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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #21  
Old 07-20-2008
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Rockter will become famous soon enough
It's not just powerboats that do it.
In 2007, some moneyed bozo was motoring up Loch Ness on autopilot. I had very little wind and I was sailing. It took some time to realise that there was no-one on watch. I sounded 5 short blasts on the klaxon, again and again. I started the motor quickly, and pulled away a little. Then someone stuck their head up and changed course, when about 30 metres away, and some woman waved weakly at me and the crew as they passed, now about 15 metres away.
I was furious, and voiced it, and the experience hung over me for days.
It's stupid and reckless.
What if we had no engine? I mean this guy and his blade must have been pulling 6 knots, and weighed 8 tons or so. It makes an awful mess.
Loch Ness is a big loch, about 25 miles by about 1.5.
I could understand someone going below for a moment or two, but there is no excuse for this.
If I could have reached across to grab the bastard I would have kicked hell out of him and started my criminal record.
You must have someone on watch.

Last edited by Rockter; 07-20-2008 at 07:52 PM.
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  #22  
Old 07-20-2008
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Bubb2, thanks again for the re-post....should be required reading for EVERY boater. A harrowing example of what can happen if inattentive at the helm or worse, absent. I've read your post several times and still find it hard to wrap my thoughts around what you must have gone thru. Sorry you went thru the whole ordeal and all the best to you and your family.

I am not sure if any of us will ever understand how these things happen. Whether through inattention, attitude or ego, I just wish skippers would keep in mind the devastation they can possibly inflict on others.

Bob
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  #23  
Old 07-20-2008
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Thank you Bob. Your post is well stated. I do bring up my ordeal (not to call attention to my self) but if another sailor can learn from it, than it was worth going though. My wife may have different view's!
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  #24  
Old 07-21-2008
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Unfortunately, this is all to common an incident, especially with powerboats being the offending culprit. Look at the Clear Lake case, where the powerboat operator is clearly at fault, but isn't being prosecuted since he is the second-highest LEO in the jurisdiction.
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #25  
Old 07-21-2008
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bubb2,
I read your post of being hit near the GW bridge. Glad to know that you and your family are still alive and that you are still posting here. One thing I am curious about though is are your legal proceedings over and done with now that it is 2008? Another curiosity to me is your home port as my Tartan 27' is at Nyack Boat club.
I have sailed some of the same waters as you have and it is the motor boats that always scare me in the limited channels of the western Sound and the Hudson. I know I am not crazy for being anxious when in such congested areas. The commercial ships generally have a pretty good look out and we have to watch out for them but there can be so many other 'folks' out on the water.
You were lucky and smart. It was a bad day in Padanaram for Mr. Walsh and even Mr. Hathaway.
Ship happens and you better be watching everyone else as well as your own vessel.
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  #26  
Old 07-21-2008
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Sgkuhner's post about almost getting run down on his way back to Nassau brings up an important point. Regardless of who has the right-of-way, it is the legal responsibility of BOTH captains take whatever actions are necessary to avoid a collision.

The USCG requires both captains to be aware of their surroundings, nearby boat traffic, and other hazards at all times. This is why watch keeping is so important.

I expect the captain of the powerboat to be assessed primary responsibility for causing this tragic accident. However, I also suspect it will be determined that the sailboat captain also bears some responsibility for what happened. Had he been keeping a proper watch, he may have been able to take steps to avoid the collision.

There is no excuse for what happened, but it should serve as a reminder to all of us to stay alert and focused.
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  #27  
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Beyond condolences to the family, I have the same thought as SailingDog.

In a parking lot of unlimited dimesions, a 40-knot suv runs over a pedestrian. Both were on straight courses, speed factor at least 10 to one.

Pedestrian gets charged? The only fortunate aspect to this Buzzards Bay tragedy is that it was on federal waters, and we might expect an objective investigation. As opposed to that in the Clear Lake case, with county investagors and one of their own in the powerboat..

I sometimes think autopilot should be unavailable to any boat that can go over 20 knots, the CPA's just come up too fast. But that's just me...
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  #28  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalebD View Post
bubb2,
I read your post of being hit near the GW bridge. Glad to know that you and your family are still alive and that you are still posting here. One thing I am curious about though is are your legal proceedings over and done with now that it is 2008? Another curiosity to me is your home port as my Tartan 27' is at Nyack Boat club.
No the legal stuff is not over. We will be going back to trial this fall. My home port is right across the river from you, Tarrytown. Hello Neighbor.
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  #29  
Old 07-21-2008
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Alan-

Given the following quote from one of the articles on the incident.

Quote:
"It was my understanding that a fairly large power boat ran up over D.J.'s stern and threw him into the water. Warren Hathaway was below decks. He scrambled up, the boat was taking on water," Mr. Kenney said. "D.J. probably didn't even see it coming."
If the powerboat was going fast enough to run up and over the stern of the sailboat, it was probably going fast enough that avoiding it might have been fairly difficult. COLREGS Rule #6 says:

Quote:
RULE 6
Safe Speed
Every vessel shall at all times proceed at a safe speed so that she can take proper and effective action to avoid collision and be stopped within a distance appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions.
In determining a safe speed the following factors shall be among those taken into account:
(a) By all vessels:
(i) the state of visibility;
(ii) the traffic density including concentrations of fishing vessels or any other vessels;
(iii) the maneuverability of the vessel with special reference to stopping distance and turning ability in the prevailing conditions;
(iv) at night, the presence of background light such as from shore lights or from back scatter of her own lights;
(v) the state of wind, sea and current, and the proximity of navigational hazards;
(vi) the draft in relation to the available depth of water.
(b) Additionally, by vessels with operational radar:
(i) the characteristics, efficiency and limitations of the radar equipment;
(ii) any constraints imposed by the radar range scale in use;
(iii) the effect on radar detection of the sea state, weather and other
sources of interference;
(iv) the possibility that small vessels, ice and other floating objects may not be detected by radar at an adequate range;
(v) the number, location and movement of vessels detected by radar;
(vi) the more exact assessment of the visibility that may be possible when radar is used to determine the range of vessels or other objects in the vicinity.
Given Rule #6 and the fact that the powerboat was clearly overtaking the sailboat, and the speed differential involved, I see the powerboat as being primarily responsible. In many ways, this is a very similar situation to the Clear Lake one, where an irresponsible powerboater clearly was traveling at an unsafe speed and is primarily at fault for the death of a person on the sailboat.

We don't know exactly how fast the power boat was going, but if it was going fast enough, there might have been little or nothing the sailboat could have done to avoid the collision.

Granted, visibility in this case was greater than that of the Clear Lake incident, but doesn't that mean the powerboat should have had MORE TIME to act to avoid the collision, yet failed to do so.

Bluntly put, gross negligence on the part of the powerboat is the reason people died in both cases.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #30  
Old 07-21-2008
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Dog,
I'm not so sure that Alan was so much interested in the assignation of responsibility as he was raising the same point that I did.

Given that we know what can possibly happen on the water, what measures are appropriate for the sailor who does not wish to end up in a similar situation? Given that changing course may not improve the situation, and could even contribute to a collision, I continue to think that not only a strict lookout policy and having signaling devices close to hand are highly advisable. I'd bet that most sailors have an air horn nowhere near the helm. These type of incidents are tragic in that both parties lives are ruined and, if there is to be any good come out of them, it is in the re-evaluation of our seamanship practices.
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