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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Remote helm
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Topic Review (Newest First)
08-28-2013 12:20 AM
davidpm
Re: Remote helm

Thanks for the more complete explanation Jon.

It happened a long time ago and no one got hurt. The real lesson that both of your stories clearly explained is that you can't trust auto-helm in close situations.
Nice pictures too.

Back to the regularly scheduled education channel.
Would you comment more on the following?
Jon you said

When a powerboat operator has neither the inclination toward courtesy nor the skill to demonstrate it, you can minimize the effect of a rogue wake by turning away from the wake and throwing a hip check with your own boat's quarter by beginning to cut sharply across the wake, then deliberately putting the boat broadside at just the right moment. In most boats of at least moderate displacement, this results in little more than the overtaken boat bobbing up and down, with a minimum degree of rolling.


This is interesting.

So the way I read this is that if someone passes me from astern at high speed throwing a big wake on my port I should steer starboard until the wake hits my quarter then steer port.

Is that right?

If so what if someone passes me at high speed on my port side but from ahead throwing a big wake?
In this case it is the opposite yes?
Steer port into the wake then starboard.
08-28-2013 12:03 AM
JonEisberg
Re: Remote helm

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
For the rest of us what an education.

Here you have one of our own. A known good guy and fellow sailor. His attitude is that if someone is in his way and acting "clownish" he has the right to blow him off the road at 25 knots and finds it funny if they get grounded. I don't know how he would feel if the guy holed his boat on one of those stumps or got seriously hurt but that was a risk he took with the other guys boat and life too.

Now this is the lesson I got.
OK, I'm gonna try this one more time...

My first inclination whenever I come upon a slower boat on the ICW or similar waterway, is to pass in as courteous and safe a fashion as possible. I'm a sailor, after all, and a bit of a rarity in the delivery business, as I run both sail and power. Most captains tend to do one or the other, but rarely both...

As soon as I began to realize I was dealing with a complete fool in this instance, however, my perspective changed... I'm no longer quite so concerned about minimizing the possibility of spilling the guy's morning coffee. Instead, my focus shifted to how I'm gonna get this $800K boat I'm responsible for past this moron who is determined to operate his own boat in such an unseamanlike fashion, with such an astonishing lack of appreciation for what could go wrong, in such close quarters...

He obliged me with more than a HINT... He waved me on, unmistakably, and repeatedly...

Now, please try to get it out of your head, that silly notion that "I blew him off the road at 25 knots..." Sorry, nothing could be further from the truth, and your apparent failure to grasp this betrays an ignorance of the simple physics involved...

Here's the shot again, of the wake that Neptunus throws at 26 knots... Please notice how it is comprised of basically a single wave, and how far aft it streams... Obviously, I would be well clear of the sailboat before he became affected by my wake, and he would have the full width of the waterway to deal with it... If he were smart, he would have dealt with it in the same fashion I described in my previous post, would have been a piece of cake with that boat...



Now, look at the difference in the character of the wake from this displacement hulled yacht, running near hull speed...




Notice how much further forward the wake begins, and how a vessel being overtaken in close quarters would begin to ride a quartering wave, and need to start taking corrective steering action, while still alongside the overtaking boat... Notice how much sharper the angle is of the trailing wake, and how much greater would have to be the angle of the 'cutback' required to make the maneuver I described earlier. And, notice how many more individual 'waves' are produced by such a yacht running at displacement speed...

you'll just have to take my word on this, but if I attempted to pass that guy at 9.5 knots, in the 8-10' depths I would have found towards the side of the canal, my wake would have been MASSIVE with the stern sucking the bottom, and my bow and quarter waves would have moved even further forward, streaming almost perpendicular from my hull...

Now, if this guy had only been insistent on maintaining his speed, but was actually steering his boat at the helm, I would have bit the bullet, and passed him at that half-assed speed... Once i've brought a boat down off a plane, I virtually never run back up to speed until the overtaking maneuver is completed... But in this situation, passing him at speed on a plane - given his refusal to either slow down, or assume proper control of his own vessel - was the best way to go... Anyone who can't understand that, well... I give up :-)

Of course, much of the amusement I receive from the telling of this tale is a result of the intervening years that have passed... In truth, I was shocked by how poorly a sailor even as clueless as he - not to mention his autopilot - handled the wake... When I saw he had gone aground, I slowed once again, standing by to assess the situation... Fortunately, he was able to back that beast back off the bank almost immediately, and was underway again in short order... Tellingly, he never even attempted to call me on VHF, perhaps it finally dawned upon him how foolish his actions had been..

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
Guys and gals you may be on your own out their more than you think.
Any perceived un-seamanship behavior due to inexperience or a touch too much confidence may set someone off.
Not everyone cares about your well being and some people feel justified in teaching you a lesson.


Be careful out there.

I guess it is not too different from land.
Back in the 80's my wife and I rode out 10 speed bikes from West Haven, CT to South Carolina.
In order to get past NYC we had to get across a bridge. I believe it was the Gothels bridge.
You couldn't ride you bike on the bridge but you could call for a transit worker to pick you up on one side and drive you across the bridge.
He let us off on the other side of the bridge. I would have liked for him to take us to an exit but he didn't.
So we in in 10 speeds with heavy saddle bags hugging the shoulder heading for the exit.
A semi came flying by us at speed about six inches from our handlebars blowing us off the road.
Apparently he felt compelled to teach us a lesson about where we should and should not bike.
Oh, c'mon... No need to go Full Drama Queen on us :-)

It was not my intent to "teach a lesson" to this clown, though hopefully he did learn one as a result... I simply wanted to get past him with as minimal an exposure to risk as possible...

Over the years, I think I've rendered more than my fair share of assistance to other sailors I've encountered... Here's one example I recounted in another thread recently, I didn't notice anyone else joining in to help me this night:

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/1076967-post15.html

And sorry, but your bike story doesn't impress me much... :-)

I've done a couple of tours over the years, each in excess of a couple of thousand miles... One through Nova Scotia and out across Newfoundland, and another from Seattle, up Vancouver Island, a ferry ride up to Prince Rupert, back down to Vancouver, out around the Olympic Peninsula, then down the coast to San Francisco... Trust me, I had more than a few close calls with logging trucks on that one :-)

Sure, I've no doubt some welcomed the chance to show me who was The Boss of the roads... But I doubt any of them who might have been cyclists themselves, were among those who did so...
08-28-2013 12:02 AM
JonEisberg
Re: Remote helm

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
Jon you said

When a powerboat operator has neither the inclination toward courtesy nor the skill to demonstrate it, you can minimize the effect of a rogue wake by turning away from the wake and throwing a hip check with your own boat's quarter by beginning to cut sharply across the wake, then deliberately putting the boat broadside at just the right moment. In most boats of at least moderate displacement, this results in little more than the overtaken boat bobbing up and down, with a minimum degree of rolling.


This is interesting.

So the way I read this is that if someone passes me from astern at high speed throwing a big wake on my port I should steer starboard until the wake hits my quarter then steer port.

Is that right?

If so what if someone passes me at high speed on my port side but from ahead throwing a big wake?
In this case it is the opposite yes?
No, if you are being passed to port from astern, you would turn to port to cut back across the wake... (this is assuming a wake thrown by a boat on a plane, it can be a bit different in dealing with a wake from a boat running at displacement speed, or even worse, a boat on a half-plane)

With the sort of flatter wake that Neptunus throws at 25 knots, you basically only have one 'wave' to deal with, a smaller secondary wave inside it, and you're done... The maneuver isn't easy for me to describe in words, but the suggestion of throwing a 'hip-check' is the best I can come up with...

You want to cut towards the first 'wave', but not too sharply... (The technique is actually quite similar to steering to weather in large seas offshore} As you begin to feel the effect of the wave, you want to turn a bit more sharply into it (in this case, to port) as you "climb' the wave...

Right as you 'crest' the wave, however, you want to make a sharp correction back to starboard as the wake passes beneath... If you're timed it right, your stern quarter will settle right into the secondary part of the wake, and counter the start of the boat's tendency to roll to port after 'falling' off the back side of the first wave...

This takes some practice, and of course the maneuver can vary considerably, depending upon the boat... But I can almost guarantee you, that in my heavy, but little 30-footer, I could have easily handled the wake of that Neptunus without my masthead rolling through an arc of more than 15 degrees...

All bets are off, however, were I to attempt to do so from my foredeck, using an autopilot remote :-)
08-27-2013 11:11 AM
JonEisberg
Re: Remote helm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bene505 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg
...Over 25 years ago, I learned a very valuable lesson from an incident that could have easily ended my budding career in the delivery trade. Namely, autopilots can wig out at any time, and appear to have a greater likelihood to do so in close proximity to other vessels, or large structures such as bridges...
It's the remote compass getting thrown off by the steel in bridge or other boat.
Amazing how many people don't appear to appreciate this. When I had my first 'Teachable Moment' with an AP and a passing yacht all those years ago, I was aware of that, of course... The eye-opening realization for me, was that such an effect might be felt at such a distance... The AP locking hard over at that particular moment MIGHT have been purely coincidental, of course - but if it was, that only reinforces the notion that an AP can go nuts at ANY moment...

But the faith many boaters put in the infallibility of these devices today is pretty spooky... I once saw a boat kiss the fender system at the North Landing Bridge, obviously going thru it on autopilot when he suddenly veered off course... Gee, I wonder what possibly could have caused THAT to happen? :-)





Well, better he learned his lesson at a placid spot like that, than when passing a towboat in one of the ICW's typical land cuts...


08-27-2013 09:57 AM
sailorboy15
Re: Remote helm

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
So, in the face of this clown's obstinate refusal to take proper control of his own vessel, and his repeated waving me on to overtake him (I know that wave, have seen it hundreds of times over the years, it says 'Come on by, no need to slow for me, I'll be fine...'), I resorted to passing him as expeditiously as possible, given the circumstances...
Jon I am going to have to say that even if there could be an argument under the rules that you are partialy responsible(they way the rules are written no one is ever free of fault) in my mind you did nothing particuarly wrong. You demonstrated a much greater understanding of your vessel then the average powerboater by bringing it up on plane as you passed minimizing the effect of your wake. He also waved you on, in my mind he was taking responsibility for the reaction of is vessel to your wake. I think the reason that your story seems to have struck a bit of a nerve with some people is due to many of us sailors haveing powerboaters constantly blowing past us and haveing no regard for the effect of there wakes.
08-27-2013 12:22 AM
Bene505
Re: Remote helm

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
...Over 25 years ago, I learned a very valuable lesson from an incident that could have easily ended my budding career in the delivery trade. Namely, autopilots can wig out at any time, and appear to have a greater likelihood to do so in close proximity to other vessels, or large structures such as bridges...
It's the remote compass getting thrown off by the steel in bridge or other boat.

One time I was organizing a storage area where the magnetic sensor is mounted. The person at the helm yelled that the AP was going haywire. It turned out that I put some wrenches to close to the AP's remote compass.

Regards,
Brad
08-26-2013 10:38 PM
davidpm
Re: Remote helm

Jon I'm not going to argue with you about this for the very good reason that you have thousands of more hours at the helm than I and are a professional. And frankly it doesn't concern me personally, I hope. IOW I suspect is is unlikely you will ever encounter me on the water acting clownish and you feel it necessary to blow me off the road.

You have your mind made up about this situation and you don't seem to be in a mood to change.
Personally your experience and posting are more valuable to me than being right or wrong on this one incident.

For the rest of us what an education.

Here you have one of our own. A known good guy and fellow sailor. His attitude is that if someone is in his way and acting "clownish" he has the right to blow him off the road at 25 knots and finds it funny if they get grounded. I don't know how he would feel if the guy holed his boat on one of those stumps or got seriously hurt but that was a risk he took with the other guys boat and life too.

Now this is the lesson I got.

Imagine what we look like to Tug captain or better yet to a chinese super container ship captain. This guy may never had even set foot on anything less that 1,000 tons. His boss is bitching that he has to get to the dock to unload and every hour he is late is costing thousands.

I suspect that for some their only care about whether we will slow him down a minute or not and if someone sees him sink us it may cause some annoying paperwork.

Guys and gals you may be on your own out their more than you think.
Any perceived un-seamanship behavior due to inexperience or a touch too much confidence may set someone off.
Not everyone cares about your well being and some people feel justified in teaching you a lesson.


Be careful out there.

I guess it is not too different from land.
Back in the 80's my wife and I rode out 10 speed bikes from West Haven, CT to South Carolina.
In order to get past NYC we had to get across a bridge. I believe it was the Gothels bridge.
You couldn't ride you bike on the bridge but you could call for a transit worker to pick you up on one side and drive you across the bridge.
He let us off on the other side of the bridge. I would have liked for him to take us to an exit but he didn't.
So we in in 10 speeds with heavy saddle bags hugging the shoulder heading for the exit.
A semi came flying by us at speed about six inches from our handlebars blowing us off the road.
Apparently he felt compelled to teach us a lesson about where we should and should not bike.
08-26-2013 10:09 PM
davidpm
Re: Remote helm

Jon you said

When a powerboat operator has neither the inclination toward courtesy nor the skill to demonstrate it, you can minimize the effect of a rogue wake by turning away from the wake and throwing a hip check with your own boat's quarter by beginning to cut sharply across the wake, then deliberately putting the boat broadside at just the right moment. In most boats of at least moderate displacement, this results in little more than the overtaken boat bobbing up and down, with a minimum degree of rolling.


This is interesting.

So the way I read this is that if someone passes me from astern at high speed throwing a big wake on my port I should steer starboard until the wake hits my quarter then steer port.

Is that right?

If so what if someone passes me at high speed on my port side but from ahead throwing a big wake?
In this case it is the opposite yes?
08-26-2013 03:27 PM
JonEisberg
Re: Remote helm

Quote:
Originally Posted by cupper3 View Post
He was not breaking any rules.... You were. Go take the refresher course.
Oh, really? Hmmm, perhaps you could use a refresher course, as well :-)

Quote:

In general, any vessel equipped with a VHF marine radiotelephone (whether voluntarily or required to) must maintain a watch on channel 16 (156.800 MHz) whenever the radiotelephone is not being used to communicate.
Then, there is his failure to acknowledge my horn signal in kind:

Quote:

(i) In a narrow channel or fairway when overtaking, the power-driven vessel intending to overtake another power-driven vessel shall indicate her intention by sounding the appropriate signal prescribed in Rule 34(c) and take steps to permit safe passing. The power-driven vessel being overtaken, if in agreement, shall sound the same signal and may, if specifically agreed to take steps to permit safe passing. If in doubt, she shall sound the danger signal prescribed in Rule 34(d).
Then, there is the matter of "Good Seamanship", and the argument that could be made that this vessel was being operated in a manner dangerously close to being Not Under Command, and the fact her skipper made no effort whatsoever to adhere to the spirit and intent of Rule 8:

Quote:

Rule 8 - Action to Avoid Collision

(a) Any action shall [be taken in accordance with the Rules of this Part and], if the circumstances of the case admit, be positive, made in ample time and with due regard to the observance of good seamanship.
Look, I'm sure some who've read this find my account barely credible... Hell, even after all these years, I still find it hard to believe I came across someone so willing to demonstrate such obstinate stupidity throughout what should be a simple procedure, one that I've repeated thousands of times with other boats... Running that stretch of the ditch on AP is risky enough, though I do it myself all the time with a slow boat... Doing so from the foredeck ratchets up the risk to an unacceptable degree, however. And doing so, when being overtaken by another yacht, well - that's simply off the charts in terms of poor seamanship...

So, in the face of this clown's obstinate refusal to take proper control of his own vessel, and his repeated waving me on to overtake him (I know that wave, have seen it hundreds of times over the years, it says 'Come on by, no need to slow for me, I'll be fine...'), I resorted to passing him as expeditiously as possible, given the circumstances... In a manner that placed our respective boats side by side and at risk of collision for the least amount of time possible, and the one that resulted in throwing him LESS wake - and a wake that should have been far easier for him to manage - than he would have received if I'd passed him slowly, given his refusal to slow from the 8 knots he was making...

And, in this particular case, I think it could be argued that Rule 2 grants me the authority to have made that sort of judgment call:

Quote:

Rule 2 - Responsibility

(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.
But then again, I suppose I'm just a habitual 'Rule Breaker'... As one who often sails singlehanded, I'm obviously in routine violation of Rule 5 whenever I sail pretty much anywhere in my own little tub... :-)

08-26-2013 02:43 PM
MedSailor
Re: Remote helm

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post

Perhaps you had to be there :-)
Probably so. I appreciate your explanation of the overtaking issues and the specifics of the area. I haven't been there. For the record my 9.5knot overtaking suggestion was a quick and conservative calculation of your hull speed based on length. What I intended to suggest was passing him at hull speed where you wouldn't make much wake. I'm not familiar with "sucking issues" of confined waters, so again maybe I just had to be there.

I still do take issue with your attitude towards him going aground. I know you don't like that he was more casual than you, but it sounds like half of the people you pass aren't cooperative. It sounds like it was the lawn chair that got your goat. The story sounds a little like you cut off a car hogging the fast lane and caused him to crash and are reveling in it. It's still a car crash.

Even though I wasn't there, I bet you "could" have passed him in some other manner without causing as much distress as you did. On the other hand, maybe I'm just sensitive because it was a Formosa you were messing with....

MedSailor
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