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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Medway, Gillingham Reach
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    1,061

    Default East Anglia Windfarm Guardboat

    Just a rant.

    I left from the Orwell in early June to head to Den Helder and of course ran into the East Anglia windfarm. I was somewhat annoyed with the guardboat 'Driffa' which insisted in shepherding me so that I was at least a mile off at all times, whereas in his 'Securite' messages he asked us only t give it 500 metres clearance. But I complied.

    On my way back 2 months later just after dawn while I was 5 miles out, I called 'Driffa' and asked if he could give me the coordinates of the northern cardinal buoys so that I would have a point to aim for. All he could tell me was that I was to leave the Cardinal Buoys with 500 metres clearance. I repeatedly asked for lat and long and he just replied to give them 500 metres clearance. I remarked that I could not at 5 miles see the cardinal markers and could he give me the position. I felt that he had no idea of the position of the cardinal buoys and did not understand the concept of lat and long.

    The Dutch guardboat 'Aurelia' for the cable layer however was very professionsal and used the lat and long in his 'securite' message so I could give the exposed cable good clearance without the bother of calling him up.

    I am not sure whoever employs these guardboats gives much thought to their knowledge of navigation.
    John Apps

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    West Mersea
    Posts
    6,410

    Default Re: East Anglia Windfarm Guardboat

    I am not sure I would want to comment. Given that the Drifa has been out there for a year, I suspect that a severe state of ennui has set in. But, in case, here are the lat and longs

    North Cardinal NNW EA1 VQ at 52° 19´·49N., 2° 29´·58E.
    North Cardinal NORTH EA1 Q at 52° 19´·97N., 2° 33´·52E.
    East Cardinal NNE EA1 Q(3)10s at 52° 18´·55N., 2° 34´·59E.
    Special EA1 ALPHA Fl.Y.5s at 52° 16´·66N., 2° 34´·37E.
    East Cardinal EAST EA1 VQ(3)5s at 52° 14´·20N., 2° 34´·09E.
    Special EA1 BRAVO Fl.Y.5s at 52° 12´·03N., 2° 33´·84E.
    East Cardinal SSE EA1 Q(3)10s at 52° 09´·85N., 2° 33´·54E.
    South Cardinal SOUTH EA1 Q(6)+LFl.15s at 52° 08´·63N., 2° 31´·68E.
    West Cardinal SSW EA1 Q(9)15s at 52° 09´·09N., 2° 27´·36E.
    Special EA1 CHARLIE Fl.Y.5s at 52° 10´·93N., 2° 26´·37E.
    West Cardinal WEST EA1 VQ(9)10s at 52° 12´·75N., 2° 25´·34E.
    Special EA1 DELTA Fl.Y.5s at 52° 14´·87N., 2° 26´·09E.
    West Cardinal WNW EA1 Q(9)15s at 52° 16´·99N., 2° 26´·89E.
    www.crossingthethamesestuary.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    720

    Default Re: East Anglia Windfarm Guardboat

    Are windfarms actually prohibited areas then? By what right can anyone tell you to stay 500m outside a cardinal (that presumably deliniates the boundary of a windfarm?)

    Clearly when they are actually working one would naturally give them a wide berth but the OP suggests the entire windfarm was out of bounds.
    Are they NOTAM'ed as prohibited?

    How does this work?

    I got very aggressively herded wide of a survey/works vessel of some kind off Sizewell a couple of months ago. The crew of the guard-boat very rudely yelled that I really should listen to the VHF as if that was some sort of requirement, and told me that there were regular broadcasts warning vessels to keep clear. There possibly were, but as the vessel transmitting was only giving its name and no position info whatsoever it wasn't much help. I pointed this put to them but they denied it of course. They came over as pretty unpleasant people.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    West Mersea
    Posts
    6,410

    Default Re: East Anglia Windfarm Guardboat

    Once finished the UK standard rules are a 50m restricted zone around each turbine. When under maintenance wider zones are temporarily extended, generally to 500m but the London Array has extended one to 750m because of a wide anchor pattern and has a 250m semi-permanent zone around a partial damage blade. That's when they are finished. We can pass through a finished Wind Farm. Construction tends to depend. The East Anglia are significantly poor about notices to mariners in contrast to the London Array. The cardinal and special marks marked the construction area and so should be considered (practically at least) as an exclusion zone. Arguably I don't think it was ever declared (and authorised) as a whole exclusion zone but when there was activity we should stay clear. Given that they are erecting busily now it would be best to stay outside. But there is no exclusion zone around the external nav marks.
    www.crossingthethamesestuary.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    West Mersea
    Posts
    6,410

    Default Re: East Anglia Windfarm Guardboat

    Found the original. Here's an extract of all of the rules published:

    Safety Zones

    The following safety zones are in place

     A 500 metres safety zone around the location of each turbine, met mast, substation or their foundations comprising the East Anglia ONE Offshore Wind Farm whilst work is being performed, as indicated by the presence of construction vessels.  A 50 metre safety zone surrounding each turbine, met mast, substation or their foundations comprising the East Anglia ONE Offshore Wind Farm whilst work is not ongoing on that turbine, met mast, substation or their foundations.

    Given that they are placing over 300 piles and erecting over 100 turbines, I would suggest it would be difficult in the construction zone to work out to where and from work boats are moving. Hence I suggest practically stay outside the buoyed area. But that is just my view.
    www.crossingthethamesestuary.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Burnham-on-Crouch, UK
    Posts
    588

    Default Re: East Anglia Windfarm Guardboat

    This seems to be a recurring theme with wind farms. A few years ago I was returning to Harwich from Sark, and chose to pass through Foulger's Gat, which is now dog legged due to the London Array. On approach, I called the Guard boat, explaining my intentions and got a polite reply from a Dutch accented skipper telling me that the Gat was clear and I was free to proceed. About 2/3 of the way through, I got a call from another similar boat telling me that I was interfering with the works (the windfarm had been in commission for over a year) znd instructed me to turn round and head back to the south! This skipper had an Estuary English accent - at least appropriate to our location.
    I refused saying I had clearance from the nominated guard boat to pass through the Gat and was closer to the north end than the south and would shortly be clear of the Gat. This brought an unrepeatable reply after which he aimed his boat at our yacht from about a mile odff then opened his throttles to chargeat us, veering odff at the last minute to avoid a collision. He made no response to my radio calls while doing this, so we just held our course. When he was about a mile past us, he turned back towards us, perhaps to make another run, but at that time we saw the original guard boat approaching fast from the south, I guess he had heard our conversations and my attempts to call the other boat. The Dutch skipper then called us and asked if we were OK, I responded yes and he went on to apologise. repeating that we were clear to pass right through the Gat, which we did, followed by the guard boat with the Dutch skipper. I never saw the boat with the English skipper again.

    A couple of days later, I e-mailed London Array td. ouliningevents and asking them to declare their policy regarding leisure boats passing through Foulgers Gat. I never received even an acknowledgement of my e-mail.

    The similarity I see with Glayva's experience is the courtesy and reasonableness of the Dutch skipper contrasting with unreasonable rudeness on the part of our fellow countrymen fulfilling the same role.

    Peter.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    West Mersea
    Posts
    6,410

    Default Re: East Anglia Windfarm Guardboat

    I am surprised London Array didn't respond to you Peter. Over the years the Mariner Co-ordinators have been quite reasonable and communicative. I noticed earlier this year the London Array specifically didn't 'close' Foulger's over the maintenance of turbine C17 - This is the exact language used "A short term 500-meter exclusion zone has been implemented around C17 - (51° 37.132'N 01° 25.641'E) this location stands in the Foulgers Gat channel and a wide approach is requested." making it clear that Foulger's is still 'open'. So a reasonable approach. Let's hope nobody has the same experience.
    www.crossingthethamesestuary.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: East Anglia Windfarm Guardboat

    "veering odff at the last minute to avoid a collision."

    I'd have made a Pan call warning about a dangerous lunatic.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Medway, UK, boat in SYH
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: East Anglia Windfarm Guardboat

    agreed, I would have been on to the coastguard about such behaviour

  10. #10
    photodog is offline Lord High Commander of Upper Broughton and Gunthorpe
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    34,966

    Default Re: East Anglia Windfarm Guardboat

    A quick squirt from a Bren gun keeps the Essex pirates at bay in my experience.

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