Was the freighter messing with me, or did I mess up? - Page 4 - SailNet Community
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post #31 of 53 Old 09-10-2013
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Re: Was the freighter messing with me, or did I mess up?

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Originally Posted by NCC320 View Post
Your 10 degree changes were not nearly enough. If you are going to make a change of course, make a really significant one...
This is what I was thinking. If you're not going to stand on, if you're going to change your course to avoid a conflict, then it needs to be enough of a change that the folks on the bridge of the other vessel have absolutely no doubt that you are changing course. For that purpose, 10 degrees isn't really enough.

Oh yeah. And, absolutely no chance at all that he was "messing with you." Freighters are too big, too slow, and too expensive to operate for them to ever change course just to mess with anybody, let alone a little sailboat.

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post #32 of 53 Old 09-10-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Was the freighter messing with me, or did I mess up?

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Originally Posted by MikeOReilly View Post
Hi Minnesail, I know the area fairly well, and it is very odd indeed to have a freighter make a continual course change as you describe. The freighters all follow the well-charted shipping lanes. I assume they are mostly running on auto, with GPS coordinates driving their course changes. It would be very odd to have a helms person making erratic course changes. You and the freighter were running down-bound. The charts clearly indicate both up-bound and down-bound lanes. The location of your incident would normally have freighters running on a SE (~150 degree) course from Whitefish Pt. If it was doing something other than that, then I would indeed be concerned. There's a fair bit of space in the top of Whitefish bay, but not if freighters start moving willy-nilly.



I once heard the opposite correspondence come over VHF 68 when we were near Thunder Cape (top of Thunder Bay). Spoken in English, but in a thick East European accent, it went something this: "Little sailboat. Little sailboat, in the shipping lanes near Thunder Cape; Get out of the way!" (It was not us they were talking to, but it sure made me take notice.)

My attitude towards freighters is to stay out of their way. The shipping lanes are marked, and I usually have a lot more options than they do. They move very fast, even in confined waters, and are not very manoeuvrable. So far I've never seen one behaving as oddly as you describe. I think I would have made for the west shore (hard to starboard), and let it pass. If it was really behaving recklessly, I believe their are Seaway authorities you could report it to.
Yeah, I thought it was very odd that it would make any course changes at all. As someone else said every mile is $$$$$ to them.

Something that just occurred to me is that maybe they were having some sort of mechanical issue. Don't they generally run 12-15 knots? This one was going under 10.

Anyway, I think it's clear that I was driving like a dork. I should have either stood on and and held a steady predictable course, or if I was really worried I should have done as you said and gone hard to starboard to hug the west shore.

Lesson learned, I'll do better next time.
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post #33 of 53 Old 09-10-2013
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Re: Was the freighter messing with me, or did I mess up?

We deal with crossing traffic in the form of fast moving ferries (22-24 knots), bulk carriers and slow, big tows. It's always a bit nerve wracking.

This past summer we were on a steady bearing with a tug towing three barges.. a pretty long deviation for us if we had to 'duck' him. I attempted the call on the traffic channel and, as usual, got no response. However this time Victoria Traffic called me back and asked where we were.. and then informed me of the name of the tug. She then called the tug herself, got an immediate response, after which we communicated directly with the tug. He watched us for a while and called back to say that we'd probably be ahead, and if not he'd bear off the take out stern.

It was a great relief, and a happy moment.. I've never been able to successfully get that kind of give and take with these guys before.. from now on I'll call traffic directly.

Ron

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".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
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post #34 of 53 Old 09-10-2013
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Re: Was the freighter messing with me, or did I mess up?

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Originally Posted by Minnesail View Post
Don't they generally run 12-15 knots? This one was going under 10.

.
If thats a lock coming up he might be timing for that. one great thing that prop chart plotter has that we dont have is a speed to target calculator. The put in the time they want to arrive at a waypoint and the computer updates them with the speed they need to get there exactly.

Have fun the rest of the trip


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post #35 of 53 Old 09-10-2013
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Re: Was the freighter messing with me, or did I mess up?

I don't even know where to start with this
Can you point to the COLREGS in question?
Do keep in mind freighters are NOT constrained just because they are big

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the freighter has the "right of way" and sailboat best be moving its self out of way. freighter as least moveable vessel also has 500 ft of protection surrounding it, as per patriot act post uss coles....it also takes a lot longer to stop and start them. sailboats are recreational and need to get out of the way of the big boys.

sailboats are not magical things that require freighters and other merchant shipping to get out of way--it is the opposite--YOU get out of THEIR way. even when under sail..

as long as you see and continue to see the long side of the freighter you are fine--it is when you see the small pointy end only that you need to concern yourself with being run down. then get the f out of the way.


btw--when ye play chicken with a freighter the freighter wins--and he cannot even visually see you. he does see you on his radar
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post #36 of 53 Old 09-10-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Was the freighter messing with me, or did I mess up?

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If thats a lock coming up he might be timing for that. one great thing that prop chart plotter has that we dont have is a speed to target calculator. The put in the time they want to arrive at a waypoint and the computer updates them with the speed they need to get there exactly.

Have fun the rest of the trip
I had not thought of that. Why rush to lock if you're just going to have to wait in line?

And thanks! But I'm back, this was a couple weeks ago, I'm just going over things in my head trying to figure the things I did right and the things I did wrong. So much to learn.
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post #37 of 53 Old 09-10-2013
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Re: Was the freighter messing with me, or did I mess up?

Main thing is communication.
Imagine you are the ship captain. He has no idea if you see him, if you know you are stand-on, if you know what that means, where you are going, if you have ever sailed a boat before last week, or anything else.
Ship XXX, this sailing vessel XYZ 3 miles off your port bow. We are bound for ZZZ and are planning to hold this course. Will that work out for you? goes a LONG way to making everyone comfortable.

Where I live I have to go a while to have any rights. Near me the ships are confined in a narrow channel. They will run aground if they try and avoid you, and as one unlucky sailor found out, they'll send you the bill to if they need towed back into the channel. A lot of my local comms are like "Ship XXX, this SV Coquina 3.5 miles ahead of you bearing 120 degrees. I will be tacking before crossing the channel and I show that puts us well clear". I can be exact as to what ship I am calling and the range/bearing thanks to AIS

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post #38 of 53 Old 09-10-2013
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Re: Was the freighter messing with me, or did I mess up?

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I don't even know where to start with this
Can you point to the COLREGS in question?
Do keep in mind freighters are NOT constrained just because they are big
Thank you. I thought it was messed up on COLREGS and then 500 foot.thing. First of all that applies to US navy ships and secondly this was in Canadian waters... Coast guard rules would not apply.

There is no such thing as right of way... It is stand off and give way....big difference and sailors should not only understand that but use the right the terminology.



Why are people happy to accept science which makes their life easier while rejecting science that makes their faith or beliefs more difficult?

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Re: Was the freighter messing with me, or did I mess up?

Yeah - "right of way" can give the impression that you have no role in collision avoidance. "Stand On" is a newer way to say it. Last Clear Chance will get you if you try to press your rights to the point of hitting someone.

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post #40 of 53 Old 09-10-2013
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Re: Was the freighter messing with me, or did I mess up?

I know that our shipping channel is limited and large vessels will run aground if they stray from it, giving them stand-on in pretty much all situations.
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