I wish I had torpedoes, Part 1 - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 07-06-2010
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I wish I had torpedoes, Part 1

Saturday afternoon I was sailing with my oldest son. We were heading out of the Patapsco River from White Rocks Marina, on a close haul starboard tack towards the Craighill North Range Light, an old brick lighthouse in the middle of the Bay that we'd decided to use as our turnaround point.

The wind was nice, about 10k out of the S or SE, and we're moving nicely in the groove when I notice a larger (30'-plus) sailboat about a quarter-mile off our starboard side, also on a starboard tack, but with the wind a bit free so that they will intersect our course, crossing from right to left, somewhere ahead. I noticed that he was forereaching on us, and that he would cross our path comfortably far ahead of us.

That is, until he performed the Bay version of the swoop'n'squat: just as he intersected our course, about 100 yards or so ahead, he started fussing with his boom, standing up in his cockpit and doing something with it, so that his speed dropped drastically and we began overtaking him rather quickly.

I watched him... and watched... and watched... and finally fell off the wind and went around him on his port side, giving him a bit of the evil eye as we passed. As soon as we went by and got back on course he finished his boom adjustments and carried on his original course.

And I said rhetorically to my son, "With the entire Bay to choose from, why did he decide to fuss with his rigging DIRECTLY in front of us?" It certainly wasn't an emergency -- I really think that once he was ahead of us we were "out of sight, out of mind," and he just forgot we were there.

I made perhaps the most appropriate comment of the day just a few moments before, when I told my son that the Fourth of July weekend was the biggest boating drunkfest of the year, and to keep a sharp eye out for everything.
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Old 07-06-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaschrumpf View Post
I made perhaps the most appropriate comment of the day just a few moments before, when I told my son that the Fourth of July weekend was the biggest boating drunkfest of the year, and to keep a sharp eye out for everything.
Which is why I stayed off my lake for the weekend. Powerboat haven that is notorious for problems the weekend of the 4th. I had a fellow sailor last month basically drive straight at me, we were on the starboard tack, don't think he even knew we were there, I turned a bit to port to avoid him and off we both went. Same as driving to and from work each day, watch out for everyone else. On that note, I passed a nice young lady this afternoon on the freeway doing her make up at 65 mph......
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Old 07-06-2010
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A couple of thoughts:

1. The fellow may not have even been aware of your presence. We have a pretty fast yacht and I have had a number of occassions when we are on starboard approaching another yacht also on starboard ahead on a crossing or intersecting course only to find that the other fellow never looks over his shoulder to see what's behind him to port. On one occassion we had a fellow that we would have passed to leeward who suddenly fell off and we'd have T-boned him absent a crash tack. As we blew by his stren (on port) he yelled out that he was sorry and had not noticed us.

2. The fellow may have assumed since he was on starboard and to windward, he had rights and you were obligated to avoid him;

3. The fellow may also have assumed that since you were the overtaking yacht he had rights and you were obligated to avoid him;

4. The fellow may have had a problem with this boom--a lost shackle pin on his mainsheet for example (which I have seen)--and been unable to maneuver, in which case you were obligated to avoid him;

5. He may have been a newby and just not realized what he was doing was pretty dumb, in which case you were well advised to avoid him.

In any case it was a good teaching moment for your son, no?

When we're cruising I tell my girls our job is to get there (where ever there might be); not to get there first. It makes life easier, eh?

FWIW...
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Old 07-06-2010
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Hopefully, it wasn't intentional, but then again, its like the truck drivers on the interstate. When they see you approaching to pass, they will decide to get in the left lane and pass a car going 65 by going 67.
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Old 07-06-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
A couple of thoughts:

1. The fellow may not have even been aware of your presence. We have a pretty fast yacht and I have had a number of occassions when we are on starboard approaching another yacht also on starboard ahead on a crossing or intersecting course only to find that the other fellow never looks over his shoulder to see what's behind him to port. On one occassion we had a fellow that we would have passed to leeward who suddenly fell off and we'd have T-boned him absent a crash tack. As we blew by his stren (on port) he yelled out that he was sorry and had not noticed us.
Possibly. However, he was forereaching on us quickly, so he came up on us from astern and to starboard, crossing head of us from right to left. Hard to believe he didn't see us while we were ahead and to port of him.

Quote:
2. The fellow may have assumed since he was on starboard and to windward, he had rights and you were obligated to avoid him;
Him being to windward gave me the right of way.

Quote:
3. The fellow may also have assumed that since you were the overtaking yacht he had rights and you were obligated to avoid him;
Well, he didn't become the overtaken boat until he stopped in front of me.


Quote:
4. The fellow may have had a problem with this boom--a lost shackle pin on his mainsheet for example (which I have seen)--and been unable to maneuver, in which case you were obligated to avoid him;

5. He may have been a newby and just not realized what he was doing was pretty dumb, in which case you were well advised to avoid him.

In any case it was a good teaching moment for your son, no?

When we're cruising I tell my girls our job is to get there (where ever there might be); not to get there first. It makes life easier, eh?

FWIW...
Yes, yes and yes. I didn't see where he was having any trouble with his boom, but it could have been so. Newbie? Always possible. Good teaching moment? Definitely. We made a very casual course adjustment and went around, because I had already planned on that as soon as he stopped in front of us.

My only fear was that if he hadn't seen us, he may well have started off again just as we were passing on his port side, with hijinks ensuing. I thought about giving him a quick five blasts of the air horn (I AM UNSURE OF YOUR INTENTIONS), though a single blast (I AM PASSING ON YOUR PORT SIDE) would have been sufficient.
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Old 07-06-2010
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I came the closest I have to needing the air horn underway Sunday.

A powerboat towing a kneeboarder overtook us to port, then started to zig-zag across our path. I assume they thought we'd never catch up to them. They didn't consider what would happen if she fell off the board 50 yards ahead of us. We were just barely fetching a point, and couldn't fall off due to shallows off the lee shore. Fortunately, the crew (one of which was a first timer) pulled off a good emergency tack, then we tacked back to our course to go around them.

And they started doing it _again_. I sent a crew member below for the air horn, but by the time they got back with it, the culprit had changed course away from us.

I need to rig a holder for the air horn in the cockpit.

On the up side, I had a new crew member ask if we could make the boat heal more! I've never heard that one before :-)
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Old 07-06-2010
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This past weekend on an interior lake a houseboat skipper was killed and several others injured when a hi speed powerboat struck and drove clear inside the houseboat in the dark.
The news clip showed the houseboat being trailered away with the speedboat still inside it...

I guess in this case the powerboat was the torpedo....
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Old 07-06-2010
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You're making the assumption he would understand the air signals and know what they meant, which is not very likely if he was a N00b.

In the race between man and God, where man makes something idiot proof and God makes a better idiot, God is winning—he doesn't have to replace his idiots...he just upgrades them in place.

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Originally Posted by jaschrumpf View Post
My only fear was that if he hadn't seen us, he may well have started off again just as we were passing on his port side, with hijinks ensuing. I thought about giving him a quick five blasts of the air horn (I AM UNSURE OF YOUR INTENTIONS), though a single blast (I AM PASSING ON YOUR PORT SIDE) would have been sufficient.
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Old 07-06-2010
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It sounds like he just didn't see you. It happens when you're short handed. Anyone who says they haven't been there themselves isn't being entirely honest.
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Old 07-06-2010
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Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
You're making the assumption he would understand the air signals and know what they meant, which is not very likely if he was a N00b.
If he was born on or after July 1, 1972 he would be required to know the horn signals since he would have to have a Certificate of Boating Safety onboard at all times in the state of Maryland. The horn signals are one of the items covered in the course. n00b or not, he *should* know what they meant.

My wife and I both completed our courses at the same time and got sick of all the quizzes and tests covering such things.

Matt
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