There has been the underlying premise in many posts on this subject that small boats just have to give way to larger boats. This makes no sense and is a tacit approval of the idea that big boats do not need to follow the rules of the road just because they are bigger. Perhaps some enforcement of the rules would remedy this issue.
As to your last point, there is no contradiction whatsoever. When a large ship overtakes you in completely open water, seen miles away, not responding to any communication, not indicating its intention by legal sound signals, changing course, and proceeding at three times your speed, overtaking you rapidly, I challenge any sailboat to avoid being run down. You simply cannot tell where they are heading to maneuver out of the way. THEY NEED TO AVOID YOU!! The only thing you can do is try to figure out which side he MAY pass you on and turn at the last minute to avoid being hit. I had this exact thing happen a couple of years back. The ship was a foreign tanker and could have just as well hit me as not as he passed within 50 meters. I was simply lucky.
There has been plenty of evidence of hideous seamanship by commercial captains around the globe. Of course I did not intend to generalize but I've seen way too many cowboy acts from the local high speed ferry operators to tankers. Somebody needs to rein these types in.
Not at all, my posts has been how it's easier for a smaller pleasure boat with no real schedule to alter course and give commercial vessel, large or small, some room so they can continue working. It's just courtesy. But don't get me wrong, I fully agree that there are bone heads out there, heck I went through the Academy with some that had no clue but they were smart so they passed the license tests.
I wasn't sure about your situation, which is why I asked. I run into this situation almost every time I'm underway with the commercial Shrimping boats. They don't respond to radio, are worse than the typical weekend warrior sailors in regards to no clue to rules, and they change direction without notice even after you changed your course to avoid them. These guys drag nets in the channel, right inside the jetties coming in from sea... the worst. I have to either reduce speed by half sometimes or come almost 90* either which way to avoid them. If you find yourself in a similar situation again, I would turn hard over and just continue perpendicular to his course till the ship is past. This way you aren't close enough to have to turn at the last minute or worry about which side he will pass you on. But hindsight right...
Oh Yea definitely a lot of terrible captains out there.. In any industry or sport or past time you always have those few people that bring the rest down.
In those cases, human error is always present. Always will. I had to do a presentation on a casually report of a collision between two ship in Galveston while at the academy. It's crazy how much they dissect the incident, everything and everyone is looked at.