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Old 13-01-2011, 10:18   #1
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Know Thy Enemy . . .

On two occasions as I was sailing down the coast of Florida, I had a run in with big sportfishing boats which were in my path. Both of these guys had some sort of kites out downind, and were anchored, but were not moving. The first one came on the radio calling the 'northbound sailboat'. Since I was southbound, it took me a while to figure out he was calling me, so I was pretty close to him by the time I called my back. Anyway, he said something about having 'chutes in the water', and asked me to go around him. He was pretty nice about it, and I could head up and to to weather of him and his kites, so I did.

The second boat was another story--I was hard on the wind, and couldn't go to weather of him, so there was a lot of verbal abuse and he had to move his boat to weather while I dove to leeward to avoid his kite.


Both of these guys made the point that I had to have seen them in front of me for half an hour (I did, but didn't see the kites till I got much closer). I made the point that they could also see me coming for the same time, and hadn't done a thing to get out of my way (I was on autopilot, and was steering a constant course).

I have a few questions:

1. What are these kites for?
2. Why do the boats have to stay stationary to use them?
3. Are they going to damage anything by moving?? (It looked like when the second boat moved some lures came out of the water, then went back in he stopped).
4. Do these kites give them the legal right of way? (I don't think so).

Maybe some of the diehard fishing types can give me their side of the story...
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Old 13-01-2011, 10:25   #2
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donradcliffe,

A parked car always has the right of way
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Old 13-01-2011, 10:36   #3
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they use the kites for fishing-- they have cameras on them for finding fishies-- i would steer as clear of those as possible.
sometimes we have to adjust our sails and course, as sailboats do not always have right of way.
the power boats i didnt like in fla were those cutting my trolling line by zoomin g so very close to my stern.......cut my line and stole my lures more than one time-- i always tried to hope they got bound up in my steel leader and my fishing line-- but they seem to escape disaster-- oh well.
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Old 13-01-2011, 10:39   #4
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Not cameras.

The kites have live baits on hooks attached to them with release clips. They are used to float the baits out and keep them splashing on the surface. Mostly used for sailfish, I think.

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Old 13-01-2011, 10:41   #5
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The kites are used to suspend live bait for sailfish. The boats sometimes have sea anchors out too to help keep them 'stationary'. Best just to avoid them.
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Old 13-01-2011, 10:47   #6
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ok no cams--my neighbor must e testing something , then.......
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Old 13-01-2011, 10:48   #7
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Kitefishing is a popular method we use in Florida, especially while fishing for sailfish. The kite is flown fron the boat via a main line attached to the kite. Your fishing line runs up to the kite where it attaches by means of a break away swivel, and then down to the water. It is a sort of pulley mechanism, where you can dangle your bait just over the surface of the water, where it splashes and attracts fish. When a fish bites, your line breaks away from the kite, and you reel the fish in as usual.

As for "chutes" they may have been dragging sea anchors to control their drift.

If the boats were not actually anchored, then I am not sure who has the legal right of way... probably you do. That being said, some of these systems of kites, fishing lines, sea anchors are VERY complex and take a long time to set up properly. To sharply alter your course could result in massive tangles that could be difficult to fix. No they are probably not going to break anything or cause any serious damage, but it may be a big hassle.

I am a sailor and a fisherman. If I was in a narrow channel and had no other place to go, I would force the right or way issue. But if I could go around them without too much trouble, I would.
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Old 13-01-2011, 10:50   #8
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The kites are used for fishing generally live bait for sailfish. the bait is suspended at the surface with a release clip on the kite line when the bait is hit the fishing line is released from the clip and the fish is fought as normal. Usually when fishing this way they have a couple of kites out, a couple of free lines and one or two out on downriggers. This way they can fish the entire water spectrum
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Old 13-01-2011, 10:51   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
On two occasions as I was sailing down the coast of Florida, I had a run in with big sportfishing boats which were in my path. Both of these guys had some sort of kites out downind, and were anchored, but were not moving. ...
Am I missing something here? If they were anchored and not underway, don't we sailboaters have to gve way, regardless of our tack or autopilot?
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Old 13-01-2011, 10:51   #10
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The Kites are in fact used to carry Baits/lures away from the boat and to impart motion. They are typically used from an anchored boat. Since they were anchored they had no obligation to haul anchor and move because you were going to run into them. Now as to legalities, if they were showing the proper day shapes indicating they were anchored/or engaged in fishing, they do in fact have the right of way and it is your job to avoid them and their fishing gear because they are restricted in their ability to maneuver. If they weren't flying the proper dayshapes they have no legal complaint about interfering with their gear. Of course if you ran into them while they were anchored, as the maneuvering vessel you might loose your arguement in court because you didn't do all you could to avoid a collision, even if they weren't flying the proper day shapes, since you actually recognized they were anchored.
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Old 13-01-2011, 11:27   #11
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This is not trawling, it is trolling. This is treated differently under the Rules.

They are though a RAM vessel and as such should be showing the ball-diamond-ball shape. But if they are not showing the correct shape then they are considered a regular power vessel underway but not making way. Bottom line, if you collide with one, you are BOTH at fault with the majority of the weight of the blame assigned in court probably going to the powerboat underway.

They are not anchored if they are not attached to the Earth or dragging anchor across the bottom.

If they raise the correct day shapes and there is a collision then you are completely at fault as a sailboat under sail.

Although it is called a "sea anchor" they are not anchored under the definition of the Rules if they are not firmly attached to the sea floor.
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Old 13-01-2011, 11:35   #12
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Sorry, I meant to say that they were NOT anchored. Sometimes they do anchor, and can generally see the anchor line and I avoid them. Good point about the parachute anchor--that would really restrict their maneuverability, and that may have been what the first guy was talking about.

In the same area, there were sportfishermen who were trolling and some who were fishing the bottom, and I've got them generally figured out. I guess it would be best to pass in front of the kite guys, but some of the kites are small and hard to see until you get quite close.
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Old 13-01-2011, 11:43   #13
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It's a big ocean. In Florida just offshore it is a big sport fishing area especially on the weekends. There arsome really nice fishing captains out there but unfortunatly there are some real jerks as well. Many of these fishing folks take their sport way to seriously and will blast off on the VHF to anyone that gets within a thousand yards of them. Setting kitys is a bit of work and for the most part they are stationary. One or two degrees well in advance will sily get you around these guys with no big loss of course. I'd be very careful of running on auto pilot anyways with out a constant watch in these high fishing areas. Many of the boats trolling for Dolphin will take a "You get out of my way" attitude regardless of what the rules are. Also I doubt they had any kind of chute in the water behind their boat. The last thing you want in the way when you hook a nice sailfish or marlin is anything trailing behind your boat in the water. Would get messy real fast.
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Old 13-01-2011, 12:14   #14
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i found when sailing west floridah, see a buncha boats together-- go out of way and avoid--is safer and better relations with the fishers. might need them one day, best to be on good terms.....
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Old 13-01-2011, 12:14   #15
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Quote:It's a big ocean. In Florida just offshore it is a big sport fishing area especially on the weekends. There arsome really nice fishing captains out there but unfortunatly there are some real jerks as well. unquote

I have seen quite a few jerks on sailboats also. A moment on the radio can usually square things away real fast.

We kite fish off the sailboat on long passages as the sailboat is to slow to pop the baits on the surface. The kite skips them along like a natural bait (Flying fish)
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