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Old 20-11-2020, 08:19   #1
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Colregs again

I have seen the video linked here posted on the internet several times. It shows the start of a sailboat race with a very close call between one of the racers and two powerboats in the spectator fleet. Usually posted with praise for the adept handling of the sailboat.

To me it was a foolish and dangerous move for the sailboat to cut between two powerboats and I think a violation of Colregs but which one?

The power boats both appeared to be not actually making way but not anchored or moored. So not overtaking I think though one power boat was stern to the racer but the other bow to. Since the power boats were not moving so no steerage way possibly restricted in ability to maneuver?


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Old 20-11-2020, 14:27   #2
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Re: Colregs again

IIRC, there are local rules for the start of the Sydney to Hobart race, and such rules supersede COLREGS during the event. To my eye, the tourist boat appeared stationary and I suspect Scallywag was aware of them and made the close pass deliberately. The smaller boat which was possibly stationary or possibly moving slowly was perhaps a surprise to the racers, and I suspect caused some concern (!) to them. A very close call there...

I have a personal rule that supersedes even the local race rules: Under no circumstances go out on Sydney harbour on Boxing Day.

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Old 20-11-2020, 14:28   #3
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Re: Colregs again

Nope, certainly not RAM. They were at liberty to power up and get the h*ll out of the way of the sailboats.


The only violation I see is the powerboats not keeping clear of the sailboat which was holding course and speed until forced to take evasive action.
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Old 20-11-2020, 15:01   #4
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Re: Colregs again

It's clear that Scallywag and the other sailboats were on straight headings and not manuvering therefore their courses could be anticipated.

I am pretty sure all the powerboats had engines running, therefore "under command".

The skipper of Scallywag would not have known which way the power boats would move to avoid him (as they were obligated to do under colregs) and anyhow his obligation was to stand on, which he did, until he had to take avoiding action, which he also did.

Unless the spectator boats were in a designated spectator area where the raceboats were not allowed to enter, then I think the powerboats are lucky not to have had a serious incident for which I think they would have been held responsible.

The only other mitigating factor I can think of is that the spectator boats seriously underestimated the speed of the oncoming sailboats.

Does anybody know the facts regarding the CYCA or Sydney Harbor rules in force on that day?
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Old 20-11-2020, 15:26   #5
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Re: Colregs again

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
IIRC, there are local rules for the start of the Sydney to Hobart race, and such rules supersede COLREGS during the event. To my eye, the tourist boat appeared stationary and I suspect Scallywag was aware of them and made the close pass deliberately. The smaller boat which was possibly stationary or possibly moving slowly was perhaps a surprise to the racers, and I suspect caused some concern (!) to them. A very close call there...

I have a personal rule that supersedes even the local race rules: Under no circumstances go out on Sydney harbour on Boxing Day.

Jim
Looking closely you see Scallywag make a quick zig just after passing the larger boat on the port side so it could be that the smaller boat to starboard was not seen by the helmsman on Scallywag.

I like your personal rule. I have several similar personal rules relating to holidays and mobs.
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Old 20-11-2020, 15:31   #6
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Re: Colregs again

Its entertaining when spectator boats purposefully put themselves close to or on the race course at the start, seams to happen with some frequency.... I guess being close to the action gives bragging rights at the pub later on...

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Old 20-11-2020, 15:32   #7
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Re: Colregs again

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Nope, certainly not RAM. They were at liberty to power up and get the h*ll out of the way of the sailboats.


The only violation I see is the powerboats not keeping clear of the sailboat which was holding course and speed until forced to take evasive action.
Yes either boat could have powered up and moved and the smaller boat did indeed appear to do so at the last minute.

However from the video it also appears that the two powerboats had been sitting stationary and holding their positions for some time and also staying close to each other to minimize potential interference on the course. There was ample room for Scallywag to alter course just a couple of degrees to starboard and easily clear both boats.
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Old 20-11-2020, 15:35   #8
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Re: Colregs again

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Yes either boat could have powered up and moved and the smaller boat did indeed appear to do so at the last minute.

However from the video it also appears that the two powerboats had been sitting stationary and holding their positions for some time and also staying close to each other to minimize potential interference on the course. There was ample room for Scallywag to alter course just a couple of degrees to starboard and easily clear both boats.

My thoughts exactly. The small boat did get on the throttles and clear the way when he realized the sailboat was going to squeeze between him and the other guy. Personally, if I were helming the sailboat, I would have gone behind the small boat rather than between the pair.
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Old 20-11-2020, 15:46   #9
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Re: Colregs again

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The skipper of Scallywag would not have known which way the power boats would move to avoid him (as they were obligated to do under colregs) and anyhow his obligation was to stand on, which he did, until he had to take avoiding action, which he also did.
Ignoring other issues for now this is what I question.

Under Colregs if a vessel is stationary for whatever reason but not blocking a channel or otherwise impeding navigation but does have the ability to move, is that vessel considered under way for the purposes of Colregs?

And if a second vessel that would be stand on if both vessels were moving does that then force the stationary vessel into the position of give way and then become obligated to get under way and move?
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Old 20-11-2020, 16:10   #10
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Re: Colregs again

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Ignoring other issues for now this is what I question.

Under Colregs if a vessel is stationary for whatever reason but not blocking a channel or otherwise impeding navigation but does have the ability to move, is that vessel considered under way for the purposes of Colregs?

And if a second vessel that would be stand on if both vessels were moving does that then force the stationary vessel into the position of give way and then become obligated to get under way and move?
It's easier if you don't worry about whether one is "moving" or not, particularly when a vessel could be doing 4 knots through the water in one direction, and 1 knot over ground in the opposite direction.

Rather, consider if the relative motion of the two vessels is a crossing, overtaking, etc situation. To your first question, the key phrase is "underway but not making way".
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Old 20-11-2020, 16:13   #11
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Re: Colregs again

I too would like to see a link to any local rules in play.

All I've heard of the incident was that two of the powerboats were NSW Roads and Maritime Services patrol boats that were supposed to be helping with traffic, that the racing boats had indeed veered into the spectator zone, and unlike for the actual Sydney Hobart, the Big Boat Challenge didn't have defined exclusion zones.

But, all that could be incorrect. Personally I'd consider such a move pretty poor seamanship, and it seems that Scallywag seems to have a history of such incidents.
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Old 20-11-2020, 16:28   #12
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Re: Colregs again

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It's easier if you don't worry about whether one is "moving" or not, particularly when a vessel could be doing 4 knots through the water in one direction, and 1 knot over ground in the opposite direction.

Rather, consider if the relative motion of the two vessels is a crossing, overtaking, etc situation. To your first question, the key phrase is "underway but not making way".
I can see the logic to this answer but it seems very counterintuitive to me, unlike all the other aspects of the Colregs.

So I'm out in a wide open harbor in my little motor boat, engine off or possibly just out of gear. Could be having lunch or maybe fishing (recreational fishing) or maybe a couple of the crew are swimming.

All of a sudden a sailboat appears off my starboard bow heading straight towards me. So now I have become a give way vessel and have to move?
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Old 20-11-2020, 16:38   #13
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Re: Colregs again

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Originally Posted by StuM View Post
Nope, certainly not RAM. They were at liberty to power up and get the h*ll out of the way of the sailboats.


The only violation I see is the powerboats not keeping clear of the sailboat which was holding course and speed until forced to take evasive action.
I think you are correct - at least on the evidence presented so far.
I note the power boat on Scallies starboard side powers up and goes astern pretty smartly. Might have been a brown pants moment on that boat.

The sail boat under power on Scallies port side would have had an excellent view of the action up close!
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Old 20-11-2020, 16:39   #14
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Re: Colregs again

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I like your personal rule. I have several similar personal rules relating to holidays and mobs.
Living in Florida I call holidays "Amateur Boating Days". It is the day the non-boaters DO get on boats, get drunk and hit stuff. I stay off the water or on the hook somewhere secluded on those days..
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Old 20-11-2020, 16:45   #15
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Re: Colregs again

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
I can see the logic to this answer but it seems very counterintuitive to me, unlike all the other aspects of the Colregs.

So I'm out in a wide open harbor in my little motor boat, engine off or possibly just out of gear. Could be having lunch or maybe fishing (recreational fishing) or maybe a couple of the crew are swimming.

All of a sudden a sailboat appears off my starboard bow heading straight towards me. So now I have become a give way vessel and have to move?
Hmm... it should never be 'all of a sudden' . There is a requirement for both of you to keep a lookout at all times etc.

If it clear to the sail boat that you haven't taken the required action in time to avoid a collision, then he must.
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