Captain Cool almost becomes Captain Crunch.... - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 22 Old 07-03-2012 Thread Starter
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Captain Cool almost becomes Captain Crunch....

Last weekend - on the first day of a 10-day cruise - the wind was blowing a modest 12 knots or so. We were on a close reach on a starboard tack. We watched as a similar-sized boat ran close-hauled on a port tack headed towards us.
There was plenty of sea-room between us.
My wife suggested that we maneuver a bit to stay clear. "We are the stand-on vessel here." say I. "It's best if we maintain our course and speed so the guy knows what to expect from us."
The boats converged.
"That boat is getting a little close. Shouldn't we change our course?", suggested my wife in a slightly panicked tone.
"Don't worry about it." I condescended. "The guy is probably a racer and wants to cut tight behind our transom."
By the time I realized that the other skipper hadn't seen us, his boat was bearing down on my port side. I had left myself with a very slim chance of avoiding a nasty collision.
With about three boat-lengths to spare my wife and I let out loud shouts. A head poked around the edge of the on-coming jib.
Luckily we both headed up and and stopped our boats within about a boat-length of each other. If one of us had bore off the results would have been disastrous.
I shouted a few choice words at the other skipper, he hollered back a sincere apology and we were on our way.
After the pulses had settled I thought about the near-miss. It was brought about by sheer stupidity and arrogance on my part. Sure the guy should have been more aware of his surroundings, but I was fully aware. I had been watching his approach with tons of time to avoid the crash. Instead I adamantly stuck to my 'right of way' and almost created a situation that would have certainly done significant damage to both of our boats and, most likely, caused serious injury aboard both of the vessels.
It was definitely a wake up call!
To my wife's credit she never said, "I told you so." but in this case, as in many others, she is absolutely entitled to.
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Visualize the vastness of the oceans; the infinity of the heavens; the fickleness of the wind; the artistry of the craft and the frailty of the sailor. The oneness that may be achieved through the harmony of these things may lead one to enlightenment. - Flying Welshman

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post #2 of 22 Old 07-03-2012
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Re: Captain Cool almost becomes Captain Crunch....

Al's well that ends well.
It can be a bit of a puzzle because if you change course you could actually confuse the other guy.
The best defense if probably to not allow anyone to come even remotely close enough to cause any concern.
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post #3 of 22 Old 07-04-2012
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Re: Captain Cool almost becomes Captain Crunch....

The "stand to" vessel in many cases is the one on which the skipper has his head up and locked.


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post #4 of 22 Old 07-04-2012
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Question Re: Captain Cool almost becomes Captain Crunch....

it was 30,00am and my watch it was blowing a hoollee coming across the bay of biscay and we were taking a battering and so my watch over, i went below for a well earned cup od tea when a head stuck itself arornd the hatch , tony come up and have a look at this please. our running light were on and by now the waves were about 5 meters and behind us in the distance was a tanker of some kind, it got closer as i called her up on channel sixteen , no answer , right put on all the deck lights, still it got closer by now we could pick out the bridge, this damn thing was to close, i went below returning with twi parachute flares, the watch looked on in amazment as i shot it at the bridge windows,it hit and then bounced over the bridge , i waited there was no movement from the ship, the next flare hit the bridge windows then landed on the deck still burning, that got results they sheared off leaving us in peace. there was no a.i.s. on the vessel, as she past us tem minites later i noticed that she was a gas tanker, if she had blown then she would have taken us with her but its better than getting run down , they were sleeping on watch , the moral of this story is dont think because you can see them , they can see you and never be scared to shoot the buggers to wake them up
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post #5 of 22 Old 07-04-2012
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Re: Captain Cool almost becomes Captain Crunch....

A case of being right and having a smashed in boat or being vigilant and avoiding the mess.

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post #6 of 22 Old 07-04-2012
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Re: Captain Cool almost becomes Captain Crunch....

Capt Cool
First off I'm glad that all concerned are ok and that a collision was avoided. How ever I would like to state that IF it had turned bad because you had held your ground as the Stand-on Vessel that you would have been at fault for violating rule 17 that says once you as the stand on vessel is apparent that the give way vessel is not giving way then you must take immediate and appropriate action to avoid a collision. This is the same for both International and Inland rules.
TonyThe Boat; I have to agree with you. There is nothing quite as scary especially at night than the situation that you described. Nice job done . have had simular where you know that they are sleeping or down eating dinner, or whatever and you can't hail them.
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post #7 of 22 Old 07-04-2012
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Re: Captain Cool almost becomes Captain Crunch....

I think you did the right thing, you just held on a little too long.

You also don't need to wait to the last second and give 5 blasts. You can use your horn to negotiate a port-to-port (1 short) or stbd-to-stbd (2 short) passage well in advance. That would have got the skipper to peek out from behind his jib, even if he didn't know what the horn signal was about.

Hey, at least the guy apologized.

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post #8 of 22 Old 07-04-2012
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Re: Captain Cool almost becomes Captain Crunch....

If you wanted to hold your course you should have hailed "starboard" to the guy when there was enough distance for him to still avoid you. Most likely he would have responded the situation disappear. If he did not, your safe escape was to tack, your tacking away takes you out of the crossing in a manner that removes all risk.

As observed above, your failure to take appropriate avoidance action is as much a violation of the rules as his failure to give way...two wrongs dont make a right.

As to Tonytheboat's story, that has to be complete baloney, both in that the circumstances are fanciful (close enough to hit with a flare, yet not taking avoiding action to save his life???..) and too stupid to be considered as truthful. several regards...
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post #9 of 22 Old 07-04-2012
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Re: Captain Cool almost becomes Captain Crunch....

Pretty good shooting to hit the bridge windows, twice, while the tanker is over ten minutes away and you're bouncing around in 5 meter seas........
In case anyone seriously thinks firing flares AT a gas tanker (or any other vessel) is an appropriate way to get their attention, it's NOT.

Flying- I always admire someone that posts a "learning experience" here, knowing full well what to expect. I often get into similar situations as you and it's pretty obvious that not many boaters know the rules. You were correct to hold your course and speed, at the time you and your wife became a bit concerned sounding the danger signal would probably have solved the problem, and if that didn't wake someone up it would have been time to change course. Funny how sometimes you just "know" the other boat is aware of you and they'll be changing course "any minute now", and how quickly that turns into an "Oh Shi$" situation:-)) Thanks for posting.
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post #10 of 22 Old 07-04-2012
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Re: Captain Cool almost becomes Captain Crunch....

One of my favorites...

This is a story of John O'Day
Who died maintaining his right of way
He was right, dead right, as he sailed along
But he's just as dead as if he were wrong.

Thanks for sharing that story!
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