Originally Posted by PCP
You are right, they travel fast but they don't alter speed or course. How hard is getting out of the way if you really pay attention? At night and with bad visibility an AIS or a radar can make the difference. With waves it is really difficult to "see" a small sailboat....at least for me in my radar. A ship is a big spot, a sailing boat in the middle of 30ft waves is a small signal that turns in and out...as some of the bigger waves.
You are right, it is always the smaller vessel's responsibility to stay clear. Our encounter in the ship channel was way before AIS & GPS. Because of financial limitations we didn't have radar, which of course, was our decision. As we had a large metal radar reflector high in the mast I have to believe the ship saw us, if someone was watching. A blast on the horn would have alerted us much earlier. Had I not looked back at that moment we would have never known what hit us. I know, my fault for not keeping a better watch behind us. Would have, could have, should have.