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Old 14-09-2013, 18:21   #61
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Originally Posted by kthoennes View Post
You colreg debate guys are hilarious. Arguing about stand on vessels and slinging the rule numbers and citations around in a situation like this. It's not much different than when I was a teenager sailing my Bluejay on the Connecticut River. If there was no wind or the current was timed badly, then you don't cross the Hadlyme ferry path because you might get run over - and that ferry was a baby (as ferries go) with about 10 cars on a half mile trip. If you're in a measly boat and there's a giant anything charging through the vicinity, then you stay the heck away.

Next time a tanker is crossing my path and doesn't yield to me when he should I'll just stand on the bow waving a copy of the colregs - until he turns my boat into splinters in the prop wash.
I had 12 ships spread around me recently near Gib. Where would you suggest I turn to avoid them. I have no choice but to apply the COLREGS.

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Old 14-09-2013, 19:46   #62
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Re: What can happen when you cut off a ferry

The colregs actually only apply to 2 vessels at a time so after that...apply rule #2 for everything else....

it's the only rule that even remotely suggests that little boats stay out of the way of big boats....besides the 20 meter rule in rule 9..and maybe another exception or 2 I have forgotten...but generally...rule 2 covers the common sense rule of avoiding collisions.....not some arbitrary thinking like "the law of tonnage".
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Old 14-09-2013, 20:10   #63
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Re: What can happen when you cut off a ferry

Rakuflames has exceeded their stored private messages quota and cannot accept further messages until they clear some space.

I tried...
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Old 14-09-2013, 20:16   #64
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Re: What can happen when you cut off a ferry

by the way . . . . ."Visibility was 10 miles at the time of the crash under overcast skies, according to the National Weather Service."
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Old 14-09-2013, 20:36   #65
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Rakuflames has exceeded their stored private messages quota and cannot accept further messages until they clear some space.

I tried...

Sorry, I can't seem to entirely empty the darn thing. Just post it here ...
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Old 14-09-2013, 20:37   #66
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Re: What can happen when you cut off a ferry

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by the way . . . . ."Visibility was 10 miles at the time of the crash under overcast skies, according to the National Weather Service."

During the day, no fog ... I think people just get comfortable in the waters they sail and start tuning things out.
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Old 14-09-2013, 23:05   #67
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Re: What can happen when you cut off a ferry

I don't know how much this will add, but I was nearby when this happened so I can say what I saw and heard.

We were just coming back from a week of sailing when we were coming east through Harney Channel near Hankin Point when we heard the mayday over the radio. Looked in front of us and saw the aftermath about 1-1.5nm away from us. It appeared to have happen right at the meeting of Harney and Upright channels, maybe closer to Upright head but not all that close to land or any other obstruction. I did not think of looking at the GPS when it happened to note exactly where as we drove by afterwards.

I would say that fog was not an issue with several miles of visibility in that area and possibly much more as I could see land in every direction and we weren't concerned about fog at all or we wouldn't have been out as our boat did not have radar. It was gray and cold out but not very windy nor were there are strong currents that I was aware of.

I heard over the radio that the first other sailboat to respond which was right ahead of us knew the affected sailboat owner and called it a 27' motorsailer and knew that there was only one person on board. I believe he was the first to call out that the affected captain was outside standing on the boat. Several other nearby boats quickly responded but a surprising number just motored on by at high speed. Soon afterwards another ferry coming east through Upright Channel came to a full stop before reaching the junction.

Before we heard the mayday we were aware of the ferries in our area but I do not recall hearing any horns whatsoever. I wasn't totally focused on them yet as we were well out of their way closer to shore so I can't say for sure that they didn't sound one, but if they did we never heard it.

All on board our vessel could not imagine how this possibly could have happened. I still can't as it seems so unlikely that anyone could have been surprised given the location, conditions, etc... That said, there was a lot of traffic coming from a lot of different directions at this location.

One other note, it took forever for anyone official to get on the scene despite hearing that the CG was only 3 miles away. This first to show up was actually a small WA state wildlife/fisheries boat who attempted to tow the quickly sinking sailboat back to Shoal Bay. They had no pumping ability on board. As they towed it, they very nearly got sucked back into the stopped ferry with it having to move very quickly sideways to avoid another crash. We thought for sure there was going to be another collision - it seemed that close. Soon afterwards a sheriff follow by some sort of vessel assist show up but it had all come to a stop by then and sank very soon afterwards.

I can also say that from my (limited) sailing around the PNW, that those ferry routes on the charts only seem to be suggestions to the ferry pilots and it is sometime very difficult to know exactly where they are headed. I personally never expect them to stick to those dotted lines on the chart. Also, it has been my experience that they do not always sound their horns when they leave the docks. It seems to mostly happen but not 100%. And they are very fast.
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Old 15-09-2013, 06:02   #68
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The colregs actually only apply to 2 vessels at a time so after that...apply rule #2 for everything else....

it's the only rule that even remotely suggests that little boats stay out of the way of big boats....besides the 20 meter rule in rule 9..and maybe another exception or 2 I have forgotten...but generally...rule 2 covers the common sense rule of avoiding collisions.....not some arbitrary thinking like "the law of tonnage".
Huh. The COLREGS applies. Irrespective of the numbers of vessels !

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Old 15-09-2013, 06:03   #69
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Re: Washington State Ferry Collides with Sailboat

More info in this thread (along with the usual commentary).

What can happen when you cut off a ferry
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Old 15-09-2013, 06:27   #70
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pirate Re: What can happen when you cut off a ferry

Kinda amusing ... in a macabre sorta way... everyone's assuming the sailboat/MS is the one at fault... even though no one knows the facts.
Seem to remember a few examples this side of the pond where large ferries have sunk sailboats in one way or the other...
The most dramatic one that comes to mind is when a sailboat was capsized and lost with all hands by its wash off the SE corner of the Isle of Wight by the Portsmouth-Cherbourg ferry...
But what the hell... there have always been 'Hanging Judges'....
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Old 15-09-2013, 07:49   #71
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Re: Washington State Ferry Collides with Sailboat

I posted this before I realized that there was another thread already in progress. Mods, please feel free to delete this one.
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Old 15-09-2013, 07:50   #72
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Re: What can happen when you cut off a ferry

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Several minor observations from a sailor who has spent many years transiting Harney Channel and dodging Washington State Ferries. I have anchored in Blind Bay on Shaw Island for weeks at a time watching the ferries run to both Shaw and Orcas

- If you have not navigated Harney you have no idea how confusing and troubling the water and traffic can be

- many folks on this forum have a very dangerous misunderstanding of the rules of the road as it applies to sailboats and a total lack of appreciation for practical and safe navigation practices.

- Harney channel is a challenging and often dangerous environment for sailboats. I have sailed thru and across the channel hundreds of times as a single hander in a 40' boat, a captain on a crewed bigger sailboat, and crew on many smaller sailbats.

Please note the dimensions and locations of the ferry landings on the attached image - click on it to get a bigger image

The channel has some strong currents that vary greatly from side to side and from east to west.

The wind is very erratic and swirls and twists as it moves thru the channel

The Washington State Ferries always take different routes depending on their destination. Sometimes a ferry coming from the east will go to Orcas first and then to Shaw, other times they go to Shaw first and then Orcas, and sometimes they go to only Orcas and then head back east while bypassing Shaw.

There is no way to know where the ferry is headed since they might take a path on one side of the channel, pass their destination, and then circle back to their destination in order to have a favorable angle to the dock while struggling with the current.

I have, on many occasions, been very surprised when I passed a ferry I thought was headed to Orcas which then seemed to make a 180 degree turn and head back toward me while trying to dock at Shaw.

On a given day, in seemingly identical conditions, I've seen the same ferry transit the channel on the far north side, in the middle, and on the far south side.

There have been times, when sailing, that I have tried to hold my course while having the right of way, made contact via VHF, with the ferry, told them my intentions and they acknowledged those intentions, and then had the ferry pass within 10 yards of me while I had rocks just five yards to the other side.

It is confusing and difficult and I can easily understand how both boats where sure they were doing the correct, and safe, thing.

However, a single hander (which I am more often than not), going below for even a minute in Harney with a ferry in sight is just asking to have a serious problem.

Nothing beats hearing it from someone who KNOWS what he is talking about.
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Old 15-09-2013, 08:40   #73
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Re: What can happen when you cut off a ferry

Normally what happens with a Coast Guard ruling is that both operators will be held at fault to some degree. This is consistent with the COLREGs that when "in extremis" both operators are required to take action to avoid collision.

Very rarely in a collision does the Coast Guard rule one operator completely not at fault and the other operator completely at fault.

I see a frequent theme of "just stay the hell out of the way"...which of course I agree with if this is done well ahead of time. But I also sense that some people are "getting the hell out of the way" on a short term basis. The best way to get in a collision with a vessel going far faster than you and you are the stand on vessel is to alter your course when this vessel is close to you. Keep a steady and predictable course when there are much faster vessels anywhere near you. Unless and of course you get into an "in extremis" situation where there will be a collision if you do not take immediate action.
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Old 15-09-2013, 09:54   #74
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Re: What can happen when you cut off a ferry

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
The actual law as written (note the part I bolded):

"Washington State Ferries and other Passenger Carrying Vessels: Operate your vessel at minimum speed when within 500 yards and do not approach within 100 yards. If you must approach within 100 yards to comply with the Navigation Rules you must contact the Master of the vessel or the Coast Guard escort vessels or other on scene escort vessels on VHF-FM channel 13 or 16 for instructions. Do not approach within 25 yards of a moored passenger vessel. 33-CFR-1317"
This says what to do if you are approaching a state ferry, but if I'm in a 5 knot sailboat and the ferry is coming at me at 25 knots, am I approaching him or is he approaching me? If he is coming up behind me it would seem that this law requires me to go at minimum speed rather than pedal to the metal to get the hell out of his way. These and other stupid 9/11 laws were passed without much brain power being applied. Maybe the sailboat guy was in fact obeying the law as written and got run over for his trouble. I'll wait for the official report before passing judgement.

I also looked up Harney channel in washington on my official NOAA charts. I do not see any marked ferry routes on these charts. I looked at both the Raster and ENC charts. Am I looking at the wrong Harney channel?
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Old 15-09-2013, 10:02   #75
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Re: What can happen when you cut off a ferry

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Huh. The COLREGS applies. Irrespective of the numbers of vessels !

Dave
The words 2 vessels is often used and usually the words "each other"..for good reason.

It's the way it's taught by the USCG to instructors teaching captain licensing....so I'm not making it up.

That's where rule 2 is mostly used or "safe speed" dependent on traffic....if there a potential for collisions between 3 or more vessels.

The general concept of COLREGs is between 2 vessels because you could be "give way" to one vessel yet "stand on" to the third....you can't be both at the same time....
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