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251. Top Tips Tuesday - Etiquette

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As a 'proper' bricks and mortar chandlery (with, however, a very strong online presence www.marinechandlery.com established some forty odd years ago, I must have seen it all. Young children chasing their little/bigger sister/brother round a tower of 3 litre special offer antifouling tins, Tarquin picking up shackles and placing them back on a different peg, Sparrow playing hide and seek in the clothing, older guys calling in with a 1/2 eaten hot Greggs pasty in their hand or young ‘adults’  carrying open cans of pop or something a little stronger 'just browsing in the clothing' and sometimes if it's a really hot day it can be a topless (slightly plump) male, with a handkerchief or a back to front base ball cap providing essential UV protection to his bald head!  As probably one of the few UK chandleries with carpet tiles for an awful lot of the chandlery floor, Andy's heart can flip when he gets one of the local commercial fishermen in looking for a replacement Jabsco impeller wearing a pair of very oily steel work boots, buying the correct one then stepping off the vinyl flooring and proceeding to do a walkabout over the tiles! As for mobile phone conversations that start up when you are 1/2 way through serving the recipient! Having got all the above off my chest I must confess the above sign did catch my eye when out enjoying a holiday in Mogan a harbour/marina village in Gran Canaria with Jenny, our two daughters, their husbands and the three grand children! Speaking of children one of the best things we ever did was to put an activity centre in the clothing area of the chandlery, now at least whilst the adults browse, the kids behave themselves till they have to go, and then all hell lets loose as they want to stay and play!

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Many many years ago when I first started on a sailmaking career at Musto & Hyde, as it was called in those days, every weekend we used to travel cross country from Benfleet in Essex to race International 14s at Itchenor sailing club on the river Itchen near Southampton. Two young green Geordie lads Peter, my crew, and I joined the club as 'probationers' or similar and very soon told that it was considered 'not on' to wear leather shoes on the dinghy park planking by the late great sailing legend Stuart Morris and that on the other side of the wall one had to be suitably dressed if taking afternoon tea on the lawn! Years later sailing at the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club I can also recollect being bawled at by the Wednesday night race officer for crossing the starting line of the evening race with a red ensign still flying on the stern, fortunately I wasn't at the helm at the time. If I had been, perhaps an involuntary trip to the committee? Years later when I decided to build a yacht and go cruising I quickly found (more likely was told) a little bit about flag etiquette at the marina at Mogan, Gran Canaria, where we used to moor our old Hunter.  Spanish, Danish, Dutch & I am ashamed to say Red Ensigns were left flying 24/7 and of course the occasional Spanish courtesy flags on the starboard flag halyard!

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As time went by I decided to go 'upmarket,' applied and was accepted by the warrant officer of the RNYC to fly and I quote 'their blue ensign defaced by the club badge' on Hindsight, our current yacht. As a reaction to that I have now become a little bit more careful or concerned (Jenny calls it pedantic) about letting the side down, so the little Reeds Maritime Flag Handbook has been a godsend in trying to keep me on the straight and narrow! If in doubt I look it up, however I must admit that a couple of times the ensignhas been left flying after its bedtime, skipper must have been indisposed having drunk a tumbler or two of dodgy gin! This little gem of a book is the perfect on-board pocket-sized reference for all the maritime flags of the world and their usage. It includes chapters on what flag goes where and when, types of flags, signal flags, special ensigns, yacht club burgees, international maritime flags and most importantly legal requirements. On the back of this excellent publication is the following text: "Anyone who has ever put to sea wondering about the different types of flag flown, how they are made up, and the dos and don'ts as well as the traditions and myths of flying flags should find this a fascinating and useful handbook."

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‘Happy Hooking’, that excellent book on anchoring by Alex & Daria Blackwell, has helped me sleep better at anchor however in part 6 of this publication ‘Hooking Rules’  there are some very useful words on Anchoring Etiquette including the ‘Top Ten Rude Behaviours’ that show disrespect and breach of etiquette in an anchorage!

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Why not purchase both books and if you do so we will throw in a top quality leather bookmark worth £3-95 printed with either the code flags or numerals.image

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