Hearing slapping halyards can be annoying or even enraging. It’s an unnecessary noise, and the person who doesn’t tie off the halyards is being inconsiderate of others. It’s as annoying as a barking dog that yaps all the time, ignored by its owner. If you’re a sailboat operator tie, off the halyards away from the mast whenever the boat is at anchor, on a mooring, in a marina, or stored on land. Even the halyards on a small sailboat can make a racket. If you’re bothered by a noisy nearby sailboat and someone is aboard, it’s perfectly OK to ask that the halyards be tied off. I know some boaters who will go aboard an unoccupied sailboat in a marina with a length of heavy twine and tie the halyards off themselves. It’s probably not legal to go aboard, but they are annoyed enough to do it. There’s a story circulating about a woman who lived at Great Salt Pond in Block Island, Rhode Island, who rowed out to sailboats to request that they tie off their halyards because she could hear them from her house on the harbor. Be a good neighbor.
Priscilla Travis spends more than 110 days each year on the water, takes photos, and writes about nautical topics.