The Art of Rafting and Happy Houring
By Past Commodore Don Becker
As the springtime comes about, thoughts of sailors turn to the important topic of rafting and happy hours. Now you say "What is there to know about happy hours?, go to someone else's boat, drink their wine & then go home & go to sleep". Well, that is pretty much it, but there are a few things to remember about these gatherings as we go into the new sailing season. Lets start with rafting.
- When approaching a club raft, you will usually find one boat designated as the host boat, or primary anchor boat. Contact the anchor boat by radio or in person for direction as to which side of the raft to join, that way you can have your 2 large fenders at the beamiest area and bow & stern lines (with loops) on the correct side. Approach slowly. The loops or eye splices are made fast to the anchored boat, and then you take in the slack. Fore and aft spring lines should also be ready as soon as the bow and stern lines are secure. You want to line up so that the spreaders are not directly in line in case a wake shakes the raftup.
- Be aware of the weather & holding conditions, as it may be advisable to split the raft for the evening, you should ask the anchor boat what they intend to do before rafting if you prefer to anchor early or before a few cocktails.
- Also be aware that if you raft to a host boat your boat usually will become a co-host boat with the overflow crowd on yours. Most people don't mind, but if you have a romantic evening planned you may have to change your plans.
- Before departing a raft, always advise the anchor boat. Your departure could alter the balance of the raft. If you leave from an inboard position, always back away assisting the crews on each side in passing their lines across your bow as you back down.
Since there are quite a few new members in the club, I thought this would also be a good time to review what it means to be a host boat and a little about being their guest.
- If you are the host boat you are expected to have only 4 large (1.5L) bottles of wine white (or red, if you choose), once that is gone you don't have to dig into your cellar for your '64 Lafite-Rothchild, just inform anyone that asks that you are out of wine. You may choose to provide other libations, but it is entirely up to you. There may also be other special occasions like the 'Champagne & Chocolate' raftup that calls for something else entirely.
- Due to huge turnouts there will be two host boats on holiday weekends, they usually raft together for happy hour, each providing the 4 bottles.
- You also can decide at what time the raftup ends. It would be good to mention this when everyone gets to the anchorage & the time for the happy hour/ potluck has been announced either by dinghy messenger (or a messenger in a dinghy whichever is appropriate), or by radio.
- That doesn't mean you may not have to accidentally push someone overboard to get them to leave, but at least they have been forewarned.
A few things to remember when heading to the host boat for another fabulous happy hour or potluck:
- Most boats don't have huge galleys so please prepare your appetizers beforehand - unless you have made some arrangement with the host boat.
- If the host boat has set a time limit on the happy hour please respect it.
- Plastic wine glasses will usually be provided.
- We love to meet your guests - many a guest has foolishly given us their money, and they bring some fresh stories to the group, but please bring some extra wine - the host boat will be heartily grateful. If you want to bring red please ask the host boat first.
- For potlucks, please make sure you bring something to set your hot items on & something to serve them with.
- For potlucks, If you plan to eat on a plate with utensils - bring them.
- For potlucks, your dish should feed 6-8 people.
- Please remember that fresh water is sometimes limited, so please ask before washing your dirty dishes.
A good time will be had by all.
Thanks for listening.
See you out on the bay.