History

What’s that smell?

A smelly Story

This is a true story that happened when I was skippering Eve of St Mawes. Luckily I am unable to remember the names of the people involved.

Back in the day the guests arrive on St Mawes Quay for a 3pm joining time. Six people were joining for a three day voyage and they were made of three gentlemen, who did not know each other, and a trio of father, son and friend of father. It would have overcrowded No 8 to take 6 people and baggage out to Eve so I decided to split them in half. When young people were joining Eve I found it good practice to get them onboard first to let them decide where they would feel most comfortable sleeping. 

Father, son and friend get into No 8 and I set off rowing out to Eve on her mooring. As I held the dinghy tightly alongside Eve, they passed close to me and climbed safely on board. At which point I could smell something truly awful. Oh my goodness, what’s going on here?

Onboard I took them down below and showed them the accommodation and all the time I was trying to work out what the terrible smell was. Could not work it out!

So rowing back to the quay with just myself in the dinghy I had some time and space to think about the smell and what I could do about it.

I came to the conclusion I would run the voyage with just the three gentlemen that I was to pick up on the quay. I knew it was safe to do it with just the four of us though not ideal.

The men get into the dinghy and I rowed away from the quay heading towards Eve. Now I have a captive audience, they can’t back off without swimming. So I put it to them that I was going to run the voyage just with them, explaining the feasibility and safety. They asked why that was and I said I will be happy to tell them that when I have spoken to the people onboard and taken them ashore. To  facilitate this I asked the three men to go onboard and wait on the foredeck whilst I spoke to the trio of father, son and friend down below in the saloon.

You can’t beat about the bush when it comes to a situation like this. Once I had their attention I said. ‘I’m going to have to put you ashore because one or other of you smells unacceptably. Living in close quarters it’s just not on.’ At which point the father turns to his son and says. ‘Have you brought your ferret with you?’ The son stays stum and to this day I do not know if he had or had not arrived with his ferret!

I gave them there and then a cheque refund of their voyage fee and took them ashore. 

The rest of the voyage went well but the father decided to complain to the RYA and the MCA (Maritime Coastguard Agency).In a few days time I was inspected by the RYA and then the MCA, everything was in order and I fully understood that they are obliged to follow up complaints regarding commercial vessels.

The MCA inspector was kind enough to show me the letter they had received. In the letter the father said. ‘It is possible I smelt heavily of cigars and my friend of diesel.’ No mention of his son but it clearly explained what a dreadful combination of pongs they were.

I learnt later that I had no need to refund them as they had presented themselves for the voyage in an unacceptable state. Exactly the same position as planes refusing to allow drunks onboard. 

Hey hoe what a rich and varied experience life is!

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