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Old 27-09-2012, 18:49   #436
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Re: Freighters vs. sailboats

I am not that much concerned to avoid collisions in large open sea. Plenty of leeway and time to observe and act when the situation demands so.

Places that do give me sometimes the creeps are the approaches and large waterways, infested with heavy traffic day and night.
Fishermen fishing in pairs, Tuna hunters doing same with nets spread out several hundreds of meters in span, etc, etc.

Particularly the North Sea, not the very kindest of waters, is getting more dangerous as time comes by.
The newest obstacles created by the mighty multinationals are the windmill parks. Very, very closely placed to shipping lanes and very often not even to be found on the seacharts, they are the present concern not only of the professional merchant mariner, but als fishermen and of course the sailing crowd of UK, Holland and Germany. Not to forget the ones from Belgium.

If you think that there exist a uniform ruling to cross thos parks, forget it.
Crossing such parks are according to Dutch & German law prohibited.
The Danes allow you to do so.
The Dutch require a berth of 500 meters distance from the outer edge, no crossing or traversing. Same for the Germans.

There are another 10 fields under future construction, exact location yet unknown.
Horizon pollution all over the place and together with all the oil & gas fields the North Sea is going to be something like the Champs Elysees during rush hour.

That is what concerns me today. Not a ship that is 3 miles or so away.
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Old 27-09-2012, 19:14   #437
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Re: Freighters vs. sailboats

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Originally Posted by MacG View Post
I am not that much concerned to avoid collisions in large open sea. Plenty of leeway and time to observe and act when the situation demands so.

Places that do give me sometimes the creeps are the approaches
Reminds me of a sportsfisherman who was anchored up about 25 miles south of Nantucket. I was traveling about 30 or 40 miles away. I hear a call to the CG about a ship that was trying to run him over.

The long and short of it, he was out fishing that day. Decided to stay out there and fish the next day. He grabbed a fish long line end buoy (apparently thought it was a fixed gear buoy) and drifted.

I could actually hear the hiss and bow wave from the ship going by as he was calling the CG while his mike was keyed! He said the ship was about 50' away. And he 'knew' he was visible, since he had his cockpit flood lights on!

After about 15 minutes of inane questions from the CG, he stated that he wanted to press charges on the ship for almost killing him. The CG asked for his position. While he was sending it, I plotted it. He was in the Ambrose to Nantucket sea lane. Clearly marked, definitely obvious to all (who actually look at charts) Granted this was 25 miles offshore, But what was he thinking? Tying up to an unknown buoy, and going to sleep with no watch!?

Anyone have any thoughts on why the Merchie was so close to this guy,at sea, in a 4 mile wide sea lane? on an almost flat calm night? Not arguing or defending what happened. But why? I have my theory.
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Old 27-09-2012, 20:21   #438
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Re: Freighters vs. sailboats

No idea why he was that close or that the merchantman did not see him, but I am surprised that hydrodynamic forces did not draw his vessel into the side of the merchant ship (as happened with RMS Olympic and the cruiser HMS Hawke).
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Old 27-09-2012, 20:45   #439
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Re: Freighters vs. sailboats

I hadn't heard about the Olympic/Hawke incident before. Exactly right! It may be that he was hanging on the fishing gear that stopped him from being sucked under the counter. I heard the guys voice and panic. I sort of got the idea that the ship was 'letting him know' that the ship had a shipping lane there, and the ship was sort of putting the exclamation point on that fact. Not that I agree with it, but sometimes stupid people do stupid things!
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Old 28-09-2012, 01:18   #440
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Cone or lane?

I have reservations about the scenario of a "cone of danger", raised earlier in this thread, to characterise the combination of a highly unfavourable speed ratio with uncertainty about the other vessel's course.

Several earlier posters have suggested you are effectively dead meat if you find yourself within this 'cone', even at a distance of several miles. (FWIW, I prefer to think of a sector, this being a 2D concept, whereas to me a cone is 3D).

In the final analysis, to avoid collision means being able to evacuate, at the time of closest approach, a parallel-sided "lane" the width of the ship's beam, plus a margin for error and hydrodynamic nasties.
(Since I originally drafted this I've checked back, to find this point has been already been made in this thread by at least one other poster, so I'm posting this in order to reinforce and flesh out a message already competently delivered).

As others have said, there is nothing a big ship can do in real time, so it's all down to us, if things have gone awry and we find ourselves in a close-quarters situation.

As the ship approaches, the wedge-shaped sector progressively narrows down to the above-mentioned "lane" as collision becomes imminent.

Even for an exceptionally large ship, this lane is only a few hundred feet wide, sufficiently narrow that even a slow sailboat can travel across it in seconds rather than minutes (unless becalmed with no engine).

I think it's unduly alarming to suggest that inability to stay out of the much wider mouth of the sector when the ship is still miles away is effectively a death sentence: the only time you absolutely drop-dead MUST be out of it is at the moment of closest approach. This may not prevent cardiac complications on the bridge of the other vessel, but ... "worse things happen at sea".

This still leaves us with a quandary when deciding which direction to use to exit the sector when it's unsure whether we've reached the midline.

Futhermore, in very poor conditions of visibility or seas, we do enter a 'sector of severe danger' if we find ourselves in the unenviable situation where the vessel is close, but we still cannot reliably ascertain the heading.


If the vessel is of sufficient size that it cannot avoid us at close quarters, that works in our favour in a perverse way, AS LONG AS we can establish the heading.

I say that because the lack of manoeuvrability implies that heading cannot be changing fast enough to invalidate our last-minute efforts to escape the lane, remembering that the closer we are to the bow, the slower that lane is slewing as a result of any course change by the ship. If we're close to the midline, we still have to decide which course will get us furthest from that line by the time of closest approach: In a sailboat, the choice of windangle and wave aspect may trump other considerations, and it might pay to cross the midline if the speed gain (and lack of time lost by doing a manoeuvre) is sufficiently substantial.
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Old 28-09-2012, 02:19   #441
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Re: Freighters vs. sailboats

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Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
I believe you are using the term "CPA" incorrectly, and this may be the source of the confusion.

CPA (Closest Point of Approach) is the projected minimum distance between you and the other vessel given your current courses and speeds. The TCPA (Time of CPA) is how soon you will be at the CPA.

What I believe you are saying is that when you are the stand-on vessel, and your CPA is unacceptably close, you will take evasive action when your range becomes less than two miles..........
Thanks Paul for expanding on what I was trying to say. I was probably too cryptic with just using the term CPA, I figured range was implied but (as was collision) but your post makes my post clearer
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Old 28-09-2012, 02:21   #442
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Re: Freighters vs. sailboats

I know I'm going to get the hammer for saying this, but one thing we as yotties should be aware of is that on many merchants, the "officer of the watch" and the helmsman are drunk on their asses. Every time a freighter runs aground or hits something here in the baltic - the helmsman is drunk. And not just a single glass of wine either. We're talking drunk as in almost passed out.

Yes I know a lot of yotties also drink (and heavily) while sailing. I don't. Sundowners and alcohol only come out after we're tied up for the night.
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Old 28-09-2012, 03:03   #443
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Re: Cone or lane?

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Originally Posted by Andrew Troup View Post
.....(FWIW, I prefer to think of a sector, this being a 2D concept, whereas to me a cone is 3D).....
Why don't we just call it a cone shaped sector or 'cone' for short?
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Old 28-09-2012, 03:19   #444
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Re: Freighters vs. sailboats

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
(2) I fail to accept as a general case that close quarters situations develop because people on sailing boats fail to assess correctly that possibility of collision exists.

(3) close quarters situations develop because sailing boats are in general the stand on vessel, are correctly applying the COLREGS and the approaching merchant vessel does not apply the COLREGS ( for whatever reason) . If merchant vessels applied the COLREGS as required we wouldn't be talking about this issue here. Excuses such as turning circles, stopping speeds , or that you have already agreed certain passing strategies the other large ships ARE IRRELEVANT, the sailing vessel,under the COLREGS is the stand on vessel and you are required to change course and give way. If you cannot do so correctly you should slow right down so as to facilitate such a manoeuvre.
I think you are the most knowledgeable and experienced in these matters of all the "yachters" in this thread, and I have learned a tremendous amount from you. But I have to disagree with you here.

It may be that, as you say, close quarters situations would develop less often if merchant vessels would maneuver sooner, BUT --

We have heard a number of professional mariners say that they don't maneuver sooner than 4-5 miles, or sometimes 2-3 miles, or maybe not at all, because they can't predict what the hell we will do, and the maneuver will just be wasted if it is done so far ahead.

This seems to me a very legitimate point, and I would guess that the main cause of unpredictable behavior by WAFIs is that are sailing along fat, dumb and happy paying no attention to the ship on the horizon, until suddenly the ship is right HERE, and then they employ their brilliant "just run away" tactics and maneuver who the hell knows in what direction, probably in a panic. The ship's bridge cannot calculate a maneuver when dealing with such WAFIs, so they wait until the sailboat is too close to maneuver back into the way, then make a hard turn. This whole situation is a direct result of the failure of WAFI's to identify collision risks in time, and of the erroneous and dangerous idea of some that you don't need to do or know anything, but just steer out of the way when danger is already obvious.

Remember that the stand-on vessel is also obligated to keep a sharp watch, identify these risks, and hold course and speed when a risk of collision appears, and prepare to take action if the give-way vessel doesn't manuever in time. Standing on is not a passive activity -- it is not like having any kind of right of way.

If a majority of blowboaters understood basic anti-collision maneuvering and followed the rules, and stood on on a steady course and speed, I believe the professional guys would behave differently.

Turning circles and stopping distances certainly are relevant, because they define the point at which the merchant vessel can no longer take effective action -- a point which is significant under the Colregs, by the way. Because of turning circles and stopping distances, if a "just run away" type WAFI turns under the bow a couple of cables off, there is really nothing whatsover they can do but pray that the WAFI turns back, and under the Colregs the WAFI is now entirely responsible for the situation.

Speed hardly helps, because large vessels lose effective steerage at speeds higher than most sailboats' hull speeds.

I do agree with your conclusion however -- the Colregs should really be changed, specifically Rule 18. Sailing vessels under 20 meters should "keep out of the way" of motor vessels big enough to require two masthead lights (that is, 50 meters or more), and we should not be required (or allowed) to stand on in encounters with such vessels. It just doesn't make any sense. So large commercial vessels should hold their course and speed and it should be up to us steer a course to pass well behind them.

For this to work, we will need to learn how to determine collision risks earlier (but we need to anyway). Maybe AIS should be required for recreational vessels -- for the hopelessly clueless among us, particularly for those of us who wilfully insist on remaining clueless, at least there will be an alarm. AIS will also make it possible for the merchant vessel to call a WAFI who has failed to take early and sufficient action, to encourage the WAFI to, for example, "turn 90 degrees starboard, you fool!".
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Old 28-09-2012, 04:38   #445
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Re: Freighters vs. sailboats

This change (of Rule #18) is already long time effective in Holland.
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Old 28-09-2012, 06:26   #446
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Re: Freighters vs. sailboats

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I think you are the most knowledgeable and experienced in these matters of all the "yachters" in this thread, and I have learned a tremendous amount from you. But I have to disagree with you here.
thanks for the complement, Id say there are many here who know their onions.

Quote:
We have heard a number of professional mariners say that they don't maneuver sooner than 4-5 miles, or sometimes 2-3 miles, or maybe not at all, because they can't predict what the hell we will do, and the maneuver will just be wasted if it is done so far ahead.
I take that comment with a grain of salt, in my experience, having contacted ships, aside from good bright calm days, they mostly dont see me to actually navigate around me. That is a failure under the COLREGS, while I do what I can to be visible they must also maintain active lookouts, Ive been on the bridges of many ships, the quality of lookouts is often very poor and many are just "radar jockeys". The COLREGS are not optional, the ship , under current regs, MUST maneuver ( and must continue to maneouver even if the risk of collision continues). COLREGS nevers allows the give-way vessel the option to "do nothing", yet thats what mostly actually happens

Quote:
This seems to me a very legitimate point, and I would guess that the main cause of unpredictable behavior by WAFIs is that are sailing along fat, dumb and happy paying no attention to the ship on the horizon, until suddenly the ship is right HERE, and then they employ their brilliant "just run away" tactics and maneuver who the hell knows in what direction, probably in a panic.
nobody I sail with takes that attitude, maybe some weekend warriors around the Solent, anyone with any experience watches for shipping all the time. its the most dangerous thing out there,

Quote:
The ship's bridge cannot calculate a maneuver when dealing with such WAFIs, so they wait until the sailboat is too close to maneuver back into the way, then make a hard turn. This whole situation is a direct result of the failure of WAFI's to identify collision risks in time, and of the erroneous and dangerous idea of some that you don't need to do or know anything, but just steer out of the way when danger is already obvious.
Sorry, we disagree here big time, Neither stand on or give way is absolved of responsibilities, Hence the ship MUST maneovuer, thats is what expected of him under the COLREGS. The problem is far too many merchant vessels ignore sailing yachts either through lack of identification or deliberate decision.

The give way vessel, cannot under COLREGS, sorta take the view well this guy approaching in his blowbote is an idiot and Ill ignore him, thats nonsense and the merchant men arguing it are merely suiting themselves.
Quote:
Remember that the stand-on vessel is also obligated to keep a sharp watch, identify these risks, and hold course and speed when a risk of collision appears, and prepare to take action if the give-way vessel doesn't manuever in time. Standing on is not a passive activity -- it is not like having any kind of right of way.
no body said it was, for most sailers being the stand-on vessel, means we're the only vessel taking action. Im the one running CPA's trying the VHF etc, the other guys on autopilot, ay 20knts, with his S-Band on 40 mile range!!


Quote:
If a majority of blowboaters understood basic anti-collision maneuvering and followed the rules, and stood on on a steady course and speed, I believe the professional guys would behave differently.
AGh, Seriously Dockhead, have you actually encountered many vessels. Sure stand on and see what happens, ( well dont actually I like to see your posts and being in a watery grave aint going to help that!).

Quote:
Turning circles and stopping distances certainly are relevant, because they define the point at which the merchant vessel can no longer take effective action -- a point which is significant under the Colregs, by the way. Because of turning circles and stopping distances, if a "just run away" type WAFI turns under the bow a couple of cables off, there is really nothing whatsover they can do but pray that the WAFI turns back, and under the Colregs the WAFI is now entirely responsible for the situation.
Sorry COLREGS offers no solace, it does not recognize those limits. you MUST maneuver unless you are in a special category. The ship must be conned in such a manner as to ensure that these course changes can be done. THIS unfortunately is NOT what happens. Hence WAFIs quickly realise its a fool errands to "Stand on".
Quote:
Speed hardly helps, because large vessels lose effective steerage at speeds higher than most sailboats' hull speeds.
Nonsense, its aint my problem if the design of the ship is faulty, THE COLREGS require a "safe" speed so that " so that she can take proper and effective action to avoid collision" NO buts OR ifs.

Quote:
I do agree with your conclusion however -- the Colregs should really be changed, specifically Rule 18. Sailing vessels under 20 meters should "keep out of the way" of motor vessels big enough to require two masthead lights (that is, 50 meters or more), and we should not be required (or allowed) to stand on in encounters with such vessels. It just doesn't make any sense. So large commercial vessels should hold their course and speed and it should be up to us steer a course to pass well behind them.
Exactamundo.. thats actually what I was working to. The fact is that custom and practice on the high seas is to (a) run as fast as the boss wants, (b) drive by radar jockey, AIS,etc and (b) whats thats spec of light out there, ah forget bout it.

The reality is commercial shipping either through systems neglect or deliberate action ignores sailboats. Lets realize that and change the COLREGS.

It would be far easier for me, if I can assume that the Ship Im plotting will take not a blind notice of me, and will plough straight on ignoring my presence. I can "jig about" to me hearts content. Equally I can plot a CPA and know that this isnt the 1-in-10 ship that actually applies the course change and freaks me out.

Quote:

For this to work, we will need to learn how to determine collision risks earlier (but we need to anyway). Maybe AIS should be required for recreational vessels -- for the hopelessly clueless among us, particularly for those of us who wilfully insist on remaining clueless, at least there will be an alarm. AIS will also make it possible for the merchant vessel to call a WAFI who has failed to take early and sufficient action, to encourage the WAFI to, for example, "turn 90 degrees starboard, you fool!".
In 30 years of sailing , Ive only once been called by a ship unsolicited ( he just was lonely and my AIS transponder info intrigued him!).

The main benefit from changing the rules, is that it brings into the rules, the effective actual practicethats exists and hence code-ifies the actions, hence both merchant man and sailer would suddenly be within the rules and compliant, in fact you need less AIS, because were not trying to be the bloddy "stand-on " vessel anymore ( while getting run down).


Dave
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Old 28-09-2012, 06:30   #447
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Re: Freighters vs. sailboats

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This change (of Rule #18) is already long time effective in Holland.
MacG could you possibly PLEASE post evidence of this in english? I would be interested to read what some other regulatory authority has done realizing this is a problem.

Thanks
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Old 28-09-2012, 06:38   #448
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Re: Freighters vs. sailboats

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As others have said, there is nothing a big ship can do in real time, so it's all down to us, if things have gone awry and we find ourselves in a close-quarters situation.

As the ship approaches, the wedge-shaped sector progressively narrows down to the above-mentioned "lane" as collision becomes imminent.

Even for an exceptionally large ship, this lane is only a few hundred feet wide, sufficiently narrow that even a slow sailboat can travel across it in seconds rather than minutes (unless becalmed with no engine).
Andrew, Sweetie, had many encounters with large ships have we, try your theories in practice let , that 1000 foot VLCC at 18 knots get right up close. Try it in heavy wether with the rig strapped down and the seaway trying to spin you 180. A piece of advice, do not wear white trousers.

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Old 28-09-2012, 08:03   #449
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Re: Freighters vs. sailboats

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Andrew, Sweetie, had many encounters with large ships have we,
Nice!

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try your theories in practice let , that 1000 foot VLCC at 18 knots get right up close.
This is the issue. If you let him 'get' that close then you have indeed not upheld your end of Colregs!

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Try it in heavy wether with the rig strapped down and the seaway trying to spin you 180. A piece of advice, do not wear white trousers.
Sounds as if the turning radii of the offending ship would be a VERY large consideration if you were in this situation, being as the rules specify you have to take all things into consideration when determining risk.
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Old 28-09-2012, 08:31   #450
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Re: Freighters vs. sailboats

All the tangents on name calling, placing blame, trying to be jurists over the topic are doing NOTHING to ameliorate the underlying issue.

That is: Why do ships and sailboats have close encounters?

There are two distinctly different vessel operating styles, expectations here. Both sides need to understand the differences. Although, I would say this forum being heavily populated by yachters is more the target here.

Having said that, there is a saying in the commercial world that is almost universally chatted about: "I guess I turned on the fiberglass magnet on the bow!" From my experience, most yachts are no problem. BUT..... there are a few.

Everyone wants to be the 'first'. Everyone wants to go ahead. Everyone thinks:"I can make it."

I learned a LONG time ago that 'I can make it' gets people hurt, or dents in the hull. Having survived a skipper who had that mentality, I loathe it now that I am in charge.

Here is a guy who thought "We can make it".<iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/_tUoUxzt9sI?feature=player_detailpage" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Whether this happened inshore, or offshore, it is an excellent example of tunnel vision which seems to be the greater issue. if any of you look all the way at the end of the video, you can see the escort/assist tug following. Note that other SVs were already there, having been aware. But look closely at the SV coming around the stern of the ship. He doesn't see the escort tug that is tethered TO the ship with about a 33 M wire! Surprise!
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