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Old 20-10-2015, 05:36   #136
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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. . .
Q: how can a fishing vessel bump into me!? I usually anchor in 5-7m of water MAXIMUM, where I assume only a drunk fisherman with a 5m long dinghy can sail around... if close to harbour, I check the way fishing boats take, and stay away.
Fishermen in the Solent (and a lot of other places) go everywhere. Their vessels are shallower draft than ours (mine is around 2.5 meters) and they have no problem going in closer to the shore, than I ever would. You cannot avoid them, by "staying away".

This incident occurred on the 4 meter contour line -- typical anchoring depth for a boat like mine (it means 5 to 9 meters of actual depth at different states of tide). Also typical depth for certain kinds of fishing. Unfortunately.

I know the Med is fished out and relatively little commercial fishing goes on there, but these Atlantic waters are full of fish, and therefore -- full of fishermen. There are thousands of commercial fishing boats on the UK South Coast.


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In specific DH case, being at his anchor line swayed by another boat, I can not see the slightest concurrence in liability, ... even though.... well.. I would have pretended the upcoming 2nd boat to remain at large, and available, but not that close to bump into me...

Why did it happen!? Sorry, we miss info about it... what was being carried on, or attempted!? Where was DH (nothing personal, please...) at that time!? And was he asking/doing what and where, precisely.??
I think I described this pretty well, but once more for the record: I was standing on the starboard side deck untangling the first fisherman's gear. My crew was standing near the bow helping me. It took me probably 10 or 15 minutes to get the various lines on and hauled in, and I was just releasing the line holding up the first fisherman's gear when the accident happened.
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Old 20-10-2015, 05:46   #137
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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Hmm... all I got from that link was an abstract which really said little. not ready to spend 30 pounds to read the article in full.

But lets look at reality for a minute. One is at anchor in ones yacht, short handed like most cruisers are.We are following these rules and keeping an anchor watch (not bloody likely...) Well, in the first place, most anchorages are shallow enough and out of the way enough that ships are unlikely to bother you. So, we are really concerned with collisions with other small craft for the most part. How many times have you been at anchor and seen another craft heading at you? I'd estimate that today this situation unfolded here on Baie de Orphelinat in Noumea at least ten times. It is a busy place! Am I supposed to start honking, waving and radioing each and every one of those oncoming vessels? They all made course changes before hitting me... that's what one expects, and what normally happens. How am I to determine which oncoming boats need warning off? In reality, by the time you realize that they are not changing course, it is far too late to do anything constructive IMO. It is hard for me to believe that the writers of Colregs had such behavior in mind when considering small craft. For ships, perhaps, for they change course slowly, and it might be practical to determine long in advance that they were inevitably aimed at your current location and that you should maneuver to avoid collision if possible. But for smaller vessels, more able to change course rapidly and at short distances, this is not reality.

Take the situation that DH describes: a vessel, attempting to aid him in his untangling of the lines and maneuvering nearby strikes him. Exactly what could he have done to avoid the strike? Why should he have accrued any blame whatsoever?

And finally, re the masthead light: I just returned from ferrying friends back to their boat. It is dark as the inside of a cow. There are a few dozen anchored and moored boats within the anchorage. As I approached them, I could easily see the masthead lights of all of them (that had them) without having to deliberately "look up". I checked specifically as I came up to our boat, and the masthead light, 65 feet up, was easily visible when I was only one hundred feet from her. This "can't see it 'cause it is too high up" is BS when one is at the distance where one should be taking avoiding action. Oh... it was much easier to see the masthead lights than the lower ones, for there are far more low down background lights than higher ones... not true everywhere, but definitely true in this harbour. i think that there are a lot of pundits talking in this thread that don't routinely move around at night in crowded anchorages, for their alleged observations don't agree with mine.

Jim
I don't think we significantly disagree about anything.

I certainly agree that "I couldn't see your masthead anchor light" is no excuse for poor watchkeeping. But poor watchkeeping in the form of not looking up is human nature, so it is prudent and right to add more lights to make yourself easier to see. It's maybe even required by the COLREGS. As an aside, whether poor watchkeeping in the form of also not using your radar or AIS receiver while running down the shoreline on a dark night is excusable or not is a different question

Concerning anchor watches: The COLREGS require a continuous watch at all times, not just while underway. They also require you to take whatever measures are possible to avoid an collision, even if you are at anchor. But you are right that in many cases there is little to nothing you can do. And keeping a full time watch at anchor may be practically useless on a small boat. These things do not contradict each other. The COLREGS are everywhere tempered by common sense and the "ordinary practice of seamen" -- Rule 2.

I don't think I am going to stop sleeping at anchor, but have filed away in my mind the fact that if someone plows into me, there might be questions to answer, and that there is some risk -- maybe small -- of some part of liability falling on me. That's all I was trying to say.

This is a merely theoretical discussion, since in my case no one plowed into me while I slept at anchor. Or while I was lit up with only the masthead anchor light. My particular collision occurred while I was working on deck resolving an emergency situation, and furthermore anchored to the seabed. And while the vessel was brilliantly illuminated by powerful deck lights. I don't think that there is any conceivable thing I could have done to prevent the accident -- a rare case of that, probably. And so far no one has suggested that there could have been.
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Old 20-10-2015, 08:06   #138
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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Yet another thing I learned was that the Fortress anchor has amazing holding power. I knew it was good, but this did surprise me. True, the bottom, silty mud, was ideal, but still -- it was somewhat undersized for my boat (it's just a kedge), and it held about 70 tons of boats in a strong tidal current while the first steel fishing boat was tangled up with me, far above the call of duty, in my opinion.

I had a hell of a time pulling it back up again the next morning -- once well buried, it does not release as easily as a normal anchor.

And in the process I bent the shank So I guess I'm going to have to buy another one
Dockhead,

Thanks to you and the other posters regarding your kind words about our company and product. I am delighted to hear that you were able to come away safe after this ordeal and not have terrible damage done to your boat.

It is not unheard of for a Fortress anchor to become so well-buried into a sea bottom after a heavy blow that you might damage it during the process of breaking it free.

Once it is buried deep (and 70 tons of boats + a strong current will insure that it is), then tidal and wind shifts can have a corkscrew effect on the anchor and send it to the depths of dinosaur bones and fossils!

Please let me know your shipping address and I will send you a new shank for your 10 kg FX-37.

Safe anchoring,
Brian
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Old 20-10-2015, 08:14   #139
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

^^ that is the most marvelous customer service brian!
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Old 20-10-2015, 08:33   #140
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

At anchor I sleep with the anchor light, mast head light, and flood lights on. And, I make sure to fly a decent size flag off a stay that's lit by the flood lights.
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Old 20-10-2015, 09:21   #141
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

I put an LED bulb in the fixture above the bbq pit, which lights up the stern of the boat and most of the cockpit. I leave it on overnight when anchored inshore.
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Old 20-10-2015, 10:43   #142
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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^^ that is the most marvelous customer service brian!
Agreed +

PS - I am also a satisfied Fortresss customer ( I have 2)
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Old 20-10-2015, 10:51   #143
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

+3


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Old 20-10-2015, 11:00   #144
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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Yes, but for a bent shank? Can't imagine that would be covered.

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Never think for a company. Just ask.
Most people talk themselves out of a service for whatever reason. I design medical programs and even if you had an early 2008 version and it develops a problem, you are most likely to get the latest version from me gratis.

Not only impressed with the anchor, I am superbly impressed with the service. Long may the company prosper.

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Old 20-10-2015, 11:37   #145
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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^^ that is the most marvelous customer service brian!
Fortress have long had that reputation, and Brian is keeping it up!

Thanks!

Everybody, of course, should have a Fortress anchor, which is without the slightest competition for a kedge. If I were investing in an anchor company, this is far and away the one I would invest in -- it totally dominates a very large niche and has the best reputation for customer service in the industry. It would be a no-brainer (although of course I would want to have a look at their financials ).

Gross thread drift, but while going down that road (anchor companies as investments):

1. Spade. My rating would be SELL. Technically superior product, probably the very best on the market so far, but very, very expensive to make, and without any development in many years, despite the fact that the product has some flaws, particularly the problem of regalvanizing. No customer service; lackadaisical marketing -- company is obviously in harvest mode, sitting on its laurels, with no prospects.

2. Mantus. BUY BUY BUY. Well marketed, excellent reputation for customer service, cheap as hell to make, technically excellent. The owner needs to scale it up and get into more markets, and keep more products coming out. After Fortress, this would be my top buy recommendation (but still a distant second to Fortress).

3. Anchor Rite. SELL. Apparently decent products (although no one outside of Australia actually knows for sure), cheap to make, but poorly marketed and no penetration in any of the larger markets.

4. Canada Metals. BUY. Good company has overcome the unpleasantness created a few years ago by the predecessor company. Keeps new products coming out and obviously carries out development. Main product is technically good, cheap to make and is very well marketed.

5. Manson. SELL. Good product, cheap to make, poorly marketed and distributed. No development; no new products. Company makes ship anchors and doesn't seem to be much interested in yacht anchors.



In this we fantasize that all these companies are public (in reality, none are AFAIK), and in the case of companies like Canada Metals, which have other interests besides making yacht anchors, that the anchor-making company is spun off. Pure fantasy of course.
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Old 20-10-2015, 16:18   #146
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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Fortress have long had that reputation, and Brian is keeping it up!

Thanks!

Everybody, of course, should have a Fortress anchor, which is without the slightest competition for a kedge.
Another for Brian. I too am more than happy to have a Fortress(FX23) as my kedge / primary backup.
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Old 20-10-2015, 18:37   #147
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

I've never been a fan of mast-top anchor lights; too easy to mistake for stars in remote anchorages, and a PITA to swap the bulbs on when they eventually go.

We have our anchor light about halfway up the mizzen mast, on the wind gen horizontal support (circled). The bulb itself is viewable from almost 360 degrees, but illuminates the wind gen (about 1m diameter) which is definitely viewable all-round. Having it lower means power boaters and fishing boats (our main threats at anchor) are more likely to see it, if nothing else than the illuminated spinning blades catching their eye.


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Old 20-10-2015, 19:36   #148
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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I've never been a fan of mast-top anchor lights; too easy to mistake for stars in remote anchorages, and a PITA to swap the bulbs on when they eventually go.

We have our anchor light about halfway up the mizzen mast, on the wind gen horizontal support (circled). The bulb itself is viewable from almost 360 degrees, but illuminates the wind gen (about 1m diameter) which is definitely viewable all-round. Having it lower means power boaters and fishing boats (our main threats at anchor) are more likely to see it, if nothing else than the illuminated spinning blades catching their eye.


n
Sounds like an excellent setup
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Old 20-10-2015, 20:17   #149
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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Interesting; so what happened in that case?


I find nothing in the COLREGS which excludes anchored vessels from an obligation to keep a watch, and maneuver if possible. The article cited above says that anchored vessels have to start their engines and try to maneuver if possible, if it is necessary to prevent a collision, and that they should use all means to alert a vessel underway in case a collision seems imminent. It also says that continuous anchor watches are obligatory. Now the author is writing about commercial vessels, so what is practical may be different on a lightly manned recreational vessel. But the COLREGS don't distinguish between ships and yachts on any of these points.
Now Dockhead, don't go making a big deal about this because we are pretty much in agreement on the common sense bit and 'responsibility' to avoid collision is always on both vessels. And I agree totally with what I've highlighted above. No argument at all. In fact it's my point.

IN this case I was curious at the time about what happened so I spoke to someone or emailed, can't remember and asked what happened about the anchored vessel because I think it would have been too harsh to have fined him. In this case, 'advice' was given to the crew of the anchored vessel so that they better understood that if everything else failed, then they need to up anchor and move out of the way, if it's possible. And they should have alerted the skipper of the vessel when he had time to do something. And for others, the Colregs are adopted into legislation here, though they are used to advise the courts.

Now the bit you might take issue with is the bit about 'anchored vessels being excused to keep watch'. There isn't one. But the absense does not therefore mean the opposite applies. As far as the Colregs are concerned I mean.

There have been a number of maritime investigations, including the one about Jessica Watson, which has clearly recognised the difference between a Commercial vessel and non commercial vessels. It's been recognised for example that Commercial vessels have around the clock crews, and it is reasonable to expect that if a vessel is commercial and big enough to have around the clock crews, then it is reasonable enough that one of those crewman, rostered on during the wee hours should be enlisted to keep a look out. This is the common sense bit. So, Size does matter

With a small vessel at anchor such as a cruising yacht, it is entirely unreasonable (and not specifically required by the Colregs) to expect that the crew of 1, 2, 4 or 6 or whatever, should have to post a round the clock roster when they are at anchor.

Now, if a vessel is equipped with AIS, or has the ability to run Radar AND they are anchored in an area of known traffic, and they failed to turn that equipment on all night, then they may very well receive some criticism for that reason to.

Like you said, it's about common sense and what is reasonable and sensible. And everyone has a responsibility to do what they can to avoid a collision, regardless of who has 'right of way' .. Sorry, couldn't resist it.
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Old 20-10-2015, 22:48   #150
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

Like you said, it's about common sense and what is reasonable and sensible. And everyone has a responsibility to do what they can to avoid a collision, regardless of who has 'right of way' .. Sorry, couldn't resist it.

*******

OK, then in your opinion, what else should one do beyond bright lights aloft and alow and leaving the AIS on when anchored at night? Most smaller vessels can't run the radar 24/7, and at least for the small unit we have (Furuno 1715) the alarm feature isn't effective. Keeping watch is not possible in reality, and in busy areas, as I mentioned before, there are frequently boats aimed at you as they work their way through the fleet. Even if on watch, how is one supposed to determine that one of those vessels will be the one to NOT change course before striking you?

So again: what is "reasonable and sensible" in this scenario?

We've been at anchor for thousands of nights now, and I never worried about MY culpability if struck by another vessel. Should I?

Jim
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