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Old 05-18-2007
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Sailing in the C&D canal is specifically prohibited, so this would not make a difference in liability for the collision.

There is not a lot of room for big vessels to maneuver. At night or with low visibility, a sailing vessel can have difficulty getting out of the way in the limited space available. I was almost run down one dark night while exiting the south end of the C&D. A large Car Carrier was proceeding north up the Elk river entering the canal from the south.

I was proceeding south on the right side of the channel. We were motoring and could not hear the car carrier. It was so tall, that its running lights were significantly above the horizon. I eventually recognized that it was a large ship close in because the shore lights were disappearing behind it.

I turned 90 degrees right and left the channel. The ship brushed the bouy on the edge of the channel right behind me. He took up the entire space. If this had happened inside the main body of the canal, there would have been no place to dodge.

I am sure that my small boat was not visible from the deck of the ship once it was within a mile of my position. Taught me a lesson about being very very vigilant.
Herb DuBois
Beneteau 36CC
Split Decision
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