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Old 14-10-2009, 15:54   #1
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Questions a Sailor Just Does Not Know!

Hello All,

To start with I started sailing just a 2 years ago and lately have been out alot some each time i have been learning more. But it is still a learning curve.

On this last trip I was coming in the St. Johns river from the Atlantic when i met a very big ship outbound, I had a wire lose and the motor would not start at the time, The large ship hailed me and told me i need to get out of the channel at the time i was about 20 feet inside the main channel under full sail doing about 2 knots my wife informed him that we where trying to get out of the way and the motor would not run, his answer was " It sounds to him its my problem "

My question is what should i have done differant? In the past I have always moved out of the channel as soon as i see them and in most cases they do not even hail me, It was two things that happen this time the other ship came around a corner at the worist time when my motor would not start.


thank you all for any advice.

Dutch
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Old 14-10-2009, 16:19   #2
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If you had a motor that you knew would not start....you had no business being in a shipping channel.

If you were 20 feet inside the channel....about half a boat length, you come about and get out of the way
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Old 14-10-2009, 17:13   #3
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Colregs rule 9

Quote:
vessel of less than 20 meters in length or a sailing vessel shall not
impede the passage of a vessel which can safely navigate only within a

narrow channel or fairway.
I was taught navigation by a Master Mariner and he said that rule means..."If it is a choice between being run down or running aground you run yourself aground because 200,000 ton tankers rarely run themselves aground!"
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Old 14-10-2009, 17:25   #4
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If nothing else, one learns to be a much better sailor while having a bum motor.

Glad you are OK.
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Old 14-10-2009, 18:53   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief Engineer View Post
If you had a motor that you knew would not start....you had no business being in a shipping channel.

If you were 20 feet inside the channel....about half a boat length, you come about and get out of the way
Ditto!

If your going to Captain a vessel then your responsibility is to the crew and vessel and that means not endangering their livelihood. Would you take off in a plane where you knew the wheels were falling off! I don't mean to be offensive BUT your a lucky soul you didn't get run down, after a warning. There are no brakes on ships.
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Old 14-10-2009, 19:40   #6
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Before we fry this guy for lunch, perhaps a few things could be cleared up....
Did he know the outboard was out of commission, or discover it just as he needed it most?
If he was only 20 feet from the edge of the channel, did he turn around or try to play chicken with the freighter?
It sounds like he did the right thing being disabled, but could he have prepared better? Or did the situation come about all of a sudden. What if he was in a Laser- are you still going to go down his throat for sailing?
Hold up for a minute guys... lets find out the facts.
Then we will roast him for lunch
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Old 14-10-2009, 20:35   #7
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You have a right to be in a shipping channel. Firstly because you are a ship. Just a bit smaller that normal ships. Secondly its not just for big ships but its a designated area of safe navigation!

I would have got right back on the radio and told the ships captain that he had a problem too!

The dopey ship can't just run someone down because they are constrained by size in a channel.

And the other point: No, you don't run yourself aground to get out of the way of a ship. Thats endangering your own crew.

The best thing to do is to jump on the radio as soon as you realise there’s a difficulty with your engine and you see a ship coming.

if you were so close to the edge he should have been able to get around you.

Stay in the channel... tell the ship to go to hell


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Old 14-10-2009, 21:09   #8
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I'm with Newt - Johnar has come to this post for advice, not a roasting. I've done things way worse than this in my time. I'm sure everyone else has.

20 feet inside a fairway - that's half my boat length. It must be a very narrow channel indeed if the ship thought that he was impeded.

I don't believe that you have done anything wrong, I believe that you have been intimidated at a time when you had enough on your plate with the engine. Your post suggests that your wife got on the radio and informed the ship of the problem - exactly the right thing to do.

If I could make any helpful observation it would be that I would have sailed out of the channel before attending to the engine - at 2 knots, 20 feet is covered in a few seconds.
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Old 14-10-2009, 21:29   #9
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Hey, if you're doing 2 knots, that means you have steerage. So don't sweat it. Head a little closer to the edge of the channel. Hell, sail right outside it if you really want to. Regardless, St. John's is a large, wide river. If you were really only 20' inside the channel, you were likely plenty out of his way. But go ahead and move over a little. Not a big deal. The only thing you did wrong was worry too much about the engine in your sailboat. Sail it out of the way.

And I absolutely agree with MarkJ, you don't run aground for God's sake. If you're 10' from the edge of the channel and he's headed over towards ya? My guess is he'll have bigger problems on his hands before he gets to you. Especially if he's CBD.

He was just being a smartass trying to exercise his right of weight.
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Old 14-10-2009, 22:08   #10
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St John's river is the entrance to port of Jacksonville, FL..... Many US Navy ships, including carriers, very large container ships, ferries, etc use it - 20' from the edge of this wide channel seems you were quite a bit "out of the way" - I wonder what the problem was..... Where exactly were you?
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Old 14-10-2009, 22:30   #11
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- - As in all forms of transportation, there is right and dead right. If the big ship tells you to get out of the channel - do it even if you have to row. As others have stated you can tack of fall off to get outside the channel and then luff up until the big ship is past.
- - Many years ago I was entering Cape Canaveral channel with a boat with a disabled engine and sailing very hard on the wind to hold the channel. A cruise ship converted to gambling came up behind and the pilot on the radio told me to "get out of the channel or be run down." (direct quote). I informed him I was disabled and constrained but he returned with well, if you survive we can argue in court. The USCG station there was monitoring and I asked them if they heard all this. They replied, yes but you have better get out of his way. They can tie you up in court with their lawyers until you are broke - if you survive.
- - Point is, in real life you should have seen the ship coming up the channel and gotten out of the channel as soon as you determined he was inbound. With cruise ships, military ships and similar ships there is a security zone around the ship which normally consumes the whole channel that you must stay out of - period. They are authorized to use "deadly force" if you appear to be closing on them. Don't play "sea lawyer" with something that crush you like an ant.
- - In other major cruise ship harbors the USCG actually "closes the harbor" to any vessel traffic when the cruise ships are coming and going. You cannot even be "outside the channel", you have to be off in a side channel or bay. They give you plenty of warning on the VHF before hand. In places like St. Mary's where the Trident nuclear submarine base is they are severely nasty and will force you aground if you do not clear out.
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Old 14-10-2009, 23:49   #12
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If the big ship tells you to get out of the channel - do it even if you have to row.

- - Point is, in real life you should have seen the ship coming up the channel and gotten out of the channel .

What? Its NOT their channel! Its everyones channel!

Someone show me where it says small vessels must keep outside navigation channels.

Local small boats might know the area and can slip outside a channel here and there and everywhere, but if I am coming into a port for the first time I use the channel.

If it is a special area that is controlled then you can get onto the radio and tell the controller to give you a slot.
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Old 15-10-2009, 00:16   #13
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Sounds to me like you've actually gained from getting into this situation and escaping without harm. Hope it has not put your wife off sailing with you.

But in reality were you really only 20 foot inside the channel? Most commercial skippers are not idiots and in really tight situations most would have a pilot boat running in front..... so no chance it just seemed like 20 foot in the excitement of the moment?

Like I say you've got away OK this time but please, DO NOT try to emulate some of those who infer this 'You are entitled to be there' cr+p.

Everyone out there has a responsibility to do the right thing when they get close and a small sail boat (even doing 2 knots) is a lot lot more manouverable than a ship going slow.

But well done for managing this situation OK and I hope you both enjoy your ongoing sailing.
JOHN
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Old 15-10-2009, 01:21   #14
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I think I read somewhere else on this forum that:

It doesn't matter who's right, it's who will be left that's important

It's good advice
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Old 15-10-2009, 07:17   #15
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It's not a question of who owns the channel. It's not even a question of who is in the right. It is a question of who is going to survive the encounter, and when your small sailboat encounters a large ship it AIN'T GONNA BE YOU!!!

Certainly, you have the right to tell the captain of the large ship that you are going to stay in the channel. There is no question that he has a legal obligation to take whatever measures he can to avoid running you down. But when push comes to shove, he's got a lot more "shove" than you do and so you had best find a way--any way--to avoid a collision!
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