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Old 12-03-2008, 19:19   #61
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wotname I think you said all very well. that was my point tooooo
Ditto!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 12-03-2008, 20:17   #62
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Hanging NUC lights and going to bed is not legal nor prudent. Tryend failed to maintain a lookout, and therefore lost their claim for damages against Eastern Grace.
I disagree with your conclusion. There is nothing in the COLREGS that defines "exceptional circumstance".

However, (for whatever reason) the whole crew being below deck, the vessel being hove-to, or the vessel laying-to a para-anchor would certainly be considered an 'exceptional circumstance" covered by COLREGS rules 3(f), 27(a), 35(c). Where rule 3(f) defines the vessel as NUC, rule 27(a) defines the visual signals, and rule 35(c) defines the audible signals for a vessel that is NUC. BTW, 35(c) also defines the audible signals for a vessel under sail to be the same as a vessel that is NUC. Thus, from an observers point of view, there is no way to tell the difference between a vessel under sail and a vessel that is NUC on a foggy day.

The count document referred to is from the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. It remands the case back to the district court for reconsideration. It is not a judgment.

It's significance is in the district count not considering the use of radar, the custom of night drifting, and monitoring the radio in determining the level of fault. Also, the background statement for this appeal indicated that because the fishing vessel did not signal that it was NUC contributed to the collision. This implies that had the fishing vessel signaled that it was NUC it would have become the privileged vessel and not been at fault.

Although we "will affirm the district court if the findings are sufficiently comprehensive and pertinent to the issues to provide a basis for the decision, or if there can be no genuine dispute about omitted findings." Vance, 789 F.2d at 792. Here the allegations left unconsidered by the district court have a significant bearing on the fault attributable to each party. Evaluating the additional indicia of fault as alleged by the parties highlights the incomplete nature of the court's analysis. While it is true that the collision would have been avoided if either party had posted an adequate lookout, several other statutory violations also constituted but-for causes of the collision. For instance, the collision could have been avoided if the Eastern Grace had used its radar to detect the Tryend. See BFT No. Two, 433 F.Supp. at 870-71; Allied Chemical, 661 F.2d at 1053; Arabian Amer. Oil Co. v. Hellenic Lines, Ltd., 633 F.Supp. 659, 668-69 (S.D.N.Y.1986) (failure to use radar fully raises presumption of contributory fault). Accord, Granholm, 576 F.Supp. at 449. COLREGS Rule 7 requires periodic use of radar to detect and avoid collisions. 33 U.S.C. Sec. 1601, Part A (1982). The significance of the failure to use radar may depend on other alleged violations, concerning which the district court made no findings. For instance, a custom of night drifting, if proven, would constitute a prevailing circumstance that triggered a duty to use radar, especially while in a commercial shipping lane. See Bonnie Doon, 655 F.2d at 208 (adjusting the degree of fault because "evidence of custom can be used to support a finding of negligence"); Darling v. Scheimer, 444 F.2d 514, 515 (9th Cir.1971) (discussing, as relevant to fault, the custom of night drifting practiced by fishing boats off the Washington coast); see also Higman Towing, 637 F.Supp. at 929 (failure to monitor radio channel constituted contributory negligence). Given the complex nature of navigational rules concerning privileged and burdened vessels, determining the status of the vessels can be essential when allocating relative fault.

...

Because the district court failed to consider other but-for causes of the collision, and in addition failed to weigh the effect of other factors contributing to the crash, the district court misapplied the reasoning of Reliable Transfer. Therefore, we remand to the district court for additional factual findings as to the relative fault of each party, after considering all of the alleged bases for fault.



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Old 12-03-2008, 23:18   #63
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Viking Sailor,

The document posted doesn't give the judgment of the appellate court, it only stated the original judgment of the circuit judge - that it was held that both vessels failed to maintain a proper lookout. There's some discussion of points for appeal, but none of them argue the lookout judgment, but concern the district judge's lack of consideration of other factors. I'm not a lawyer; that's just how I read it, so stand to be corrected.

You're right that "exceptional circumstance" is not defined in the rules - it needn't be, as it's self-explanatory. Heaving-to, in itself, does not constitute an exceptional circumstance that prevents a vessel from manoeuvring according to the Rules. If weather conditions compelled a vessel to heave-to or deploy a para-anchor, then that would be considered exceptional circumstances. Regardless, heaving-to, lying to a para-anchor, or displaying NUC signals does not relieve a vessel of the requirement to maintain a lookout at all times. By the same standard, the custom of night drifting does not relieve a vessel of the Rule 5 requirement - if anything, the discussion seems to indicate both vessels should have maintained a radar watch, especially considering that the drifting was taking place in a 'commercial shipping lane'. Tryend didn't even have NUC lights, it was your suggestion to use NUC signals while sleeping - that is illegal and imprudent.
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Old 13-03-2008, 01:40   #64
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But one could logically determine that there is a greater risk, when one is doing something that is inherently risky without help. Fatigue probably contributed to some taking the wrong course of action, or failing to notice imminent danger.
Lodesman,

I certainly agree with you that being single handed is inherently more risky than crew sailing. IMHO, fatigue impaired judgement and having to sleep at least some of the time are the greatest two additional risks. Such risks have to accounted for, planned for, prepared for and managed during the voyage in order to minmise them (in the same way as ALL risks are considered, crewed or otherwise).

That solo sailors don't appear to be causing other seaman SERIOUS grief, then I suggest the single handers are collectivily very lucky or good risk managers or expectional seaman. Reality would suggest there is varying mix of all three aspects.

Again IMHO (and limited experience), I prefer to be short handed (two) and consider that I am sailing single handed for a total of 12 hours every 24 with the other crew member doing likewise. Of course this does require a certain degree of total trust between both parties.
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Old 13-03-2008, 04:29   #65
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Have you ever noticed the Mega-Yacht (or just the Sport-Fisher), securely tied to the dock, with all three radar arrays turning?

Are these skippers just showing off their gear? They're jerks, right?

No. They are warming up their Radar, so that the moment the get underway, they can claim to be maintaining a proper lookout utilizing all available means appropriate.

If you have a Radar, and do not use it; you are (by definition) not maintaining a proper look-out by sight and hearing as well as by all available means.
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Old 13-03-2008, 04:55   #66
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That's rubbish. Sailboats typically have their radar below decks and sitting there watching it would mean single handers can't be maintaining proper visual watch.

That argument might applied to vessels with multiple crew members, but I seriously doubt that even these mega yachts have someone sitting there looking at the radar continuously while underway.

What's the deal with the period to "warm up" a radar. That concept sounds like a mechanical thing like an engine. I know radars have a standby mode to conserve power.

But perhaps someone can explain why a radar takes more than a few revolutions of it's antenna to produce an image?
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Old 13-03-2008, 05:15   #67
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... so that the moment the get underway, they can claim to be maintaining a proper lookout utilizing all available means appropriate.
If you have a Radar, and do not use it; you are (by definition) not maintaining a proper look-out by sight and hearing as well as by all available means.
If the Radar's not turning, it's readily apparent they are not utilizing it.

The Radar "Magnetron" takes a little time to warm up - perhaps (I don't know) much quicker than the typical (up to) 1/4 hour of a few years ago.
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Old 13-03-2008, 05:44   #68
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That solo sailors don't appear to be causing other seaman SERIOUS grief, then I suggest the single handers are collectivily very lucky or good risk managers or expectional seaman. Reality would suggest there is varying mix of all three aspects.
Have a look at the OSTAR stats - RWYC OSTAR * - * the Original Single-Handed Trans-Atlantic Race
I counted at least 8 boats that didn't finish due to "collision", not counting the numerous groundings, impacts with unknown or semi-submerged objects, or whale-collisions. It doesn't indicate how many boats had collisions but managed to finish. It's also not specified whether they collided with other OSTAR boats, or if they "caused serious grief to other seamen."

If there's two of you aboard, then you're not single-handing - between two people, you'll be able to maintain a continuous lookout, while getting sleep, preparing meals, using the head, doing engine maintenance, etc. You'll have another person to help out with emergencies, or act as a safety number or 'honest broker'. Short-handed sailing has its risks and challenges, but it can be done safely and legally. And having someone to talk to, will keep you from going mad and pulling a 'Crowhurst.' JMO
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Old 13-03-2008, 06:01   #69
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I feel that single-handed long-distance cruising can be accomplished safely and for the purposes of our discussion, I think we need to differentiate between single-handed cruising and single-handed racing. Many of the solo sailors lost over the years have been involved in races or in preparing for races, with distinctly greater dangers due to pushing their equipment and physical limits.
Bill,

About half of the names I listed earlier were not racing. You fail to realize that solo racing usually entails some form of "support crew" - either support vessels or linked ashore with satellite comms. There is also something of a support network amongst the racers themselves - for example, when Dinelli capsized, he was picked up by a competitor - Pete Goss (who btw was awarded the French Legion d'Honneur for effecting a very dangerous rescue). So while a solo cruiser might not be pushing his craft to its limits, he or she will tend to be isolated and out of contact for extended periods.
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Old 13-03-2008, 10:50   #70
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If the Radar's not turning, it's readily apparent they are not utilizing it.
Most of the radars I see are inside some sort of "shell". I would not know if it was on or off.
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Old 13-03-2008, 16:50   #71
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The Radar "Magnetron" takes a little time to warm up - perhaps (I don't know) much quicker than the typical (up to) 1/4 hour of a few years ago.
Can't help with Mega-yacht or big ship radars but small boat radar magnetron warm up is typically 1 to 2 minutes for the ones I am familiar with. Current generation may be much shorter.
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Old 13-03-2008, 17:24   #72
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I will say this. as to hitting something floating under the water, or being hit by a whale. I do not see were crew would be of any help in stopping something like that or am I missing some thing ?
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Old 13-03-2008, 21:15   #73
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I will say this. as to hitting something floating under the water, or being hit by a whale. I do not see were crew would be of any help in stopping something like that or am I missing some thing ?
Jeez, I knew I should not have mentioned the whale-strikes. I conceded that the OSTAR site doesn't give enough detail about the various incidents - I only pointed it out as an indication that solo sailors have enough mishaps that Wotname et al. should not consider them to be collectively very lucky, nor particularly good managers of risk. If you consider that only a couple hundred boats have competed in the combined OSTAR races (roughly 3000 miles trans-atlantic), then you take out the several whale-strikes, groundings and impacts with unknown (presumedly submerged) objects, you are still left with 8 "collisions", while not specified, would seem to suggest in context "collisions with other vessels". And that is just the number of collisions that forced vessels out of the race - so one may assume there could have been a great many more collisions from where the racers were able to sail away. Statistically this would make solo-sailing as dangerous as driving. In no way did I suggest that crewed boats would do better in avoiding unseen hazards, though I think that 3 whale-strikes and 1 case of "whale attack" in a couple hundred boats is more frequent than I could imagine. That said, I believe the 2 collisions with buoys, the numerous groundings and the collision with a tree-trunk could have conceivably been ameliorated, if not avoided, had there been sufficient crew on those boats. Having two people on board means that one person can bail, while the other looks for the leak

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Old 26-02-2009, 11:23   #74
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Many ways to minimise risk

Hi all, this is a subject very dear to me, as somehow i find myself entered in the OSTAR, the single handed transatlantic race from Plymouth UK to Newport RI in the US. I'm doing so on my 1984 cruiser/racer, a Sigma 36 so it's more for the adventure than for the pure racing spirit, there will be plenty of boats faster than me.

As to watchkeeping, I will obviously need to sleep during the race, i think it will take me around 4 weeks to cross.

I have an AIS Transceiver, a spare AIS receiver with it's own separate VHF antenna, a Radar for the fogs on the Grand Banks, and a Radar Target Enhancer, a SEA-ME.

I've modified each of these items and wired them to louder alarms that are capable of waking me up when asleep. You can see some pictures on my website www.jamorph.com but after all there is an element of luck.

Nothing can be done for growlers and floatsam and fishing boats will be the biggest danger as they dont carry AIS, or other racers.

Ah by the way, i intend to keep my fingers crossed most of the time, surely that helps!

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Old 27-02-2009, 17:29   #75
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Lots of information here, and a few rants....

Good. A few thoughts:

  1. There may be a shared cost associated with rescues, but what of the shared benefits? I like to know that someone climbs high mountains, and we have all taken the time to read Joshua's book. We have many Walter Mitty's that NEED giants to worship - I think we all need heros sometimes. I fall in between; I have climbed ice high in the Rockys but not the Himalayas, and I have singled handed many coastal passages, never over night but I am guilty of some 10 minute power naps in the cockpit with an alarm by my ear. I think adventurers are good for the soul of a country, and the greater the daring-do, the greater the benifit (complete fool hardiness not included - Niagra in a barel).
  2. How many things are we ready to make illegal? An open question, but if we go too far, I would rather live somewhere else. The line is hard to judge. Are motor cycle helmets needed (I don't ride)? Perhaps motorcylces are too dangerous, per se, lacking air bags. Where can you base jump or hang glide (I don't)? Should we restrict where a boat can be sailed based on size or other criteria?
  3. To hit a slow-moving sail boat requires that TWO vessels failed to maintain an effective watch. Even if the sailor was asleep, what is my excuse for hitting a 5 knot object that has not changed course in hours? I haven't a good one and there is no good purpose to be served pointing fingers. I wasn't keeping watch.
Personally, I need to much sleep to become solo-man .
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