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Old 09-11-2016, 08:54 PM   #21
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I've sailed Charleston SC harbor more at night than in the day. It is one busy harbor, navigating around container ships and pleasure boats of all sizes will keep you on your toes. True, sailboats have the right of way while under sail, but as it is on land, defensive driving will keep you safe. I see where both vessels could have been more proactive in this near miss.

I thank the Captain for posting this thread, discussions such as this will bring more awareness to the boating community.
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Old 09-11-2016, 08:55 PM   #22
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GFC,
Not saying you did wrong, you didn't hit it!!

Side lights on - telling you it is a sailboat under sail, only
Side lights on with white bow & stern lights OR a white all around light, it
is telling you it is under power, having sails up does not change the
designation.
Showing you the green light means you are the stand-on vessel

Too many sail boaters run under the assumption that if they have a sail up
they can operate as a sailboat even with their engine running. One went through
here this am, fog, no wind, moving fast with whistle sounding for a sailboat in
limited visibility, not possible under given conditions, engine had to be running.

Ted
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Old 09-11-2016, 09:04 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
If there had been a collision, both skippers would be at fault.
True. And one of the boneheads would get accessed a larger percentage of the blame.
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Old 09-11-2016, 09:14 PM   #24
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Man there are some judgemental people here...

Anyone know Rule 9? How about Rule 8?

If you are the stand on vessel then that means STAND ON, not tack and close the CPA. The stand on vessel still carries the responsibility of avoiding the collision.

Glad this place is full of perfect, fully licensed recreational boaters...
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Old 09-11-2016, 09:46 PM   #25
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I always assume that a sailing vessel doesn't see me when it comes to a collision course. When they are tacking in narrow bays, it's easier for me to make an adjustment so I do. Sometimes that may not be enough if they're headed for the shallows and their next tack is across my new heading, and I don't have the burst of speed you do.

.
I always assume a sailing vessel is not going to do anything but expect me as a powerboat to yield 100% to them and take whatever action necessary to avoid them. Now, I know that's not the way all sailors are, but I can't know which ones. And if I can't reach them on a radio then I assume that even more.

But then I assume the worst from powerboaters. I do from car drivers. I never assume the car on the side road is going to stop just because the light is red or there's a stop sign. I guess when I took driver's training, "Defensive Driving" really sunk in. But I'm always thinking of an escape or what to do if they don't do what they should. I once had a car to the left of my on a six lane street, just turn right into me and for some reason I expected it and pulled into the gas station. I know I've made mistakes over the years that some other driver probably saved me from. I guess I assume all other boats will act as if they have the water all to themselves.

But I do think, if he does this what am I going to do and I've stopped in the edge of the channel and just waited for the other boat to figure something out and not run into me. It's much like cruising outside and always knowing where you'll go if seas turn bad.

In this case, they stopped. That's the important thing that saved them was that the OP stopped. Doesn't really matter who did what to whom and whether they should have as much as that it all became apparent and they threw on the brakes. I doubt the other boat even had any idea they came close to an accident.
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Old 09-11-2016, 11:03 PM   #26
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I can see from the comments you all have posted that I should have taken more time to explain where everyone was at the sequence in this mess. So to help clear up some of the confusion I have posted a screen shot of the area from Google Earth.




On this pic, our course is shown in red and at point "D" is about where I spotted the sailboat. His course is shown in yellow and he was about at point "A". This was also the time when I pointed him out (visually and on the radar screen) to my wife. She had been helping me to spot any other boat traffic.

We both watched his progress as he sailed to "B" where he changed course to parallel the shore, changing to aporoximately a reciprocal of our course. At about point "C" we stopped watching him closely and resumed watching for other traffic.

At some point after "C", he changed his course to one perpendicular to our course. About this time I had turned the helm over to my wife and was answering a question the passenger asked, keeping one eye ahead and one eye on the passenger.

As we continued on I turned to check for other boats and spotted his green nav light and saw him approaching. I pointed out the sailboat's approaching course to her and told her to go into reverse.

She did and brought the boat to a quick stop. We stood there in surprise as the sailboat passed close off our bow.

That the sailboat took a course to cross our bow was what I figured was a bonehead move.

I read most of the comments posted above and I'm not going to address them all on here. I will speak to a couple of them....
--a well lit boat reduces your night vision. Not on my boat. The interior cabin/salon on the lower level was well lighted. The only lights on the fly bridge that could have an affect on my night vision were the red helm lights (dimmed as low as possible) and the radar/GPS screen which as also dimmed.
--narrow channel. Nope, not in that area. The channel is over 1/4 mile across and the entire width is navigable in that area.
--stick your head out into the night air to check. We were in the night air. All forward facing windows were rolled up. Our night vision was not impeded at all.

Someone made the point that I turned control over to my wife who they supposed (assumed?) was not qualified. Wrong on that point. She is qualified and often skippers the boat, including backing it into the slip.

Ted, re the inconsistencies in my posts, when I said she didn't see the sailboat I should have clarified that she didn't see that it had made the course correction to cross our boat. She was aware of it from when I first pointed it out to her. My bad for not being more explicit in my postings.

I realize that every situation like this allows wide latitude for 20/20 hindsight and quarterbacking. I'm as guilty of that as most. Applying my own 20/20 quarterbacking to this, there are things I could/should have done better. I could have--
--retained control of the helm
--not answered the question my passenger asked
--kept closer track of the sailboat's course and progress

I hope this post has clarified some of the misunderstandings that came from my postings.

Fire away.
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Old 09-12-2016, 12:47 AM   #27
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We had a powerboat on a collision course with us one night. If one looked hard, there may have been 4 boats on the lake as far as one could see. The boat was off our port stern corner, at about 225 degrees and it was many hundreds of feet away when we noticed it. As we continued at our course and speed I noted the bearing wasn't changing - a collision course. For several minutes we continued and I questioned if the captain didn't see us or if (s)he was ignorant to the rules of the road.
When the boat made it to about 100 feet away, I gave it 5 fast flashes from a powerful flashlight. I was prepared to turn to starboard to avoid a collision, but expected the give way boat to do just that - give way. The captain push the throttle(s) forward and zipped in front us, leaving a nice wake for us to cut through. Fortunately Sea Gypsy has a deep V hull so the wake was no problem.
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Old 09-12-2016, 06:27 AM   #28
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The sailboat made a boneheaded move (based on the picture). He put himself into danger and forced the powerboat to take defensive moves. There doesn't appear to be any reason why the sail boat made that last turn to stbd, he should have waited for the power boat to clear and shot for his stern. I don't see that the OP did anything wrong here.
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Old 09-12-2016, 06:40 AM   #29
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Hi, GFC, I was one of those who raised the issue of loss of night vision, because your initial description, of hosting quite a large number of work associates, and the mention of handing over the helm to your wife, and turning to talk to one of your guests, conjured up a vision of you driving from a lower helm, with a lot of chatter, passengers, light, and potential distraction therefore inevitable in that situation.

Now you say you were up on the flybridge, so I agree, you would have had good night vision, and there is something about not have potentially reflective window between you and the outside as well in night conditions that helps as well, which is why I made the comment about sticking the head out the pilot door frequently, as well. If I had not done that, on the night I described, I would have not seen the moored cat in my way in time. However, night manoeuvring is one of the few times I will often prefer to drive from up top myself. Good that you have clarified the situation, however, I suspect the initial lack of detail had a bit to do with some of the more critical posts, so I guess we all learned something from that as well.
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Old 09-12-2016, 06:44 AM   #30
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If the sailboat is only sailing and not using their motor.

COLREGS - Collision Regulations - Sailboats & Power Boats
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Old 09-12-2016, 06:44 AM   #31
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I see a big to do over really not much.

There was NOT a collision so one vessel at least followed the ultimate navrule...don't have a collision.

If I was running Mike's Sea Ray, can't say I would have done much different.....

I would not have expected to have the improperly lit sailing vessel do a 90 in front of me and I would have been concentrating on the stuff just ahead, marina and bridge considering their shape and being night.

Sure I can never give up the helm, sure I can run on a set of night vision gogglles, sure I could buy a FLIR camera, sure I could maintain silence among the decks when not in the open sea.....

For gosh sakes, this is pleasure boating and sure stuff happens, but what needed to be done was done....

Probably the exact same scenario wouldn't happen to this boat again in 50 years. Its like planning for 100 year storms...almost never done entirely....because it is so costly or seemingly over the top.

Sit back, learn from it, but to say things will be different next time? Probably not if I know human nature and the reasons why we have accidents. Taxpayers paid a lot for that education...I value it and have a pretty good feel for when rules need to be changed to improve safety and when they would just be new rules.
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Old 09-12-2016, 06:46 AM   #32
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If the sailboat is only sailing and not using their motor.

COLREGS - Collision Regulations - Sailboats & Power Boats
the original statement was that he had a 360 degree light on his mast top...if white....he wasn't a sailing vessel even with sails up.
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Old 09-12-2016, 07:06 AM   #33
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the original statement was that he had a 360 degree light on his mast top...if white....he wasn't a sailing vessel even with sails up.
Rule 25 states that his lighting configuration was incorrect if he had a 360 degree white light showing at the mast head. That being said, I always anticipate that the other boater will be mis-lit and do the wrong thing even during the day. What the sail boat did in his action was compounded by how he represented his vessel.

Our slip is at the head of Middle River, MD and on any given day the larger majority of boaters are not paying attention. Compounded by jet skiers, navigation becomes a tedious process. This problem is most evident on weekends. I was able to avoid a "go fast" running in the dark with no lights moving at >40 mph recently. Larger vessels purposefully passing closely waking us and others is another problem. Not to leave out the alcohol factor...

It can be a zoo out there.
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Old 09-12-2016, 07:07 AM   #34
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I can see from the comments you all have posted that I should have taken more time to explain where everyone was at the sequence in this mess.

Ted, re the inconsistencies in my posts, when I said she didn't see the sailboat I should have clarified that she didn't see that it had made the course correction to cross our boat. She was aware of it from when I first pointed it out to her. My bad for not being more explicit in my postings.

I realize that every situation like this allows wide latitude for 20/20 hindsight and quarterbacking. I'm as guilty of that as most. Applying my own 20/20 quarterbacking to this, there are things I could/should have done better. I could have--
--retained control of the helm
--not answered the question my passenger asked
--kept closer track of the sailboat's course and progress

I hope this post has clarified some of the misunderstandings that came from my postings.

Fire away.
Mike,
Sorry for coming down so hard on you. In situations like this, the vessel operator only sees his side of the story. Often when retelling it, important information may unintentionally be left out. When I read these accounts, I try to view it objectively, as I assume people are looking for observations, not just a pat on the back. Clearly I didn't see the whole picture.

From your original post it appeared to me you saw the other boat, discounted it's relevance, left the helm area, your wife never saw it coming, and you had to save the day at the last minute. Clearly from your last post, that's not what happened. Thank you for clarifying it.

At the risk of making another false assumption, let me suggest this:
You were clearly able to see where he was going as you saw his navigation lights and tracked him on radar. First you saw his red when he crossed in front of you and then turned up the shore line. Then you saw his green when he changed course to cross in front of you. While you haven't indicated the speed you were traveling, from the diagram you seem to be going slow compared to the progress of the sailboat. I'm wondering if you have considered whether the sailboat saw your red navigation light with all the other cabin light coming from your boat, knew you were moving, and in which direction. At night, it's much tougher to determine course and speed of another vessel. Without seeing your red or green side light, he may have assumed you were heading in the opposite direction and thought he was passing behind you. Clearly he had a responsibility to keep track of your vessel and take action when he realized the courses were intersecting.

I can tell you from running night charters, determining speed and course of a slow moving vessel at night is very difficult without radar (and ARPA). When there is a lot of light pollution from deck or cabin lights, it can be near impossible until you're right on top of them.

Glad you were able to avoid an accident. Wonder if the guy in the sailboat learned anything.

Ted
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Old 09-12-2016, 07:10 AM   #35
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GFC.
If the SV was under power then it is completely different. But you have pretty much stated it was sailing heeled over.


What was the light on top of the mast? White? Red over green? Tri color? Was it an all around 360 white (anchor light)?

Some things are assumed ( in light of no dispute by you ). That the vessel was under sail and not under power.

Some things are inferred ( that the SV went from point C to imminent collision) that this was somehow the SV fault or bad judgement on their part.

You were in extremis. You HAD to do something to avoid collision. The issue is how did you get from give way to extremis? (How did the SV go from point C to directly in front of you without being seen?)

At point A you were the give way vessel.

At point B you were the give way vessel.

At point C you were the give way vessel.

How at CPA did the other guy become bonehead?

From your description the guy tacked (changed course) at 1/8 mile away. That's not 'right in front' of you.
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Old 09-12-2016, 07:16 AM   #36
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Sailboat probably never saw you. Good job avoiding the collision. I would have given him 5 short and a few choice words as he passed in front.
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Old 09-12-2016, 07:21 AM   #37
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the original statement was that he had a 360 degree light on his mast top...if white....he wasn't a sailing vessel even with sails up.
From the boat's relative positions, it would have been impossible to determine that light as being an all around white. Could have been a 225 degree masthead light.

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Old 09-12-2016, 07:22 AM   #38
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Rule 25 states that his lighting configuration was incorrect if he had a 360 degree white light showing at the mast head. That being said, I always anticipate that the other boater will be mis-lit and do the wrong thing even during the day. What the sail boat did in his action was compounded by how he represented his vessel.

Our slip is at the head of Middle River, MD and on any given day the larger majority of boaters are not paying attention. Compounded by jet skiers, navigation becomes a tedious process. This problem is most evident on weekends. I was able to avoid a "go fast" running in the dark with no lights moving at >40 mph recently. Larger vessels purposefully passing closely waking us and others is another problem. Not to leave out the alcohol factor...

It can be a zoo out there.
You can always assume the other guy is not lit correctly...but you can't act on it once a rule "situation" has developed.

You either take proper action early or late....if not the result is a dangerous dance .....to a point.

My point being..... in our small vessels, heck stopping or turning on a dime is really no big deal so waiting for extremis is really a ho hum most of the time. Aggravating..... but hardly that big of a deal.

That's why all the boaters who have no clue of the rules seem so happy out there. They just assume it's a free for all and act accordingly....thus their "no worries mon" attitude.

But if people are gonna quote rules chapter and verse, then all rules need to be applied..... from actions to lights to whistles, etc...... so the "shown" lights are important...not the proper ones in the book.
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Old 09-12-2016, 07:26 AM   #39
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From the boat's relative positions, it would have been impossible to determine that light as being an all around white. Could have been a 225 degree masthead light.

Ted
OK...but any white light showing forward would make him a power driven vessel.
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Old 09-12-2016, 07:30 AM   #40
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Sailboats tack; it's what they do.

My takeaway from all this is not to pleasure cruise at night with a bunch of people on board.
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