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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation > Was the freighter messing with me, or did I mess up?
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Thread: Was the freighter messing with me, or did I mess up? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
01-17-2014 10:33 PM
CruisingCouple
Re: Was the freighter messing with me, or did I mess up?

Sort of an old thread now. We have played in areas in and close to the shipping lanes quite a bit on Superior and Michigan, especially in Whitefish Bay, Straits of Mackinac and Beaver Islands. If there is any question I have always hailed the ship with the VHF and never yet had one treat our little boat with anything but courtesy and professionalism in making ours or their intentions known.
01-17-2014 09:05 PM
Lothario
Re: Was the freighter messing with me, or did I mess up?

Often I perceive others actions are directed specifically AT ME..when quite often they aren't. Usually there is a common sense reason for ppl to do what they're doing that has nothing to do with me. Perception of the "facts" often become the facts.
01-17-2014 02:51 PM
Tim R.
Re: Was the freighter messing with me, or did I mess up?

So there is a whole book dedicated to avoiding large ships. Who knew?

And it sells for $200 used and up to $1,500 new.
01-17-2014 02:51 PM
Minnesail
Re: Was the freighter messing with me, or did I mess up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericb760 View Post
I found this book to be invaluable when it comes to avoiding large vessels at sea.
How to Avoid Huge Ships: John W. Trimmer: 9780870334337: Amazon.com: Books
Although a serious topic to sailors, this has been bounced around Facebook and such, because the title comes off as odd to most people, and the comments are hilarious:

"TOO Informative. Read this book before going on vacation and I couldn't find my cruise liner in the port. Vacation ruined."

"Captain Trimmer's other excellent titles: How to Avoid a Train, and How to Avoid the Empire State Building"

"- Do not charge the huge ship at full speed in an attempt to scare it off. This may work with coyotes, but it is less effective with huge ships.
- Similarly, do not roll your boat over and play dead. Unless the huge ship is captained by a grizzly bear, this will not work.
- Do not attempt to go under the huge ship. This is typically not successful.
- Do not attempt to jump over the huge ship."

"Given the amount of dog mess that is on the pavements I thought this book would be the ideal read to stop me having to scrape my shoes on the grass before going home. It was only after it arrived that I looked closely at the title and realised it said 'How to Avoid Huge SHIPS'."
01-17-2014 02:31 PM
ericb760
Re: Was the freighter messing with me, or did I mess up?

I found this book to be invaluable when it comes to avoiding large vessels at sea.
How to Avoid Huge Ships: John W. Trimmer: 9780870334337: Amazon.com: Books How to Avoid Huge Ships: John W. Trimmer: 9780870334337: Amazon.com: Books


01-03-2014 05:05 PM
Faster
Re: Was the freighter messing with me, or did I mess up?

If those freighters are traveling at speed it won't be much more than 20 minutes from first sighting to being beside you if there's going to be a convergence. We have ferries travelling at 22-24 knots and they come up real fast. Thankfully they are on a fairly predictable route.
01-03-2014 04:58 PM
paul323
Re: Was the freighter messing with me, or did I mess up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnesail View Post
I guess my lessons are that A) those giant boats are a lot further away than they look so chill the heck out, and B) if you are going to change course make it big and bold.
I agree with others, the boat was unlikely to be messing with you. Not worth the time/effort/risk.

I guess I would take out different lessons, at least in a general situation.

A) those giant boats are a lot further away than they look so chill the heck out (and recognize that anything that big close to you will always be scary).

B) BUT they go FAST and can sneak up on you, so keep a close lookout.

C) Assume large cargo vessels are totally oblivious - or uncaring - of you. Doesn't matter about COLREGS if they are on autopilot, or never see you, or simply don't care. Just avoid them.
01-03-2014 04:21 PM
luhtag
Re: Was the freighter messing with me, or did I mess up?

Ships on the Great Lakes follow prescribed routes called Lake Carrier Courses. They are printed on every chart and freighters rarely deviate from them.

Coming out of the locks on an upbound course, a freighter would head almost directly north showing you their port side. After a mile they would turn more to port to round Isle Parisienne so you'd see them head on about six miles away. Once abeam of the island they would again alter course, to starboard this time, for their heading to whitefish point. I'm sure they were watching you but I sincerely doubt they would play games with you or intentionally initiate the dance of death. Take a look at the lake carrier courses. Great Lake ships basically follow train tracks. Stay off those course lines and you don't have to worry about a thing.
10-07-2013 02:25 PM
Minnesail
Re: Was the freighter messing with me, or did I mess up?

I looked back at our GPS track and I think the freighter was slowly maneuvering around Whitefish Point. This was the first time I had been near such a big boat and I didn't realize that it was probably 8nm away when I first spotted it. That would put it back near the point and it was probably just slowly adjusting course to the south as it rounded the point.

I guess my lessons are that A) those giant boats are a lot further away than they look so chill the heck out, and B) if you are going to change course make it big and bold.
10-07-2013 12:54 PM
fryewe
Re: Was the freighter messing with me, or did I mess up?

Late to this thread but glad I visited it. Some good pointers on using marinetraffic.com and using rudder angle of a contact on AIS to learn his actions early.

The keys to these encounters are predictability and control.

Communications/understanding real world or charted restrictions and limits (points of confluence)/using AIS if available/using Seattle Traffic - are all about predictability. If predictability is high and your track is clear of obstructions and traffic you are golden. Mark's photo of NY Harbor is a case in point...taking those large vessels close aboard is not risky because their actions are predictable. That's true for the approaches to most large harbors including Singapore/Hong Kong/Tokyo if you do your homework.

Most of our actions when we get a bit uneasy about an encounter with traffic involve UNpredictability.

When you can't get predictability and you are uneasy about traffic you should maneuver to avoid - early if possible - whether you are "stand on" or not. Nothing in the rules prohibit you from taking action to minimize risk of collision...in fact you are obliged to do so.

When you choose to maneuver your purpose is to open the CPA and the way you do that is to by increasing the rate at which the bearing of the contact of your interest is changing. If you can make her true bearing from you change faster you will open the CPA.

Any non-zero rate of bearing change means you will miss her.

If you need time to make a decision on how to maneuver then put the contact abaft your beam to limit the closing speed.

If both your bows are on the same side of the line of bearing you can maneuver to the opposite side to place your bow on the other side. You CANNOT HIT a contact whose bow is on the opposite side of the line of bearing from yours if you are both making way and neither of you maneuver.

If both your bows are on the same side of the line of bearing and you want to keep your bow on that side of the line of bearing...and the rate of bearing change is too low/zero for your comfort ... you can either go in front of the contact by raising your speed across the line of bearing by increasing your speed/placing the contract closer to your beam (or both)...or you can go behind her by lowering your speed across the line of bearing by slowing and/or turning toward the line of bearing (either toward the contact or away from the contact).

I know. tl;dr...

And perhaps I'm just restating concepts all of you know. But it never hurts to review when safety is at stake...

Be prudent.
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