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Azteca has a little brush with the bridge in St.Maarten

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by psdo, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I've been to Simpson Bay and am familiar with the bridge and bridge schedule. 10 feet to spare is enough clearance to get through without incident. On a yacht that size, wind has very little to do with maneuvering compared to current. Wind usually has little effect, and current has a great amount of effect. It looks like he's going through at about 6 knots. Hitting the bridge on both sides of the yacht is a bit much.

    To me it seems like you could creep through at 2 knots and stand on the bow thruster and split the engines to move the boat sideways if needed to. Just like maneuvering in a tight marina. I have never run anything that big or nearly that big. But the yachts I've run over 100'-146' were very manueverable creeping at 2 knots, and adjusting postion with the bow thruster or engines, even with a lot of current provided it wasn't on the beam which it isn't at that bridge.

    just my 2 cents.
  2. colintraveller

    colintraveller Senior Member

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    Was there harbour pilot on board ??


    Surely if these accidents are becoming pretty common then surely that entrance needs widen , yet here in the UK road bridges have height restrictions signage .. i reckon that harbour will put width restrctions in place instead of spending money getting the entrance widened
  3. Justus

    Justus Guest

    For me it seems that there was much space
    on the left side.
  4. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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    On yachts in the Caribbean? Nope, hardly ever.


    That bridge has been a bloody menace for years, it needs a complete rethink.
  5. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    I saw the boat a couple of days after. The majority of the damage was on the port side. The video looks as if the primary impact was on the port side and then the entire boat bounced to starboard before impacting that side.

    For all the armchair captains- this bridge can be difficult in even the calmest of winds. There is a cross current as well as a slight dogleg just outside the bridge.
  6. nilo

    nilo Senior Member

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    pulling effect of walls

    one has to take into consideration that in such close proximity to the walls with such a long boat there could be a pulling effect of the walls. in fact the yacht seems to hit the side wall towards the aft, which may be partly due to this effect. i have experienced this phenomena in the locks in netherlands and it was quite difficult to get out of it.
  7. Yacht News

    Yacht News YF News Editor

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    RE Pilotage on yachts in the Caribbean ...it is not as regular that a pilot boards a yacht like say as it being mandatory with other commercial or naval traffic. Here in Barbados at the main port, usually yachts traverse the harbour without a pilot although, I have seen the very large yachts arriving here for the first time and taking Pilot but after that they don't. "Eclipse", "Al Mirqab" etc all took pilot on their first trip.
  8. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    6 knots is just over 10 feet per second, watch the timer on the video and guess again.
  9. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I just don't get the port side damage (assuming what's reported here to be correct) although I could understand it happening with that cross wind to port. The captain is running from the stbd wing station, apparantly with the intention to hug that wall, and he seems to stay on it. That should leave close to 10' of clearance on the port side. Wish the video kept going as they turned. Can anybody tell where on the port side it hit? From the video it looks like the captain handled it exactly right and was done in by a deckhand who didn't position that one fender low enough.
  10. Yachtjocky

    Yachtjocky Senior Member

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    Might have been a good idea for the captain to check the position of the fenders before attempting a narrow opening instead of blaming the deck hand and as for the Captain who has "been to Simpson Bay" but does not know if he is coming or going, may as well let the engineer take a shot the next time :cool:
  11. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    The responsibility lands, without doubt, on the captain, but he can't be everywhere. He teaches the deckhand, and tells them what he wants done, but he has to depend on them doing their jobs right as well. That's deligating. Only one fender got pushed up out of position (although others came close). The captain has explaining to do for the boss, but the deckhand has explaining to do for the captain.
  12. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    Yup, if it was easy, the engineers would be doing it...:D
  13. C4ENG

    C4ENG Senior Member

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    I talked to the bridge engineer and asked why the vessels crash there including the Azteca. The reason was simple as he watches the vessels make the mistakes all the time. I was told that if you come through the bridge with the rudder at any angle other than 0 degrees, you run the risk of getting coch-eyed and unable to re correct yourself, over correcting yourself and you will crab through the bridge possibly hitting.
    He told me Limitless does it right. They line up the boat with the bridge entrance and shoot through like a bow and arrow... No fenders, No rudder, NO BOW THRUSTER. Straight through.

    Attached Files:

  14. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    We have several bascule bridges on LI's south shore, and I've seen many boats screw up. I always advise my people to forget the sides of the bridge and forget the mouth of the opening. Line yourself up on the split in the deck (or in this single deck case it would be the deck itself) to get a straight line in. Looking elsewhere tends to lead you in on an angle, then you're drawn into the sides crabbing as you try to re-center yourself too late. I'm still waiting for someone to say what happened on the port side, because it looks like this captain did everything right from this camera angle. The boat looks to be straight, and is hugging the upwind side which is where the captain is steering from. He has to gauge everything from that side only, once he determines he'll fit.
  15. sagharborskip

    sagharborskip Senior Member

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    And again...

    Just had dinner w/ a friend who showed me the video he took of Azteca LEAVING St. Martin...not pretty. Hit the bridge AGAIN.

    Friend says easy $500,000 damage (he's skippered several 100'+ boats) and can almost guarantee that was last visit to St. Martin for Azteca.
  16. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Twice? Or possibly the last visit to St. Martin for Azteca with that Captain.
  17. German Yachting

    German Yachting Senior Member

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    Can he post the video?
  18. Yacht News

    Yacht News YF News Editor

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    Aww man! Again?
  19. sagharborskip

    sagharborskip Senior Member

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    He might be reluctant to post the video, but trust me, I watched it 2 nights ago and it's worse than the first one.

    This time exiting the lagoon. After the first mishap, way too tentative (and who wouldn't be?) trying to crab his way through instead of shooting the rapids.

    Guaranteed no more Azteca in St. Martin!
  20. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Not sure if that falls under "No guts; no glory" or "he who hesitates is lost", but I'm kind of surprised that they wouldn't hire a local captain to pilot them back through, all things considered. Bet there's a bunch of CV's heading for that boat.