Sailing madness!

My boyfriend and I offer sailing holidays. People book a berth in a cabin and live and sail with us for one week. This, or course, means that we actually live with our customers and spend a lot of time with them on very limited space.

Before corona we had around 200 guests/year. 99% of them were great and there were no issues, but boy… that 1% is really tough, because you’re stuck together.

We have 3 cabins for guests, each cabin is for 2 people. People who book are families, friends, couples but also people traveling alone - in all kind of constellations. If you don’t want to share a cabin, you can book one for you alone for an extra charge. (This will be important in some of the stories)

I will post some of our best ofs, or rather worst ofs, here :slight_smile: :sailboat::palm_tree:


The Psychologist

This happened a few years ago. The crew was a father and his 16-year old daughter, a married couple, a man travelling alone and The Psychologist

The P. was behaving very strange from the beginning, he was very aggressively dominant in every discussion, acting like everyone else was a piece of shirt under his shoe. He was always interrupting and correcting other people, and would not stand being proven wrong. Imagine a Trump kind of guy.

When the crew was talking about the groceries they were going to get, he turned to the 16-year-old and said in a baby voice
“But since you don’t drink alcohol, maybe you would like some candy instead?” (I can’t actually write in a baby way, but imagine with a lisp and the typical weird way some people speak to babies and toddlers)

He was making sexual comments to The Wife (who owned a spa and did massages). From day one he was trying to demean me. I think it bothered him that I was “higher ranked” on board, and that I was a woman AND younger than him.

It wasn’t starting well.

On the next day, he took the wheel (our guest are welcome to join in and take part in the sailing). He was awful and I tried to give him some tips how to sail more smoother, faster and plainly…better. He refused to listen. After a while the 16 y.o. took over, and she absolutely rocked it. She had a feeling for it and the boat picked up speed and it was apparent that she was just better at it than him.

He didn’t like that. Oh no. I remember there being some discussions at dinner that night, and everyone was annoyed with him.

The next day, the man travelling alone wanted to take the wheel at the departure, with my boyfriend (who is the skipper and the one responsible) standing next to him assissting. The Psychologist kept on interrupting, trying to explain what to do (which was very false btw) and my boyfriend told him to be quiet. The Psychologist got really grumpy and decided to take out revenge. When he was supposed to loosen his line and pull it back in, he held it tight, making us bump into the neighbouring boat. (Luckily there were no damages, but there could have been). We all saw him do it, and my boyfriend got mad and told him to stay out of the sailing parts, keep his mouth shut and behave like an adult.

Well… he didn’t. After that he was always trying to be in the way, on purpose, he refused to move OR help during the manoevers, pouting his lip and crossing his arms all the time - so my boyfriend had to be harsh again. He got the options to either make room to let people work, or go downstairs. The Psychologist tried to rush to the front of the boat instead, which was actually pretty dangerous at that moment, we had a lot of wind and the boat was tilting pretty much.

My boyfriend told us to pull down the sails, we were motoring into the next marina. He told The Psychologist they needed to talk. The Psychologist was 100% sure that my boyfriend would appologise to him - boy was he wrong.

My boyfriend give him “the yellow card”, if he acted like that again, trying to sabotage and endanger the crew and the boat, he would have to leave. He also told him to watch his tone with the guests.

After that, The Psychologist tried to rally the rest of the crew against us - to no avail. No one liked him. Unfortunately he behaved well enough not to get kicked out, but the mood was ruined for the rest of the week. The last night he came on the the Wife so hard, making explicit comments etc, it almost turned into a fist fight.

Of course, he complained to his booking agency afterwards, demanding his money back. Too bad for him, that the rest of the crew had written to them complaining about him!


Oh man… he was effectively stealing from everybody. They’ve all paid for a lovely relaxing holiday, and instead they got that. I’m not blaming you or your boyfriend; it was clear you both did all you could. But that must have been a horrible time for everyone.

I expect it would probably be classed as a bit too much to use him as an anchor, or at the very least tie him to it?

More stories, please!


Yeah, the agency he booked through only allows us to kick someone out after a warning :woman_facepalming: Him trash talking us behind our backs isn’t really enough. We felt really bad for the rest of the crew.


That was a terrible behaviour and a bad person for sure, and I think you and your boyfriend did your best.

I’m torn between shouting “Anchor!” (to the Psychologist) or “Encore!” (for your stories). :slight_smile:


Got some more goldies waiting to be typed up!
Trying to finish my essay for the university, it’s taking up a lot of time. Stories will follow in time! xD


Boozing and boating

First some background:
I used to work as a nurse until March 2017. During training we theoratically learn first aid in a “wild” setting, but that’s very different from emergencies in a hospital, where you have a big crew and the right equipment. Still, you know the basics, and you learn how to calmly analyse the situation before making decisions.

One of the guests in this story was (is, probably) a gynecologist working in a delivery room, so the situation is pretty much the same for her.

Here we go:
This happened in the summer 2017, in a marina in Italy.

We arrived at noon in the marina because of an incoming gale, the crew was a bit grumpy over the short day out, but safety first. Next to us was another boat who had stayed in all day, opting for drinking and enjoying the sun in the cockpit instead. They were already pretty drunk.

Our crew got out some bottles of wine and started drinking too. They’re all adults, so nothing wrong with that (our guests aren’t allowed to drink before or during sailing. Afterwards it’s up to them). There was a decently sized motor yacht on the other side, the owner was lonely and invited all of us over. Our crew, minus my boyfriend and I, and some of the neighbours went. A few hours later all but two of our guests came back, claiming it was just too much for them. Everyone was drinking very heavily. Those who stayed were The Gynecologist and her Friend.

In the evening The Friend came back, he needed to use the loo. He was angry because the MV owner would only let him use the one on board if he took is shoes off*. He stomped back to our boat, but instead of using the toilet, he just peed on our gangway and started an argument. It was annoying and embarassing.

We went to bed around midnight, the other two were still partying. At four in the morning, the Friend rushed into our cabin and yelled that someone had fallen into the water, they need help!

We rushed over, just to see how they managed to drag on of the girls from the neighbouring boat back up on to the dock. The Gyn acted correctly and put her in a recovery position and the woman started to vomit water. The others told us that she was leaving the MV and fell of the gangway, went under the dock and resurfaced on the other side. Bad, bad, bad. Port/marina waters are notoriously dirty and nothing you want to swim in, even less inhale.

We ran over and my brain was in nurse mode, analysing and planning what to do. Me and my boyfriend told the MV owner to call for an ambulance. This is where the Gyn started to forget her training. She was absolutely wasted and in no condition to be practing medicine.
Well, she just “yelled” (slurred loudly, she couldn’t really articulate) at us, saying that an ambulance isn’t necessary, she just needs to sleep it off.

The woman was in and out of consciousness, my brain was remembering something from training about secondary drowning, she definitely needed an ambulance. As the MV owner called for one, I rushed back on board to get blankets, then went to guide the ambulance to the right place. After a few minutes I could hear yelling from the dock and went back.

Me bringing the woman blankets kick started the medicinal training in the Gyn, she was now screaming at my boyfriend that he needs to get infusions, she needs to put in an I.V. line. She called my boyfriend a murderer when he said no. He told her that we 1. don’t have that stuff onboard and 2. even if we had it, he would not let her near anyone with a needle in the shape that she’s in.

More screaming followed.

When the EMTs finally arrived, the Gyn refused to move over so that they could reach the woman. She was trying to explain to them in slurred, drunken German what has happened and was hoovering over the woman. The Italian EMTs, of course, couldn’t understand a word that she was saying and where trying to get her out of the way. My boyfriend told her to “finally move over and let the professionals do their job”.

During that time, I was knocking on the neighbour’s boat, trying to wake them up. Someone should better join her to the hospital and bring her papers. They were really annoyed at me banging at their boat in the middle of the night, when I told them what had happened one man let out a loooooong, annoyed sigh and called her name. It sounded like it wasn’t the first time.

The next day the Friend apologized for his behavior the previous day, he was super embarrassed. The Gyn, not so much. She saw my boyfriend and screamed at him again… “I AM NEVER TALKING TO YOU AGAIN!!!” and stormed off. She kept her word until two days later, then she got wasted again and started crying. She felt so belittled because he had called the EMTs professionals and she felt that he didn’t take her serious as a doctor… She refused to accept that she was drunk.

The woman was admitted to the hospital, she was in the ICU for two weeks, she has a massive pneumonia from aspirating the dirty marina water and according to our neighbours was close to dying from secondary drowning.

I know that a lot of people associate boating with drinking, but it can turn dangerous so, so fast. The woman was lucky to survive.

*Never, ever enter someone’s boat with shoes on, that’s a huge faux pas. The MV owner was not asking for something unreasonable with his request.


So, this is a pretty harmless story. (All names are false, I can’t even remember their real names)

We had a good crew, everyone was getting along fine and the weather was good. There was a married couple among the crew, and they had a very…special… dynamic between the two of them. The wife (let’s call her Lena) was very, very dominant and bossy, sometimes even demeaning, to her husband (and we’ll name him Hugo). To everone else, she was friendly and polite, but she definitely in charge in their marriage. No big deal, he didn’t seem to be bothered by it.

Lena was, supposedly, the one who liked sailing and she claimed to be pretty experienced. Hugo tagged along, he’d never been on a boat before but liked the idea.

Lena didn’t show any interested in partaking in the sailing when we were out, she was relaxing in a corner and enjoying the sun. This is not unusual, but we were suprised because of how she had claimed to love sailing and telling us all about her previous trips. Still, it’s her holiday and no one is forced to help if they don’t want to.

One day at the end of the week, the weather was lovely and we were sailing downwind. At some point, we decided to sail wing-on-wing. This point of sail is a bit tricky, you don’t have a lot of leeway and the one at the helm has to concentrate. Of course, it was a bit wavey, making it even more difficult.

Still, the wind wasn’t that strong and we trimmed the sail so our crew could practise and make mistakes without it becoming dangerous. You can only learn through practice, practice, practice and this was a great oppertunity. The crew all tried, made mistakes, learnt and had fun. Hugo steered too, he wasn’t better or worse than anyone else. All in all, he did a pretty good job. Leno, who had been quiet when the others steered, started commenting and correcting Hugo all the time, with a pretty mean voice.

My fiancé decided that enough is enough and told Lena to take the helm. She refused, claiming “She’s here to relax and can’t be bothered”. I don’t remember how, but we managed to convince her to try.

It took her 30 seconds to make the exact same mistakes which she had so naggingly commented when Hugo had made. We were all quiet, thinking our part. Except Hugo. When the sails started to flap and wobble, he camly and cooly just said "ha-ha" (much like Nelson from The Simpsons)

You could’ve heard a pin drop. Then everyone, except Lena, burst out laughing. After a week of listening to her bossing him around and telling him how to do this and that, this was is small, subtle revenge.


Props for Hugo to fight back, and props for you guys to make it possible!!


Tangential question (so I’ll try not to derail the thread too much), but was it generally accepted as an OK thing by the other crew members that she was so overbearing towards him?
Going by my experiences, even considering the NaR commentariat (granted, it might not be a good cross-section of society), if it is a woman who is being so blatantly controlled by her significant other, everyone will be all riled up about how she has to leave him ASAP and/or learn to fight back, regardless of how OK she seems to be with the situation. So I’m genuinely curious if a man being (apparently) so much under control by his wife also meets the same resistance.


He reacted well enough to it, he sort of smirked it away and he really didn’t seem to be bothered by it. He seemed happy and they made an in-love-impression. He was in no way dependent of her.

He did stand his ground on important issues, but didn’t seem to care about the everyday nagging and we had the impression that he found it convenient that she made all the decisions and he could tag along.

It never came off as an abusive relationship in any kind, she was just bossive and the decision maker, sometimes a bit rude about it.

If the roles were reversed, I think most people wouldn’t even have given it a thought, because that’s normally the "standard roles "

In general, I think men being physically and mentally abused by women is an issue that is oftwn laughed away and should be taken more seriously, but I don’t think that it was the case in this situation.


OK, thanks for the clarification, from the first recount, to me, the relationship seemed more abusive than it was then.

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For me (speaking as a married man in a long term relationship with sprout involved) there’s a certain amount of “Anything for a quiet life!” involved. Going to be completely honest and say that I don’t give a monkey arse about what takeaway we get tonight. Or what you want to put on Netflix. Or whether you want to chill on the sofa or in the bedroom. If I feel strongly about something then I will let you know. In the meantime, please don’t make me leave my chair!

I get the same vibes from Nelson here.


The Autist

One of our most challenging weeks had nothing to do with someone just being an a-hole, but with mental disability. Autism comes in several shapes and colours, and varying degrees of severity. Some of the main traits are the inability to understand social clues, feel empathy and adjust to new situations. Pretty much the opposite what you should bring to this kind of holiday.

I will call this guest Hugo again.

This happened around 2018 and I can’t really remember every little thing that happened, but I will try to give you an impression what was going on. Hugo was acting strangely from the first second, we couldn’t really pinpoint what it was, but he came off as very self-centered and demanding. The ship was fully booked, that means 6 paying guests and my fiancé and I. Hugo was absolutely appalled that he would share a cabin with someone else (he could have booked a single cabin, he knew that, and just didn’t…) and it took almost an hour for them to decide who was going to sleep where. A boat is not famous for being spacious, also a fact that is clearly stated on the website where he booked.

During the first dinner, my fiancé asked to speak with him privately and asked if there was something going on. Hugo “confessed” to being an autist, but in therapy. He told the rest of the crew and asked us to tell him if he was behaving inappropriate, only that way he could learn and improve. (Which we did a lot during the week. The problem is that he didn’t understand why something wasn’t okay, he just learnt how to behave in a certain situation. As soon as there were some small changes, he couldn’t adapt his behaviour. It was very frustrating for us, as well as for him.)

First night we woke up because Hugo was screaming. His cabin buddy had accidentally touched his foot while sleeping. After that he spent a lot of time building some kind of wall/barrier between them in the cabin.

Next day the crew prepared breakfast, Hugo got the task to slice up some apples. From this day, he did this every morning, no matter if people wanted apples or not. Not a big deal, it didn’t bother anyone, and he was happy to have his ritual.

More challenging was him trying to dictate when things should happen. Everyone should eat when he was hungry, everyone should go to bed when he wanted to, we should set sail or head back into a marina when he wanted to, and so on… Of course, this won’t work. Even though there weren’t any outright fights about it, his nagging was annoying (because people didn’t obey, of course) and put a damper on everyone’s mood. He also liked to lay on one of the cockpit benches, taking up 50% of the room. He refused to move or to make room for anyone else.

Another huge issue was his lack of social skills and him not respecting personal boundaries. He was always staring, really, really staring, at people, because his therapist had told him to look people in the eye when they speak. Another guests asked him to stop, after that he didn’t look at anyone at all… If someone was sending a text, reading an e-mail or anything like that, he was always there trying to read over the shoulder. He was snooping in all cabins and was rummaging through our navigational table. Not okay, and there was a fight about that. His reasoning “ But I want to know what they write.” He could not at all understand why this wasn’t okay. We once woke up and he was standing in our doorway staring at us while we sleep.

One day, where were staying on a small island, not heading out sailing that day and a couple was alone onboard. My fiancé and I were sitting in a beach café with a view over the small marina. We could see Hugo heading back to the boat, where the couple finally had some alone-time. Not shortly after we saw him running around like a mad man on the dock. Apparently he had snooped around again, and walked in on them shagging in their cabin.

Personal hygiene wasn’t something that bothered him either. He hadn’t brought any change of clothes, not even undies, and didn’t shower nor brush his teeth. At some point the guest sharing a cabin with him at least forced him under the shower. Spanish food is pretty much garlic, garlic with garlic, so this was unbearable.

We did tell the other guests that if they felt too bothered by Hugo, we would have to ask him to leave. They had all paid the same money and all had the right to a relaxing holiday. Hugo also knew this. The other guests were super tolerant and endured the entire week. But it was a tough one!


Psychologist has been published


Keep your eyes out for a couple more from this thread in the coming months. :wink:


Oh dear, I should start posting a few more then :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Still got a few good ones, including indecent exposure, theft and hurricanes!


Disqus is being annoying again, so I can’t be bothered to post this reply in the actual comments.

There are, understandably, a lot of people posting that we were in the wrong not to kick the psychologist out.

From a completely objective view, I’d agree. At that point we were very dependent on that agency. It was/is one of the biggest on the German market and was our biggest booker. They didn’t really care about the actual situation on board, as long as they didn’t have to refund anything. In this case, that would have been his ticket, a hotel or even a new flight home. They would have given us a bill for all that, and would have stopped “co-operating” with us in the future. Losing them would have been The End for us and probably would have ruined us financially (times were rough…)

This dependency had been an issue for years and we were actively working on finding more agencies (at that point I’d say 80% of our guests were from them. Before we sold the boat that was down to about 20% because we found other agencies :slight_smile: )

If our financial situation had been different back then, we wouldn’t have hesitaded - the psychologist would have been gone in a sec. But we weren’t willing to risk our future for him.

This leads me to…


The Thieving Ravens

This happened before I met my fiancé, but I’ve heard him tell the story plenty of times and I found all the e-mails, reports and protocols from this story in my fiancés old laptop, it was a very interesting read.

The story takes place on Sardinia in August, which is super-duper-high-season and everything is super expensive. Really, the prices are ridiculous! Sardinia happens to be a hotspot for the rich and the famous, and they pay for their privacy by jacking up the prices.

It was a normal week for my fiancé, the boat was full with a mixture of people, two couples and two friends, they all didn’t know each other before the trip.

One of the women from one of the couples was the week’s treasurer, meaning she collected money from the rest of the crew to pay for the week’s expenses, like fuel, mooring fees etc. Because of it being August, they had to pay a lot. The two friends, two women in their 30’s, never had enough money to pay their part and were always in “debt”. They repeatedly said that they tried getting money but the ATM wasn’t working, and other excuses just like that.

On day 2 my fiancé told them he won’t leave the marina until they had paid their part. They were a bit pissy about it, but agreed. My fiancés BS radar kicked in, and he decided to sleep outside in the cockpit that night. Lo and behold, at 3 in the night the two friends tried to sneak out with their luggage. They hadn’t thought anyone would notice and was horrified to see my fiancé out there, stopping their sneaky depature.

When he asked where they were going at that time in the night, with all their luggage, they answered that they wanted to leave for good. My fiancé woke the rest of the crew up and told them to check their things. Oh no. Cameras, phones, tablets, all gone! And the treasure’s ship’s wallet contaning around 1000€ was missing too!

The two friends were busted and gave back the things they had tried to steal. My fiancé told them to go to the next ATM and get the money they owed, he’d keep their luggage as a deposit until then. The grudgingly did, and were unceremoniously banned from the boat.

The following day, the women came back with the Italian police, claiming my fiancé had stolen their stuff (they had gotten everything back). After listening to my fiancé and the rest of the crew, the officers just shrugged, pointed to the German flag on the boat and said:

“German flag, German problem.”

That was it, or so everyone thought. My fiancé continued the trip with the remaining crew, and everyone was happy they were gone. Well. Two days later, the agency called my fiancé, saying he had to take them back. Apparently the mothers of the two women (adult women in the 30’s!) had called the agency, the women had no money and couldn’t afford a hotel (remember, Sardinia = expensive). My fiancé absolutely refused. The agency made it very clear that they would hold him financially responsible for any consequences coming from this.

Of course, the women sued. They wanted money back for the trip, the flight, the hotels, restaurants and all kind of expenses. My fiancé had the testimonies from the other guests and various reciepts for stuff the women tried to re-claim, he told is attorney to go all in.

Not did the women lose the case, it was also revealed that they had tried the same stunt several times before, with other agencies. This was the fourth time this had happened, but the first time someone just didn’t pay the money back to avoid the hassle. After hearing this, the previous three agencies sued the women, wanting their money back.

The story also shows how that one agency works. As long as they don’t have any costs, they don’t care. If your actions are causing them costs, they will make you pay, and they don’t care about how the rest of the crew would have felt. Imagine how they would’ve felt, if the two thieving ravens had come back on board :confused:


Would you like me to copy and past your reply on the page, post a link to your response, or not worry about it?

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