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  1. #61
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    Default Might is right

    John Morris,

    I feel you're putting your case a little strongly.

    Re. the Ouzo, well it's very easy to forget looking behind - I remember someone refusing to do so when we said " there's a submarine coming up behind us ! " - he thought we were joking...but I'd think the onus is on the ship to look forwards, and the law court seems to have had the same opinion; also radar is not the magic answer beloved by Hollywood.

    I've done a few tens of thousands of miles under sail myself, during which I've seen ships in the Channel go by with no-one on the bridge at all - open doors flapping each side...

    I do go by 'might is right' and take early avoiding action; the trick is to make one's course and intentions very clear, just in case someone on the ship in question is remotely interested !

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sailfree
    When crossing in front of the bows of a ship DO NOT CROSS with less than 2 mls
    A little excessive perhaps. You must wait an awfully long time to cross the Channel on busy days, and you'd probably wait forever to cross the Straits of Gibraltar.

    The container ship Emma Maersk has a beam of around 60 metres and a maximum speed of 25 knots. At 4 knots, a boat covers around 2 metres a second. Therefore, if Emma were steaming at maximum speed and you were making 4 knots, you could cross her at right angles, from clear on one of her bows to clear on the other, with her at 390 metres off as you begin.

    I'm not for a moment suggesting that beginning to cross a huge ship's bows with her 400 metres away would be a good idea. Simply pointing out how little time/distance is actually needed to cross. You allow around 3200 metres, or around 8 times this, and are moving at least 50% faster.

    Electing to change your course and/or speed at that sort of range when you are the stand on vessel, is going to make you the cause of some serious confusion and blue language on the bridges of approaching ships.

    Does your decision not to cross take anything else into account, or is it simply a flat 'No go' decision if you're going to pass ahead at <2NM?
    Last edited by Simondjuk; 25-01-12 at 23:33.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simondjuk View Post
    A little excessive perhaps. You must wait an awfully long time to cross the Channel on busy days, and you'd probably wait forever to cross the Straits of Gibraltar.

    The container ship Emma Maersk has a beam of around 60 metres and a maximum speed of 25 knots. At 4 knots, a boat covers around 2 metres a second. Therefore, if Emma were steaming at maximum speed and you were making 4 knots, you could cross her at right angles, from clear on one of her bows to clear on the other, with her at 390 metres off as you begin.

    I'm not for a moment suggesting that beginning to cross a huge ship's bows with her 400 metres away would be a good idea. Simply pointing out how little time/distance is actually needed to cross. You allow around 3200 metres, or around 8 times this, and are moving at least 50% faster.

    Electing to change your course and/or speed at that sort of range when you are the stand on vessel, is going to make you the cause of some serious confusion and blue language on the bridges of approaching ships.

    Does your decision not to cross take anything else into account, or is it simply a flat 'No go' decision if you're going to pass ahead at <2NM?
    Take the plot from the bows of a ship and if I am going to cross the line of the track <2mls we turn immediately for the stern.

    The point I am making is if I decided to cross but ship changed course and then I changed course or put on more speed you only have potentially 4 min for you both to finish your waltz and decide how you are going to miss each other.

    So the important decision is made at approx 2 mls from bow - do I cross in front and have less than 4 min safety margin or go behind. As I mentioned I rarely have to deviate at all as the ships have altered course some 5-6mls away having plotted that a yacht at 6kts was crossing at right angles to their bow. Happy to be only 200m or so off their sides or stern but not the naughty sharp pointy bit!!

  4. #64
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    The thing is, you're the one likely to be starting the waltz!

    If you make an immediate decision, how can you be sure that the situation is not already changing? As you turn to port to pass astern of a ship you should be standing on to, the ship may have initiated a turn to starboard to pass astern of you. You are now both turning to maintain a potential collision course. You need to monitor the bearing of the ship to see what, if anything, he's already up to.

    That said, it's unlikely that many OOWs would consider a CPA of 2NM worth making an adjustment for as they know they'll pass safely well ahead of you, so you're probably not exciting them too much.

    Often what looks like it's going to be close from a way off, and even shows a minimally changing bearing for some time, turns out to be a comfortable pass once you're within a mile to half a mile of one another and the angles begin to open up. If you can read the maker's name stamped into their anchor, you've probably stood on somewhat longer than prudent however.
    Last edited by Simondjuk; 26-01-12 at 00:22.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Appledore View Post
    We were on the French side of the Channel, and had been watching a ship lit up like a christmas tree, obviously some miles away to starboard. As it closed on us I decided to alter to Starboard, in very good time, to pass well clear if its Port side, and then behind it. No sooner had I done this, than the ship decided to turn to her Port, and therefore go in front of me! The distance off was still ok, so I turned to Port, and carried on with my intended course.

    I have always assumed she picked me up on Radar, and decided to alter for a sailing vessel. I wouldn't like to have had this happen in the actual TSS though!
    Good one Geoff. On radar they'd stand on (correct). On visual, if they identify you're under sail, they'll then alter course to go port (the unusual direction!) under your stern. Some will not identify you're under sail, and will stand on.

    The only way to remove this uncertainty (will they or won't they realise you're under sail?) is for:

    (a) you to alter course very early - 6nm or more - to point at the vessel
    (b) make yourself a vessel under power - engine on, cone hoisted or motoring light on, jib rolled or down.

    It makes no difference if you're in a TSS or not. This uncertainty applies to any shipping coming from starboard in any circumstances. And it is why so many yotties have more shock/horrors coming from starboard than from port.
    JimB
    http://jimbsail.info helps Skippers plan Europe Cruises

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simondjuk View Post
    The thing is, you're the one likely to be starting the waltz!

    If you make an immediate decision, how can you be sure that the situation is not already changing? As you turn to port to pass astern of a ship you should be standing on to, the ship may have initiated a turn to starboard to pass astern of you. You are now both turning to maintain a potential collision course. You need to monitor the bearing of the ship to see what, if anything, he's already up to.

    That said, it's unlikely that many OOWs would consider a CPA of 2NM worth making an adjustment for as they know they'll pass safely well ahead of you, so you're probably not exciting them too much.

    Often what looks like it's going to be close from a way off, and even shows a minimally changing bearing for some time, turns out to be a comfortable pass once you're within a mile to half a mile of one another and the angles begin to open up. If you can read the maker's name stamped into their anchor, you've probably stood on somewhat longer than prudent however.
    We beg to differ then. A distance/time limit should be determined to decide whether to go behind a potential ship. I decided that if I was crossing the bows of a ship with less than 2Nm or 4 min I make my decision what to do and go behind. With MARPA I can get the distance CPA and time to CPA so I can reduce the distance if ship is only doing say 15kts.

    I repeat that I find most ships have already made a small course alteration some 5-8Nm away - I do not believe many would leave it to 2Nm. Its only a few that insist on MIGHT is right and these I give a clear berth to!
    Last edited by Sailfree; 26-01-12 at 12:51.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sailfree View Post
    We beg to differ then. A distance/time limit should be determined to decide whether to go behind a potential ship. I decided that if I was crossing the bows of a ship with less than 2Nm or 4 min I make my decision what to do and go behind. With MARPA I can get the distance CPA and time to CPA so I can reduce the distance if ship is only doing say 15kts.

    I repeat that I find most ships have already made a small course alteration some 5-8Nm away - I do not believe many would leave it to 2Nm. Its only a few that insist on MIGHT is right and these I give a clear berth to!
    Theory is fine but in reality, all kinds of things happen. We were under sail on passage from the Scilly isles to St Peter Port one night and SWMBO woke me up saying there were big ships both sides of us, all going the same way and she needed another pair of eyes.

    On approaching the SW going shipping lane, some vessels had altered course to give way and go astern of us but the larger ones hadn't. Problem easily solved but would have been less confusing had they all held course.

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    To try to provide a definitive and correct answer to the OP's Question...

    OP should try to maintain a heading as near as practicable at right angles to the general direction of traffic when crossing TSS. (Rule 10c)

    Vessels less than 10m shall not impede safe passage of power driven vessel in TSS (rule 10j). Bill Anderson notes that this is clarified by rule 8f "a vessel must take early action to allow sufficient sea room for the safe passage of the other vessel." This does not mean that all vessels under 20m are the give way vessel in TSS, only that they should ensure that shipping has sufficient sea room. In the (admittedly few) TSS crossings I've done, sea room has never been an issue.

    Rule 15 - the vessel which has the other on her starboard side shall keep out of the way and shall avoid crossing in front of the other vessel. The first TSS lane the OP will encounter is the South Bound TSS and the OP is technically the stand on vessel and should maintain course and speed to the best of their ability whilst crossing this lane. The second TSS lane is the North Bound lane and, as I understand IRPCS, the OP should turn sufficiently (not completely) to starboard to ensure that they pass behind the stern of the other vessel. This could be combined or replaced with a temporary reduction in boat speed.

    I appreciate this is a theoretical answer, if all else fails, Rule 2 prevails!

  9. #69
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    In the situation Sailfree and Simondjuk describe, I would have thought it would be easiest to turn to starboard and slow down (or just stop) to check if the other vessel is taking avoiding action. If they are and were planning to go astern of you, then simple to carry on in the original direction. If not, then wait until they pass in front and then carry on. This way you avoid the "both turn into each other's way" syndrome

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluemoongaffer View Post
    In the situation Sailfree and Simondjuk describe, I would have thought it would be easiest to turn to starboard and slow down (or just stop) to check if the other vessel is taking avoiding action. If they are and were planning to go astern of you, then simple to carry on in the original direction. If not, then wait until they pass in front and then carry on. This way you avoid the "both turn into each other's way" syndrome
    Its one you can't win.

    The ship has been plotting you on RADAR for ages - it has your regular course and speed noted and deg say the ship has made a 1 deg deviation to pass behind you some 5 mls away - then you slow down and stop right in his new deviated path!! Ships dont turn on a sixpence and its impossible to predict a ships course until the turn is complete.

    The important part of this discussion is the yacht skippers decision as to how close to the bows can you cross and when he makes his decision. I have stated mine - say 4 min at 6kts I am some 600m off the track that a ship that is 2Nm away from me - I then decide to cross behind.

    Stopping was the factor in the Moody that was cut in half in the channel a few years back. For this reason I maintain speed do not circle or anything other than make a positive change of course when necessary that would quickly get picked up by a ships RADAR and collision avoidance software. I think its easier for ships to spot something positive and allow for it than someone dithering.

    The important bit is to miss that naughty sharp bit called the bows!!
    Last edited by Sailfree; 27-01-12 at 12:24.

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