I was nearly run over by a Charter Boat last night. What would you have done? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 07-28-2007
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I was nearly run over by a Charter Boat last night. What would you have done?

Last night, before dark, I was sailing on a small lake in Seattle (Lake Union), I was doing a little impromptu racing with two other boats, (a C&C 34 and a 40'ish, something or other), we where neck and neck, about 25-30 feet apart. We were all beating into the wind, going about 6 knots. The leeward boat was literally 15 feet from the shore (piers and docks along the shore), I was in the middle and the boat to my port was to the wind. Up ahead, coming straight at us, was the Charter boat pictured below; he had plenty of time to motor in front of us and towards the middle of the lake, but he held his course, as did all three of us.

The "yacht" passed along my starboard side, about 10 feet away, my mast was within a couple of feet, as I was heeled over a few degrees. The yacht was going about 7-8 knots, maybe a little faster and was fully loaded with a group of guests. After it passed, the other two boats and I just shrugged our shoulders, shook our heads and kept up our little race, (which I lost as soon as we headed back downwind). Obviously for safety reasons, I should have aborted, and gone for a tack, but was I in the right? I see this charter boat a lot, it's moored close to me and I am so tempted to go down and exchange blows words with Captain Right of Way, What would you do? What would you have done?

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Last edited by US25; 07-29-2007 at 12:46 AM.
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Old 07-29-2007
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I would have bled off speed, dropped back, and tacked away from the docks well in advance of a possible collision. Regardless of who has the right of way, the cardinal rule is to avoid a collision. In fact, you could possibly be held responsible if you could have done somehing to avoid a collision but didn't. I don't mean to sound preachy, but I can't stand the thought of risking my crew, myself, or my boat to an obvious idiot who shouldn't be on the water. There's considered risk taking and then there's foolishness....
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Old 07-29-2007
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Bein that I own my own little pirate ship I would of loaded up the cannons and opened fire but thats just me


Arrrrgghhh
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Old 07-29-2007
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I probably would have held my ground too, as long as I was sure there wasn't going to be a collision, and just a close call. But I think you should make a complaint to the USGC, they should know that this boat does not always follow the rules, he was risking a whole lot more than you (lives and property). They might want to review his little charter operation and make sure there are not other safety items he's overlooking
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Old 07-29-2007
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This type of thing occurs more often that you'd think, especially in busy areas like Lake Union, and in English Bay here in Vancouver.

Large power vessels seem to carry on regardless of some sailing vessels' rights. Occasionally I've seen it happen on more open water too -sometimes I suspect the boat's on Ottopilot and nobody's looking....... others simply seem to enjoy seeing how close they can get and watch you "do the dance" afterwards. Still others "slow down" but only to the point they are making the largest waves possible... go figure.

In the end you do what you have to do to save your own skin - and try to keep the blood pressure down.
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Old 07-29-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingnewby View Post
Bein that I own my own little pirate ship I would of loaded up the cannons and opened fire but thats just me


Arrrrgghhh

Aye, me hardy, after the 4th of july bash, I have about a 1000 water baloons and a cool little WB sling to fire them with, I would have vollied a broadside.
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Old 07-29-2007
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I think I would have been tempted to put a flare across his bow to get his attention. The captain has to have a licence from the CG to be driving that thing. I think a chat w/ CG might be in order.
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Old 07-29-2007
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I confess to having no grasp on the overall picture but frankly, when I hear "racing" that tells me something is missing here.

Racers have NO standing in the right of way rules, except to other racers.

This needs to be rephrased as a standard passing situation, ignoring your racing, to see if there was anything wrong.
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Old 07-29-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
I confess to having no grasp on the overall picture but frankly, when I hear "racing" that tells me something is missing here.

Racers have NO standing in the right of way rules, except to other racers.

This needs to be rephrased as a standard passing situation, ignoring your racing, to see if there was anything wrong.

We weren't actually racing, we were just all going in the same direction, at the same time; three abroad, sailing parallel to the shore. The charter boat was also running parallel to the shore, but in the opposite direction, heading right at us. If it had been just me, in one boat, I would have tacked and given the charter some room, but it was three sailboats, all of whom would have had to tack to get out of the way. He needed to change course and he didn't.

On a side note: this lake has a 7 knot speed limit, strictly enforced with police boats. 90% of the boats on this lake are sailboats, with a lot of them being old, restored wooden sailboats from the Center for Wooden boats. So large motorcraft really stand out and get a lot of negative criticism from guys like me who sail on the lake several times a week, and think that we own it

Center for Wooden Boats
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Old 07-29-2007
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AFTER first contacting this boat and asking his intentions and declaring your intention ... and if this did not clear up the situation :
"Securite, Securite, Securite; Hello all stations, there is a charter boat with the name ________ of hailing port ______ operating in a dangerous and irresponsible manner on Lake Union at lat/lon _______. This vessel is being operated in total disregard of the rules of safe navigation and is creating a potential dangerous situation to sailboats operating in this area. (Your Vessel name) to US Coast Guard please hail and meet me on channel 22A for details."

That ought to get someones attention and at least the incident will 'on the record' of the CG daily station log.

:-)

Last edited by RichH; 07-29-2007 at 01:30 PM.
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