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Old 24-03-2011, 15:33   #46
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

Doesn't matter who is responsible. The yacht will hopefully have insurance as will the tow boat firm. They are responsible for sorting this expensive mess out between them, not the owner.

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Old 24-03-2011, 15:43   #47
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

I don't think it is possible to sort out blame or legal obligation without knowing the facts. After all, the owner might have told the towboat operator that his mast was only 60 feet. Or the towboat operator might have just ignored the height gauge thinking that it was the charted 65 feet even though the tide was unusually high. I can see blame going either way, or being apportioned between the two. I believe most insurance policies do not pay up in cases of negligence.
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Old 24-03-2011, 16:22   #48
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

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Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
Do you know if the sailboats rudder or other underwater gear were all normal?
Do you know if the sailboat was dragging anything?
Was there ANY eddies near/under the bridge?
Do you know if both if both outboards were running?

I could go on a lot more....too much lack of info in my case to pass judgement...maybe you are comfortable.

Plus...never a fan of outboars big, small whatever stroke, 2 of them, etc...etc...I'll keep my 454 swinging a big 4 bladed michigan.
None of what you wrote in your post would matter, even if the sail boat was dragging a submarine and had no rudder or if it was running only 1 engine, this would not affect anything in this case, there were no eddies on a slack tide and no boat traffic at the moment this happened-- if the tow boat kept an eye out and slowed down and looked up we would not be having this conversation now-

I have towed and been towed under this bridge more than once and I am very careful to go very slow so as to make sure I’m clear while towing a sail boat or any other boat under a bridge that is close to topping out- - whatever the guy in the sail boat told the tow boat captain about the hight of his mast is mute (IMHO) – the tow boat captain should know not to take anyone’s word and proceed with extreme caution, this he did not do-as he was traveling at about 5 knots maybe more- Hey its a mistake he made, ive made just about every mistake that is possable - , I would bet you it never happens to him again!
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Old 24-03-2011, 16:27   #49
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

You can't tell accurately how close to the bridge height you are by looking up--the only reliable way is to measure your mast height over the water with a tape measure, observe the tidal gauge on the bridge, and if you are close proceed with great caution. The towboat captain couldn't really tell much by "looking up." I do that at every bridge and I always swear I'm going to hit the thing, even if I know I have 10 feet of clearance. It is possible to observe how close a mast is if you are able to get 100 feet or more back of the boat so that you are looking more horizontally at the bridge, but you won't know much until the boat is almost under the span.
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Old 24-03-2011, 16:42   #50
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

One of my towboats used to only clear a local bascule from mid-tide and below..... ALWAYS looked to close to me!
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Old 24-03-2011, 17:22   #51
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

"YOU," are NOT responsible when you have ceded command of the your vessel to someone who is supposed to know what he/she is doing and is being paid to do so. That person has taken the responsibility to protect your boat. It's what tow companies do. These tow boats are very well equipped to have 100% control moving against any current or wind. The ones I have seen have 400+ horsepower and the maneuverability of outboards. The only explanation could be that this boat may have been sinking and the mast was intentionally sacrificed?? Seems plausible but unlikely as there is always danger of the mast coming down ON someone or doing extensive damage. It is indeed impossible to judge by eye the clearance under a bridge which is why going very very slow would seem the only logical thing to do if not absolutely sure you can clear.
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Old 24-03-2011, 17:44   #52
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

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Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
"YOU," are NOT responsible when you have ceded command of the your vessel to someone who is supposed to know what he/she is doing and is being paid to do so. That person has taken the responsibility to protect your boat. It's what tow companies do. These tow boats are very well equipped to have 100% control moving against any current or wind. The ones I have seen have 400+ horsepower and the maneuverability of outboards. The only explanation could be that this boat may have been sinking and the mast was intentionally sacrificed?? Seems plausible but unlikely as there is always danger of the mast coming down ON someone or doing extensive damage. It is indeed impossible to judge by eye the clearance under a bridge which is why going very very slow would seem the only logical thing to do if not absolutely sure you can clear.
Uh, not true! Even on a large ship where a pilot is employed, the Master is STILL ultimately responsible for vessel safety
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Old 24-03-2011, 18:06   #53
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

That seems to be comparing apples to oranges. Still, the captain IS responsible for safety of crew on his boat but not the operation of vessel if he/she is no longer in control of the vessel. Would like to see where it is written and what court rulings say about the owner of a boat being responsible for any damage done to the bridge, for example. Are the crew of barges responsible when the tug crashes one into something? Would also like to see the fine print in the tow company form. A pilot comes aboard and "pilots" but the captain is still in control and can supersede the pilot. This would seem to be different in that the captain here has no say in where the boat is headed nor any power to change the course of the boat. When a tug takes control of an ocean liner coming into port, that tug company is responsible for any damage they cause to the ship. An interesting topic.
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Old 24-03-2011, 18:40   #54
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

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The tow boat had twin big outboards and it was slack high tide-/no wind- If it was me doing the tow I would have really slowed down to a crawl ,in this case it could have been easily done-under current conditions this alone would have prevented the collision, I believe the tow boat operators is mostly at fault, because he was in command –(I also hold a Masters license with tow & sail endorsements and very experienced) I watched them go by me ,as i was in the water snorkeling with my grand kids , heard the boom looked up to see the boat rocking , hobby horsing , looking like the mast was ready to come down-
Cruising in Greece???
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Old 24-03-2011, 18:46   #55
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

If the tow boat had slowed to 0.5kt there still would have been some significant damage.

6" from the distance of the tow boat would not be recognized till impact anyway.

IMO.
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Old 24-03-2011, 19:12   #56
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

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Originally Posted by Therapy View Post
Cruising in Greece???
winter in South Fl, Im leaving for Albina in 1 week
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Old 24-03-2011, 19:13   #57
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

Quote:
Originally Posted by Therapy View Post
If the tow boat had slowed to 0.5kt there still would have been some significant damage.

6" from the distance of the tow boat would not be recognized till impact anyway.

IMO.
Maybe and maybe not I dont think it would have snapped
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Old 24-03-2011, 19:26   #58
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

I am amazed by all the armchair quarterbacks in this thread! The guys who REALLY have run assistance towing vessels have opined, yet nobody seems to listen!
FACT:
  • The Towboat Captain HAS to rely on the vessel operator's info about air draft
  • Unless local knowledge proves otherwise, tideboards are the only gauge available to the towboat
  • minimum steerage speeds are some of the least controlable
  • sailboats (monos) are extremely hard to tow astern because of carry-on
  • local conditions of wind, tide, and vessel traffic all complicate the process
  • Most assistance towing vessels have no special power, control, or maneuverability
  • No two tows behave exactly alike
  • IF the skipper of the vessel needing assistance feels the towboat (or it's captain) is not capable, it is HIS responsibility to take action to terminate the tow and secure his vessel
  • In MY experience, most of the boats needing assistance were a direct result of a lack of experience of the operator and THEIR errors or omissions
  • The most accurate way to tow a sailboat with an assistance towing vessel is on the hip, using the sailboat's rudder to steer

I have towed hundreds (if not thousands) of small boats over the years, and can tell you NOTHING is 100% perfectly safe when controlling one vessel from another. I'll go as far as to apply that same statement to vessels under their own power!

The ONLY person opining in this thread who was actually there (the OP) can state "facts" about this particular incident, and even HE was not privy to the conversation (if any) between the two vessels.
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Old 24-03-2011, 19:28   #59
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

What I believe to be the owner in post#11 said there was no communication between the yacht and the towboat. So ceding command could not have happened anyway. Also, boat owner/crew probable secured tow line to sailboat, so yacht still maintains command.
As for crews on barges, bad example, they are tug crews,.

Which Bazzas Boat would post again and state how he knows so much..

Even the OP was face down in the water when it happened.
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Old 24-03-2011, 19:56   #60
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

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Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
Would like to see where it is written and what court rulings say about the owner of a boat being responsible for any damage done to the bridge, for example. Are the crew of barges responsible when the tug crashes one into something?
Dude, you need only look as far as ONE PAGE back in this thread to see it in writing...(post #33 in this thread)

Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

sheesh. At least read the whole thread before you go off. In the court case cited (upheld on appeal) the tow boat was completely exonerated and the barge crew was held 100% at fault.
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