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Old 11-08-2007, 22:26   #1
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<rant on> ColRegs

Just got back from 3 weeks out and about in Canada's PNW. Overall, the trip was fabulous-wind, beauty, hot, cold, blah blah, we're cooler than you, blah blah...

But I gotta say I was blowing gaskets about the complete breakdown in courtesy and failure to follow basic rules of the road.

Normally we schedule our holidays to avoid the high-tourism season, aiming for earlier in the season or holding off until September. This time things conspired to have us out the last week and a half of July until a few hours ago.

I couldn't begin to tell you how many times some yahoo off to port altered their course so they could pass ahead of me, only to have to change their course once they'd passed us to get back to their rhumb line, or failed to show proper lights, or turned to port when approaching close ahead, or...

I tried to find some rhyme or reason, but none of the usual categories worked. Sailors were nearly as likely to fail to give way when required as motorboaters. Canadian flagged boats were almost as bad as USA flagged at ignoring rule 15. The nastiest hack was delivered by a woman helmsperson, but the vast majority of offenders were men at the wheel. The closest to a guideline I could come up with was the smaller and older the boat, the more likely it was to observe the ColRegs.

One of the reasons I go sailing is to get away from the stress of being at the mercy of dangerous or inconsiderate drivers. After this last cruise I am left wondering if the only place to do that is a cruise to the antarctic.

I should probably mention the majority of other vessels we passed amongst did nothing to frighten, threaten, or bother us (though almost none of them displayed anchor lamps at night.) It was exactly those experiences, however, which made the legs of this trip an ordeal rather than an adventure.

</rant off>
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Old 11-08-2007, 23:32   #2
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It is a fact of life on the water so you will either need to get over it or find a less stressful pastime. It has only gotten worse over the years and will only continue. You only need the money to buy a boat, not the skills or common sense to operate one. As you said, you were in no danger. Another option would be to become a member of law enforcement and get out on the water and fine them all. But that too would be futile and they will go about their business being totally oblivious. BTW, common sense is no longer very common.
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Old 11-08-2007, 23:46   #3
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Two characteristics that make up a lot of the people in my marina:

- drunk
- don't know a sextant from a can opener

Harbors are dangerous places, primarily because of the types of operators you're talking about. Very scary.
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Old 12-08-2007, 05:05   #4
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It's just that time of year

This time of year, everybody is taking that week or 2 off from work and every single boat owner is out trying to get some time in on the boat that they usually are too busy to use.

Chalk it up to inexperienced people still learning - that's what we do this time of year.

Come September, they'll all be gone.
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Old 12-08-2007, 06:34   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart

- don't know a sextant from a can opener
Thank God for twist-offs.

Sailed with my brother out of Long Beach a few weeks back. Somewhat narrow channel out and for the most part everyone seemd well behaved. Except perhaps the jet-skiers who seemed clueless but were defaulted to the rule of biggest vessel has right of way.
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Old 12-08-2007, 10:15   #6
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Check out this story. I read it a few weeks ago and am still bothered by it:

The most recent incident began at about 10 p.m. March 26 when the skipper of a 42-ft. sailboat could not find the entrance to San Diego Harbor. Conditions were clear with a high marine layer.
"He was south of the Zuniga Jetty off the Hotel del Coronado and couldn't find the channel due to lights in the background," said Sea Tow Capt. Greg Dreischmeyer.
"He had been stuck searching for the channel entrance for four or five hours and for some reason couldn't get his chart plotter to function; it kept reading data error every time he tried to load the card for the San Diego area." The conditions were clear, but the skipper couldn't distinguish the channel lights from the background lights. Finally, at about 1 a.m., the rental boat's skipper called the Coast Guard on VHF radio Channel 16. Since the vessel was in no imminent danger, the Coast Guard contacted the private towing firm Sea Tow to lead the craft into the harbor.
4 or 5 hours and the guy couldn't find his way into one of the largest harbors on the west coast, with no fog and all navigational aids working properly. Then I remembered that this is one of those goobers who's steering with a chart plotter and not his brain.

Take a wild stab at how much knowledge this guy would have about close quarter rules of the road; no chance.
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Old 12-08-2007, 11:16   #7
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Just venting...

After so many hacks and dodging so many boats who seemed unaware of the rules of the road, I just needed to vent for a minute.

I would also dispute we weren't in any danger; the closest call was a motor catamaran who, after altering course to port (which we responded by doing the same) decided at the last minute he really wanted to go to stbd, and cleared us by about 5 m. A few others were within 15-20m. One boat, apparently taking pictures of us under sail, stayed a couple dozen yards ahead and to weather of us as we were closing with the side of the channel; we wore ship as the bottom got up to 20'.

Anyway, I try to take it in stride though I did scream ineffectually at the catamaran. I should have thrown my copy of Wheelhouse Companion at him, as I keep it near the cockpit whenever I'm out and about. Hindsight is 20/20.
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Old 12-08-2007, 13:51   #8
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The basic problem is they don't paint lines on the water. It means of course you can go any place you want. These people are on vacation and there are rules when you go on vacation.

I had a close one today. An express power boat is aimed on my bow doing 30 plus knots. I'm doing 4.0. He seems to be oblivious to me so I try to think which direction I want to go. I have a sea buoy 5 boat lengths from me in a channel that is 2 miles wide. I figure he wouldn't try to go between me and the buoy so I veer a bit to port just in case. He passes me a few boat lengths away doing 30 knots. He isn't oblivious to me he was pissed that I didn't get out of the way.

The most regrettable thing was we had the dog with us and no bags of poop to throw.

There are a lot of nit wits out there with as many reasons for bring stupid as you might imagine and about the only real rule to follow is don't assume anyone knows the rules because many that do don't really care. The rules don't apply if you are on vacation. Too bad he didn't hit me. I would have been damaged seriously but they would have been killed and sunk.
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Old 12-08-2007, 14:19   #9
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Amgine,

" I tried to find some rhyme or reason, but none of the usual categories worked. Sailors were nearly as likely to fail to give way when required as motorboaters. Canadian flagged boats were almost as bad as USA flagged at ignoring rule 15."

I live halfway between Seattle and the San Juan Islands so I see a lot of charter boats and others on the way to and coming home from the islands. It used to be mostly power boaters who didn't have a clue and acted as you describe, but this year's different.

I have formed a theory about this. It's the price of fuel. Charter operators are now chartering sailboats and using them as motorboats because they don't use as much fuel. Even with decent wind in Admiralty Inlet (where I live) 9 times out of ten a sailboat is motoring. It doesn't matter which wind direction either. It can be blowing 10 to 15 and the genoa is furled and the mainsail cover is on. They also drive point to point ignoring shipping lanes (and tidal current as well), just like typical powerboaters.
Most of the few powerboats we do see are going slow and usually folllow the rules of the road.

Steve B.
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Old 12-08-2007, 15:20   #10
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The most regrettable thing was we had the dog with us and no bags of poop to throw.
I like eggs.
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Old 12-08-2007, 15:54   #11
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I reckon that you could do a poll of 100 people at the wheel of (non-commercial) vessels and at least 50% of them would never even have heard of COLREGS, and probaly only 25% would actually be familiar with the regs.
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Old 12-08-2007, 18:45   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amgine
Just got back from 3 weeks out and about in Canada's PNW.
I know I'm being pedantic, but "Canada's PNW" would be around the Alaskan panhandle - if you're talking about the PNW, then that would equate as Canada's PSW

Anyway, I feel your pain - I used to ply those waters professionally. Beside ignorance of Rule 15, I found most were generally oblivious to Rule 14 (the Head-on rule) and the concept of staying to one's starboard side in a channel (Rule 9a) was ignored by the majority of pleasure boaters. Unfortunately Darwinism is not nearly as effective in removing dummies from the gene-pool, as we would like. Best to not let it ruin your vacation.

Kevin
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Old 12-08-2007, 20:34   #13
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...Another option would be to become a member of law enforcement and get out on the water and fine them all. But that too would be futile and they will go about their business being totally oblivious.
Futile, yes! But boy would I have fun!!!!!

I find even some of the professionals around here seem to be falling down the same rabbithole of stupidity and ignorance.

My top rants:
  • Nav lights.
  • Sailboats who don't know what starboard tack is.
  • No wake zone violations.
I have recently taken on a very small piece of this problem by taking a job as a sailing instructor. I can't change the world, but I can change a tiny piece of it.

Someday when you are feeling un-naturally happy, try this exercise:
First, consider the intelligence of the average person....
Now... Remember, half of everybody is dumber than that!!!!
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Old 13-08-2007, 00:07   #14
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Someday when you are feeling un-naturally happy, try this exercise:
First, consider the intelligence of the average person....
Now... Remember, half of everybody is dumber than that!!!!

I'd say the curve looks more like this.

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Old 13-08-2007, 02:54   #15
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It is one of the essential features of incompetence that the person so afflicted is incapable of knowing that he is incompetent.

Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments
by Justin Kruger and David Dunning (Cornell University)
http://www.apa.org/journals/features/psp7761121.pdf

People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. Across 4
studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their abilities ...


The average IQ is by definition 100; scores above 100 indicate a higher than average IQ and scores below 100 indicate a lower that average IQ. Theoretically, scores can range any amount below or above 100, but in practice they do not meaningfully go much below 50 or above 150.

Half of the population have IQs of between 90 and 110, while 25% have higher IQs and 25% have lower IQs:
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