Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: New Orleans
Thanked 55 Times in 52 Posts
Rep Power: 15
Re: Close Call Today
An educational scare for the students! It's good, and I bet they will never forget how and why you sounded the Danger Signal.
When we get a chance, I'll try to teach them the "does that powerboat see us? Is he even trying to? Is he even at the wheel?" practical factors:
--is his course "too steady"? Autopilot is on. Operator may not be ;-)
--is it after, say, 2pm on a Saturday or Sunday? Two chances in five the operator is tipsy (this is New Orleans after all)
--who us "up-Sun", us, or him? If he is looking into the sun, he's probably not looking (and if we are, we might not see him, this works both ways)
--is there other traffic around, closer to him? He may be looking at that, and not at you
--is he in that bow-up, wake-making "mushing" mode, between planing and slow displacement modes? If so, his blind spot ahead is bigger, and if he's going at that big-wake-poor-visibility speed near other smaller boats, he may not be the brightest bulb in the maritime-traffic chandelier to begin with
--is he monitoring Channel 16 so we could call him on our portable? Ha ha, are you kidding?
--is he upwind of us or downwind (easy to tell when we are sailing)? Upwind, he's less likely to hear those five blasts from us.
Rules of the Road are wonderful things, and keeping a proper lookout is next to Godliness, but don't count on either if you get too many "wrong" answers above about the much bigger and faster vessel closing in on you.