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View Poll Results: Can you legally sail solo single handed
Yes, as long as you use all available means to keep a look out 66 62.26%
No, all solo sailors are in breach of the Colregs 29 27.36%
The Colregs are intended for two handed sailors not one 3 2.83%
What's the Colregs? 9 8.49%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 106. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-06-2015, 11:04   #106
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Re: All about the Colregs no 3 - single handed sailing and keeping a look out

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Originally Posted by CSY Man View Post
Oh no, some ******* on an ego trip, like Dodge Morgan or some other solo-around-the-world trying to set a new record are sleeping soundly below while their 50 foot racer is doing 11 knots towards a collision with me or some other poor guy unable to steer clear.
The risk of being run over by a solo sailor is very small, I would say even negligible. If that is already over your risk threshold, what are you doing sailing?
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Old 10-06-2015, 11:12   #107
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pirate Re: All about the Colregs no 3 - single handed sailing and keeping a look out

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Originally Posted by K_V_B View Post
The risk of being run over by a solo sailor is very small, I would say even negligible. If that is already over your risk threshold, what are you doing sailing?
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Old 10-06-2015, 11:25   #108
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Re: All about the Colregs no 3 - single handed sailing and keeping a look out

Some Canadian case law.

Collisions and Ships

An example

Collision – Small Vessels – Improper lighting – Liability
Thatcher v. Schell, 2005 BCSC 1121

This case involved a collision on Okanagan Lake between a 26' sailboat operating under power and a 19' motorboat. The collision occurred at dusk. Both vessels were destroyed ... and the occupants of each were injured. The owner of the sailboat alleged that the collision was caused by the negligence of the other vessel in proceeding at an excessive speed and failing to maintain a proper lookout. The owner of the motorboat argued that the collision was caused by the negligence of the sailboat in failing to have the proper running lights and in turning to port immediately before the collision instead of to starboard as required by the collision regulations. It was uncontested that the driver of the motorboat did not see the sailboat until immediately before the collision and took no steps to avoid the collision. After reviewing all of the evidence the Judge found as a fact that the sailboat was not properly lit and that this was the cause of the collision. The owner/operator of the sailboat was therefore held to be completely at fault.
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Old 10-06-2015, 13:01   #109
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Re: All about the Colregs no 3 - single handed sailing and keeping a look out

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Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
If everyone would just stay out of the 'shipping lanes' there would be no problem, even big ships could reduce the risk of collision to zero and their watchkeepers could get a good night's sleep if they didn't get involved with the 'shipping lanes'... in fact the whole world would be a better place
Ah yes, safety when away from shipping lanes. Almost had a head on collision with a cruising sailboat in the middle of the night, over a hundred miles from the nearest shipping lane. No idea if it was a single-hander but the boat was sailing without lights and obviously no one on watch since we were well lit and hard to miss.

It was a moonless night, overcast and almost dark as a cave. I was fortunately paying attention and noticed something light in the darkness dead ahead. Got my attention since nothing should have been there so focused on it. When it was a boat length or two away I realized I was seeing the sails of another boat. Immediately cut the AP, altered to stbd and passed close enough I could have spit in their cockpit. Now if I had been napping we would definitely have hit.

Similar situation a few years ago south of DE Bay. This time it was broad daylight and all three of us were in the cockpit. Watched a boat leave the coast a few miles away on an intersecting course. At first didn't pay any attention but as they got closer we started watching. We were stand on so maintained course and speed until it became obvious the other boat was not going to change course. Cut the AP and altered course to pass astern of the boat. No one in the cockpit, wind vane steering. Now we were only a few miles off the coast but well south of any shipping lanes coming out of the bay.

So whatever the reason, not standing watch just because you aren't "in a shipping lane" doesn't seem to be a guarantee there's no one to run into.
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Old 10-06-2015, 13:13   #110
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Re: All about the Colregs no 3 - single handed sailing and keeping a look out

We had the same situation this year skip. 50M from land between antigua and st barts, some goose in an unlit tri. Didn't see him till our nav light lit up his sail as he passed 50m ahead, tacking upwind. Wth! Shone the torch on him and no sign of life on deck...
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Old 10-06-2015, 13:24   #111
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Re: All about the Colregs no 3 - single handed sailing and keeping a look out

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Originally Posted by Exile View Post
. . .

FWIW, I also have some background in this general area, and my casual observation is that you & DH actually agree more on the interpretation, application & enforcement of the Colregs than your back & forth suggests. When it comes to legalese, it's often more a problem of vocabulary & nomenclature than a problem understanding the deeper concepts. Terms such as "law," "rule," or "guideline," for example, often only compound the confusion depending on how one might define or intepret such terms that might otherwise seem pretty basic to a layman. And then, of course, they can take on different meanings depending on the application. Sorta like my ongoing dysfunction with most matters electrical & certainly SSB radio-related -- I just can't seem to get past the language . . . .

For example, DH says the Colregs are the "law"; you say they are not the "law" until adopted by signatory states; but they have been adopted by all states (other than W. Sahara apparently); so they do in fact have the force of law (if you will) in all those signatory states. But this step only gets you so far . . . .

For e.g., if a signatory state adopts civil or criminal penalties to enforce the Colregs, then only such signatory states -- through its administrative and/or law enforcement agencies -- can bring enforcement actions against violators.

Then again, and totally apart from actions brought by a state to directly enforce a violation of the Colregs, a state may also bring a criminal prosecution for criminal negligence or malfeasance, and may utilize the Colregs to demonstrate that a criminal defendant has violated a universally accepted standard of care. Here the state is seeking a conviction for a completely separate criminal offense defined under the common law or by statute (depending on jurisdiction), and is not attempting to prove a breach of the Colregs themselves (although that would invariably follow). This should not be confused with the example above which, whether it seeks to enforce/punish using civil or criminal penalties, is more akin to an administrative action. Sorta like, at least here in the U.S., how DWI/DUI is handled. The state can bring an administrative action to revoke or supend a driver's license based on a violation of the motor vehicle code (administrative set of regs.), but may also bring, if warranted, a separate criminal prosecution for a violation of the Criminal Code (state statute).

Finally, a private party may bring a civil action against another private party to recover money damages. An example is the case I cited earlier in the thread about the sailor who was run down from behind by a commercial ship. Again, proving a specific violation of the Colregs is only evidence (if you will) of what must ultimately be proved to impose liability, namely a breach of a duty of care in navigable waters, i.e. negligence. Here again the Colregs are used merely to help establish what that standard actually is and not necessarily to prove that the Colregs were in fact violated (although again, that would likely follow).

Again, your postings suggest, to me anyway, that this is all fairly well understood, but perhaps this will help further clarify. Although I have a general background, I'm certainly no legal expert in this specific area. So feel free to correct anything that seems awry. And if you don't, I'm sure DH will!
You've got it all just right.

To put it another way, just to highlight these separate cases:

1. If a guy goes the wrong way down the Dover Straits TSS, the UK authorities can file a criminal case against the skipper and whack him with a fine (real case; French sailor fined over COLREGs - Yachting World) for violation of Rule 10 of the COLREGS. Even put him in jail in an aggravated case. Violation of COLREGS is a criminal matter in the UK (administrative in some others, but the difference is not important). Here the COLREGS are not a "guide" or "just rules", you are legally obligated to obey them and are subject to criminal or administrative sanctions if you don't, and it doesn't matter (from the legal point of view, but might from an enforcement point of view) whether there was an accident. The source of law is the COLREGS. The penalties are determined by domestic law, however, so will vary from state to state.

2. If a sailor is drinking a beer below and no one is on deck keeping a watch, and he runs down a kayak and kills the kayaker, he could be prosecuted for a domestic law crime like negligent homicide, reckless homicide, criminal negligence, etc., etc. -- depending on the country. The source of law is domestic criminal law about negligent homicide etc., and the COLREGS are only a guide as to what might be expected of a prudent mariner. That is to say that the violation of the COLREGS isn't enough by itself to show the elements of negligent homicide, but may be one indicator. FOR EXAMPLE: If it were a moonless night and thick fog, and the sailboat had no radar, the sailor might not be convicted of negligent homicide, because there might not be any causal link between the COLREGS violation of not keeping a watch, and the killing -- since he wouldn't have seen the kayaker in any case. So in this case, he might be convicted for the COLREGS violation itself, but be acquitted in the negligent homicide case, all on the same facts. OR ANOTHER EXAMPLE: Say the sailor went below for two seconds to take a leak, and while not keeping a watch, ran down the kayaker. He might be convicted of a COLREGS violation (or maybe not -- maybe a "proper watch" doesn't mean you can't leave the deck for a pee -- matter of interpretation and the judge will decide), but might be acquitted in the negligent homicide case, because "prudent mariners" go below for a second all the time to take a pee, despite the technical violation of the COLREGS.

3. In the same case, the widow of the killed kayaker could sue the sailor for damages for wrongful death (or equivalent under domestic law). The source of law is domestic civil law, tort law, or the law of obligations in Continental countries. The facts which form the basis of the claim are the same as the above, but the rules are different -- for example, proof in a civil matter is usually "preponderance of the evidence", not "beyond a reasonable doubt" as in a criminal matter (which is why those accused of murder sometimes get off on the murder charge, but lose the civil suit if one is filed). Again, the COLREGS violation does not establish liability -- how this is done is determined by domestic civil law, and the COLREGS will be just one indicator.
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Old 10-06-2015, 13:31   #112
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Re: All about the Colregs no 3 - single handed sailing and keeping a look out

Ther have several references to "shipping."

In mid ocean, there are really no shipping lanes. There are areas of denser traffic, as traffic takes its shortest route.

This is the AMVER plot from August 2012.

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Old 10-06-2015, 13:46   #113
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Re: All about the Colregs no 3 - single handed sailing and keeping a look out

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How come you get away without the professor picking on you

I seem to attract Him like flies around a cows backside
Ekh, Phil and I are old friends We call each other all kinds of stuff, but nobody remembers after we sober up Actually I secretly want to be JUST LIKE PHIL, when I grow up



As to flies and cows' backsides -- ???? Are you calling yourself a cow's backside? Seems like a pretty unfortunate metaphor; I certainly wouldn't call you that
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Old 10-06-2015, 13:50   #114
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Re: All about the Colregs no 3 - single handed sailing and keeping a look out

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Ah yes, safety when away from shipping lanes. Almost had a head on collision with a cruising sailboat in the middle of the night, over a hundred miles from the nearest shipping lane. No idea if it was a single-hander but the boat was sailing without lights and obviously no one on watch since we were well lit and hard to miss.

It was a moonless night, overcast and almost dark as a cave. I was fortunately paying attention and noticed something light in the darkness dead ahead. Got my attention since nothing should have been there so focused on it. When it was a boat length or two away I realized I was seeing the sails of another boat. Immediately cut the AP, altered to stbd and passed close enough I could have spit in their cockpit. Now if I had been napping we would definitely have hit.

Similar situation a few years ago south of DE Bay. This time it was broad daylight and all three of us were in the cockpit. Watched a boat leave the coast a few miles away on an intersecting course. At first didn't pay any attention but as they got closer we started watching. We were stand on so maintained course and speed until it became obvious the other boat was not going to change course. Cut the AP and altered course to pass astern of the boat. No one in the cockpit, wind vane steering. Now we were only a few miles off the coast but well south of any shipping lanes coming out of the bay.

So whatever the reason, not standing watch just because you aren't "in a shipping lane" doesn't seem to be a guarantee there's no one to run into.
Ah, the 'shipping lanes'...... there are in fact no such things... simply areas of greater or lesser traffic density.... which is what I was alluding to in my previous... too subtle I guess
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Old 10-06-2015, 13:57   #115
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Re: All about the Colregs no 3 - single handed sailing and keeping a look out

In Australia the ATSB investigates but does not place blame... they just say what has happened and try and work out why it happened Marine safety. The insurers can then have fun with that and if someone has died or the whole thing is considered serious enough the civil authorities may choose to get involved.

The chances of a single handed sailor being prosecuted for bumping into something are remote, look at the Pink Lady/Silver Yang thing.

Dover Strait and the Solent are a bit different, they have to hang someone once in a while to keep the rest in line.
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Old 10-06-2015, 14:08   #116
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Re: All about the Colregs no 3 - single handed sailing and keeping a look out

seems the thread question mostly matters on an internet forum
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Old 10-06-2015, 14:09   #117
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Re: All about the Colregs no 3 - single handed sailing and keeping a look out

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Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
In Australia the ATSB investigates but does not place blame... they just say what has happened and try and work out why it happened Marine safety. The insurers can then have fun with that and if someone has died or the whole thing is considered serious enough the civil authorities may choose to get involved.

The chances of a single handed sailor being prosecuted for bumping into something are remote, look at the Pink Lady/Silver Yang thing.

Dover Strait and the Solent are a bit different, they have to hang someone once in a while to keep the rest in line.
Even in the Dover Strait, prosecutions for COLREGS violations are rare and newsworthy. The only place I know where this is done systematically is by the Germans.

I think that is as it should be. Imagine if we had water cops out chasing down boaters giving tickets for COLREGS violations -- ugh. They should leave us alone unless something outrageously wrong is being done, which creates a danger to others, in my opinion. And I think that's what usually happens. By the way, I think that sailing the wrong way down a TSS, and then refusing to move out, rises to the level of "outrageously wrong and creating a danger to others", so it doesn't bother me that they fined Guiellemot.


I have to say, however, that I actually sailed the wrong way down a busy TSS once. In fact it was just last month off Terschelling Bank in the North Sea. We were sailing downwind in a Force 9, and had already been broached and knocked down once by a breaking wave. We were afraid to head up perpendicular to the TSS as required, as that would have put us beam-on to the ugly waves. I asked permission from the Dutch Coast Guard, who graciously agreed, and I put out a securite out on the VHF. The ships coming down the TSS graciously made room for us. No one gave us a ticket
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Old 10-06-2015, 14:42   #118
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pirate Re: All about the Colregs no 3 - single handed sailing and keeping a look out

The TSS is a whole different ball game.. even I don't jay walk there
I do my thing in the rest of the seas..
Also.. do not confuse TSS with shipping lanes.. there is a vast difference and the Law as Dock head says will come down heavy on transgressors.
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Old 10-06-2015, 14:49   #119
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pirate Re: All about the Colregs no 3 - single handed sailing and keeping a look out

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Hey Boatie, I'll bail you next time you get nicked for single handing

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Old 10-06-2015, 14:54   #120
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Re: All about the Colregs no 3 - single handed sailing and keeping a look out

I have to say, however, that I actually sailed the wrong way down a busy TSS once. In fact it was just last month off Terschelling Bank in the North Sea. We were sailing downwind in a Force 9, and had already been broached and knocked down once by a breaking wave. We were afraid to head up perpendicular to the TSS as required, as that would have put us beam-on to the ugly waves. I asked permission from the Dutch Coast Guard, who graciously agreed, and I put out a securite out on the VHF. The ships coming down the TSS graciously made room for us. No one gave us a ticket --Dockhead

That's a great story, Dockhead. Thank you for that.

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