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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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Old 06-21-2011
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A Close Shave with a Tanker

On Saturday I was at Pemberton Point in Hull, MA looking out into Hull Gut in Boston Harbor. As I pulled up, there was a ketch rigged sailboat sitting about 10 feet off shore. It was alternating between keeping up with the incoming current (right to left in the video) and losing way to the current. I never once saw the sails full. The boat did not have its motor on (assuming it even had one). After coming what to me looked dangerously close to an albeit steep shore, the sailboat tacked and started making headway towards the middle of the channel. While all this was going on, a full oil tanker was entering the top of the channel bound for the Fore River. All the watchers (gawkers?) on shore thought for sure the tanker was going to run this boat down.

I haven't read any reports about a missing sailboat, but I'm guessing that it's only a matter of time...

YouTube - ‪20110618 A Close Shave with a Tanker‬‏

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Old 06-21-2011
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Wow that Tug on the blind side must of been cussing like a sailor lol.
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Old 06-21-2011
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Tanker didn't seem too worried about it: no horns or other signals. The perspective may make it look closer than it was. There may have been a hundred feet or more between the boats, and the ketch was pointing (and moving) away from the tanker's track until they passed at least amidships. Not that it's a good idea to play chicken with anything that big...!
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Old 06-21-2011
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It always surprises me how close people will get before giving way. They forget the rule that you're supposed to give way in plenty of time which keeps others from getting worried.
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Old 06-21-2011
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Tanker had right of way in that situation. No ability to maneuver.
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Old 06-22-2011
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That would fill my skivvies if I were skipper of that ketch!
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Old 06-22-2011
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paulk: I thought about the fact that there were no horns and concluded that horns at that point would not have conveyed any new information. It is impossible to believe that the sailboat did not see the tanker.
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Old 06-22-2011
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He still should have sounded signals if there was doubt or danger. Maybe they talked on vhf. The sailboat seems to cross the ship wake before passing her stern, so they couldn't have been too far apart.
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Old 06-22-2011
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The sailboat is travelling parallel to the tanker on the opposite course, not across it's bow. I'm guessing there was some communication between the two, or the sailboat was holding a steady course at the edge of the channel. No big deal. If there had been ANY doubt, you'd have heard the horns. Be obvious in your course and intent, and listen to the VTS channel. Talk only if there's any question.
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Old 06-22-2011
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did not look close at all to me....

you need to be in a busier channel...

-try miami's government cut. that's crazy!!!
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