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Old 30-07-2018, 06:55   #1
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Question about COLREGS rule 9

We were motoring down a narrow channel in our 40’ sailboat the other day (6’ draft) when we met a vessel under sail, going the other way. They were going down the center of the channel, veering toward our side. I move over to starboard as much as I dared, but they were headed right for us. I slowed down as much as I could, while keeping steerage way, but still they came on, gesturing angrily for us to get out of their way. By this time, we were too close for me to turn to port, to cross their bow, and pass them starboard to starboard, so I just had to hold my course.

At the last minute, they altered course to avoid collision, and passed us port to port, while calling us foul names and informing us that sail has priority over power.

This wasn’t a race or anything. They were just asserting their ‘rights’. However, even at the time I didn’t think their rights were that absolute, so I looked it up.

9. Narrow channels
  • A vessel proceeding along a narrow channel must keep to starboard.
  • Small vessels or sailing vessels must not impede (larger) vessels which can navigate only within a narrow channel.
  • Ships must not cross a channel if to do so would impede another vessel which can navigate only within that channel.

Was I wrong, or am I obliged to run aground outside a channel just because a sailboat won’t give way?
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Old 30-07-2018, 07:28   #2
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Re: Question about COLREGS rule 9

You did right except signaling for the sailboat about their intentions, five short blasts "what the h*** are you doing" ;D
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Old 30-07-2018, 08:32   #3
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Re: Question about COLREGS rule 9

The actual text of the provision of rule 9 that applies is:


Quote:
(b) A vessel of less than 20 meters in length or a sailing vessel shall not impede the passage of a vessel that can safely navigate only within a narrow channel or fairway.
How wide was the channel? Was it so narrow that there was not enough room for you to turn to port without impeding other traffic?



Why were they on your side of the channel? Were they tacking along the channel? If not, was there some other reason for them to be there?



Did you have time to turn to port, when it first became clear that they were going to leave the center of the channel, and come toward you?


I would have turned to port and crossed in front of them, if their intentions were clear in sufficient time to allow it.
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Old 30-07-2018, 08:40   #4
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Re: Question about COLREGS rule 9

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
The actual text of the provision of rule 9 that applies is:





Why were they on your side of the channel? Were they tacking along the channel? If not, was there some other reason for them to be there?


I would have turned to port and crossed in front of them, if their intentions were clear in sufficient time to allow it.
Remember to signal two short blasts before doing that
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Old 30-07-2018, 11:34   #5
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Re: Question about COLREGS rule 9

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
The actual text of the provision of rule 9 that applies is:

How wide was the channel? Was it so narrow that there was not enough room for you to turn to port without impeding other traffic?

Why were they on your side of the channel? Were they tacking along the channel? If not, was there some other reason for them to be there?

Did you have time to turn to port, when it first became clear that they were going to leave the center of the channel, and come toward you?

I would have turned to port and crossed in front of them, if their intentions were clear in sufficient time to allow it.
The channel was maybe 100-150 ft wide? Plenty of room for both of us. There were no other boats in sight.

There was nothing preventing the other boat from keeping from the correct side of the channel. They were on a broad reach. As I said, they eventually altered course to avoid collision.

I guess I did have time to cross over, if I had been a mind reader, but we were closing at 10-12 knots, and by the time I realized they were not going to stay clear, I thought we were too close to cross over.

However, before it was too late, I did consider it, and rejected the cross over option, because I thought it would be too unpredictable, and possibly the wrong thing to do. What if I had crossed over, instead of standing on, and then they turned towards me again? What would the insurance companies think if we had collided with us on the wrong side of the channel?

There are nuances to this question, I think.
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Old 30-07-2018, 11:44   #6
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Re: Question about COLREGS rule 9

"am I obliged to run aground"

Kind of you to consider that point. Can I borrow fifty bucks for dinner?

Sometimes, really, you should feel OBLIGATED to assist with Darwinian evolution, and just make sure to leave no survivors, so there's no argument as to what happened.
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Old 30-07-2018, 15:20   #7
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Re: Question about COLREGS rule 9

IMHO :


The sailboat broke Rule 9d. It crossed a narrow channel..so as to impede...


This forced you into choosing (1) stopping -Rule 8e.
(2) turning to port-a dangerous,last ditch move, that leaves you open to causing a collision.


The COLREGS were not designed to give anyone "rights"
They are simply guidelines. If all vessels followed them perfectly, collisions would be avoided.
In real life,these guidelines are not followed perfectly,for various reasons, & collisions happen.


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Old 30-07-2018, 15:29   #8
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Question about COLREGS rule 9

This was inconsiderate of the other boat but it’s not like it’ll be the last time something like this happens. I wouldn’t get too fired up about it. If you had made contact then the CG would have assigned the appropriate responsibility but in the end no one wins because you never get your full dollar from insurance.

We come across this all the time on the ICW and you just have to kinda predict what you expect the other boats intentions are, or.. pick up that radio. Maybe his only means of propulsion was the sails and he was running with the current. Who knows what kind of experience the other boat has... they may have been out there on the maiden sail after getting their ASA101
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Old 30-07-2018, 15:41   #9
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Re: Question about COLREGS rule 9

I had nearly this exact scenario happen down in the Barnegat Bay a few years ago. We were restricted to a very tight channel due to our draft and lo and behold some local club had organized a small sailboat race that bisected the channel.

I waited and waited for a good time to transit that section of channel and went for it when I saw a break in the boats. I still got screamed at by one of the race participants for "cutting through their race course."

Come to think of it... I often witness people in sailboat races exhibiting inconsiderate and dangerous behaviour.

On our last cruise we witnessed a tug with a 100' fuel barge in tow in the Long Island sound being buzzed incessantly by racing sailboats as he moved through their "course". He called repeatedly on vhf 16 to get the race organizer to help him pass through, but got no response. It didn't even seem like anyone in the race was monitoring 16.

What gives? What are the official rules regarding races?
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Old 30-07-2018, 17:15   #10
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Re: Question about COLREGS rule 9

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peregrine1983 View Post
What gives? What are the official rules regarding races?
Boats racing following the Racing Rules of Sailing with respect to other boats racing. When interacting with vessles not racing, they have no additional standing whatsoever and are subject to COLREGs just like anyone else.

The RROS actually spell this out for racers:
When a boat sailing under these rules meets a vessel that is not, she
shall comply with the International Regulations for Preventing
Collisions at Sea (IRPCAS) or government right-of-way rules.


As for the OP, the people on the other vessel where d*cks who don't know the rules.

And once again, to re-inforcfe the point. No one has "rights" under COLREGs (especially not a "right of way" or "privilege"). Both vessels in a situation where the risk of collision exists have an obligation to do certain things to resolve the situation safely.
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Old 30-07-2018, 17:21   #11
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Re: Question about COLREGS rule 9

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Originally Posted by StuM View Post
Boats racing following the Racing Rules of Sailing with respect to other boats racing. When interacting with vessles not racing, they have no additional standing whatsoever and are subject to COLREGs just like anyone else.


The RROS actually spell this out for racers:


When a boat sailing under these rules meets a vessel that is not, she
shall comply with the International Regulations for Preventing
Collisions at Sea (IRPCAS) or government right-of-way rules.
Seems reasonable. I wish I could say that’s what I observe.
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Old 30-07-2018, 17:59   #12
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Re: Question about COLREGS rule 9

Most of the time boats involved in a race are monitoring the race committee channel, not channel 16.
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Old 30-07-2018, 19:51   #13
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Re: Question about COLREGS rule 9

In dinghy racing this situation comes up frequently when a give-way vessel (say a sailboat to windward) is unable to keep clear of a stand-on (i.e. leeward) vessel due to a dock, shore, or other obstruction. In that event, the give-way vessel must signal to the stand-on vessel that they require room to avoid the obstruction, and the stand-on vessel must provide that room WITHOUT HESITATION, even if they do not believe the obstruction actually exists.

Obviously the above situation does not translate directly into the story told above. However, a common theme persists: a stand-on vessel cannot force a give-way vessel into a situation where they are unable to keep clear. Being the stand-on vessel does not give you all the rights in the world - you also have a responsibility to communicate and maneuver to avoid a collision.
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Old 31-07-2018, 08:56   #14
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Re: Question about COLREGS rule 9

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peregrine1983 View Post
we witnessed a tug with a 100' fuel barge in tow in the Long Island sound being buzzed incessantly by racing sailboats as he moved through their "course". He called repeatedly on vhf 16 to get the race organizer to help him pass through, but got no response.
Have you ever seen the damage those boats will do to a fuel barge? Nope, no one has.
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Old 31-07-2018, 09:14   #15
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Re: Question about COLREGS rule 9

These were larger boats in this race. I'd say an average of at least 40'. That said, whether they'd damage a steel fuel barge in a collision is a moot point. You don't want a collision period... for reasons I believe are quite obvious.
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