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Old 24-11-2014, 21:51   #16
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Re: Collision course, radio and procedures

According the clowns on gCaptain, they don't want to talk to you, and will avoid doing so unless they think it's absolutely necessary.
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Old 28-11-2014, 20:04   #17
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Re: Collision course, radio and procedures

I don't see anything unusual in the commercial guys response. You said 20 miles out? He maybe already had a wheelsman on the bridge, or at least had his eyes open and maneuvering himself. He wasn't answering you because he didn't consider you to be significant traffic.
He may have known the old man had the vhf on in his cabin and just didn't want to respond, so not to worry his boss.
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Old 28-11-2014, 21:06   #18
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Collision course, radio and procedures

I try not to ask a commercial vessel what their "intentions" are unless they are doing something unusual. There are a lot of knuckleheads out there and most of them ARE commercial mariners. Many of them don't speak English very well and are probably surfing the internet offshore relying on the radar guard zones (if their company even requires it).

If a sailboat calls me, I will answer. I'm a representative of all professional mariners when I speak on the vhf, so I try to set a good example.

I like to keep it simple too. Get to the point and keep the chatter to a minimum. If you call on 16, I will switch you to a chat channel (10, 17, 18-if you are close, low power..over 10mi, high power). Tell me your name, relative position, and course. Tell me what you want i.e., "see you port to port/stbd to stbd". If I feel another arrangement would be safer, I'll say so. I never ask someone what they want because that (in my experience) can quite possibly lead to an indecisive situation, which can be dangerous.

I usually won't call a private vessel unless they are doing something out of the ordinary or keep changing course for no apparent reason. I try to stick to the nav rules and make my course changes accordingly. I like one radar on relative vectors and one on true vectors (better able to see the rules of the road situation unfolding).

If you do make a course change, make it apparent to the other vessel. Small course changes should be avoided (harder to see on the radar) and make the course change early enough.

Not all of us are clowns as Mr. Six claims. Be safe out there!





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Old 29-11-2014, 08:35   #19
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Re: Collision course, radio and procedures

I wanted to add to my previous post that I can't possibly account for every scenario out on the water. I operate ships 250-300'. I will say, however, that if I get into a crossing situation with large, fast moving tanker/container/cruise etc. that I will give them a wide berth. At least 2 miles if I am crossing in front. If they cross in front of me, then at least a mile.

There are a lot of ways to do things out there. I know Captains and Mates that like to call EVERY boat they meet out there. I prefer to call only if there is a risk of collision. Anyway, I could talk about this for days, but I'll leave it at that.
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Old 29-11-2014, 10:41   #20
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Re: Collision course, radio and procedures

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Originally Posted by poiu View Post
I am under sail, midday, 20 miles from land and a 950ft bulk carrier appears with 30 minutes to a CPA of nothing much. I leave it a while to see if it becomes clearer or if he moves. It doesn't and he doesn't. At 15 minutes and 4 miles or so I make a DSC call. No response. At 12 minutes and under 4 miles I make another DSC call. No response and no change of course. At 9 minutes and 2.5 miles I get him on channel 16. He says he estimates me passing two cables ahead of him so at 8 minutes and about 2 miles makes what is now quite a big turn to give me a mile clearance (I didn't need or ask for that much). I thank him and ask why he didn't reply. The answer was he was just about to.

Something similarly uncomfortable has happened quite a few times now. I have played it differently before, moving early only to find a simultaneous move worsening the situation. What is meant to happen here? Playing chicken is what it feels like. Radio responses are often slow or sometimes non existent. What are these big commercial ships obliged to do in terms of response and what do they expect from us? I don't want to stubbornly rest on the colregs, equally I don't want to weave about and get into a pavement dance as that could also get ugly and an accident would be my fault.
The simultaneous move which makes the situation worse is exactly what the Colregs are designed to prevent.

In my opinion, following the Colregs exactly is the right thing to do.

Keep in mind that the decision point for ships in open water is usually around 10 miles. So if they haven't maneuvered by 7 or 8 miles, then it's a fair bet that they don't see you or for some reason don't intend to maneuver, so you are now allowed by the Colregs to take some kind of action.

In such cases, notwithstanding the MCA advice mentioned above, I do use the radio. If the ship doesn't respond, then it means the bridge is asleep at the switch, and this means that there is little risk of a dangerous simultaneous maneuver, so I just get out of the way. When doing so, avoid turns to port unless it's really necessary. And you have to do it early enough to be sure that you are really opening up the CPA instead of closing it (as a rule of thumb, at least four or five miles out, in my opinion). This is all perfectly sanctioned by the Colregs, which allow the stand-on vessel to maneuver itself if it is evident that the give-way vessel is not taking action. The trick is not to do it so early that you screw a maneuver which is he is in the process of doing himself, but not so late that you get into close quarters.

With AIS, you can understand these encounters far better than you ever could without that tool. At 10 miles out, you will very often see a CPA of exactly one mile -- because that is the standard acceptable CPA on many ships (that's why in your encounter that guy turned hard to give a mile). Then you know that he's already maneuvered and you must hold your course and speed in order not to screw up the crossing.

In your encounter, I would definitely have maneuvered earlier -- as soon as he didn't answer your call. 2.5 miles is uncomfortably close, and far too late for the first maneuvers to be initiated. And passing two cables ahead is just about the worst nightmare scenario -- a CPA of zero is easier, because a moderate course alteration can have you passing behind -- and two cables behind is not that bad. If you're passing a little ahead, however, you might not be able to get all the way over to pass behind; yet you don't want to be two cables ahead, which can easily turn into a collision with a slight variation of speeds.

In these waters (La Manche, busiest seaway in the world), ships' bridges tend to be alert, and tend to follow the Coregs exactly. Since installing AIS, I haven't had any really dangerous encounters (before AIS, using only radar and/or HBC, a lot of situations seemed to be dangerous which probably actually were not) in these waters (I did in Russia, though, and once or twice in the North Sea). Bridges tend to be alert, and when you call them by name, they nearly always answer (whether they can speak English is another question ). I have meet a few ships who didn't follow the one mile rule, and I have been known to call on the VHF to ask for a bit more room. Never been refused. The thing is is that when you're under sail, especially sailing hard on the wind, your course and speed vary quite a bit, making CPA calculations less accurate. So you really don't want a crossing with less than a mile CPA while you're under sail, unless maybe you're clearly passing behind, in which case, half a mile or so seems ok to me.
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Old 29-11-2014, 13:47   #21
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Re: Collision course, radio and procedures

Different mariners are going to have different comfort levels depending on what their background is. Around here 100 feet is the best you can ask for some times. Places like the Detroit River, American Narrows on the 4th of July weekend, Toronto Harbour on a Race night.
On the St Lawrence Seaway big ships, 700+ feet long routinely meet other Big 700+ foot ships within a few hundred feet.
In Toronto Harbour the various Yacht Clubs have so little respect for Professional Mariners and their ships that they will set their race courses up in the only viable channel into the harbour. They will tack back and forth, closing to within 10 feet of your side before turning again. The result is Ships get very comfortable with extremely close CPA's with yachts. Yachts are more likely to get five short blasts on the whistle saying get out of my way in some of these areas then a pleasant radio chat.
So some mariners are going to have a certain amount of dislike for yachtsmen given their behaviour in certain areas.
So it's possible the mariner you were dealing with was just used to close CPA's and wasn't in the mood for a conversation.
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Old 29-11-2014, 14:33   #22
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Re: Collision course, radio and procedures

in the pacific ocean, when you are out in a shipping frequented area, sometimes known as a shipping lane, you can watch the ships' patterns as they travel in and out of ports you cross the entrances and exits of.
if your charts are old enough you will read "s h i p p i n g l a n e" on it.
...
imagine that.
we drifted for many days in pacific doing just that--- also there was no wind and fuel was short...
they will come at you for xx number of minuets, then turn toward the port entry you just crossed, and you will not be hit.
milagro.
imagine that.
you dont even need to use your lack of radio skills on them for practice.
wow.
it is total magic. nothing more.

believe me, they KNOW where you are.
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Old 09-12-2014, 16:52   #23
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Re: Collision course, radio and procedures

How about get a radar reflector that is bigger than a squash ball?

I recently had a crossing situation with a 13-15 meter sailboat that didn't make a very good return on radar until it was 3.5 miles away. I had already seen it with my eyes at a range of more than 6 miles as the sails were up. Just for the record the conditions were pretty sporty, Wind ENE 12-17 KTS , seas were 6-10', lots of sea clutter due to white caps. As we passed port to port, I observed a radar reflector on the halyard that looked like a grapefruit.

I'm making this suggestion as a Tug Boat Captain, that has seen way to many sailboats making a poor radar image. Anything you can do to make your boat more visible would go a long way to making your passage a safer one. AIS is a good system to consider if you can afford it. Personally I like a CPA of 2MI or greater in open waters. I would rather discuss a passing, crossing or meeting situation than to have my heart in my throat wondering if we are going to pass clear of each other.

By the way I have sailed before, and have a dream of having a Morgan 382-384 or similar type of boat one of these days.

Good luck and be safe
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Old 09-12-2014, 16:59   #24
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Re: Collision course, radio and procedures

Quote:
Originally Posted by DMC View Post
How about get a radar reflector that is bigger than a squash ball?

I recently had a crossing situation with a 13-15 meter sailboat that didn't make a very good return on radar until it was 3.5 miles away. I had already seen it with my eyes at a range of more than 6 miles as the sails were up. Just for the record the conditions were pretty sporty, Wind ENE 12-17 KTS , seas were 6-10', lots of sea clutter due to white caps. As we passed port to port, I observed a radar reflector on the halyard that looked like a grapefruit.

I'm making this suggestion as a Tug Boat Captain, that has seen way to many sailboats making a poor radar image. Anything you can do to make your boat more visible would go a long way to making your passage a safer one. AIS is a good system to consider if you can afford it. Personally I like a CPA of 2MI or greater in open waters. I would rather discuss a passing, crossing or meeting situation than to have my heart in my throat wondering if we are going to pass clear of each other.

By the way I have sailed before, and have a dream of having a Morgan 382-384 or similar type of boat one of these days.

Good luck and be safe
Thanks for adding to the discussion!
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Old 09-12-2014, 20:08   #25
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Re: Collision course, radio and procedures

DMC,

When you get your sailboat, what kind of radar reflector (s) will you put on it? There are many write-ups, and tests, but to me, the results don't seem all that conclusive, or practical.

Thanks in advance for your response.

Ann
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Old 09-12-2014, 21:57   #26
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Re: Collision course, radio and procedures

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Not all of us are clowns as Mr. Six claims. Be safe out there!
I've just been informed that the term professional mariners use for cruisers is "WAFI", which, I figure, stands for "What A Fine Individual".

No member of a fine fraternity that obviously holds us, as a class, in such high regard and considers us all "fine individuals" could ever be considered a clown.
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Old 09-12-2014, 22:37   #27
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Re: Collision course, radio and procedures

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Originally Posted by Jammer Six View Post
I've just been informed that the term professional mariners use for cruisers is "WAFI", which, I figure, stands for "What A Fine Individual".

No member of a fine fraternity that obviously holds us, as a class, in such high regard and considers us all "fine individuals" could ever be considered a clown.
Your and my acronym dictionaries are apparently from different publishers. Mine is a bit more, shall we say, in sailors language as to what WAFI stands for.
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Old 10-12-2014, 04:08   #28
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Re: Collision course, radio and procedures

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Originally Posted by Jammer Six View Post
I've just been informed that the term professional mariners use for cruisers is "WAFI", which, I figure, stands for "What A Fine Individual".

No member of a fine fraternity that obviously holds us, as a class, in such high regard and considers us all "fine individuals" could ever be considered a clown.

Well now you're just bringing yourself down to the level of those who actually do use the term. I personally have never heard it before. However, if someone does cut in front of me in a traffic lane or safety fairway (this has happened) and doesn't answer the radio, I'll call them an effing idiot. Not generalizing of course.


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Old 10-12-2014, 04:36   #29
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Re: Collision course, radio and procedures

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Well now you're just bringing yourself down to the level of those who actually do use the term. I personally have never heard it before. However, if someone does cut in front of me in a traffic lane or safety fairway (this has happened) and doesn't answer the radio, I'll call them an effing idiot. Not generalizing of course.


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I do not resent the term "WAFI". Because the discussions on here have unfortunately confirmed that a large number of us have practically no clue about proper collision avoidance procedures.

The actual behavior of professional mariners, in their encounters with us, is, on the contrary, almost always practical and professional. I think they cut us a lot of slack, and unbeknownst to most of us, since our horizon of awareness is so much shorter than their's, they mostly prevent crossing situations from ever occurring in the first place, because they know they can't depend on us to know the rules or avoid doing unexpected, sudden maneuvers.

I have encountered exceptions, of course -- the Russian tanker which tried to run me down in the Gulf of Finland; the bulker in the Channel at 03:00 with everyone asleep once; etc. But these are pretty rare exceptions in my experience.
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Old 10-12-2014, 08:53   #30
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Re: Collision course, radio and procedures

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I do not resent the term "WAFI". Because the discussions on here have unfortunately confirmed that a large number of us have practically no clue about proper collision avoidance procedures.

The actual behavior of professional mariners, in their encounters with us, is, on the contrary, almost always practical and professional. I think they cut us a lot of slack, and unbeknownst to most of us, since our horizon of awareness is so much shorter than their's, they mostly prevent crossing situations from ever occurring in the first place, because they know they can't depend on us to know the rules or avoid doing unexpected, sudden maneuvers.

I have encountered exceptions, of course -- the Russian tanker which tried to run me down in the Gulf of Finland; the bulker in the Channel at 03:00 with everyone asleep once; etc. But these are pretty rare exceptions in my experience.
Agreed, I'm a professional mariner as well. Never heard of "wafi"i usually just alter course and mumble to myself or vent to whoever is on the bridge with me at the time at how ignorant and reckless small boat "skippers"(I use this word as these types of people don't deserve the title, Captain, as they are a bunch of jackwagons who don't take the time to actually learn before they jump on the helm) are when it comes to encounters with commercial vessels. I have heard other mariners get vocal, especially with the shrimp vessels who never respond on 16 or much less monitor it. I try to just give as much sea room as practical as to not completely change my course to another cardinal direction.

I plan on sailing to my vessel while it's offshore and see what my radar pickup is with and without the ball that came with my vessel. Well, that and sailing next to my crew with an adult beverage in hand!

- Ronnie...on the geaux
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