I'm not sure if I ever replied to this thread but here's a picture from a couple of weeks ago. The ship got within about a 1/4 of a mile (after adjustments) which is hilarious because there was another
upper tonnage ship that was on a collision course with us maybe an hour before that.
In both cases I spotted them visually and on AIS, and the AIS data confirmed that yep: it was going to be way too close for comfort.
It was a little dicey because both boats were entering a 1 mile wide channel, but weren't in it yet necessarily and it's not marked on any navigation charts
as a "channel", but rather it's the route
everyone has to go between shoal water
and some rocks.
I had the wind vane
set, it was blowing maybe 20 knots, I had preventers rigged on both the staysail and the main, and my option would have been to unwind the whole mess and gybe because shallowing up would put me towards the shoal.
I hit up each captain
on the VHF
and explained that I was under sail and could reasonably only move closer to them or I could slow down. I threw the "I'm under sail" in there as a gentle reminder of the rules.
- I was under sail, they were motoring.
- It was a big enough channel and it wasn't defined as one on a chart.
- It was a crossing situation and I was the vessel to starboard.
So the only way I could see that I was the give-way vessel would be to argue that they were transiting a navigational channel that I was crossing, but a >1 nm wide patch of water
between two islands doesn't really strike me as a "navigational channel". Would it still be one if it was five miles wide like another channel to the south?
Either way, the ships were friendly and passed astern of me and we both chatted it up. They practiced their English
and I practiced my Spanish.