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Old 27-10-2014, 11:23   #286
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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Originally Posted by Foolish View Post
Yesterday during a race, a sailboat and a coast guard ship were going to collide. Both were traveling at about 6 knots. The sailboat was clearly the stand on vessel by any possible interpretation of the rules. The coast guard ship gave several blasts of the horn "get out of my way". And the sailboat tacked.

It seems to me that if even the coast guard is going to follow the tonnage right of way rule, that my concept of always "assuming" that the ship is the stand on vessel is the best way to go. The coast guard ship continued to cut right through the boats without changing direction even once. Changing their course by just 15 degrees would have taken them away from all the boats.
When you are close to a collision -- "were going to collide" -- no one stands on. Both vessels are required to maneuver to avoid a collision.

Standing-on and giving-way only occurs in a specific part of an encounter. This whole idea disappears when vessels "are going to collide".

You must never stand on into danger. This is not written in the Colregs, but it is absolutely a true statement of the logical consequences of them.

So naturally the sailboat should have tacked, and was required to do so.

But it is poor seamanship and a violation of the Colregs for the Coast Guard vessel to have steered into that situation. Unless he was navigating in a narrow channel with a reasonable expectation that the sailboat would stay out of the way -- Rule 9. And even then, when the vessels were "going to collide", then he was required to maneuver. Sounds like in any case, very poor performance on the part of a vessel that should be setting an example.

There is no such thing as a "rule of tonnage". The idea usually covers ignorance of the Colregs and lack of knowledge about how to do collision avoidance. It is true, however, and it is implied by Rule 2, that smaller vessels, and in fact all vessels, should avoid getting into a risk of collision situation in the first place by maneuvering early if they can. Small vessels should always stay out of shipping channels when ships are coming, even if this is not required by Rule 9. That is good seamanship and encouraged by Rule 2.

But once you get into a risk of collision situation, you are required to do the Colregs dance, and stand on at least momentarily if you are the stand on vessel. Standing on is an obligation not a right. Where the "rule of tonnage" idea becomes really harmful and dangerous is when sailors interpret it to mean that they don't need to know anything about the Colregs and don't need to know anything about collision avoidance -- just run away if you see a big scary ship.

That's what makes us WAFIs.
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Old 27-10-2014, 11:31   #287
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

One last thing, I have moved my chartplotter/radar/AIS and vhf all to the cockpit (underneath the dodger and away from the compass, yet close enough to use at the helm). This allows me to do all my navigation from the helm, and talk to other captains as the need arises. My wife thinks I spend too much time on the vhf, but I think it is just being professional. The big boys need a quick report to let them know where you are going.
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Old 27-10-2014, 15:40   #288
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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Just discribed what I do on the pacific when I am more than 6 miles offshore and out of a shipping lane.
Ah, that's completely different from the sailing I do. I've never been six miles off the coast.

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That's what makes us WAFIs.
I've often wished I could hear from a licensed, employed Puget Sound Pilot, who goes up and down the VTS lanes all day every day. I'd like to hear about what happens when there's a hundred sails between Sierra Delta and Yankee Tango, how much planning they really do, given that we're no more predictable than children, what they say to each other about the boats they see on radar and visually, and what they really expect us to do.

Not "I know a pilot and he told me that...", not a Captain of a fishing boat, ferry boat or tug, not "I worked on ships for twenty years and...", and certainly not a pilot from some other body of water, but a licensed professional Puget Sound pilot, who sold what he knows about our little neighborhood last week and will sell it again next week.

I bet it's neither as clear cut as the theory would have it nor as casual as it appears from our cockpit.

I think the unvarnished truth about that would be quite revealing.
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Old 28-10-2014, 08:38   #289
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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Ah, that's completely different from the sailing I do. I've never been six miles off the coast.


I've often wished I could hear from a licensed, employed Puget Sound Pilot, who goes up and down the VTS lanes all day every day. I'd like to hear about what happens when there's a hundred sails between Sierra Delta and Yankee Tango, how much planning they really do, given that we're no more predictable than children, what they say to each other about the boats they see on radar and visually, and what they really expect us to do.

Not "I know a pilot and he told me that...", not a Captain of a fishing boat, ferry boat or tug, not "I worked on ships for twenty years and...", and certainly not a pilot from some other body of water, but a licensed professional Puget Sound pilot, who sold what he knows about our little neighborhood last week and will sell it again next week.

I bet it's neither as clear cut as the theory would have it nor as casual as it appears from our cockpit.

I think the unvarnished truth about that would be quite revealing.
Why do you just wonder about it? I don't know about Puget Sound in particular, but if you want to know what goes on on the bridges of commercial ships, we have several professional mariners on here, with decades of experience between them on commercial bridges, like Nigel1 and Lodesman. Why don't you ask them? And professional mariners have their own online community -- GCaptain. I joined it specifically to get to know what they think in encounters with us, how they maneuver, plan, etc., and what they expect us to do. I spent a lot of time on there and gathered a huge amount of useful information.

In my opinion, only a small percentage of recreational sailors have the slightest clue what goes on on the bridge of a commercial ship, and this is harmful for the process of collision avoidance. Here are some of the things I have learned:

1. 0.0% of professional mariners just ignore us and leave us to get out of the way ourselves. They worry a lot about running us down, because an accident with a sailboat would have very serious consequences for their careers.

2. Professional mariners regard us with varying degrees of disdain, with attitudes ranging from reasonable sympathy (surprisingly many professional mariners also sail recreational vessels) to abject hatred. The hatred comes from our lack of ability to recognize risky situations, our lack of awareness at a reasonable distance, our ignorance of Colregs and collision avoidance procedures, our propensity to unpredictable maneuvers.

3. Professional mariners routinely assume that we are not capable of seeing a potential collision course or calculating an effective maneuver, and almost always prefer to maneuver themselves far beyond our horizon of perception of them, before there is any standing-on or giving-way called for by the rules. Their decision point is typically about 10 miles out -- they alter course to stay well clear of us so they don't have to screw around with the unpredictable maneuvers which result when the WAFI wakes up and sees the ship at 3 or 4 miles away, and turns the wrong way.

4. They hate most of all unpredictable, uncalculated, spontaneous maneuvers which can ruin the solution which they made themselves. They do want us to "stay the hell out of the way" -- which means stay out of the channels and shipping lanes, maneuvering ourselves before a risk of collision situation arises. However, once a risk of collision situation arises, they want us to "follow the bloody Colregs", including standing on when that is what we are supposed to do.

5. The use ARPA but they rely heavily on AIS and are vastly more likely to see us if we are broadcasting AIS. I get the impression that it has become really dangerous to mix it up with ships without broadcasting AIS.

6. They are divided on whether they want us to call them on the VHF. Some of them want us to leave off the idiotic radio chatter and follow the bloody Colregs. Others assume we are going to be confused no matter what, assume that we are not capable of "following the bloody Colregs, and would prefer to talk to us and talk us through it.

7. A huge disconnect between professionals and us is the horizon of perception and decision making. They detect and evaluate before 10 miles, and usually make a move at about 10 miles. We usually don't see them before 5 or 6 miles, when the professional has already done everything and set up a safe crossing without waiting for us to see them. So we are usually doing the wrong things at the wrong time. And this creates a huge danger that we will fail to perceive that there is already a safe CPA and screw up the solution by maneuvering at the wrong time.



All this is open water. In a very crowded narrow strait with defined shipping lanes, things may be different. Whether or not these lanes are narrow channels in the Rule 9 meaning, Rule 2 requires small vessels to maneuver early to stay out of these lanes wherever possible when ships are coming down them, because after a certain number of targets it becomes practically impossible to calculate a solution, especially if these targets are maneuvering erratically (race boats tacking, for example). There may be local rules about this, too (there are in Southampton Water and around Bramble Bank in the Solent, for example). So there could be a situation where the commercial bridge is overwhelmed from time to time and just has to leave it to the sailboats to figure out how to get out of the way.


P.S. You've never been more than six miles offshore?! Man, life begins where the land slips away below the horizon! Try it sometime!
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Old 28-10-2014, 09:00   #290
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

You're post Dock, esp #7, is why I rarely get in trouble. Big ships see me a long way off, input their solutions and are on their way. I basically "stand on" because I don't change anything until their intercept gets close. I know they are there, they know I am here.
I am not shy about hailing a specific vessel. Often they hail me first because they are more worried than I am. There are exceptions of course. Some just ignore me.
Kinda like this forum.
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Old 28-10-2014, 09:54   #291
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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5. The use ARPA but they rely heavily on AIS and are vastly more likely to see us if we are broadcasting AIS. I get the impression that it has become really dangerous to mix it up with ships without broadcasting AIS.

I spent a week on a freighter this summer. It was quite interesting. As there were only three passengers we had full access to the bridge, and I spend most of my time there when awake.

I was very interested in seeing how these ships dealt with small craft. The skipper told me that in his opinion the single thing a yachtsman can do that most makes everybody!s life easier is get an AIS transponder.

We didn't get in any hairy situations in open water, mostly because yachts in the English Channel know to stay out of the shipping lanes.
It did get interesting when sailing up the river to Waterford. A 800TEU short sea freighter is very depth constrained in that channel. The skipper could do nothing but continuously announce his position and intentions over the VHF, and hope everybody else stays out of his way. When leaving Cork we did this in the middle of a regatta, and there again the skipper could only count on the yachts staying out of the way, as the closest wouldn't even be visible.. His biggest worry however was the Brittany Ferry that seemed a bit erratic...

This did confirm to me that treating big ships as if they are "trains", ie, big, unstoppable, but predictable, so you keep out of their way is correct when in crowded waters and harbors. It was good to know however that in the open (ie, crossing the channel between the separation zones) they would maneuver around me.





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Old 28-10-2014, 14:31   #292
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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Why do you just wonder about it?
Because I've never actually met or heard from anyone who meets what I'm looking for. Even on gCaptain.
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Old 30-10-2014, 17:11   #293
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

Dockhead, I found your thread on gCaptain, and asked for a Puget Sound Pilot.

From what I understand, there are 50-60 active, working Puget Sound Pilots, and apparently none of them care to post, either here or on gCaptain.
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Old 03-11-2014, 10:49   #294
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

From the Route du Rhum:
"As he passed close to the Ushant shipping lane Thomas Coville (Sodeb’O Ultime) hit a cargo ship around 2330hrs."
This was on a huge 60' trimaran that would have all the electronic aids to navigation possible, including radar, ais, etc. But he still collided with a ship.
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:02   #295
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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When leaving Cork we did this in the middle of a regatta, and there again the skipper could only count on the yachts staying out of the way, as the closest wouldn't even be visible..
Those racing yachts in Cork, need to be very careful. The Cork Harbour Master has repeatedly warned the sailing clubs there that any yachts impeding ships and he will ban racing in the harbour. They are watching their steps !.
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:06   #296
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

by the way, Id like to confirm Dockheads view. Ive been on bridges of ships over the years and

(a) Ships will if at all possible change course to avoid wafis, its just not worth their license to get near (us).

(b) AIS transponders are the best thing since sliced bread to alert ships to your presence, they will typically change course before you even see them.

(c) In crowded waters or fairways, try and keep away from them


(d) where you have to cross, play by the rules. what they hate most of all is unpredictability.
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Old 03-11-2014, 16:24   #297
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

From digital yacht dot com:

" ... The best test of a Class B transponder is to ask someone else in your marina, who has AIS, to check that you are being received on their system. If your vessel is stationary, then a transponder will only transmit every 3 minutes and this increases to every 30 seconds when your speed over the ground (SOG) is greater than 2 knots, so do allow some time for them to detect you. Also when they first receive your transmission, the only data they will see is your position, speed, course and MMSI number, it can take up to 6 minutes for your “Static Data” (boat name, call sign, vessel type, dimensions, etc.) to be received. This is normal and is the way the AIS system regulates the amount of data being transmitted

(...)

A Class B transponder transmits at 2 Watts (about a third of the power of a hand held VHF) so even in perfect line of sight conditions, the best range you can expect is about 8NM. (...) "

Sort of small margin for human error on that 20 kts cargo coming our way.

Sailor beware.

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Old 03-11-2014, 16:42   #298
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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From digital yacht dot com:

" ... The best test of a Class B transponder is to ask someone else in your marina, who has AIS, to check that you are being received on their system. If your vessel is stationary, then a transponder will only transmit every 3 minutes and this increases to every 30 seconds when your speed over the ground (SOG) is greater than 2 knots, so do allow some time for them to detect you. Also when they first receive your transmission, the only data they will see is your position, speed, course and MMSI number, it can take up to 6 minutes for your “Static Data” (boat name, call sign, vessel type, dimensions, etc.) to be received. This is normal and is the way the AIS system regulates the amount of data being transmitted

(...)

A Class B transponder transmits at 2 Watts (about a third of the power of a hand held VHF) so even in perfect line of sight conditions, the best range you can expect is about 8NM. (...) "

Sort of small margin for human error on that 20 kts cargo coming our way.

Sailor beware.

b.
Sailor always beware, for sure.

However, the distance at which the ships will receive your transmission will be determined by the heights of the antennas involved. We have received ship transmissions over a hundred miles away. Also, for sailboat to sailboat, we have received some at 20 miles away [unusual], and not received others at 5, when we "should". I do think, though, that the ships will see us well over 2o miles away, if they're looking.

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Old 04-11-2014, 09:13   #299
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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A Class B transponder transmits at 2 Watts (about a third of the power of a hand held VHF) so even in perfect line of sight conditions, the best range you can expect is about 8NM. (...) "

Sort of small margin for human error on that 20 kts cargo coming our way.

Sailor beware.

b.
Barny,
I have not found that to be true in real life. All of the transmitters show up at 20- 30 miles away on the open ocean, with the exception of some fishing vessels, which I suspect do not turn on their signal until I am very close. And a cargo going 20 plus coastal is rare. I still feel safe with my 25 min naps.
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Old 04-11-2014, 13:22   #300
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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Barny,
I have not found that to be true in real life. All of the transmitters show up at 20- 30 miles away on the open ocean, with the exception of some fishing vessels, which I suspect do not turn on their signal until I am very close. And a cargo going 20 plus coastal is rare. I still feel safe with my 25 min naps.
Yes, I agree. I set mine when I'm out of the River at 10miles so the alarm doesn't keep going off and I can still see vessels at 20 miles. I have no problem bringing up their details etc.
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