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collisions on the harbour while racing


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Hi, I have some questions about collisions that occur on the harbour while racing, and would like to get some opinions from the wise team at crew.org.

 

hypothetically,

 

if a racing yacht that is essentially racing in a straight line, is hit by a motor boat that has its motors in gear is there any situation where the motor boat is not at fault ?

 

you can assume, that both vessels did all possible to avoid the collision and the collision was minimised thanks to the power boats efforts, but the collision did still occur.

 

can anyone think of any reasons the power boat would not be at fault ?

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what if the motor boat had been manouvering around the yachts start area and knew there was a yacht race about to start, and then after the start they got caught up in some yachts that were forced to sail high of the race start line pin ?

 

the motor boat was "hypothetically" in the yachts race start area, and was well aware they were in the start area as well.

 

The yacht was not "overtaking" as such, as the motorboat had no clear direction they were heading in , ...... every boat in the harbour could have been described as overtaking them from some angle.

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Answers:

Col rules apply. RRS only apply to boats that are sailing in or near the racing area and intend to race, are racing or have been racing.

You need to apply the rules to your hypothetical incident.

From what you have told us it is impossible to make any proper comment.

You would have to indicate the heading of the motor boat, it's speed, the heading of the sailing vessel, what speed it was doing and the relative positions of the vessels prior to and at the time of collision.

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In my opinion (not really humble, more like overly simplistic and overconfident), anyone who positions themselves in a powerboat, underway, next to a yacht race startline, without a proper lookout, that leads to a collision, is irresponsible.

 

Presumably if the above occured and lead to a collision, the boat 'morally' in the wrong would be the powerboat. Tenchnically I'm unsure, but it sems that it would be clutching at straws to claim the yacht trying to start a race was the 'overtaking' therefore the give way vessel. Makes a mockery of the intent of the regs surely??

 

In any case, the technicalities of the colregs shouldn't be used as an excuse for irresponsible (or rude) behaviour.

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If the yacht is the overtaking vessel thern it has to remain clear of the launch.

The launch has to hold it's course.

The main thing there is a yacht can't overtake a power vessel, then bear away in a gust & bleat about the launch not getting out of the way.

And that's about the only way I can think that the yacht can be in the wrong?

 

Maybe you could post a cartoon of the action & all us armchair maritime lawyers can open a beer or two & start the slanging match? :D

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Col is right, racing means nothing, all that is important is the course speed and relative positions of the two boats prior to the collision (assuming he wasn't dragging a net, or a supertanker in a channel....)

 

From what we have heard it sounds like he was trying to be polite and keep out of the way but it didn't work.

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Interestingly if the sailboat were the stand on vessel then said sailboat is obliged not to start spinning around and confusing the issue but hold course so the other can safely avoid.

 

Let's hear from some of the professionals on here.

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One of the lessons that were given to boat drivers in the AC events was that if you were the driver of a RIB, launch, or mark boat and the yachts came close, was to go into neutral and take your hands off the throttle and helm.

In that way you become an obstruction the boats have to avoid.

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here is a rough summary with some more details.....

 

15 seconds before start yacht was the windward boat at the start line.

another yacth was to leeward of the yacht and holding the yacht high of the start line.

The yacht started slowing down, all sails were eased to reduce speed.

Yacht is heading down the harbour away from the harbour bridge.

10 seconds from start, Hoping that a gap would appear on the start line the yacht continues to slow and also started to look for an exit strategy.

5 seconds from start, With no room to leeward the yacht had to either, hit the start line pin , or go above the pin.

the yacht would have gone above the pin but there was a MOTOR BOAT positioned just past the pin slightly to windward, (not anchored but drifting with motors on).

The MOTORBOAT was positioned facing the harbour bridge.

We yelled at the MOTORBOAT to get out of there, but got no response.

The yacht then hits the start pin, with no room to leeward as another yacht was still there.

The MOTOR BOAT has now attempted to move realising their predicament, and is moving forwards whilst turning to starboard.

The YACHTS port bow makes significant contact with the rear starboard quarter of the MOTOR BOAT, as the MOTORBOATS rear quarter swings around.

YACHT is damaged, and MOTORBOAT makes no attempt to say sorry, see if everyone is ok, or follow up on the incident with the yacht.

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My first thought would be you should have treated the out of gear drifting boat as you would any other obstacle and avoided it (was there room to go above the motor boat?), but let's hear from the experts again.

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Motor boat is under way if it is not anchored, and still has obligations under the colregs. Being in neutral & not moving is not the same as being anchored.

Need a full cartoon really to comment further but if the launch was facing the bridge & you he may have a problem here.

Get a name off the launch?

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The powerboat was 'underway', which it can be without actually moving as such. The motors being on or off make little difference unless they are claiming 'knot under command' or 'restricted in ability movement', which it appears they aren't.

 

The yacht was racing or starting one has nothing to do with it.

 

The yacht was sailing.

 

Power gives way to sail.

 

That's my reading of it.

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Col regs still apply.

both vessels have to avoid contact.

Sounds like the motor boat was attempting to avoid contact.

Did you make any attempt to avoid contact?

I'm still intrigued by your description of the incident. what was the wind speed and direction and roughly what course were you sailing + or - 10%

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The fact that the powerboat is underway but not making way is irrelevant.

 

Two questions..

 

1) Did you alter course to try and avoid the pin? (i.e did you head up?)

 

2) Did you make any attempt to avoid a collision?

 

Seems like a silly incident, if he was sitting there stationary, power driven vessel or not, why hit him?

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Yacht is heading down the harbour away from the harbour bridge.

 

there was a MOTOR BOAT positioned just past the pin slightly to windward, (not anchored but drifting with motors on).

 

The MOTORBOAT was positioned facing the harbour bridge.

 

.

 

22.13 Overtaking

(1) Despite anything contained in subsections 1 and 2 of section 1 of this Part,

any vessel overtaking any other must keep out of the way of the vessel being

overtaken.

(2) A vessel will be considered to be overtaking when coming up to another

vessel from a direction of more than 22.5 degrees abaft its beam, that is, in

such a position where at night the sternlight, but neither of the sidelights of

the vessel being overtaken, would be visible.

 

So, I read that as the boats were heading towrds each other, therefore overtaking boat stuff is irrelevant.

 

“Underway” means that a vessel is not at anchor, or made fast to the shore,

or aground:

 

The power boat was therfore underway. It (I assume) wasn't:

-Restricted by draught

-Engaged in fishing

-not under command

-restricted in its ability to manouvre

-towing

 

22.18 Responsibilities between vessels

Except where rules 22.9 (narrow channels), 22.10 (traffic separation schemes),

and 22.13 (overtaking) require otherwise, the following rules apply –

(1) a power-driven vessel underway must keep out of the way of –

(a) a vessel not under command:

(B) a vessel restricted in its ability to manoeuvre:

© a vessel engaged in fishing:

(d) a sailing vessel or a vessel under oars; and

 

(2) a sailing vessel underway must keep out of the way of –

(a) a vessel not under command:

(B) a vessel restricted in its ability to manoeuvre:

© a vessel engaged in fishing

 

So my reading is pretty much what KM said.

 

Col said they should have avoided a collision if possible (is anyone else amused that regs are named after him?) I presume if there was any option but hitting the powerboat they would have done so? Also, when there is a collision, the fault has to lie with someone, even if both or neither tired to avoid a collision?

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