at around 60kn. You could sail around the world three times and never see that.
When you can’t keep the boatspeed off even with that rig it is time to do the next thing. At this point you can turn and run, I would use bare poles and a drogue. This has the advantage of also being my choice of “ultimate survival technique”.
If you really don’t want to go the wrong way, either coz you’re a blockhead or you don’t have sea room a sea anchor might be a better bet. Unfortunately most cruisers don’t have the capacity for both. I choose a drogue. I know others who choose a sea anchor. I have always found the drogue painless to set and retrieve which swings it for me.
I like the Jordan series drogue. The idea is to keep a bit of way on (my best guess about 60% of your theoretical hull speed. This means you can steer a very little bit. But more importantly you take the sting out of the waves. I have never been rolled, broached or pooped while using a drogue. I have been in conditions where we were regularly surfing at
insane speeds (bare poles on a P38) and broaching at the bottom of the waves. After streaming the drogue that just plain stopped. We were able to clean up, have some food and get into our bunks.
So when I joke about climbing into my bunk and putting a pillow over my head it isn’t really a joke. Keep yourself warm, dry, rested and fed. You and your crew are the boats greatest resource so you need to look after yourself.
Don’t be in a hurry to get somewhere.
Study navigation properly (the instructions for your chart plotter don’t count)
Practice heaving to, learn the joy of simply stopping.
One of my favourite stories is of a couple who took 29 days to do a 1,000 mile passage. I asked what took so long. They said they would always heave to at night and sleep, then get up in the morning and decide whether or not to continue sailing, which they did about every second day.
Or the delivery skipper who was presumed dead when 30 days overdue from Gibraltar to the UK. When he eventually turned up he explained that he was disappointed with the boats leaky decks so he hove to after three days and spent 20 days re caulking the deck. Then continued in a dry boat.
Posted by lizalonzi on 24 August 2019 - 06:28 PM
Am one of two women in the regular 8.5 fleet here in Auckland. We were the only boat to go out today (gusting high 30's). Took great pleasure in telling the other crews to woman up and stop being a bunch of a boys 😉
And if you know me, you'll know those comments were dripping in love and sarcasm. Equality for all! What's between your legs has zero impact on how you sail a boat!! (I can't believe I have to explain this to some people!)
Posted by Chrisc on 13 July 2019 - 07:56 AM
Little by little we begin to gain an understanding of the finer nuances of canal life, mainly to do with correcting things that we thought we knew. Canallers are a tight little community, and one rife with rumours and in this regard I should correct a statement in an earlier post where I'd heard that we were in the twilight of the canals, the network being too expensive to maintain. We found our way to the canal authority website and to a published statement of intent going forward. This in essence states that the canals are regarded as a national treasure and will be upgraded, starting with the ones carrying commercial traffic. The Moselle upgrade has already been completed, so that's good.
Canal boaters can be divided into two categories - the owners and the renters. And the renters can be further subdivided. The first group will be older, generally a couple and have been renting canal boats for years and are very experienced so no problems there. The second group are younger, generally four to six on board and you want to keep your yardarm well clear of that lot. Fortunately the rental companies have large stocks of those silly white captain's hats with the black peak and lots of gold braid and which for some reason appeal to the novices so when you see one of the mad hatters coming at you it's move as close to the side of the canal as you can and hope for the best. Amongst the owners we have only met a handful of long time motorboaters. A good 90% are washed up yachties who have moved to putterboats for reasons of age, health etc. Owners are invariably couples and operate their boat with the man on the helm and the woman on deck handling the lines, same as we do. Every once in a while you will see this situation reversed, woman on the helm etc, and for sure when you talk to them they will turn out to be ex commercial barge owners now retired after having spent their entire working lives as owner operators of a 60, 70, 80 metre barges. This canal life gets into the blood. I wonder if retired truck drivers take up campervanning?
Prior to entering the Ardennes we spent quite some time around Verdun for the cycling. This was superb. The area is somewhat hilly but it's an unfortunate fact that if you want scenic countryside then you need hills, but the inclines were relatively gentle. France does not have cycle ways to the same extent that Holland does but it's back country roads are almost deserted and with a asphalt surface so great for the bicycle, even the little 20inch wheel folder uppers that we have. But we did have a little trouble with the maps. In NZ maps are pretty good but in France. ... we think that if the cartographer here thinks that it would be really handy to have a road joining this point to that, well he just draws one in. Consequently we did get lost a bit including deep in the forest where we had to resort to following dried up stream beds and what we thought to be old firebreaks to find our way out again. Joke thought it was great but she's more adventurous than me.
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There are numerous small villages in the Verdun area and like our small villages each one has a memorial to the war dead in the village square. There are also innumerable small cemeteries for the war dead. This whole area was the scene of heavy fighting in WW.1 and it appears that wherever there was a skirmish, that's where the fallen were buried. This is a small German cemetery sandwiched between a couple of farms. Perhaps 300 crosses, two names to a cross. The allied cemetary is a kilometre away. It seems a pity that not even in death could they bring themselves to say that all men are brothers and inter them together.
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Concerning the little villages, we finally understand what's going on. A typical village will have perhaps two dozen houses, most with adjoining large barns or else built on top of barns. There will be a village square, a grandiose church and an equally grandiose council building, a cafe/bar, and not a soul to be seen. These are farmers villages. The farmers live in the villages and not on their farms. Given the average dairy farm in France milks around 30 - 50 cows with an acreage to match it would seem to make sense to do it this way, giving the farmer the backup of a little community instead of isolation farmers experience on our huge farms in NZ. But hopelessly inefficient in terms of production of course.
And finally, got to say a word about berthage. This is a typical small berth outside a village, this one 12m long. It's an aluminium floating pontoon (the water levels in the canals do vary) and joined to the shore via the walkway. Ashore there are rubbish bins and water. Some have electricity. These piers are everywhere ranging in size from 1 to 10 boats. And they are free, stay as long as you want, and even in the high season there will always be room for you. Having read the grumbles on the forum about Westhaven and other marinas it just astounds me the way that boaters are treated here and the services that are provided for what is a minority activity.
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Posted by Jon on 25 March 2019 - 01:31 PM
Posted by geoff-halo on 25 February 2018 - 09:35 PM
In Karori Rip heading home to Wellington.
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Posted by Neil on 12 June 2019 - 09:49 AM
At the end of May I was part of the crew helping to deliver a Farr1104 (Close Encounters) up to Tonga. The owner has now headed off around the islands for the season while I, unfortunately, had to fly back to the NZ winter. Having been back for a few days I've made a couple of videos of our trip and thought I'd post them here if anyone was interested in seeing a little bit of our experience on the big blue yonder.
Posted by DrWatson on 07 June 2019 - 11:33 PM
Was pretty nice weather over in Brittany, but still quite chilly in the evenings - around 9-12C in the mornings. Glad the boat has a heater (Eberspacher D4).
Boat was mint. Commissioning took the best part of a week and a bit, primarily related to some custom extras taking a little longer to sort out (watermaker was faulty - hairline crack - so sent back to factory; Solar to Li battery setup somewhat tricky), me taking ages to put the child-catching netting all round the boat (what a pain in the ar$e!) and that Christina and the little one had quite bad ear infections for the whole first week which resulted in some pretty careful lounging around at the marina. Not really sailing conducive health.
Consequently the first week saw a total of 2-3h sailing wherein we simply tested the functionality of all sailing systems and running gear etc. Set up the NKE AP, tested AIS etc. (now visible on Marine traffic), and read a huge pile of manuals and documentation.
One thing I noticed though, is that with the Code0 and a full main, on a 12-14knt beam reach, the helm is perfectly balanced to the point of being able to let it go. The boat just tracks on not wavering - best not to fall in...
Wednesday week ago, we took our leave of St Marine (check google maps) at 11:40 and beat out up to Penmarch, 16-19knt W by WSW. Up to 8.5knts over the water just slightly cracked off (48°T) for comfort. Around Penmarch, things got a little more exciting, as the forecasted 12-14 increased to 22-27 over the deck, threw in a reef, furled the jib and changed down to the Stays'l. Bore away a touch and made for the Raz with wind about 50-55°T. Seas were relatively uncomfortable as we bucked an outgoing tide (2.5knts) pushing up to Raz-de-Sien. Slow going and although not the most comfortable weather it was also not the worst and we needed to be in Brest relatively soon, so couldn't really wait another day for perfect weather.
Wee lad succumbed to the uncomfortable ride at about 13:00, returning his lunch all over the saloon. Christina went below to take over from me, and promptly succumbed to the motion and the smell (first time ever seasick) - spent the next 8h puking... ouch...
Bore away to about 120-130T going through the Raz de Sien, by now with a 1-2knt tide with us, having timed our passage to take advantage of the ebb to flood "slack". And with 22-24knts of breeze sat nicely on 12 knts boat speed sliding North to anchor for the night in Camaret-sur-Mer at about 23:00 in the very last bit of light, using our spotlight to avoid anchoring on top of any crab pots laid in the anchorage. Ryobi ONE+ spotlight, insanely powerful.
Lounged around in Camaret-sur-Mer for a couple of days then caught the flood and a 10knt westerly for the 10 miles into Brest harbour where we hauled out for dry storage until mid July.
Then drove 1200km home - never again.
- Commissioning a boat from new is hard work.
- The heater is awesome.
- Sitting around at anchor we use about 20% battery capacity in 24h. While sailing on AP with AIS and Plotter running that goes out to 25-30% for 24h with 12h sailing. Li Battery charges from 65-100% in about 30 min motoring (enough to warm up, get out of the marina and diddle around hoisting the main for the first time.
- Kiddy safe netting is a pain in the butt
- In marinas with a lot of current and wind gusts you can NEVER have enough fenders
- Dodger is friggin brilliant
- Boat is easy to sail fast
Posted by Adrianp on 26 April 2018 - 04:28 PM
Thought its about time to our new (to us) boat, Lady Nada, a Lavranos 44 sailing cat. She's a homebuilt foam and glass cat that was built in Port Waikato in 2007 and we're her third owners as of 6 weeks ago. She's had a busy life with 5 trips to the islands in her life already.
Its been a busy 6 weeks as we brought her on the hard in Whangarei and have been flat out getting her sorted to head off to the islands this winter. We relaunched her just before Easter and having to trying to use her as much as possible since then. Having her 10min away from home at Bayswater Marina is much better that 2hrs to Whangarei!
Our plan is to head off to Tonga in early June, so its a pretty rushed program to get the boat ready but being such a well travelled boat, its just a case of "fix whats broken and make sure everything works" rather than taking on any "improvement projects".
Our blog is here if anyone is interested - https://sailingladynada.wordpress.com/
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Posted by Chrisc on 11 April 2018 - 03:32 PM
In a couple of days The Keeper of the Purse and I are off to Holland to begin what we suspect to be the final chapter of our not very illustrious boating career.
We have a short-list of 11 - 12m motor cruisers to look at from which we will select one with the intention going forward of spending 6 months in NZ and 6 months on the inland waterways of Europe, mainly in France.
We are looking forward to it very much but I would be telling big porkies if I said it was not without a considerable degree of trepidation, I don't know why, but I expect its an old age thing. This canal boating business has been an on again off again affair, mainly off again, for the last few years because we kept running into what appeared to be insurmountable problems. As a minor example, a roaming cellphone is just too expensive for 6 month so we thought to buy a plan from a cellphone services provider in Europe. But in order to sign up with a cellphone network you need a bank account. And in order to open a bank account you need a permanent address. And in order to have a permanent address you need to be registered with the local council, and in order to register you need to have permanent residence status... etc.etc. You get the picture. And everything is like that.
But thankfully the Keeper of the Purse, time to reveal her real name, Joke (truly) made an executive decision committing us to the project and over the last weeks has spent literally hundreds of hours on the computer reducing beauracratic mountains to molehills in a truly incredible display of unrelenting tenacity, helped no doubt by the fact that she is Dutch, multi lingual and very stubborn. I always knew that my investment in her would pay off one day, although my involvement with the Dutch is a family affair. For many years my ancestors used to go viking down the coast of Holland, pillaging and carrying off the women although in my case I didn't steal anything and I did invite her nicely aboard my ship to go sailing.
So thanks to Joke, we think we know enough to get this business up and running. I have completed my CEVNI which seems to be a requirement for operating a boat on the inland waterways, I have upgraded my vhf license to the MSROC standard and I have my ICC for inland and coastal waters. I am not sure if all this studying was required but Joke made me do it. If there's one thing that annoys me about Joke, actually there'd lot of things that annoy me about Joke but her being a real stickler for doing things properly is right up there near the top of the list. So, needed or not, we are all systems go.
And finally, I need to acknowledge the invaluable help I have received on this forum, particularly with my interminable questions relating to diesel engines, gearboxes etc as we struggle to make the transition from a real boat to a mechanically propelled one. And in regard to help received I am particularly indebted to Matt aka Island Time for providing me with a motor boat and crew in which to do the practical elements of the ICC exam.
As a future motor boater I am probably continuing on this sailing forum under false pretenses, but neither do I want to go - you're and oddball lot but I feel very much at home here so I guess I must be one too. So if you see any value in it, I would like to contribute the odd post and pictures of canal life as it happens now and then, good, bad, warts and all.
Posted by Vorpal Blade on 12 November 2017 - 05:01 PM
Got 10 boats towed back into the environment before 10:30 this morning, waited until tide came in, floated off the cradle and went to the mooring only to find it had become an ecosystem all of its own in the last 5 months - there was so much weed growing on it I couldn't pull it up. After an hour of cutting/slashing I made it through to the bridle.
Here we all are sitting on cradles waiting for the tide to come in....
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Posted by Tim C on 29 October 2015 - 06:59 PM
Pulse xtc in the PIC Coastal Classic 2015.
We got a good right hand side start, but conservatively didn’t put an extra on, thinking it was going to be a long uphill race, and we didn’t want the sail on the tramp. After North head we were quickly on a powered up two sail reach, Pulse feeling powered up and fast. Ben on the mainsheet, Kushila trimming the jib, and me picking the line between boats. By Tiri passage we felt like we were amongst good company, with lots of big black sails around us.
Kawau Island went past in two and a half hours; a much better time than we expected with the breeze being slightly more Westerly than forecast.
But by Omaha Bay the breeze swung around on the nose, and felt shifty and unstable. We tacked in on every shift to stay lift close to the shore. We had three Open 8.5s around us, and Pulse was going well upwind in the light against them, much to every ones surprise!
Just off Whangarei the breeze went Westerly again, and we were reaching straight into the Northerly chop, crashing through the waves. Eventually we got the screacher up, but no sooner than that happened and it had to come down again.
It was great to have some nice hot food, and coffees and soups through the night. Have to feel sorry for the boats not taking cookers!
Nighttime was like a semi blind folded game of chess. Really a beautiful night, with the moon glowing through the Mylar sails, and dolphins occasionally playing in the bow waves.
Mostly our tactics went well, but one tack into shore at the wrong time, straight into a hole in the breeze, and it looked like the whole local fleet sailed past.
By dawn the wind had increased, and we were down to staysail and one reef, crashing into the choppy seas. As the light increased, I realised all was not well with our mainsail; the head was not attached to the car. So off Whangamumu down came the mainsail. We realised it was just the webbing, so a quick re lashing and we were back sailing. But not long after it happened again. On dropping the main we could see the alloy top car had broken. Sail slug had to be dropped out of the mast track, the head car exchanged, lashed again to the head ring and re hoisted. A fair loss of sense of humour by the skipper by this time.
We headed out to sea on port with the rain setting in and the North Island disappearing in the murk, while expecting the strong Northerly change. Not wanting to sheet the main on for fear of damage, we took it gently, but the wind built for us to perhaps 35 knots. So we changed right down to three reefs and storm jib. Tacking back in we still weren’t laying the Brett, and the wind started easing. So the jibs were changed again, and two of the main sail reefs shaken out.
Past Piercy Island at 1200, which meant two hours to the finish cut off. Sheeted on the tight reach we were only doing five knots, and needed to be doing eight. So I figured the safest place for the damaged head car was at the top of the mast, supported by the halyard. So up went the mainsail to the top of the mast. Past Whale rock and the wind freed and increased. We all were concentrating hard to trim and get the best speed from the boat, as we counted down the time on distance, which was very marginal. But a fast reach saw us close the finish with all of eight minuted to spare. It was great to hear the cheering from the finish boat, and horns sounding ashore!
After 28 hours of racing, it was great to get out of the wet gear, have a quick drink, and go to bed for a couple of hours!
Thanks again to my great crew of Kushila and Ben, a splendid effort to get us across the finish line.
Thanks also to the organisers at NZMYC for putting together a very well organised race. Watching the tracker later was fascinating. Thanks too to PIC insurance, and Musto for the great prizes!
I wouldn’t have said so on Sunday, but roll on next years race!
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Posted by Puff on 27 October 2015 - 09:35 PM
Sundreamer last sailed the Coastal Classic in 2010 having been moved to Whitianga in May that year. She sat there pretty much unused for 5 years and while not deteriorating as such, lack of use was starting to show. In the meantime I sat out 2 Coastals doing race work as the HSBC sponsorship had come to an end and we needed all hands to the tools. Then 2 years racing Wild Oats to a 3rd and 4th online and 2nd and 1st on hcp in division. Just before Christmas last year I decided I'd had enough of leaner sailing and decided to bring Sundreamer back to Auckland. It took a fair chunk of the Christmas break to put her back together and then she returned to Auckland in February. We did a few races testing limits and introducing my Wild Oats crew to multihull sailing. A few broken tired halyards and some sail work was needed (thanks Radar and Evolution) and a good haulout saw her all fit for Coastal.
We got to the start early and watched the other fleets get away. Decided to go for the Code0 as it is on a fuller and would make the transition to #Genoa easy. Got a great start and gave North Head a good clearance. All was sweet, we sat alongside Giacomo equalling her in pace to Rangi Light until it lightened and she pulled away. All was straight forward to Kawau.
Then a wind shear arrived which saw boats only a few metres apart separate into 2 fleets. Charleston, Taeping, Sundreamer and BeauGest got lifts up and past Cape Rodney. Giacomo and Dragon got forced out to Little Barrier. You can see this in Photo 1
The 4 of us continued to lift up towards Bream Tail until it got light and BeauGest and Us decided to peel out to sea before Sail Rock. We had already gone to a small reacher and then the #2 jib. Charleston ahead Taeping and KiaKaha worked the light shifts up towards Whangarei, the little boat able to keep moving best. Photo 2 shows the paths of inshore and offshore boats.
We came together again at Whangarei heads, Charleston and Giacomo locked together ahead where they remained until the end. Taeping, BeauGest Kiakaha and us a long way back after quite different paths.
From there to Cape Bret it was a matter of picking shifts and staying between the light wind, flat water of the inshore and the windier/rougher conditions out to sea. We short tacked up the middle. Taeping and BeauGest took bolder paths and both came unstuck. First BeauGest (Photo3) and then Taeping (Photo4)
We rounded Cape Brett with BeauGest just behind but they rolled us across to Red Head in the light. Taeping was well astern but still dangerous.
After Red Head the breeze built and in Sundreamers sweet spot we took off, rounding Tapeka well ahead of both. We set the Code0 for the run to the finish. The Gennaker would have been better and BeauGest closed up but was never going to catch us.
The conditions suited us and we can only count ourselves lucky in that respect. These condition only come around ever 7 years or so. Light or running conditions would see us struggle. We carried full main throughout. Broke nothing had no moments. Sail selection was fine and if we had to sail it again would not have changed anything. The crew transitioned fine from the 930 and we had a couple of experienced hands on board.
And we were first NZ built boat, by a long way. Maybe someone needs to come up with a prize for first NZ built or designed (or both). As my French crewman pointed out, the first 3 yachts were French and the 4th had a French Chef
Here are the pics. Charleston is Yellow, Taeping Green, Sundreamer Red, BeauGest Light Blue, KiaKaha Brown, Dragon Green, Giacomo Dark Blue
Posted by Elenya on 01 August 2019 - 03:43 PM
My favourite example of peoplles perspective was a person who called to complain about the behaviour of a commercial boat which had passed him a few meters at away, at speed and at night. Sounded very concerning until I ilicited from him that he was laying a set net in the shipping channel, at night, with no lights on his boat, and he was faced over the back of his boat feeding the net out at the time and not keeping a lookout. He was adamant the commercial vessel was at fault.
He hung up on me when I asked if he wanted to provided his name, address, and details so I could take the strong enforcement action he was demanding to be applied to the guilty party.
Hopefully he had a think about it. Interestingly the commercial vessel had already reported a near miss with an unlit vessel in the channel at night.