One time, long ago, before the days of GPS
, and before I had much sailing experience, (long before AIS
, too) it happened on MY watch that there was northbound and southbound ship traffic on our route
. It was a moonless night, and myself in the cockpit
, watching the lights from the ship overtaking from astern, and the lights of the one coming towards us. This occurred on the run from San Diego
to Cabo San Lucas, open ocean, but sort of coastal, before we learned to try and avoid shipping
Watching, watching. Getting a little nervous, I was. Well, of course, they were professionals, and there was no reason to pass each other closely (and may well not have been aware of our tiny craft at all, who knows?) They passed each other safely, and we were like a skimpy strip of bacon between two monster pieces of bread!
One of the interesting things about the collision
in Jim's link is the quantification of blame to the officers in charge of the vessels, as reflected in their fines.
Over the time I've been a CF member
, I have read Dockhead's navigation
threads, very interesting, and come to the conclusion that given the accidents that have happened involving motor
yachts vs. sailboats, that taking action long before Colregs would be involved may be the safer course. The speed differential is so great that by the time you decide to ditch Colregs' maintaining course and speed, you may not be able to get out of the way in time. It happened in the Caribbean
two years ago, with loss of life, and it happened in the US this year, with no injuries but loss of yacht.
Finally, i would say that now, I might have changed course out to the West, to get clear of those two ships. They felt way too close to me back then.