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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation > Give way when hoisting the main?
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Thread: Give way when hoisting the main? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
08-14-2013 01:54 PM
LesleyS
Re: Give way when hoisting the main?

nolatom - thanks for the very helpful clarification, and your expansion to include the unanticipated consequence of becoming a "power vessel" as a last ditch effort to avoid collision.
As I said, You are definitely my first choice for lawyer should I ever need one! (Here's hoping I never do.... In which case I'll just buy you a drink should our paths ever cross :-)
08-14-2013 01:36 PM
nolatom
Re: Give way when hoisting the main?

Lesley,

Nothing is certain in love, war, or how to apportion fault in most vessel collisions.

But starting up and using the engine as a "last ditch" maneuver to avoid, or try to avoid collsion is probably within the things Rule 17(b) means when it says "...if collision cannot be avoided by the action of the give-way vessel alone, she (meaining the stand-on vessel) shall take such action as will best aid to avoid collision".

So you may be wrong NOT to use engine if you could have, in what we call the "jaws of collision" or "in extremis". And if you guessed wrong about whether to turn this way or that "in extremis" even though it was an arguably reasonable "bail-out" try at the time (though maybe not in retrospect), the maritime law tends to look with a more understanding view of "error in extremis" when that error resulted from a tough choice with too little time to think about it, forced upon you by the other vessel (who should have given way much earlier) .

So a definite "maybe" to your very good question. But using your engine at the last second in such a crisis in order to turn away when everything before that was pure sail, "most probably" wouldn't change your pre-existing status as a sailboat for the application of the "sail over Power" provisions of rule 18
08-13-2013 11:41 PM
jackdale
Re: Give way when hoisting the main?

Lesley - the only advise I can offer is be vigilant and assume nothing. One thing many folks forget is that you can avoidance some collisions by slowing down.
08-13-2013 11:26 PM
LesleyS
Re: Give way when hoisting the main?

jackdale - that one makes perfect sense to me. You are required to mark your position at anchor, as an obstacle to be avoided. You are going to need a working anchor light, or stand watch all night to alert other boats if your anchor light is non-functional for some reason.

I am mostly curious about what happens when you are doing your best to avoid a collision and one happens anyway due to the actions of another. It can get particularly hairy on a crowded river during weekends and holidays on the Chesapeake. As a result I avoid sailing at those times, rather than deal with boaters who have no idea what the ColRegs are, and the only radio station they have tuned is Top 40 blasting out loud enough that the entire river can marvel at their lack of taste in music.
08-13-2013 11:11 PM
jackdale
Re: Give way when hoisting the main?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LesleyS View Post
nolatum - I want you for my attorney should I ever need one!

Legal question, out of curiosity: If the sailboat engaged gear and attempted to avoid collision, but the a$$hat ran him down anyway - who would be at fault then? Still 50/50? Sailboat didn't have a crystal ball to see what a$$hat was going to do and failed to engage power soon enough to avoid a madman intent on running him down?

Just curious. I grew up in a legal family, and in a lawfirm. But maritime law was never my speciality, and I realize how very little I know of maritime law.

Thanks in advance.
In most cases there is shared responsibility (Rule 2 is a biggy as is 17(a)ii)). It may not be 50/50.

I know of one case where a sailboat at anchor without proper lighting was held solely responsible for a collision when hit be a powerboat.
08-13-2013 11:06 PM
LesleyS
Re: Give way when hoisting the main?

nolatum - I want you for my attorney should I ever need one!

Legal question, out of curiosity: If the sailboat engaged gear and attempted to avoid collision, but the a$$hat ran him down anyway - who would be at fault then? Still 50/50? Sailboat didn't have a crystal ball to see what a$$hat was going to do and failed to engage power soon enough to avoid a madman intent on running him down?

Just curious. I grew up in a legal family, and in a lawfirm. But maritime law was never my speciality, and I realize how very little I know of maritime law.

Thanks in advance.
08-13-2013 11:00 PM
LesleyS
Re: Give way when hoisting the main?

SeaLife - LOL! I love the surrender flag analogy.

And yes, I definitely steer clear of boats hoisting their sails, and make sure I'm well clear of other boats before I start to hoist mine. It's a given that something will go horribly wrong at the most inopportune moment.

It seems a perfect example of what is wrong with our entire tort legal system in the United States. Common sense and courtesy go out the window when there is a "letter of the law" involved. Regardless of the hair-splitting, it simply seems a matter of good seamanship to recognize another boat in a moment of difficulty, and obligingly respond.

[QUOTE=MarkofSeaLife;1066573]
Your ability to manoeuvre is restricted.

Plus you are waving a huge white floppy flag in surrender.
07-31-2013 01:19 PM
andrewoliv
Give way when hoisting the main?

Courtesy and common sense seem to be the best rules to follow. I have sailed in Maine most of my life, only in the Chesapeake the last couple of years.

Seem to be lots of Asshats in the Chesapeake. Or those who feel "entitled". Lots of nice people too about 80/20. 80 nice 20 Asshat. Given the boating population in the Chesapeake vs Maine I guess I am more likely to run into more of the 20%

Yet I never had these issues in Maine.
07-31-2013 12:47 PM
denverd0n
Re: Give way when hoisting the main?

And yet once again I am compelled to point out that we are not talking about driving our cars here. There is no such thing as "right of way." In this context, it does not exist. There is a stand-on vessel, and there is a give-way vessel. In any case, both vessels always have equal responsibility to avoid a collision.
07-31-2013 12:35 PM
nolatom
Re: Give way when hoisting the main?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobGallagher View Post
Here, in MHO is the kicker regarding the engine running but engaged or not engaged and what that means:
You engine is running, not engaged, you are raising sail.
The asshat is coming at you whilst you are raising sail and refuses to give way.
You call him on the VHF and inform him that you cannot make way, ask him to give way.
He declines.

You both collide. You are each 50% at fault.
Why? He could have given way and chose not to. You could have engaged the engine and given way but chose not too.

(a) Nothing in these Rules shall exonerate any vessel, or the owner,
master or crew thereof, from the consequences of any neglect to comply
with these Rules or of the neglect of any precaution which may be required
by the ordinary practice of seamen, or by the special circumstances of the
case.
(b) In construing and complying with these Rules due regard shall be had
to all dangers of navigation and collision and to any special circumstances,
including the limitations of the vessels involved, which may make a
departure from these Rules necessary to avoid immediate danger.


To be ever more clear, there is no such thing as right or wrong as long as there is no collision. If there is collision, unless you are sleeping, at a dock, in a marina, or moored in a special anchorage, be prepared to take some % of responsibility.

Everything else is just talking points.

Quite true, there is no "right of way into collision" Rule 17(b) makes this crystal clear. But up until that "extremis" situation where you have to bail out despite being "stand-on", one of those vessels is privileged, the other burdened. Let's turn to the raising sail guy with engine in neutral, what is he under the rules? sail? sail and motor? motor only? restricted in ability to maneuver? Not under Command? hard to tell from a distance, especially for non-sailors--hence the rules advise/require lights and day shapes to let someone know, and common sense says use the VHF and a loud hailer for people close whom you want to inform.

How'd mister raising-sail get to where he is, by motor? the one he just took out of gear? I say motorboat. By sail? (let's say jib was up first, hence the headway to have gotten to where he is) then he's a sailboat, and asshat is give-way if he's a powerboat and stand-on if he's a sailboat on starboard tack and not overtaking you. Drifting, no sail up? He's treated like a motorboat then, give way to asshat on your starboard side. Sail half up but still luffing, no headway, no steerage? Then you remain what you were before you hauled on the halyard. (hint: if you're drifting and have means of propulsion but they are not being used, you're still underway and you have to comply with the rules, and the Rules make you have to be SOMETHING, not nothing). Is he legally restricted in ability to maneuver, hence privileged? No way, see the discussion above in this thread. Is he Not under Command? No, he has the means to maneuver.

Asshat is going to have partial fault at least under rule 17 for proceeding into a collision he couldve steered out of regardless of whether he was stand-on, but the above distinctions will determine if you will also have partial fault, or possibly none (and yes, it does happen, not often but it does).

See how simple and easy to discern this is (not!)? That's why courtesy and early indication of what you are going to do (by both vessels) is "the carpet on life's floor". Please roll it out, and thank those who rolled it out for you. And sailors (most of us anyway) seem to be better at this than the remaining boating public, with the exception of commercial mariners.

Sorry to get technical about this--maritime attorney and license holder, and part-time sailing instructor, so i do this for a living, I can't help myself ;-) And no criticism of anyone else's view is intended, except to just say what I think the rules are. And ultimately they are about what you can convince a judge they are, in an individual case. Which tends to be about educating the judge.

Whew! Stop me before I type again...
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