Join Date: May 2013
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Re: Know the rules!
I find this an interesting thread.
Where I sail there are a number of charter fishing boats that take ~50 people out for a few hours of fishing. The boats go all over the place, drop anchor for a few minutes, then up anchor and go somewhere else, anchor, etc. They motor at around 10 kts and don't seem to give a damn who else is near by. Just this last Tuesday I was sailing at around 5 kts, heading in a straight line. One of the fishing boats was on my starboard, motoring in a converging course. My wife noticed the boat and asked what my plans were. I stated that since we were sailing, we were the stand on vessel and obligated to hold our course. The fishing boat, as the give way vessel, must take early and substantial action to change course. This was all well and good but the fishing boat didn't change course. I could clearly see someone at the helm, but they didn't appear to be paying any attention to me.
When we were about 1 minute away from collision I altered course and went astern of the fishing boat. I didn't crash gybe, but it was large change of course and my sails luffed until the boat passed me.
What should I have done? I was paying careful attention and when it was apparent (to me) that the fishing vessel wasn't going to alter course I did. Should I have hailed him on the radio to ask his intentions? Should I have waited longer before altering course? Should I have sounded my horn 5 times? I find the thing annoying because there is LOTS of water and no reason to ever get within 100 yard of each other.
Of course, about 1 minute after I crossed his wake he dropped anchor.
You could have done any of those things, and you could also have reported his hull number to the CG or Harbour Police, whoever is in charge of enforcement. If they get enough complaints before he rams someone they may have a few words with the operator of the vessel.
It is good to learn from your mistakes, but much better to learn from the mistakes of others...