When a ship changes course!

iangrant

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Passing through the west going shipping lane in the channel travelling north we have plenty of room to pass ahead of a fairly large freighter, we see his red, then red and green (which always seems to last forever at 5 knots) then green - safely passed - then he changes course to the north, a massive arc around us then back into the shipping lane - couldn't believe it - Anyone else seen a ship move off his course?

Ian
 
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Although I know that there have been...

..many reported instances here and on other BB's about "Inconsiderate Commercial Skippers" etc I wouldn't feel justified in joining any campaign or action group against them. I have found over the last thirty years that for the most part, whenever appropriate or practical, skippers do obey the rules. Week before last an inter-island 30knot hydrofoil altered for us off Aegina in the Saronic Gulf. Just like most though I have experienced the mavericks and the seemingly "Criminally Insane"

Steve Cronin
 

iangrant

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Re: Although I know that there have been...

We just though that the action was odd! It wasn't dangerous but certainly unexpected and confusing if not frightening for a time, seeing the nav lights changing again!! - especially as it was about 0600! All the other vessels in the "processions" just kept steaming on. I think this one rubbed his eyes, saw us at the last minute and had a minor panic attack on the bridge!
 

AndrewB

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Very odd.

We crossed over the Dover straight and back for about the 12th time this year at the weekend, all ships acting normally, as usual. Just one rogue sighted this year, plus one that had wandered inadvertently out of the lanes.

Ships will generally change course to avoid yachts crossing in the EAST going lane (travelling north): that can be seen on a radar, but is well-nigh invisible on the water since the avoiding action is taken early.

Assuming the ship was monitoring you on his radar, since you were on his port side he would have expected you to give way had it been necessary, so would not have deviated. The only explanation I could offer is that the watchkeeper may have seen, or thought he saw, a red light on your yacht and assumed that for some reason you had turned round, so were now the right-of-way vessel (arguably). Dithering by yachts in front of ships in the TSS can be a problem, and ships do occasionally have to make detours. Perhaps that is what the officer of the watch assumed.

A more likely explanation is that the avoiding action was necessary to cope with another situation invisible to you, though your presence may have complicated it.

Alternatively, the helmsman nodded off!
 

charles_reed

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commercial mariners

I would strongly disagree with Steve on this - whilst there is a cavalier attitude to yachties in third-world officered cargo vessels, I've had a number of acts of consideration from commercial vessels.

Examples - bumping through the Ouessant VTT in a NW7, had a large bulk carrier change course, unneccessarily, to pass behind and further from me, when thanked and asked about the change the (Scandinavian) officer-of-the-watch replied "The seas are big enough for a little boat without my wash adding to the problem.."
- in the channel up to Waterford a container ship alters course to give me room .."because you're a single-hander taking in his main".

I would suggest there's a lack of appreciation by many yachties of the very real constraints on the masters of modern commercial shipping.

Now when you're talking about FVs - thats another matter.
 
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Read the effing post Charles BEFORE you reply!....

I think that was what i was saying wasn't it? Ian seems to have picked it up!

Steve Cronin
 
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Re: Although I know that there have been...

Having spent many an hour on the bridge of merch's ... you have to consider what is seen from the ships whelhouse ..... A yacht thinks he's 'miles' away from the ship, the ship can't see him under the flare of the bow ... cause of the length of the vessel's deck ahead of the bridge. OK you say what about radar ... sorry even worse, as on average the yacht is lost in the sea clutter and it takes a very experienced eye sometimes to catch that blip.
The average ship will take a large swing to make sure he misses you .... he wants to see you to the side - not ahead.

And finally Ian .... if you crossed seeing Red, then Red/Green, then green - YOU were wrong to stand across his bows ! He had right of way and most likely assumed ... another boatie that can't identify an anchored dredger ! ......

There's an old saying to make the memory work .... I see Red, Cross and I'm Dead, I see Green, Cross and I'm clean ....
 

iangrant

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Re: Although I know that there have been...

We didn't stand across his bows Nigel we crossed ahead of him in the shipping lane in good time, we saw his nav lights change and were clear when he changed course! How else can you get across "the procession"?
 
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Re: Although I know that there have been...

Don't get the hump with me !!!!!
Honestly - I used to have to take coasters loaded down with Sulphuric acid through the 'procession' as you call it !!!! Let alone yachts !!

It is hard, it is also something that sorts the men from the dredgers !

I think experience is gained from all these incidents, they make us think, they make us consider from the other mans view ......

What is life but a class-room ?????

Anyway, Ian - I didn't mean to imply that you stood on under his bow ... I know you have more sense than to do that - hes bigger and harder than Jeanneau GRP !!!! I did apologise for my posting earlier !!!!!!
 

Bergman

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Re: Although I know that there have been...

Do you really mean that a powered vessel has right of way over a sailing vessel if the sailing vessel is on the powered vessel's port bow?

I must admit that is not my understanding.
 
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Re: Although I know that there have been...

Here we go again ....... Sail over Power ......

I think we should take a look at circumstances and location here chaps ! It is prudent for a Jeanneau 37 to give way to a ruddy great ship in a traffic Separation scheme .... don't you think ? Or are you the stand on guy who stands on regardless of where you are ??????
Second read Ian's original posting again !

Sorry to be a bit hard here, but having been at both ends of this sort of experience, I consider that - let the steel bugger go about his business, I have only 2 metres of keel under me to worry about .....
 
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Re: Although I know that there have been...

I apologised ... PUBLICLY !!!!!

I supppose its my round next ?

Nigel L
 

brianhumber

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Re: Although I know that there have been...

I must say I agree with Nigel, although I have not been on anything less than 16,000t, so can not comment on coaster problems, I do remember the headaches of VLCC channel transits. If we were saving bunkers and on the sea scoop any big rudder angle movement disturbed the water flow into the condensers and you blacked out and stopped.(Yes it has happened to me) Just whats wanted in a TS. The time has come to grow up and get rid of this notion steam gives way to sail.
 

iangrant

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Re: Although I know that there have been...

The point was THERE WAS NO NEED FOR THE VESSEL TO GIVE WAY - we had safely passed across his bow with about half a mile to spare, had he stood on I wouldn't be posting here - Oh and Nige, yes it's your round - home for Christmas?
 

AndrewB

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Yes. That\'s how it works.

Ships in the TSS's invariably assume that crossing yachts are proceeding under power, with or without sails, and respond accordingly in relation to right-of-way.

This is so well established that regardless of the formal rules, it would be extremely foolish of a yacht to attempt to force its right of way because it is sailing. Moreover, under IRPCS rule 10j a sailing boat "shall not impede the safe passage of a power-driven vessel following a traffic lane".

At very least you can expect a complaint to the area CG if a ship is obliged to take last minute avoiding action.

Incidentally, it is wise to remember that radar is the primary means of watchkeeping on most ships, and on a radar screen yachts and motor boats are indistinguishable. That is not to say they don't also keep visual watch, but by the time they are close enough to see that you are indeed sailing - no triangle displayed - you are definitely going to be in a situation where rule 10j applies.
 

Bergman

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Re: Although I know that there have been...

I don't dispute the sense of it at all. But I can't help feeling that it would be better if the regulations made the position clear.

What about a ship approaching from the port side, will he give way assuming you are a power vessel or will he assume he has right of way because to divert for you would mean you were obstructing him in a separation scheme?

Do the rules, or more precisely the interpretation of the rules, change when the scheme ends, even though the "procession" continues.

I sail in the North Sea and don't have much to do with these schemes, the nearest to me is off the Dutch coast.

I'm not the "stand on regardless" type. I sail almost exclusively with wife and children so don't go in for risks at all if I can avoid them. My usual tactic in complicated situations is to heave to and let the big fellers get on with it, but I can see where people would have trouble with this one, especially someone like me who does not sail in the Channel on a regular basis.
 

iangrant

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Re: Although I know that there have been...

If you heave to to let the big fella's go then you would still be waiting - the channel is just so busy, I had to go for a gap, getting as close to the stern of the vessel passing (looking into the whites of his eyes, listening to his prop splash) 90 degree dash across the procession!

Ian
 
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