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Old 01-11-2008, 20:55   #181
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Originally Posted by JohnT View Post
For instance, many ports have a regulation that all pleasure or recreational vessels (which normally do not require a pilot) must stay well clear of vessels that are under pilot and maneuvering within port limits.
I've been in many ports and I've never heard of that regulation. It's been many years since I've been to San Francisco, but I think I would have remembered if the pilot told me that we had special privileges. It would be nice if someone in SF could confirm the port rules, because that rule doesn't exist in US Inland rules.

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Old 01-11-2008, 20:59   #182
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Possible scenario

Iím going to float out a supposition, with illustrations. First the caveats: (1) these are not drawn to scale, theyíre just illustrative and should not be navigated upon; and (2) itís just a hypothesis and should not be construed as being what actually happened. That said, I tried to incorporate all the known(stated) parameters.

In slide #1 MF is running on a port tack going about 12 kts in a 15 kt breeze. Ahead and fine to port, SB is approaching close-hauled on stbd tack. I put the photogís boat in to define perspective of the photo sequence. At this point it is a close quarters situation, and may even look to SB that MF will pass ahead.

Slide #2 - MF alters course to port to pass starboard to starboard with SB. This is a shallow turn, maybe 10 degrees or so and done within 300 yards from SB. From SBís perspective a very large and fast ship has turned towards them and looks to be on a collision course.

Slide #3 - MF continues her slow turn to port, but SB now panicked takes avoiding action with a hard turn to stbd.

Slide #4 - Both boats are still turning but now SB is within MFís wind shadow.

Slide #5 - By this point it would be obvious to SB that he should have gone to port. Hindsight is 20/20. No way to know what he did, but either spinning the wheel to port or keeping it hard to stbd would normally allow SB to turn enough to avoid MF. Unfortunately SB has now gone through MFís bow-wave which effectively stops SBís turning momentum.

Slide #6 - SB catches enough wind to backwind the jib, but is only inching along at 1 kt or less. I put in an arrow to indicate leeway for MF - I have no idea how much leeway she makes, but there probably is some. Assuming the photogís boat was moving slowly or even stationary, then the change in perspective gives a good indication of the amount of turn.

Thatís all for my hypothesis - I do have 2 questions. Are there any factual errors in this possible sequence of events? Assuming the hypothesis is possible - if this is the way it went down, then how would you apportion blame between SB and MF?
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Old 02-11-2008, 08:14   #183
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Iím going to float out a supposition ...
Looks plausible to me.

From your diagrams I would think MF was cutting it too close based on the angles, unless... So, I went back to the photos. In several photos (examples are 20081004_143220_2664 and 20081004_143222_2665) the top (smaller) radar is turning. So, the MF captain would know exactly where SBs course would take him. Since most locales use the 100ft rule, 200ft would be OK. Doesn't mean necessarily wise, just OK under the rules. Looking at SB, (photos 20081004_143312_2672 and 20081004_143314_2673) where you can clearly see the mast and anything that would be mounted on the front or top of the mast. No radar that I can see.

So, MF would have accurate information as to SBs course, where SB was going on visual information alone.

The only thing I don't quite buy in your explanation really doesn't have anything to do with the overall hypothesis. Just that it still looks to me from the photos that SB was not aware of the possible collision until the last few seconds. Your scenario is still plausible whether they were actively trying to avoid the collision or were in oblivion.

So, I say your hypothesis is plausible.

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Old 02-11-2008, 13:20   #184
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Originally Posted by Lodesman View Post
<snip>Are there any factual errors in this possible sequence of events? <snip>
While not a factual error, your hypothesis doesn't conform to the opening of Tom Perkins' account which, though it may be self-serving, is subject to corroboration by the others present on Falcon's bridge at the time, including the Bay pilot.

Perkins wrote, "A few minutes before this photo sequence, the Falcon had turned to port, to give the right of way to the smaller yacht, which was to leeward on the starboard tack. The "Stand By" was originally on a roughly reciprocal course to that of the Falcon. Prior to the photos shown here, "Stand By" was bearing away, and the two yachts were on safe courses to pass roughly with a distance of 200 feet separation. After the "Stand By" had sailed past the Falcon's bow, the smaller vessel suddenly rounded up, possibly to tack in order to follow the Falcon, when she lost control, and with her main sheeted hard in, the smaller boat was unable to bear away to avoid a collision."

Your graphic representation fails to show Stand By bearing off to port as you show Falcon doing, and your conjecture that the smaller vessel attempted to cross in front of Falcon makes no sense to me. If Stand By had indeed given way somewhat to port, as Perkins stated, and had done so to create room between the vessels for a port-to-port passing, why would he then alter course some 90 degrees to starboard, placing himself at the mercy of the oncoming Falcon?

Peter Lyons has written that he began shooting when the smaller vessel suddenly tacked onto starboard and began moving toward the larger vessel and a collision seemed imminent. If that's so, then your graphic showing Stand By tacking before the vessels' bows had passed one another is probably incorrect.

I am still of the opinion that Stand By and Falcon were passing port-to-port, but much closer than the supposed 200 feet, and when the smaller vessel's wind was disrupted by the larger vessel, he suddenly weathercocked and lost control. I believe that may explain the apparent obliviousness of the crew in Stand By's cockpit - the vessel had done something completely unexpected and wasn't responding to the helm.

All the same, very nice work on the graphics, Lodesman. I think they do present a plausible version of events, but not the only one.

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Old 02-11-2008, 14:03   #185
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This is getting to the point where we should be looking at "The Grassy Knoll"
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Old 02-11-2008, 15:45   #186
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This is getting to the point where we should be looking at "The Grassy Knoll"
A very astute observation.
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Old 02-11-2008, 15:52   #187
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Here is the law that applies to pilotage. I found it in the San Francisco Bar Pilots Association website. Incidentally, the bar pilot that was aboard was volunteering his time. Is the MF over 300 gross tons? I don't know. Keep in mind gross tons is not a measure of weight. One gross ton equals 100 cubic feet of interior volume.

HARBORS AND NAVIGATION CODE
SECTION 1127-1128


1127. (a) The Legislature finds and declares that it is the policy
of the state to ensure the safety of persons, property, and vessels
using the waters of Monterey Bay and the Bays of San Francisco, San
Pablo, and Suisun and to avoid damage to those waters and surrounding
ecosystems as a result of vessel collision or damage by providing
competent, efficient, and regulated pilotage for vessels required by
this division to secure pilotage services.
(b) Nothing in this section shall supersede, modify, or otherwise
alter pilot practices that are not safety related, including, but not
limited to, the determination of rates charged for pilot services or
employer-employee relationships for individuals, agencies, or
organizations involved in providing pilotage services between any
port of Monterey Bay and the Bays of San Francisco, San Pablo, and
Suisun and any other port of the United States that is in existence
on December 31, 1995, or otherwise abridge the authority of local
port or harbor districts relating to pilotage in effect on December
31, 1995.
(c) The board shall regulate pilotage on waters of the state as
provided in this division.
(d) Every vessel sailing under a coastwise license or
appropriately endorsed registry and engaged in the coasting trade
between any port of Monterey Bay and the Bays of San Francisco, San
Pablo, and Suisun and any other port of the United States is exempt
from all pilotage charges unless a pilot or inland pilot is actually
employed. Every foreign vessel and every vessel bound between a
foreign port and any port of Monterey Bay and the Bays of San
Francisco, San Pablo, and Suisun, and every vessel sailing under a
register between any port of Monterey Bay and the Bays of San
Francisco, San Pablo, and Suisun and any other port of the United
States, shall use a pilot or inland pilot holding a license issued
pursuant to this division, except as otherwise provided by law.
(e) Subdivision (d) does not apply to a vessel that is less than
300 gross tons and is manufactured and used for private recreation.


1128. Any nonself-propelled vessel in tow of a tug within Monterey
Bay and the Bay of San Francisco, San Pablo, or Suisun, or between
those bays, is exempt from pilotage charges unless a pilot is
actually employed.

http://www.sfbarpilots.com/
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Old 02-11-2008, 16:23   #188
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your hypothesis doesn't conform to the opening of Tom Perkins' account which, though it may be self-serving, is subject to corroboration by the others present on Falcon's bridge at the time, including the Bay pilot.

Perkins wrote, "A few minutes before this photo sequence, the Falcon had turned to port, to give the right of way to the smaller yacht, which was to leeward on the starboard tack. The "Stand By" was originally on a roughly reciprocal course to that of the Falcon. Prior to the photos shown here, "Stand By" was bearing away, and the two yachts were on safe courses to pass roughly with a distance of 200 feet separation...
Well I assume Mr Perkins inflates time as much as distance - it would more accurately be "less than a minute before the photo sequence..." After that the hypothesis fits nicely - after MF's turn to port, she would be ROUGHLY reciprocal to SB.

Quote:
Your graphic representation fails to show Stand By bearing off to port as you show Falcon doing, and your conjecture that the smaller vessel attempted to cross in front of Falcon makes no sense to me.
Perkins didn't say that SB altered course, just that based on her course she was bearing off of Falcon's track. That would be true, but given that MF would be pointing at SB's stern, it would appear to those on SB that she would be run down; the alteration to stbd would not have been done to pass in front of MF, but to allow room for MF to pass ahead of SB as it previously appeared she would do.

Quote:
If Stand By had indeed given way somewhat to port, as Perkins stated
He didn't say that.

Quote:
Peter Lyons has written that he began shooting when the smaller vessel suddenly tacked onto starboard and began moving toward the larger vessel and a collision seemed imminent. If that's so, then your graphic showing Stand By tacking before the vessels' bows had passed one another is probably incorrect.
Lyons hadn't noticed SB until SB was pointed at MF. From the start of the photo sequence where SB was near MF's bow, she was pointing at MF, so the tack had to start before they passed bows.

Quote:
I am still of the opinion that Stand By and Falcon were passing port-to-port, but much closer than the supposed 200 feet, and when the smaller vessel's wind was disrupted by the larger vessel, he suddenly weathercocked and lost control.
You may very well be right, but I don't see how they would weathercock behind that huge wind-shadow.

Quote:
I think they do present a plausible version of events,
Thanks for that. Would you care to apportion blame in the hypothetical situation?

Kevin
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Old 02-11-2008, 16:26   #189
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This is getting to the point where we should be looking at "The Grassy Knoll"
I guess the Chief Engineer subscribes to the "magic bullet" theory
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Old 02-11-2008, 16:42   #190
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Here is the law that applies to pilotage...
In NZ, just as another example regarding pilotage and Prevention of Collisions in another country, all vessels over 500grt are required to carry a pilot in harbours unless exempt - for exemption the master of the vessel must have demonstrated knowledge of the harbour appropriate to a pilot so in the main includes masters of scheduled coastal RoRo, ferry, etc services.

The Maritime Rules here also require and vessel under 500 grt to not impede any vessel over 500 grt in harbour limits (which limits can be quite extensive out to sea or along the coast).

The effect is that if a vessel is required to have a pilot on board (or is exempt) it cannot be impeded by a vessel under 500 grt. So an outcome similar to that claimed as applying in some ports by another poster and so does apply in some ports of the world.
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Old 02-11-2008, 19:52   #191
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<snip>Is the MF over 300 gross tons? I don't know. Keep in mind gross tons is not a measure of weight. One gross ton equals 100 cubic feet of interior volume.<snip>
While the Falcon displaces 1240 tons, I don't know her gross tonnage, either, David. It's arguable, I suppose, whether she was "manufactured and used for private recreation," in that she is technically a charter vessel.

You are correct that the pilot aboard Falcon was donating his time and expertise as a contribution toward that weekend's Leukemia Cup Regatta. As they say, "No good deed goes unpunished."

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<snip>Would you care to apportion blame in the hypothetical situation?
Somewhere earlier in this thread, I posited that blame was 67% Stand By, 33% Maltese Falcon. It is just a WAG on my part, and is just my way of stating that, in my view, Stand By bears twice the blame.

Somewhere, there must be a USCG report on the incident, with statements from the vessels' crews. It should make interesting reading.

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Old 02-11-2008, 20:20   #192
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While the Falcon displaces 1240 tons, I don't know her gross tonnage...
She is 1,110 grt. Gross tonnage will be a little less.
A useful VERY rough rule (at least for here in NZ where smaller vessels are not allowed to impede vessels greater than 500 gt in harbour limits) is a 50m commercial vessel has a gt of around 500. I tend to keep out of the way of anything much bigger than me, although I do remember a large coastal vessel coming up behind me one day just when I caught a fish while in harbour limits - the ship kindly went around me while I stopped and played and reeled it in .
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Old 02-11-2008, 20:29   #193
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Somewhere earlier in this thread, I posited that blame was 67% Stand By, 33% Maltese Falcon. It is just a WAG on my part, and is just my way of stating that, in my view, Stand By bears twice the blame.

Somewhere, there must be a USCG report on the incident, with statements from the vessels' crews. It should make interesting reading.
Tao,

Avoiding action by the give way vessel is to be positive, large enough to be readily apparent to the other vessel, and done in a timely manner. In my hypothetical scenario MF would have failed in this regard - would she still be only 33% to blame?

Agree there is probably a report, but suspect it may be years before it sees the light of day.
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Old 02-11-2008, 20:36   #194
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Old 02-11-2008, 20:56   #195
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She is 1,110 grt. Gross tonnage will be a little less.
Just to clarify that a bit, it comes to mind that the current convention is gt and has been for some time, so I suspect the reference I have to 1,110 grt is a typo and she is actually 1,110 gt as Chief Eng also says.

Also, I see in my earlier post I wrote "grt" - is now actually gt in the Maritime Rules here - see what comes of having bin around for a long time .
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