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Old 25-09-2009, 15:01   #286
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Jessica Watson warned after collision: do not sail

By Michael Crutcher and Greg Stolz
The Courier-Mail
September 26, 2009 12:00am

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Qld schoolgirl Jessica Watson will test her repaired yacht today, before she sets sail around the world.
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Jessica Watson told to abort her solo trip around the world after a damning report of her skills




TEENAGE sailor Jessica Watson and her parents have been given a clear warning by authorities to call off the 16-year-old's solo trip around the world after a damning assessment of her skills.

The Courier-Mail has obtained a copy of the report into a collision between Jessica's yacht and a Chinese bulk carrier this month which shows basic problems led her to a potentially fatal crash off southeast Queensland.

Maritime Safety Queensland inspectors concluded the Sunshine Coast teenager:

* Most probably dozed off before her vessel hit and was dragged alongside the 63,000-tonne cargo ship.

* Did not turn on a device that would have warned her of a potential collision.

* Could not produce a clear, plotted plan for her journey.

* Had not developed a fatigue management plan.


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* Kept a log with "irregular latitude and longitude entries".

Acting Premier Paul Lucas last night said Jessica should abandon her attempt to become the youngest person to sail solo non-stop and unassisted around the world.

"I'll be honest. On this evidence I don't think she's ready to do this," Mr Lucas said.

"We all admire this young woman's spirit, but sailing solo around the world is a demanding and dangerous venture. It's not a task anyone young or old should undertake lightly.

"The decision about whether she undertakes this trip is one for Jessica and, ultimately, her parents.

"But I'll say this much - just because our maritime safety experts may not have any powers to stop her, it doesn't mean they don't have a duty to talk to her parents about any concerns and how they could be addressed.

"Our authorities have officially cautioned her and her parents and they've sat down with them to talk about Jessica's plans.

"The fact is the ball is in their court," Mr Lucas said.

"But it's clear to me, and I think most Queenslanders, that no record is worth putting a young life at risk. I'm the first to admit, I'm not an expert in this area.

"But this is something I'd rather be proved wrong about, than right."

Jessica's parents were last night defiant, saying they had full confidence in their daughter as she prepared to sail her mended yacht from the Gold Coast to Sydney to officially start the voyage.

Jessica's mother Julie confirmed the family had received an official letter from Maritime Safety Queensland but that they would not be deterred.

"They have made some recommendations and we have followed them," she said.

"I was confident beforehand and I'm even more confident now."

Ella's Pink Lady has been on the Gold Coast for more than two weeks undergoing repairs from the damage caused when it and Chinese coal carrier Silver Yang collided off Point Lookout at 2.10am on September 9.

Jessica was less than 24 hours into her trip from the Sunshine Coast to Sydney to start her journey. The collision dismasted her yacht and forced Jessica to head to Southport for repairs.

The report by MSQ was compiled after detailed discussions with Jessica. The Courier-Mail has shown the report to maritime experts who said the findings reflected poorly on Jessica's skills.

"It's like driving your car at night without your lights on," one expert said. "When you're sailing solo around the world, you need to know where you're going.

"All the equipment is there for a reason - your safety - and it needs to be used properly. There's no room for error."

The MSQ report found Jessica had set her vessel on autopilot and checked her radar about 2am, noting "a target at about six nautical miles" and "determined the vessel was passing to starboard well clear and not in a crossing situation" before going below deck.

"Satisfied there were no immediate dangers, (Jessica) put her head down for 10 minutes," the report says.

"The master (Jessica) ... may have dosed (sic) off. The master recollects the roar of a close vessel and went topside as the boat scraped port side to port side."

The report says that after the vessels separated, with Jessica's yacht dismasted, she contacted the skipper of the Silver Yang by radio and received an apology and a pledge to pay for the damages.

But the report also found problems with the alarms fitted on Jessica's yacht to alert her to nearby vessels including a device that "was not enabled that night".

It also found Jessica could not produce "course plots on paper charts or waypoints on the plotter" or a "fatigue management plan for single-handed conning".

Government authorities have analysed legislation in an attempt to prevent Ms Watson from embarking on the gruelling test. But the laws indicate that Jessica - who will become a legal adult when she turns 17 next May - needs only the approval of her parents to start the journey.

After the collision, Premier Anna Bligh said Jessica should continue on, saying "you don't take on a big dream like this and (baulk) at the first hurdle".

But The Courier-Mail understands high-ranking government officials were alarmed by the facts of the collision once they became known.

Additional reporting by Jeremy Pierce

Jessica Watson warned after collision: do not sail | Queensland | News.com.au
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Old 25-09-2009, 15:10   #287
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The above mentioned is what I could make out of al items published sofar. From other sources I heard that she has little experience only. A fact that has been proofed.

Frankly speaking I would trust the Dutch girl more than this 16 y.o. Australian lassie, who didn't get things clear - as has been established by many others.
Of course I admire her spirit, but she needs a bit more experience before she can carry out such a heavy trip.
I fear for the worst if real trouble shows up.
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Old 25-09-2009, 16:37   #288
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I am curious what it takes to get sponsorship, if she couldn't even present a clear plan of her route to authorities, what did she present to the sponsors who have invested thousands?
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Old 25-09-2009, 17:11   #289
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Jess only made one mistake here - she spoke to the functionaries from MSQ.

Only one piece of advice from Jess - If they are from the Government - they are not there to help.
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Old 25-09-2009, 17:19   #290
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Here is the perfect buddy boat partner for her. He is also trying to set a "record." They can sail their boats side by side:
Blind Fort Myers man plans to sail around the world


Blind Fort Myers man plans to sail around the world
www.blindcircumnavigation.org/All_information/Text.pdf

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Old 25-09-2009, 17:52   #291
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*just snickering as I read this*

The Mama alert is rarely wrong...

; -)
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Old 25-09-2009, 18:40   #292
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Factor View Post
... Only one piece of advice from Jess - If they are from the Government - they are not there to help...
Well, what do we call a statement like this?

What else would you expect from any reasonable govt? To say -"Go kill yourself kid, it will lessen our unemployment statistics?

Yes - govts do things right and wrong = if something comes from the govt it does not mean it is wrong. It may just as well be right. Right?

My take - all those Jessicas, Dutch kids, blind men - why not have them participate in a round-the-world regatta of sorts? Easier to provide help if necessary, easier to get sponsors, etc. And they will be all in more or less the same place in the ocean that I will mark red on my charts.

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Old 25-09-2009, 19:02   #293
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It would appear that the legally blind sailor has a very narrow field of vision and therfore no peripheral vison. He probably has good vision when he looks directly at something. While this will make scanning the horizon difficult and hard work it will not be impossible. It is much less of an impediment than seeing something and not knowing what you are looking at and what you are supposed to do to avoid it.

The US Fedeeral definition is:

Quote:
An eye which is accompanied by a limitation in the fields of vision such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees shall be considered for purposes in this paragraph as having a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less.
From his website it appears he is a very accomplished person who has not let his disability prevent him accomplishing his goals and living a very full life.

http://www.blindcircumnavigation.org
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Old 25-09-2009, 19:07   #294
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WE should all be out sailing instead of worrying about these two!
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Old 25-09-2009, 19:11   #295
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My friend was the first deaf man to single hand around the world ( via Panama and the Cape of Good Hope) Silent Voyager , cool guy. With the right safety equipment, experience, and brains, it can be done.
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Old 25-09-2009, 19:21   #296
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Factor View Post
Jess only made one mistake here - she spoke to the functionaries from MSQ.
What about
Quote:
* Most probably dozed off before her vessel hit and was dragged alongside the 63,000-tonne cargo ship.

* Did not turn on a device that would have warned her of a potential collision.

* Could not produce a clear, plotted plan for her journey.

* Had not developed a fatigue management plan.
They sound like pretty serious mistakes to me, which would have been lessened somewhat if she had sailed well out of the shipping lane before turning south.

In the paper version of the above article it has comment from the MSQ findings and it says "5: The Passage plan was an idea of clearing the coast towards Lord How Island before making for Sydney, spending a week to ten(10) days at sea."

That 'aint coast hugging in my opinion.

From another source
Quote:
The Maritime Safety Queensland report found Jessica had set her vessel on autopilot and checked her radar about 2am, noting a target about six nautical miles away which she calculated was passing to her starboard side and well clear.

"Satisfied there were no immediate dangers (Jessica) put her head down for 10 minutes,'' the report said. Authorities believed the teenager then dozed off.

She soon heard the roar of a close vessel and went topside as the bulk carrier scrapped right along her yacht's port side.

Jessica radioed the skipper of the Silver Yang and received an apology and a promise that the damage bill would be paid.
I can see a ship coming towards me, I think it will miss me, I think I'll have a kip.

WTF !!!
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Old 25-09-2009, 19:39   #297
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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
Here is the perfect buddy boat partner for her. He is also trying to set a "record." They can sail their boats side by side:
Blind Fort Myers man plans to sail around the world


Blind Fort Myers man plans to sail around the world
www.blindcircumnavigation.org/All_information/Text.pdf

The Blind leading the Blond....... sorry! couldn't resist...
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Old 25-09-2009, 19:49   #298
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Hi,

I looked at the 'blind' guy's site and it looks he is a different kind of stuff than the girls. Actually, I believe he stands a good chance of success.

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Old 25-09-2009, 19:54   #299
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Firstly she had only just left so fatigue should not be a cause. Secondly between AIS and Radar watch zone she should have known position of other vessels around her regardless. Remember she is taking off on a solo round the world voyage. In fact she was only sailing to Sydney at the time for the official start to the voyage. I am tired of listening to her parents and supporters making excuses and telling all that she has been sailing since birth. She obviously did not learn much!
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Old 25-09-2009, 20:03   #300
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Fact, it was very early on. And she could expect ships in this area - relatively inshore and her home waters - so aside from the obvious that it could be just a stupid slip up, it may just as well be a sign of her more general attitude to things.

I made a stupid mistake at least once - in a very (?) moderate gale I let the boat 'take care of herself and her crew' - went down below to get some rest and think my options over - and we got knocked down before I had time to make myself a cup of tea.

Skipper's complacency sinks boats, kills crews.

Sad, but first hand knowledge,
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