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Old 19-10-2015, 07:43   #91
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

Do I correctly understand that you had 100 meters of rode out in 4 meters of water? Is it common for boats to use scopes this big in this area. Even with an additional 5-6 meters at high tide you would be 10-1+.

Secondly, once your rode was tangled we you not technically a vessel not under command? Then again how many small boats carry sufficient lights to comply with all possible requirements under the colregs. I certainly can't display all the possible light combinations I could find myself technically required to display.

With regards to keeping a proper anchor watch and avoiding a collision while at anchor, It takes me several minutes to retrieve my anchor and to be able to maneuver. The most likely scenario for a collision while at anchor is being run down by a high speed power boat, probably steered by a drunk, doing 30+ knots. The fact is by the time I determine a boat like that is on a collision course, I haven't got a chance in hell of getting out of his way. Sometimes I think that the colregs were written by and for people in 4 knot sailboats.
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Old 19-10-2015, 07:46   #92
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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Originally Posted by Dennis.G View Post
Agree, need light(s) down close to waterline. Fishermen running about at night in their pangas are not looking up to see mast top lights amongst the stars. This has always made sense and is becomes very important in anchorages near towns with all the background lights.

But please avoid displaying red and green lights. These are navigation lighting colors and can be very confusing to other boaters. I think also could be considered illegal to display on a boat at anchor.
think christmas in mexico. i thinkyou will not get the world to change their colored lights just because someone in USA of all places says thou shalt not yada yadaa...
keep the red to port and the green to starboard and all is well.
there are no anchor light nazis here.
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Old 19-10-2015, 07:52   #93
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

Dockhead- how did that 50 foot steel prow end up ramming you when it was "trying to help". I mean looking at the damage - he had speed on.

Certainly he had to have seen you
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Old 19-10-2015, 07:53   #94
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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Do I correctly understand that you had 100 meters of rode out in 4 meters of water? Is it common for boats to use scopes this big in this area. Even with an additional 5-6 meters at high tide you would be 10-1+.

Secondly, once your rode was tangled we you not technically a vessel not under command? Then again how many small boats carry sufficient lights to comply with all possible requirements under the colregs. I certainly can't display all the possible light combinations I could find myself technically required to display.

With regards to keeping a proper anchor watch and avoiding a collision while at anchor, It takes me several minutes to retrieve my anchor and to be able to maneuver. The most likely scenario for a collision while at anchor is being run down by a high speed power boat, probably steered by a drunk, doing 30+ knots. The fact is by the time I determine a boat like that is on a collision course, I haven't got a chance in hell of getting out of his way. Sometimes I think that the colregs were written by and for people in 4 knot sailboats.
The 4 meter line is not 4 meters of water, that's 4 meters LAT. At high tide we had about 8 meters of water.

Even so, 100 meters was excessive. I was worried about the rope rode with no weight or catenary, and the Fortress anchor which I was not sure would reset. In hindsight, it was a mistake -- a 100 meter trap for fishing boats, and I won't be doing that again.


As to NUC -- no, I was at no point NUC, because I was at all times attached to the seabed by my anchor.

As to anchor watches -- the COLREGS require you to do everything to avoid a collision. Being run down while sleeping at anchor sounds pretty innocent, but in fact if someone had been on watch, a spotlight could have been shined to warn the approaching vessel. Even a high speed power boat you maybe couldn't get out of the way of. This is just another case showing that there is never or almost never a completely innocent party, at sea, if a collision occurs.
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Old 19-10-2015, 07:56   #95
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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Dockhead- how did that 50 foot steel prow end up ramming you when it was "trying to help". I mean looking at the damage - he had speed on.

Certainly he had to have seen you
Yes, he saw me, of course. He thought he was maintaining his position (probably stemming the tide, which was running pretty hard). And didn't notice that he had way on. He was distracted, looking at the gear which I had just finished untangling. He was single handed. Sh!t happens.

By the way, I have been talking with him today. He's a good guy. I feel really bad for him.

The first thing he did today was take out insurance. Too late for this case, but the right thing to do.
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Old 19-10-2015, 08:01   #96
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

I think I might have posted this link before, there are many others like it I'm sure, but what might be of interest is the fact that the anchored ship was found to share a small proportion of the blame for not drawing attention to their position as you noted in your last post.

Transportation Safety Board of Canada - Marine Investigation Report M00C0069
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Old 19-10-2015, 08:12   #97
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

Abiding by the rules seems to work well when you're the only boat within 100 miles.

The rules were written long before light polution was even a pipe dream.

Being safe, minimizing risk and following the rules require different solutions. Dealing with idiots, who probably dont even know the rules, is an ever present issue. Following the rules clearly isnt sufficient.

We have an Led light sign that spells our boat name. It flashes so we can find our boat in a crowded anchorage. We're not flashing our mast head light, which would violate the rules. We're just creating our own useful light pollution. Having interior lights on would also create light pollution. So we figure we're not violating any laws.

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Old 19-10-2015, 08:15   #98
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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So instead I use the trick I learned when I got tangled in that electrical cable in Finland last summer -- got a line around the fisherman's lines, and lifted them. Then, I put a rolling hitch on my own anchor line, outboard of the fisherman's lines. Made it off. Freed the bitter end of my anchor line, and led it through and free of the fisherman's lines. Then released his lines. Et voila!

.
Dockhead,

This is certainly a case where I do not have to stick my hand into the flame to see that it is hot.

I don't even own a sailboat yet, but you have provided another nugget (of many) that I have found in the forum.

To pull off your solution you had spare lines. How many do you normally have onboard?

thanks

Chris

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Old 19-10-2015, 08:57   #99
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

Dockhead,

Thanks for sharing. A number of lessons learned there and not really your fault.

I too usually keep my deck or spreader lights on, as well as my anchor light. Reading your account, I will make it a must do from now on.

I agree with you about insurance and how your handled it.

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Old 19-10-2015, 09:51   #100
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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. . .

To pull off your solution you had spare lines. How many do you normally have onboard?

. . .
Thanks for asking this -- it's actually another lesson which I wanted to post about.

Seamanship is an unattainable work in progress, requiring constant work. In situations like this you always feel the inadequacies of your knowledge and skills. I hesitated for long moments trying to understand what to do, and worried my knots would fail me, or that I wouldn't have what I needed at hand.

Seamanship is all about being prepared with the necessary skills and tools, and managing to hang on to your wits under pressure. And whatever you have, is never enough, in a real emergency.

In the event, I did have several spare lines at the ready -- several coils hanging from my pushpit. Making the boat look a little shabby, but for just such a case.

In this case I needed three of them -- one to take the tension off my own anchor rode while I untied and unreeved the bitter end, one to hold up the fisherman's lines while I did this, and one more -- I can't even remember what for. I needed three knots tied in the dark and backwards and under pressure while hanging out over the rail -- sheet bend, bowline, rolling hitch. My boat plus the fishing boat were hanging for 10 minutes from my tied-in-the-dark rolling hitch, with the tide rushing at 2 knots.

Thank God I had the spare lines at the ready, and that my boat has a lot of winches, which played a crucial role.

As to your specific question, about how many ropes you need -- any long term cruiser, especially one who has gone through any re-rigging, has too many ropes on board to count. Because you hate to throw them away, and on top of that, you can't pass the bargain bin at the rigger's without buying something. So I have miles of rope on board. But it's not enough to just have them on board -- what's buried in the lazarette is of no use to you in an emergency. For that you need a decent number of lines (5? 6? more?) of different types, somewhere at the ready in easy reach.


Love of ropes and ropework is an essential quality for a sailor, I think. The ones you use should always be nicely coiled, washed regularly, kept properly whipped at the ends. I wish I could say mine are; they aren't -- there's always something like that to do, which I never get around to.
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Old 19-10-2015, 10:18   #101
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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Thanks for opening this topic as it surely got me thinking about the best lighting options for my boat. But it must have been a very unpleasant experience! Just out of curiousity, did you have a working AIS-transponder when this happened?

Does anyone use the option of Rule 25(c) and show a red over green light in the mast and the 'normal' nav lights at deck level?
I do, but I am the only boat of my size I've seen who does.

I made a 'tree' to mount the lights on.

I have a couple of terrible cell phone pics for the install here, pics of it lit up here and the process here
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Old 19-10-2015, 10:24   #102
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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I do, but I am the only boat of my size I've seen who does.

I made a 'tree' to mount the lights on.

I have a couple of terrible cell phone pics for the install here, pics of it lit up here and the process here
Wow! Hats off for that!

I would not do it, even on my 54 footer, because of the windage, but I admire the effort! And no doubt that's a better light than a tricolor.
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Old 19-10-2015, 10:39   #103
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

And another lesson:

One reason why people pay money to berth in a port or marina, is because you are never completely safe at anchor. Even in benign calm weather like we had this weekend.

The sea is not a joke -- it is an inherently hostile environment. There are always risks. I love LOVE to sleep at anchor -- I love the motion of the boat, I love being out on the water not connected to land. I do it every chance I can.

But I never sleep a completely sound sleep -- I keep one eye open. That's probably a habit formed while cruising 10 years with a CQR anchor . But this incident really drives home the fact that dragging anchor is not the only risk.
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Old 19-10-2015, 11:41   #104

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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

"I don't actually think that there is any excuse for missing a masthead anchor light. "

Have you ever sailed into a mooring field on a moonless night? Gee, all those boats, all blacked out and unoccuppied. No anchorage lights required or used at all, and yet, somehow, folks navigate among them without hitting them.


Presumably, you weren't in any kind of marked ("general") anchorage or other special area. Lighted or not, disco ball and SurroundSound blaring or not, getting hit by traffic in an "open" area is also a hazard to be considered when anchoring out.


Sailboat Racing 101: "Get your head out of the boat!"


The idiots were so tightly focused on a)fishing and b)rubbernecking that they simply could have hit the side of a battleship, even flooded with sodium lights.


Can't blame the regulations and anchor lights for that.
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Old 19-10-2015, 12:04   #105
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

Dockhead, thank you for sharing so many lessons learned through this incident and the others you have shared over time. It is true that we are never truly safe at anchor. For that matter I've seen enough fiascos in marinas to know we are not truly safe there either.

You demonstrated remarkable good seamanship in dealing with this tangle. Your rope work and good problem solving saved the day for you and the fisherman who entangled you. Having adequate cordage and having it available is a must. Furthermore, your attitude toward these fishermen is generous and probably helps keep your sanity. One of the lessons I have the hardest time with is this. I put so much thought and energy (and money) into trying to keep my boat, crew and guests safe that it is hard to just accept that despite all the effort stuff still happens and getting upset by it doesn't help. You demonstrated a Zen like acceptance. Maybe I'll learn that to in another lifetime, or two.


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