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Running on autopilot, no look-out?

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Norseman, Apr 24, 2016.

  1. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    I could fill an entire forum with posts of encounters with vessels who's operators were not paying attention ...if I bothered to remember them. I have to wonder how much sea time the OP has for this to have been such a traumatic experience.

    Personally, in open waters I practice avoidance. I don't give a **** about being in the right. That's of no comfort to me in the case of a collision.
  2. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    Probably a Drama-Queen, but I would have been pissed as well, although I would have steered away much earlier instead of waiting to the last minute.
    Doubt I would have posted about it, but he was looking for sympathy and the other sailboater's did not cut him much slack: Same reaction as here: Steer away, you are responsible for your own safety, don't relay on some sleepy Yacht Captain to keep you alive..
  3. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    There ya go..
  4. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    If there's an emergency, bring the boat to neutral (if it's not too rough to do so.) If not, look at your radar and bring the vessel to dead idle. However, this situation would be rare as there should have been other crew on the power vessel.

    I agree the Sailboat should (and did alter course) have altered course quicker, but that's not as easy to do if you're in full sail and have to start engines to alter course enough to miss the power boat. But sounds like he did miss the power boat.
  5. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    I am assuming this is a typical Azimut with a bridge helm and a lower helm. If that's the case, did the captain also check the lower helm thru those nice dark windows?
  6. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    Aye Capt. J.
    Fairly easy to get out of the way on a sailboat if some mega yacht are coming up your arse at 20 knots.
    (If you have to: let go the jib-sheet and the main sheet, 10 seconds max if you are sober)
    The above magic will de-power the sails, Steer away and let the momentum take you 90 degrees off course while you are fiddling with the engine start button. Another 10 seconds and the diesel is running and ready to be engaged to the tranny.
    No doubt this sailboat guy feared for his life as he was thought the Rules of The Road meant he was in the Right and he did not have to do sh!t except ***** until the last moment.

    Lots of boaters, usually newbies, think there is a Right of Way, like on the road. They did not read the whole book: Both parties are responsible to collision.

    Many folks think sailboats have the Right of Way over powerboats, hence they stand on and try to force the powerboat to alter course.
    (The powerboat of course could be a Supertanker or a 1000' Container Ship unable to maneuver on short notice)

    As Olderboater said, defensive driving and staying alive. I always go by the rule of Might is Right: I was the newbie trucker driving 100,000 lbs semis on snowy roads in Norway: Please stay out of my way, I can't stop even if I want to... Please get out of my way :((
  7. 61c40

    61c40 Member

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    Lets change the sailboater to two old guys or a couple of kids in a fishing boat that is running under partial power (overheat ,fuel issue,water leak,) 15 minutes of not looking behind you shouldn't be a death sentence the Azimut captain or any operator of any vessel that is only 3 t0 10 times bigger . not a supertanker or even a regular sized freighter is a serious danger to the marine industry if they think that they have the right of weight and its up to the smaller vessels to stay out of the way . A couple of years ago a married couple (friends) were anchored a mile off shore here on Lake michigan and were run over by a boat on autopilot with the intoxicated operator not paying attention luckily they both survived with minor injury by bailing out just as they were hit at 40+mph. Any body who wants to talk the talk of a captain should walk the walk of a captain!
  8. saltysenior

    saltysenior Senior Member

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    I can not believe folks jumping on the blowboater to get out of the way.....did someone change the rules since i retired???
  9. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Which direction should the 4kt. to 7kt. snailboat have turned that wouldn't have him causing a collision in the moments it would take the Azimut to cover the 200 yards if her helmsman suddenly woke up and took evasivive action?
    "Where one of two vessels is to keep out of the way the other vessel shall keep her course and speed."
    Some times a snail just has to hope that God or the idiot wakes up.
  10. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Yes, I feel the same. Kind of hard for a sailboat to get out of the way of a motoryacht doing 20 or 25 knots. At 20 knots, the Azimut is covering a mile of ground in 3 minutes, not to mention most autopilots don't keep you exactly on course the entire time either.....At 6 knots the sailboat, in the same 3 minutes the sailboat can only move .25 NM in one direction or the other......

    In a meeting situation, the gap between the two boats could be closing 1 NM every 2 minutes.....
  11. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    Both parties are responsible for avoiding a collision.
    When the first radio call went un-answered, I would have turned my sailboat 90 degrees off course instead of yelling on the radio and blowing the horn.
    I would also have been pizzed off and would have told the Yacht Captain what he should do with himself on 68 after the fact, but again, turning away as the first course of action to stay safe would be the prudent move in my book.
    (I spent 37 years flying airplanes, same rules, do whatever it takes to avoid a collision. Maybe I am paranoid :cool:)
  12. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

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    If you are going to quote a rule, don't just cherry pick the part you like.

    (ii) The latter vessel may however take action to avoid collision by her maneuver alone, as soon as it becomes apparent to her that the vessel required to keep out of the way is not taking appropriate action in compliance with these Rules.
  13. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    Interesting to see the adversarial outlooks betwixt stinkpots and blowboaters which is not new news.
    There are morons in both groups--I belong to both.
    I agree with others here that, when discretion is the better part of valor, check your ego at the door and take appropriate actions.
  14. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    Double Moron?

    :D

    (Sorry, could not resist.)
  15. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    Both sailboater and stinkpotter.
    The moron part? Guilty on all counts, yer honor.
  16. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    Me too, or so I have been told.
  17. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Yes. I did not put it that way, but all were at fault.
    The end result was the snailbote did move and avoided the collision. The only problem was the drama explained that could of been avoided with a small course adjustment a minute earlier.
    The Megayacht operator would of still been an asp hole and another hysterical whining story avoided.

    A thought, a super tanker bearing down at ocean speed. You gona whine when you get out of his way?

    Come on ladies, your relying on some paper rule or somebody else to keep you alive? Math or some 30 second rule? Some grace that will protect you? Your mind should already be thinking about WHAT IF any time a vessel is detected.

    As in my biography movie, these rules are just guidelines anyway.:rolleyes:
  18. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    An other thought, a super tanker bearing down at ocean speed. You gonna whine when you get out of his way?
    SFBs.
  19. saltysenior

    saltysenior Senior Member

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    What if the blowboat was at anchor....what if he was in a rowboat.....what if it was the old man and the sea........the power boat was 99.9 at fault for not maintaining a lookout, and would be hung in a court of law if any damage or injuries occurred ......and yes, if it happened to me in my skiff I would cuss,whine,and also put the aholes boat's name on every website on the internet...
  20. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

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    During my days as an commercial skipper on one of my fathers ships, our RADAR equipment was pretty standard and ARPA and AIS did not exist. Plus GPS and Navplotter were a thing of the future. I remember days, when I had to send an additional outlook to the bow.

    Todays modern and up to class merchant ships and even more cruise liners have not only all of the above equipment, they have additional broadband short range, highres radars (like the Simrad G4) mounted as low as possible on the bow, plus multispectral and ground stabilized video systems on the forward mast, consisting of FLIR camera, low light camera and high def colour video, all which can be locked onto an ARPA target and tracked while the radar continues to scan (track while scan, like the modern fighters have). They will see a small boats or even a person in the water, pretty far out, if......

    The problem is not the equipment, it is the monkey on the controls. It is very common on especially ships from some countries in Asia or former Easter countrys to have lets say less than qualified personel on watch and these may even be drunken.

    But here in Europe (North and South) it is not the big merchant ship, that would worry me on my sail boat, it would be the stupid leasure boater with his 2000 HP planning boat and all that modern elektronic mentioned above. This spare time skipper will rely on his expensive equipment and will have his toy run at 20 Kts with nobody on the wheel, while he is downstair playing with somebody else.

    One common accident over here is a powerboat hitting a buoy or any other fixed navaid, because it was typed into the navplotter with its coordinates and the boat followed exactly that route on autopilot.

    Good old saying (counts for seaman and airman :)), Throttle forward, Brain backwards. This is not an behaviour somebody would expect from a PROFESSIONAL. Btw. the same counts for some sailors, when the mainsheet gets tightened.

    And for my friend Norseman: "Seamanship is Airmanship at 10 Kts" :D.