Fastnet Race and Traffic Separation Zones Query

savageseadog

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I noticed that the rhumb line courses for the Fastnet race pass obliquely over two traffic separation areas, one at Land End and one S of the Fastnet itself. Are these adhered to by competitors? The temptation must be great. Is a blind eye turned? Is there a dispensation? I'll guarantee contributor's anonymity.
 

Quandary

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I suspect not, so why have there not been a series of horrifying collisions over the years.
The yachting journalists that come up here for a week or two and then write a pilot guide to the area are always at pains to empasize the hazards of the traffic separation scheme between Kintyre and Antrim that they notice on their chart, yet having passed by or through it regularly over the years in daylight and darkness I am certain that it sees far less ship movements than the Larne Stranraer ferry route. You can usually see to the opposite coast for hours and it is a big event if you spot one ship in the far distance.
 

GruffT

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With the proliferation of AIS on the offshore fleet (and the tracks you leave) you'd be a little foolish to mess with IRPCAS. Protest on a plate that one (R2,3 Part 2 preamble and really an R69). I've always obeyed TSS regs to the letter...
 

dt4134

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With the proliferation of AIS on the offshore fleet (and the tracks you leave) you'd be a little foolish to mess with IRPCAS. Protest on a plate that one (R2,3 Part 2 preamble and really an R69). I've always obeyed TSS regs to the letter...

Get the rest of the fleet disqualified and you could win!


To be honest I don't know why RORC don't add an extra couple of marks to the course to avoid the issue completely.
 

GruffT

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Get the rest of the fleet disqualified and you could win!
Them's de rules. If I break them I expect to take my punishment honorably (preferable) or be protested. Kind of the game.

To be honest I don't know why RORC don't add an extra couple of marks to the course to avoid the issue completely.
I think offshore is a bit like rallying - dealing with the passage safely and keeping crew and boat in one piece is the baseline. Doing it quickly is what makes it all the more fun.
If crossing the TSS legally is quick - go for it, if it's not, don't. No issue and no-one's forcing you in there.
 

dt4134

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I think offshore is a bit like rallying - dealing with the passage safely and keeping crew and boat in one piece is the baseline. Doing it quickly is what makes it all the more fun.
If crossing the TSS legally is quick - go for it, if it's not, don't. No issue and no-one's forcing you in there.

Maybe, but you're putting a lot of temptation in the way of the crews, and I've never heard of anyone being protested for it. Of course that could be because no one has ever done it :)

It's not a particularly busy TSS like the English Channel TSSes where there is a genuine safety issue, so it is unlikely someone pushing the rules a lot would be putting the vessel in danger provided they keep a good lookout.
 

bedouin

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Get the rest of the fleet disqualified and you could win!


To be honest I don't know why RORC don't add an extra couple of marks to the course to avoid the issue completely.

I'm pretty sure when I did it that there was an additional waypoint near Fastnet that helped to avoid the TSS there.
 

marklucas

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The law is the law

And yes Grant Dalton, no less did get fined £20,000 a few years ago for going up the Dover TSS the wrong way.

However, how likely do you think it is that you will be on the rhumb line - I'd take a punt at less than 50% of the fleet will manage it!
 

flaming

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Maybe, but you're putting a lot of temptation in the way of the crews, and I've never heard of anyone being protested for it. Of course that could be because no one has ever done it :)

Not the Fastnet, but I have attempted to file such a protest against basically the whole fleet for going through the TSS off Alderny. We were in a big group of 20 odd boats approaching the TSS, and were the only ones who bore off and avoided entering the TSS.

Cherbourg traffic were calling named boats (presumably getting details off AIS) and shouting at them that they were going the wrong way up the east bound lane. Absolutely insane behaviour. Not one boat replied.

However, the RRS make it clear that this is not a rule that can be protested by another competitor, and the race committee may file based on information received.
The race committee decided that a letter to all the competitors would be sufficient.

My respect for that organisation (not RORC btw) took a battering.
 

dt4134

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However, the RRS make it clear that this is not a rule that can be protested by another competitor, and the race committee may file based on information received.
The race committee decided that a letter to all the competitors would be sufficient.

Was that pre-2009? IIRC, the 2005-2008 rules prevented another boat protesting under the IRPCS (preamble to Part II, again IIRC) but the 2009-2012 rules re-instated it.
 

GruffT

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Was that pre-2009? IIRC, the 2005-2008 rules prevented another boat protesting under the IRPCS (preamble to Part II, again IIRC) but the 2009-2012 rules re-instated it.

<bore-alert>
Bored on a flight so I looked it up.

60.1(a) A boat may protest another boat, but not for an alleged breach of a rule of Part 2 unless she was involved in or saw the incident....
Brings up an interesting question of what constitutes "saw"... Mk1 eyeball, radar, ais, tracker (ie yellowbrick...). Thoughts?

60.2(a) allows the Race Committee to protest the boat but not on a report from an interested party

However, under 69.1(a) the RC can still bring the protest on info from any source. I'd imagine endangering shipping or having Cherbourg traffic on the horn would teeter on the edge of R69esq behavior.
</bore-alert>
 

flaming

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Was that pre-2009? IIRC, the 2005-2008 rules prevented another boat protesting under the IRPCS (preamble to Part II, again IIRC) but the 2009-2012 rules re-instated it.

Yes it was - 2008 I think. Have to say the re-introduction of that rule had slipped my notice! I'll have to have a re-read...

The race in question actually had trackers though, and the nice online software showed us taking a dive South to miss the TSS, and the bulk of the fleet standing straight on, heading West in the East bound lane. So it wasn't exactly a "he said/she said" type of incident!

Yet the committee decided a general letter to all competitors reminding them of their obligations would suffice.

Staggering.
 

dt4134

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It is, given that the offence is actually a criminal one. A number of skippers have been heavily fined for doing the same thing off Dover.

I'd heard of one being very heavily fined, but the Dover TSS is very heavily used by commercial shipping and very closely monitored by the coastguard.

I'd have thought the same would apply to the Off Casquets TSS too, but Flaming's experience is that no one was punished.

Many TSSes are more out of the way with much less shipping and with little or no monitoring. The temptation is strong. The difference between well-sailed boats is very small and if one has to sail a longer course than the others it is really disadvantaged. Seeing other boats getting away with it is only going to increase the temptation. On top of that there's the question of how far you stretch rule 10 whilst still being 'legal'. That is going to differ between boats so will give chancers an advantage over the others.

I still think it is down to the race committe to resolve the issue by adding an extra mark to the course to make sure the TSS is avoided or adding something in the sailing instructions to make it an obstruction. I've certainly taken part in races where the SIs are clear that entering the buoyed shipping channel during a race would be grounds for disqualification.
 
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I recall one Fastnet Race not so very long ago where one of the crew members told me, on the way back, he'd had a lengthy mobile phone conversation with his girlfriend while in signal-range around the Rock. He imparted to me some very up-to-date weather forecast info which he told me his g/f had gleaned and relayed 'by prior arrangement' with a met service. This was specifically embargoed both in the Sailing Directions and at the Skipper's Briefing.

Some while later I mentioned this to the owner/skipper and again when he brought around the Declaration to be signed. He then told me that, as I had not witnessed the infraction, I could 'legitimately' sign the document. Further, said crew member had not been at the Skippers' Briefing and 'wasn't to know any better'.

I didn't sign.

Some two months later, I spoke to one of the famous organisation's permanent race staff about this, and s/he told me that the Declaration apparently bore my signature, and s/he wasn't about to query it.

That was the last time I participated in a race organised by that organisation, or set foot on that boat.

:eek:
 
T

timbartlett

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... The yachting journalists that come up here for a week or two and then write a pilot guide to the area are always at pains to empasize the hazards of the traffic separation scheme between Kintyre and Antrim that they notice on their chart...
Would all these yachting journalists who beat such a well-worn path up to Kintyre be members of Clyde Cruising Club? Or are they many different incarnations of Martin Lawrence?

Because I'm struggling to think of any other West Coast of Scotland Pilots :D
 

Quandary

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No, I am not referring to Martin Lawrence, he is here already and has certainly spent more than a week exploring, more to yachting journos who write for magazines, guys like Ken Endean?
 

Ubergeekian

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I suspect not, so why have there not been a series of horrifying collisions over the years.
The yachting journalists that come up here for a week or two and then write a pilot guide to the area are always at pains to empasize the hazards of the traffic separation scheme between Kintyre and Antrim that they notice on their chart, yet having passed by or through it regularly over the years in daylight and darkness I am certain that it sees far less ship movements than the Larne Stranraer ferry route. You can usually see to the opposite coast for hours and it is a big event if you spot one ship in the far distance.

Indeed. That traffic separation zone seems a little odd to me - I have never seen a ship in it. Perhaps it's for submerged stuff?
 

Ubergeekian

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With the proliferation of AIS on the offshore fleet (and the tracks you leave) you'd be a little foolish to mess with IRPCAS. Protest on a plate that one (R2,3 Part 2 preamble and really an R69). I've always obeyed TSS regs to the letter...

All gliders in competitions have to carry GPS loggers and any illegal use of restricted airspace is penalised by automatic disqualification. Something similar should be pretty easy to arrange for racing yachts.

Didn't someone recently post some tracks showing how little a racing fleet bothered about the TSS past Gibraltar?
 
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