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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


View Poll Results: As Privileged When Do You Turn to Avoid Collision
Before my boat is within 10 boat lengths (I always give-way) 9 30.00%
Before my boat is within 5 boat lengths 7 23.33%
When I will not cross without risk of a collision (3 boat lengths) 13 43.33%
Never; we need a new gelcoat job and insurance money 1 3.33%
Voters: 30. You may not vote on this poll

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  #11  
Old 05-14-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailortjk1 View Post
...

And I don't tack away; I simply fall off and duck under.


...
.
This avoidance manouver leads to the Andrea Doria syndrome...

In the rules for power boats, there is an explicit instruction to this effect:
"
(c) A power-driven vessel which takes action in a crossing situation in accordance with subparagraph (a)(ii) of this Rule to avoid collision with another power-driven vessel shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, not alter course to port for a vessel on her own port side. "

While the rule-writers didn't add the same caveat to the sailboat rules, its the same circumstance...the standon vessel should not turn towards the give-way vessel, or they may end up hunting each other, letting someone duplicate the Andrea Doria.
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Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
The sounds signals are for any vessel.

I agree that 5 shorts rather than one long (which in Canadian rules is also used by vessels leaving a dock) is a more appropriate signal.

You can also alter your speed by easing sails or luffing up. Heaving-to will stop you. These all depend on the situation.
jack,

I know you have this stuff down real well, but I think this advice needs to be very specific as the rules vary by circumstances, I think we are both correct:
1. the crossing sounds used by the OP are not appropriate due to a power-driven limiitations as follows:

" RULE 34 Maneuvering and Warning Signals
(a) When vessels are in sight of one another, a power-driven vessel underway... "

2. the warning signals that you suggest are appropriate for a sailboat, as indicated by the lack of the power-driven reference in:

"(d) When vessels in sight of one another are approaching each other and from any cause either vessel fails to understand the intentions or actions of the other, or is in doubt whether sufficient action is being taken by the other to avoid collision, the vessel in doubt shall immediately indicate such doubt by giving at least five short and rapid blasts on the whistle..."

3. FWIW in passing situations, the International Rule for sound signals is for all:
"
(c) When in sight of one another in a narrow channel or fairway:
(i) a vessel intending to overtake another shall..."

whereas the US Inland version is for power diven only:
"
(c) When in sight of one another:
(i) a power-driven vessel intending to overtake another power-driven vessel ..."


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  #13  
Old 05-14-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingfool View Post
This avoidance manouver leads to the Andrea Doria syndrome...

In the rules for power boats, there is an explicit instruction to this effect:
"
(c) A power-driven vessel which takes action in a crossing situation in accordance with subparagraph (a)(ii) of this Rule to avoid collision with another power-driven vessel shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, not alter course to port for a vessel on her own port side. "

While the rule-writers didn't add the same caveat to the sailboat rules, its the same circumstance...the standon vessel should not turn towards the give-way vessel, or they may end up hunting each other, letting someone duplicate the Andrea Doria.

That is the whole problem; without eye contact, do you know what the other person will do? If I have eye contact with the helmsman, I have fair confidence that he may come very close but that he sees me. Waving is good. I sail the Chesapeake, and many come quite close.

On the other hand, I had an episode last year that was too close. I was full-and-by at about 9+ knots on starboard (light catamaran) and a large (60') well-trimmed mono was doing the same speed on port. We were closing very fast and the bearing had not changed in several minutes. As we got close (10 of my lengths but only about 20 seconds), he apeared to bear-off, but it was only a wind shift. Just as we got into the critical zone, the wind shifted back so that he would cross somewhere behind my mast. I had zero eye contact, because the boat had a large sweaper. If I tacked away, I would loose right of way and stearage and would probably be hit on the transom (and his boat would cut mine in half). If I bore off, we would close at 20 knots and I would have to PRAY he did not see me and also bear off. The Andria Doria case. Crap.

I bore-off hard, passed him very close at nearly 25 knots combined (quick acceleration on a reach), and scared his useless girlfriend so much she fell off her seat (she was facing aft). The skipper jumped all over the place, startled because he NEVER saw me. I loudly suggested that if he couln't keep a bow watch he should stay at the dock.

Since my boat weighed 1200 pounds to his 50,000 pounds, and given the speed, someone would have been hurt or worse. I would have sunk in moments.

It is all about eye contact. If you can see each other, it can be safe very close. Without eye contact with the skipper or and ACTIVE crew member, you can only give wide bearth and hope there are not too many other boats around to crowd things.

Though bearing off was the only choise I had at the last moment, it was wrong in a number of important ways and it scared the hell out of me. I should have realized the boat was without a watch and would not react predictably.
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  #14  
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That's what I teach too. Danger signal's for everyone, maneuvering signals (other than overtaking signal) are for power-driven vessels.

But I might give one blast to a "no looking" port tacker, just to get his attention. As he gets close and I'm unsure of his intentions, then danger signal, and just before you get to where any action on his part will be too late, bail the hell out of there. But regarding sound signals, you're sort of downwind from him, and the sound travels poorly, so no substitute for a good lookout, *especially when you're on port*!
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Old 05-14-2010
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Yes - 34 (a) applies to power-driven vessels. 34(d), the five or more rule applies to all vessels.

Note to self - be specific.

I spend virtually no time in US inland waters, but I should probably know them, in case. The Canadian Modifications are tougher to understand - so I am focusing on them.

I have read little discussion of altering speed, by easing sails or luffing up, as a means of avoiding collisions.
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Last edited by jackdale; 05-14-2010 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 05-14-2010
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A couple summers ago we had a really big sailboat with red sails and an intimidating bow sprit closing in on us. We were a couple miles from land with no one else around, and both had plenty of time to maneuver in the light air. My husband was getting nervous -- did I mention the scary bow sprit? I told him it was ok, and we should hold our course because we were the stand-on vessel. The other sailboat changed course slightly when just a few boat lengths away to duck behind us, passing about a boat length away. Friendly waves all around. Too bad I didn't have my camera.

Puma I trusted that racers know and follow the rules, even when they're just out for a practice sail. Otherwise I might have been nervous too.
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Old 05-14-2010
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In a race I stand on or bear off depending on the rules. Cruising or day sailing I don't let anyone get within 10 lengths unless they are flashing a blue light at me.
I'd rather change course when they are half a mile away than play games on right of way.
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Old 05-14-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRPollard View Post
I think our tolerance for proximity might be somewhat situational, based on where we sail.
I will second that. Where I used to sail (large reservoir) passing within one boat length was standard. Boats that would pass 5 boat lengths away would often alter course to pass closer to say hello.

When I moved to Galveston Bay it took me a while to realize that people down here generally do not come within 10 boat lengths of each other. I was that ass for a while until I realized what a giant cushion people normally leave here.
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I ususally try to judge closing speed and distance early and look for clues that the other guy knows that I am here. Depending on my mood, if I am on starboard, I will give 5 blasts, hail "Heads-up, starboard" . When on Port, if its going to be a close pass, or just slow down and let him pass. I'll hail, "I see you, please hold your course." When on Starboard I typically steer defensively before I get to a point where there are no more defensive moves to make. When I do take defensive steps, I have no qualms about passing very close astern of another boat. Then again, I have no qualms about passing close astern even if I am on port. I generally try not to pass close ahead when I am on port and I'm not racing,

Jeff
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Old 05-14-2010
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I have no qualms about passing very close astern of another boat. Then again, I have no qualms about passing close astern even if I am on port. I generally try not to pass close ahead when I am on port and I'm not racing,

Jeff
With you there, Jeff. In our experience, you really do need to let your 'crossee' know what your intentions are. If they see you approaching at speed planning to cross astern, an uninformed panic tack could put them in your intended path..

I've even seen this with a ferry... it was planning to pass rather close by a newbie sailor - at that last minute he kind of panicked and tacked 'away' only to put himself smack in the ferry's new intended path. Didn't know that little ferry could actually stop that fast - he was lucky.
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