Unbelievable!

sunquest

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Earlier this evening I berthed at Woolverstone after negotiating a path through the single handed sailing craft swarming back and forth oblivious to a 14 metre motor boat moving to port and starboard and reversing to avoid them as I edged slowly to my allocated berth.
Later after all lines secured I watched a cargo ship coming inbound to Ipswich within the narrow channel of thr Orwell. The sailing craft from the club next door were holding a racing event judging by the crowd shoreside and number of craft involved in racing. With less than 2 to 300 metres between the incoming ship and the sailing craft the two rescue boats began shouting and gesticulating to the crews to move out of the fairway. A red flag was waved from one of the rescue boats indicating the race was stopped but still some were ignoring all requests to clear the fairway. A long blast from the cargo ship created a sense of urgency and finally the cargo ship was able to transit without any casualties.
Are sailors still oblivious to craft with restricted manoeuvrability ? The implications could have had tragic results. The organising committee should have known of the ship movements on the Orwell and timed the racing accordingly. If this is normal practice, one day there will be fatal consequences .
 

WF36

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FYI I was one of the sailors who didn't cross in front of the ship (first one behind and around the red can :p)

The red flag just tells the sailors they aren't allowed to cross between the safety RIB and the ship.

To be fair, even though the wind was sketchy to say the least, the 5 or so boats that crossed, did in adequate time.

The committee decided to postpone the race by 5 minutes which didn't help matters when it came to crossing to get around the first mark as the ship approached.
 

Habebty

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Yes, the RHYC dinghy fleet can be awkward sometimes. However, from my observations, it would seem a lot of their races are now set outside the main river channel thus aiding transitting craft. you must have caught the dash across river to the course!
Just wish the kids in Lasers were taught to wave an acknowledgment of thanks when someone gives way to them.
 

MingMong

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It sounds like you're just complaining about having to follow IRPCS. Power gives way to sail. 14m isn't particularly big, so unless your steering or propulsion had issues, I don't see why the sailors were in the wrong. You can't really expect any special treatment unless you were flying a ball-diamond-ball to say you were restricted by your ability to manoeuvre.

The red flag doesn't mean the race is abandoned, it means that competitors may not pass between the support boat flying the flag and the ship.
 
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MikeBz

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When Colchester was still a working port with coasters inbound or outbound on most tides there would be dozens of dinghies in the confines of the river during Wivenhoe and Rowhedge regattas. If a coaster came along everyone carried on racing and just kept out of the way with no dramas, even though there was often only just room to keep out of the way. A dinghy is very nimble compared to a ship and doesn't need to leave a huge amount of distance assuming the ship isn't doing 15 knots.
 

Marmalade

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It sounds like you're just complaining about having to follow IRPCS. Power gives way to sail. 14m isn't particularly big, so unless your steering or propulsion had issues, I don't see why the sailors were in the wrong. You can't really expect any special treatment unless you were flying a ball-diamond-ball to say you were restricted by your ability to manoeuvre.

The red flag doesn't mean the race is abandoned, it means that competitors may not pass between the support boat flying the flag and the ship.

You seem a bit uptight, looking for problems where there are none.

Your post had me nodding until the last line. No need for that here...
 

Tomahawk

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It scares the willies out of me when I get caught by a racing fleet whilst motoring my 12m by 6m wide tennis court. Yes they do know what they are doing, but it is still tricky to avoid problems.

When under canvas it is even worse as two up we don't tack or gybe in a hurry.
 

Colvic Watson

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Poole harbour last week I turned the corner off the town quay to be met by a pair of single scull racing rowing boats headed for my bows. Backs towards me of course and travelling at speed. I pressed the horn - new horn fitted that very day - but unfortunately I hadn't fitted it properly and it fell off the wheelhouse roof, I shouted in my best army voice, one moved away, the other turned hard toward me. Having already slowed I engaged reverse thrusters, the engine screaming "she canna take any more skipper". He finally turned round, a look of pure terror on his face. As he slid down the side I leant out of the doorway to deliver a few words on keeping a better lookout to his poor startled face. I was dimly aware as I engaged forward drive in the bus engine beneath my feet that the gentleman had recovered the power of speech, but shouting toward the rear of a tubby Colvic Watson with its skipper safely in a wheelhouse - well you're never going to get yourself heard.

I never mind negotiating fleets of dinghies, they can be a bit silly but I can't expect a 13 year old helm of a laser pico to have a clue what skipping a 12 tonne beast is like and it's my job to keep out of their way under sail or power. But rowers, they're just dumb - racing into Poole quay? Half a dozen trip boats and dozens of yachts transiting, and all with your backs to the traffic? I asked SWMBO, herself a former rower for her college and she said yes, all rowers believe they own the water.
 

WF36

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Yes, the RHYC dinghy fleet can be awkward sometimes. However, from my observations, it would seem a lot of their races are now set outside the main river channel thus aiding transitting craft. you must have caught the dash across river to the course!
Just wish the kids in Lasers were taught to wave an acknowledgment of thanks when someone gives way to them.

It was bottom of the tide which left little option than a channel course.

I wave and thank everytime :)
 

sunquest

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It sounds like you're just complaining about having to follow IRPCS. Power gives way to sail. 14m isn't particularly big, so unless your steering or propulsion had issues, I don't see why the sailors were in the wrong. You can't really expect any special treatment unless you were flying a ball-diamond-ball to say you were restricted by your ability to manoeuvre.

The red flag doesn't mean the race is abandoned, it means that competitors may not pass between the support boat flying the flag and the ship.
Thanks for the red flag clarification and others that have commented. I was not complaining having to thread through the sailing dinghies, just stating the difficulties often faced when transiting through. That's life as they say:) my main concern was the apparent lack of coordination, communication and what appeared to be lack of concern. It is an accident about to happen.
 

Athene V30

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Having in my past been responsible for handling a 20,000 ton warship in and out of port, I know small boats are more of an inconvenience than a danger. Ok warships are more maneuverable than their equivalent sized merchant ships but I expect this cargo coaster was doing no more than 6 knots and in control of the situation.

5 short and rapid blasts is the signal asking 'what are your intentions' or WAKE UP!! A short blast (1-2 seconds) mean's I am turning to starboard, if the merchant ship sounded a long blast (4-6 seconds) is just a power vessel underway in fog.
 

MikeBz

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It is an accident about to happen.

I dispute that. Hitting a low-speed ship in a dinghy is little different from hitting a wharf, you just bounce/scrape along it. Even if you managed to get square across its bow I doubt that anything worse than scraping/bumping down the side would happen (I not disputing that would be pretty damned scary). If it was an accident waiting to happen then we would have had plenty of occurrences of such accidents around our coastline in the last 40-50 years. I'm not aware of any.

I do dinghy racing and yachty cruising and always give a wave and a 'thankyou' regardless of the situation. As a dinghy racer if you insist on your (perceived or otherwise) right of way to the nth degree then you'll end up getting slowed down by dirty air and/or wash - nose/cut/face/spite etc.
 

Leighb

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The only real risk, in my experience of being involved at the club for around 30 years, is if a dinghy capsizes in the channel when a ship is coming. This happened once during a Junior Race Week, a Topper capsized and inverted, as they do, ship was some distance away, the support boat whizzed in, hauled child in and left the Topper to fend for itself. We watched it bump down the side of the ship and emerge practically unscathed astern. There were only a few minor scuffs along the gunwhale.
We have received a couple of complaints over the years from ABP where the ship's master felt that a dinghy had crossed too close ahead. In each case the dinghy was identified and the sailor "spoken to".

In answer to the OP the Race Officer does check with Ipswich Port about any prospective ship movements around the relevant period, and a watch is kept, when a ship is seen 5 blasts are sounded on the starting klaxon to warn dinghy sailors to look out, and one of the support boats will move a suitable disatnce ahead of the ship while showing a red flag. Any dinghy crossing between the red flag and the ship will be disqualified.
 

WF36

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Nice one Will. Marshalling Kids in dinghies be like herding cats sometimes, and it is easy to forget how much fun it was when I was that age! :)

The reason there was so many kids was because its "Junior Week".

Just so happened a lot of them took part in the Wednesday evening series - so not all juniors.
 

Colvic Watson

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We have received a couple of complaints over the years from ABP where the ship's master felt that a dinghy had crossed too close ahead. In each case the dinghy was identified and the sailor "spoken to".

In answer to the OP the Race Officer does check with Ipswich Port about any prospective ship movements around the relevant period, and a watch is kept, when a ship is seen 5 blasts are sounded on the starting klaxon to warn dinghy sailors to look out, and one of the support boats will move a suitable disatnce ahead of the ship while showing a red flag. Any dinghy crossing between the red flag and the ship will be disqualified.

Good system you have there and it helps young people to learn to manage risk.
 

xyachtdave

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As a sailor I must spring to the defence of our East Coast mobo brother.

I have a pretty good idea how racing works, start sequences and the physics of sailing - for example sailing to windward. When confronted with 20 kids of varying abilities tacking about in a narrow channel before a start I'd suggest it's not particulaly obvious to the non sailor what's going on!

At our cadet week at MYC the worst behaviour through the fleet was from a 50ft yacht under power - I was up for boarding the boat in question and letting the 'skipper' have it. He was already motoring at nearly double the speed limit before adding more speed to try and avoid a collision.

In contrast the large mobo's we encountered all slowed down, some stopped completely looking for a gap and were glad of an escort through the fleet. We waved thanks and everyone was happy.
 
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