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do you sail in the fog?

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
2,493
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
:plus:

Rocks + currents = high risk
Rocks + currents + poor visibility = higher risk
Rocks + currents + poor visibility + fast moving vessels = :yikes:
All true but stats show that good visibility and close to home is where most accidents take place on the water.
 

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
2,493
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
I've spent time looking online for collisions, especially on our coast. I couldn't find much. As I recall, the only incident I found on record was two fishing boats running into each other far offshore, several years ago. I'd guess they both had radar.

The thing that gets boats around here are the rocks, usually in broad daylight.

Beware the rocks on the coast of Maine.

View attachment 188040
The above collision with a ledge was so violent it shattered the carbon fibre spar.

Here's another yacht that hit the same ledge in broad clear daylight with severe keel damage. The captain wrote up this description which is rare. Much can be learned from these incidents.

Just like the above grounding and dismasting, this was very familiar water for the captain, he'd sailed it many times.

For lack of any name, I call it 'close to home complacency'.

 
Jun 14, 2010
1,508
Quorning Dragonfly 1200 home
All true but stats show that good visibility and close to home is where most accidents take place on the water.
.... and where most time is spent on the water. I think distraction is a major factor. Perhaps complacency also, in being familiar with the area.
 
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Likes: jssailem
May 25, 2012
3,265
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
you are a very kind man Tom as we all have come to know here. i would call it "reckless opp".
 
Oct 22, 2014
13,888
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
'close to home complacency'.
Certainly that is a good description.

I also think this statement "Know your equipment and its faults, and act accordingly. " is one we all can consider.

The described story is very similar to the incident where Team Vestas ran aground in 2014.
The Navigator failed the crew.

This thread is "do you sail in fog?" Fog gives no room for complacency. It requires you to use every skill you possess and then some. The equipment we have aboard can help us but we need to be able to interpret what the equipment is telling us. This is not reading a manual and then waiting around till the fog shows up. You need to know the manual by memory. You need to practice using the equipment, changing the settings, know the buttons and dials. Practice with them in the sunlight and clear skies. That blip on the radar screen needs to be relevant. You must be able to identify what that blip means. You can only do that if you practice in good weather where you can look at the blip then look outside the boat with binoculars and identify the boats shape and size. What it looks like coming at you, going away from you, or even crossing your track.

You need to know the rules of the road and be able to identify the situations that present themselves. You decide the priority of the rules, which one to apply first. You can only do this if you practice.

Which way do you turn when you are heading towards another boat? Does the rule "avoid collision" ever take precedence?
 
May 25, 2012
3,265
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
many times i have had friends aboard on clear bright days. they'll see another vessel go by with the radar running and comment that that's odd due to the clear weather. i will always explain that you want lots of practice cause when the weather goes bad, that ain't the time to start to learn your equipment. you want to be an expert by the time you really need it. on all your equipment.
i'm always having the kids and the crew and new guests trying out the 'toys' and have them assist at all times the care of the vessel.
there are no passengers on my boats.
i think they like being asked to help.
 
Jan 1, 2006
5,361
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
Well I don't know if this guy was close to home but it was a case of complacency of some sort. He was powering his penis boat up LIS with his girlfriend aboard and on autopilot. He ran up on Horton's point. Incredibly they weren't seriously hurt. But his insurance company had to pay to "Restore" the rocks he displaced.
 
Dec 25, 2000
4,666
Hunter Passage 42 Shelter Bay, WA
Have observed a number of times skippers of large boats hard driving their craft right up on top of a well charted reef or rock all because they were not paying attention. Yes, that key word is complacency.
 
Dec 25, 2000
4,666
Hunter Passage 42 Shelter Bay, WA
When you come out of the Jones Island cove where the State has a dock and some moorings, immediately to starboard is a well marked reef. A large power boat, maybe 50', decided to ignore all precaution, drove right into and on top of this reef. I got there just as the CG was arriving and after the crew had abandon ship. Needless say, no idea what was on the skipper's mind at the time, but perhaps a lesson learned.

Same coming into Annette Inlet, a reef right at the entrance, not so well marked, but charted. As we were coming in a large power boat , maybe 45', with a skipper and his wife were sitting on top of this reef waiting for enough water to slide off. When I hailed them if they needed any assistance, he replied that all was well, just waiting for the tide to come in.

Certainly no comment from this skipper on similar exploits, but he can say that experience is a dear teacher. Nuff said.
 

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
2,493
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
you are a very kind man Tom as we all have come to know here. i would call it "reckless opp".
That's a good one too.

I'll also use 'asleep at the wheel', the old catch-all. I think of this because on forums we tend to equate fog, gales, dark and stormy nights as our biggest demon when in fact (according to boating accident stats), you're most likely demise out there is in benign conditions in familiar waters. And that seems to hold for professional captains as well as I've seen a few career-ending groundings right in my neighborhood.

Back to that same rock the above boats hit, here's a friend's nice woodie that hit it just a few years ago. The boat yard made a few repairs but she kept leaking. They finally did some exploratory surgery and found that the impact was so powerful, it snapped several main ribs in half.
East Goose Rocks damage (1 of 1).jpg


Full disclosure: The reason I'm familiar with this particular rock in a well-traveled area of the bay about 5 miles from where I type this, is because I hit it the first year we owned our boat despite passing it countless times for years before (in another boat).

My mistake cost us the last half of the season and almost totaled the boat.

Since then, I'm amazed how much damage that rock has wrought since. I'm always on my best behavior on a beautiful day, close to home. My mantra: Am I where I think I am? :)
 

DArcy

.
Feb 11, 2017
941
Islander Freeport 36 Ottawa
you're most likely demise out there is in benign conditions in familiar waters
That is probably because that is when and where most boaters are. Nasty weather and fog will keep most boaters (likely almost all inexperienced boaters) at the dock. Beautiful weather and local grounds are when and where the vast majority of boating happens.
Your point is valid though, we do need to keep up awareness in all situations, even in familiar waters.
 
Oct 1, 2007
1,599
Hunter 44DS Pt. Judith
That's a good one too.

I'll also use 'asleep at the wheel', the old catch-all. I think of this because on forums we tend to equate fog, gales, dark and stormy nights as our biggest demon when in fact (according to boating accident stats), you're most likely demise out there is in benign conditions in familiar waters. And that seems to hold for professional captains as well as I've seen a few career-ending groundings right in my neighborhood.

Back to that same rock the above boats hit, here's a friend's nice woodie that hit it just a few years ago. The boat yard made a few repairs but she kept leaking. They finally did some exploratory surgery and found that the impact was so powerful, it snapped several main ribs in half.
View attachment 188079

Full disclosure: The reason I'm familiar with this particular rock in a well-traveled area of the bay about 5 miles from where I type this, is because I hit it the first year we owned our boat despite passing it countless times for years before (in another boat).

My mistake cost us the last half of the season and almost totaled the boat.

Since then, I'm amazed how much damage that rock has wrought since. I'm always on my best behavior on a beautiful day, close to home. My mantra: Am I where I think I am? :)
If that is East Goose Tom, I nearly hit the damned thing once also. Very lucky. I remember that one and the ledge opposite the Mt. Desert town landing in Blue Hill Bay. Another near miss. Nothing like casually glancing over the side at the helm and see a huge ledge seemingly inches below the water. In reality, it was at least 5'-1" below the surface. :)
 

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
2,493
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
If that is East Goose Tom, I nearly hit the damned thing once also. Very lucky. I remember that one and the ledge opposite the Mt. Desert town landing in Blue Hill Bay. Another near miss. Nothing like casually glancing over the side at the helm and see a huge ledge seemingly inches below the water. In reality, it was at least 5'-1" below the surface. :)
That's it! East Goose itself doesn't go below the surface at HW so no one ever hit that. :) However it's bad brother nearby lurks as much as 4' below the surface. Nobody hit it a LW. There's no way to know how many boats have hit East Goose Rocks but locally you hear, "there's a lot of bottom paint down on it".

Devil Rock.jpg


We have them everywhere on the coast of Maine. Ledges that go under during some point of our 10-11' tidal range. I'm of the opinion that it's more likely this hazard it struck in fair weather than say fog. That's just my feeling of the mindset that can get me in trouble.

I leave you with this photo a friend shot in Camden Harbor. Why didn't that captain see the boat (with mast) he ran over?

Hinckley crunch.jpg