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Old 11-01-2013
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Re: Trusting someone to take a watch

Ask a lot of questions before you leave. I once helped deliver a 33 foot sailboat from Mobile to Biloxi with three other people, myself and one other person (who I barely knew from work) being the only people with any boating experience.

On the night passage, through the Mississippi Sound, I and one of the other inexperienced crew kept watch until midnight when we turned it over to the other two (including the one who had claimed he had boated and sailed a lot). I lay in my bunk for about 45 minutes, and couldn't sleep, and went back up to the cockpit. Looking ahead I couldn't see any stars in one direction. It took me about five seconds to realize that the reason I couldn't see any stars was that a large ship, an oil tanker, proceeding down the Pascagoula ship channel toward the Chevron refinery, was blocking them out, and that we were about to cross directly in front of his bow.

I made an immediate course change in the same direction the ship was going and we missed being hit by it by a good ten feet, as we surfed off of the bow wave. We were motoring and neither of the watch had seen the vessel.

I stayed up the rest of the night.
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davidpm (11-01-2013)