We'd love to hear of your experiences with the
coastguards of the world - whether as crew on a coastguard vessel or the
recipient of their attentions! Tell us what it's like to be part of
your country's coastal defence team, or how you came to meet someone who
is... if you've a story to share, this is the place to do it, whether a
side-splitting anecdote or a sorry tale of woe - we're all ears.
how many years we've been sailing, it's quite surprising how rarely
we've had any contact with a coastguard. The most recent encounter was
about three years ago, off the southern coast of Spain.
We were delivering a '1960's wooden 'gentleman's motor yacht', a 48 foot
Rampart to a place just short of Bordeaux, travelling eastward along the
southern Spanish coast, up into France through Port La Nouvelle and
along the Canal Du Midi and the Canal Lateral Du Garonne (a trip which
we highly recommend but not in a large, heavy-displacement boat!)
stopping every night on the way.
On the very first
evening, as we were heading for the harbour we had chosen for our first
stop, we observed a sleek speedboat travelling at great speed in the
direction from which we had just come.
pursuit was a Guardia Civil launch, serving as a stand-in for the
coastguard, it being a sparsely populated part of the coast. Seeing us,
they gratefully gave up the chase and set to stopping us and checking
our papers, making an inspection of the boat and generally creating a
means to justify the fuel consumption which had been expended in vain.
It transpired that the authority's vessel had a maximum speed of 47
knots while the escaping transgressor was able to squeeze 52 knots from
his! We commiserated on the frustrations of trying to catch up with the
un-catchable. One of the crew was a dog-fancier and made a great fuss of
two bull terriers travelling with the owner's girlfriend who had decided
to come along for the ride. We were treated very cordially and, within
half an hour or so were waved cheerfully on our way into the port, alas
in the dark!
Your turn! In the
meantime you may like to read 'A
Friendly Spy' - a true story - in this section or maybe Safety
At Sea in our Sailing section. How's your naval knowledge? Have
a go at our In-Quiz-ition
No.1 on the Inquizitive page!