It's not always easy avoiding those sticky-uppy bits of the chart...
One of these days we will have to run a ‘confessions of a charter operator’ series because, honestly, the tales are hair-raising. The abuse we give their poor yachts.
I was talking yesterday to Tony Bennett, who runs Argyll Yacht Charters in on the west coast of Scotland. He has shockers aplenty because this area is a charterers’ minefield. Here, you generally have deep water or big, sticky-out rocks – and it’s surprisingly common to get the two muddled up.
Last year was a good one for Tony: it was the first in ages when not a single one of the boats he manages crunched a rock. But that’s a rarity.
A few years ago he told me that he’d got mobile phone call from a group of charterers to say were on their way home. They were phoning to tell him that the yacht was where they’d left it: the on rocks in the Kyle of Lochalsh.
By the time Tony managed to get there the boat had been up and down on a couple of tides.
So I’m sure you get to be a bit fatalistic, and right now Tony is repairing another yacht that has encountered one of those infernal stick-uppy bits of the chart at six knots.
He says the conversation about how it happened went something like this:
“Didn’t you see the rock shown on the chartplotter right by the wheel?”
“No, because the cursor was over the rock.”
“You mean the cursor that indicates the boat’s position?”
“Umm, yes I suppose so.”