Originally Posted by BandB
Have you? And if you have then how does that change anything? Has your opinion that he was all wrong and you were all right changed? Would you do the exact same thing next time?
I have learned that it would have been better if I had assumed the other captain might interpret the rules differently than I.
When I first asked him if he saw me I should have continued by IMMEDIATELY asking if I could pass ahead of him. At that point my path was well in front of his bow.
If he had responded that he did see me and NO I can not pass in front of him I would have then asked if I could pass astern. That would have prevented the situation of him slowing in front of me and blocking both the path ahead and the path astern.
I WILL NOT stop sailing in the channel since that is the only way in and out of the marina.
I will accept the fact that despite me sailing at the speed limit - boats under power may feel that my little sailboat is in the way and slowing them down.
I WILL make more of an effort to talk to other boats and to tell them how I would like them to pass me - just as I successfully did with several other boats on the day in question.
As a parenthetical remark - I talked to the skipper of a 52' boat that passed me that day. He is a licensed captain who is paid to mange the boat and he lives in our marina on an 85' boat.
I asked him how he interpreted the rules regarding his passing me as we both proceeded west in the channel. He was quite insistent:
- I was sailing he was motoring
- He had to yield to my sailboat
- The channel is wide and deep
- We effectively communicated, via hand signals, that I would cross his bow and he would pass astern of me
- We then chatted, without loud shouting, as he passed astern of me
- There was plenty of room for him to pass astern of me as I sailed to the right hand side of the channel
- I never impeded the passage
of his much larger boat
- He did not have to slow from his 5 knot
speed to pass me
He says that all the captains he knows that operate out of our marina understand that a lot of unpowered sailboats sail up and down the channel and that it is very easy to pass them either direction with only minor changes in course.
He says the local custom has always been to let the sailboats sail.
I talked with another captain who runs a day sailing/charter operation from my dock. He averages 12 (yes twelve!) operations a week from our dock. He has been here since 1988 and at one time had five sailboats in day-charter service
on our dock.
He too confirmed the local custom of yielding to unpowered sailboats. He frequently sails
his very nimble catamaran
up and down the channel and he is adamant that his sailboat in the channel had rights over a powerboat per Rule 18.
I then talked to a captain who manages five sailboats over 50' in length and two powerboats over 65' in length. The 65' powerboat and all the sailboats are in this marina. He also does all the yacht movements for a very large boat brokerage in our marina. He has operated out of this marina for five years.
He averages five operations a week from this marina. He also owns a 28' sailboat with no motor and the boat I was sailing.
He too confirmed the local custom of yielding to unpowered sailboats.
He too confirmed that his understanding of sailboats and his big boats in the channel is that he, when powering, must avoid a boat under sail in the channel per Rule 18. He also said that even his 57' sailboat with an 8' draft
has no problem maneuvering around and passing or overtaking the numerous small boats in the channel.
The captain in question was hired by a company that just moved their charter
operation to our marina and the day in question was his first day operating his boat in the channel.