One of the things that I have been mulling since our encounter with the motor vessel in the channel is what other action we could have/should have taken to ensure we avoided a collision. Not having thought through such a scenario in advance (apparent collision course, quite large vessel, narrow channel (although we were about 3 miles off the coast), large waves and troughs) our actions were not instinctive and we had no pre-prepared plan as to which course of action to take, other than expect the motor vessel to alter course to starboard.
We were on port tack at the time and I am not sure what lights they could see of ours (when they were not in a trough) nor how we presented on their radar. We could see their port light and two mast lights (so we assumed it was a big sucker) and they both were nearly in line with their port light so we assumed it was coming on to us from slightly to our starboard but likely to cross our bow and pass to port (each of us keeping to starboard), but it made no obvious course alteration. We chose to hold our course (as the stand on vessel) with preparedness to radically bear away to starboard.
Ultimately, they altered course to port when they were directly ahead and therefore crossing our bow, quite close, and we were about to radically bear away. Their manoeuvre was made too close for comfort and the conditions and, in my view, inappropriately for avoidance of collision. My guess is that because they left it so long to make this alteration they were expecting us to make the course alteration, or they didn't see us until the last moment. In either of these cases I bet the skipper was packing himself, I certainly was.
The first thing I can think of is that I could have altered our course earlier (even though I didn't think it was our responsibility and was worried about changing our course without knowing their intentions. I also could (should) also have called them on channel 16 to confirm that they had seen us and determined their intentions.
Any other ideas?
I know that in posting this I am exposing myself to a trial by forum, but am doing so as it is a real life learning situation that
we can all benefit from analysing. If i could work out how to post pictures I'd draw a diagram.