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Gypsyclubjuggler

2011 Cowes Week Crash - Skipper in Court

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You may recall Cowes Week 2011 'someone' tried to squeeze a J120 across the bows of an incoming 260m tanker:

 

 

The skipper, ex-RN, is in court at the moment. Apparently he reckons it was the tanker pilot's fault.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-24463746

http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/10726311.Sailor_accused_of_crashing_boat_into_tanker/

For info, Southampton Water wher it joins the Solent has several 'precautionary zones' and 'prohibited zones' enforced by bylaw whereby a skipper shall not sail within an area 200m x 1000m ahead of incoming vessels over 150m LOA: http://www.royal-southern.co.uk/Portals/0/Article_Racing_2010/ABP_bylaws_10%20_11_and_NtoM_No3.pdf

 

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When at fault.. Try to blame others for your blatant FU. The only thing that the pilot did was have a coronary hoping to God that everybody was ok. This skipper could care less about anything or anybody to try a stunt like this and needs to have an attitude adjustment. I hope the pilot will be able to speak in open court to explain to this jerk about the laws of gravity and physics. Don't people get it? It's only a frickin boat race.

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Don't you guys get really punitive fines for crossing the shipping lanes at the wrong time or wrong angle or such? I'm thinking this nitwit is going to get pasted.

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  • 11:13am

    Mr Wilson is now in court 6. He is wearing a pin stripe suit and a red striped tie.

 

Wonder why its is important to know what the skipper is wearing in court?

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I use this video all the time to teach kids to stay away from ferries, tankers etc.

 

I would like to say thank you to the skipper for this perfect demonstration of what not to do. You are saving lives by your commitment to stupidity and allow me to to offer my condolences at not winning a Darwin Award. Better luck next time!

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In the UK there is a culture for counter-accusation to the Maritime Safety Agency-

 

I believe it is probably lawyer's advice which leaked over from assault cases where the offending thug's lawyers try to get charges laid against the innocent party who was defending themselves.

 

Worse, often skippers of commercial craft maneuvering in restricted waters where they have right of way, who have met Tilly Hatted Twats (WAFIs) or poorly marked diving sites, get accused out of the blue of what was someone else's lack of knowledge of the collision regulations and the sea chart.

 

Video evidence is just a tad' decisive in this case IMHO

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No way it was the skippers fault. Firstly the horn from the stupid tanker must have been really distracting, making it hard to think. Secondly, the spinnaker trimmer wasn't doing his job. With the spin drawing properly instead of luffing he would have had at least 6 inches to spare.

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Ummm, the ship changed course. Yes he appeared to be inside the exclusion zone, but apparently thought he could pass clear ahead - until the tankler altered cource to port.

 

Has anyone here, who actually sails, ever been inside an exclusion zone while racing? In this case it is a box 200m wide and 1000m in front of the ship.

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Ummm, the ship changed course. Yes he appeared to be inside the exclusion zone, but apparently thought he could pass clear ahead - until the tankler altered cource to port.

 

Has anyone here, who actually sails, ever been inside an exclusion zone while racing? In this case it is a box 200m wide and 1000m in front of the ship.

 

I'm not sure what you are saying there - are you actually defending the skipper of the sailboat?

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Ummm, the ship changed course. Yes he appeared to be inside the exclusion zone, but apparently thought he could pass clear ahead - until the tankler altered cource to port.

 

Has anyone here, who actually sails, ever been inside an exclusion zone while racing? In this case it is a box 200m wide and 1000m in front of the ship.

 

I'm not sure what you are saying there - are you actually defending the skipper of the sailboat?

I am suggesting that:

1. Crossing into an exclusion zone is frequently done while racing - not condoning it, just saying that it is something that is frequently done.

2. You really should rtfa

3. Why the lynch mob attitude?

SJB: Do you race anywhere near commercial vessles? Have you ever been inside, even marginally, the exlusion zone of a commercial vessle? Put the engine on to get out of the way?

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Ummm, the ship changed course. Yes he appeared to be inside the exclusion zone, but apparently thought he could pass clear ahead - until the tankler altered cource to port.

 

Has anyone here, who actually sails, ever been inside an exclusion zone while racing? In this case it is a box 200m wide and 1000m in front of the ship.

 

I'm not sure what you are saying there - are you actually defending the skipper of the sailboat?

I am suggesting that:

1. Crossing into an exclusion zone is frequently done while racing - not condoning it, just saying that it is something that is frequently done.

2. You really should rtfa

3. Why the lynch mob attitude?

SJB: Do you race anywhere near commercial vessles? Have you ever been inside, even marginally, the exlusion zone of a commercial vessle? Put the engine on to get out of the way?

 

Everyone in Vancouver sails around large ships - English Bay is a roadstead anchorage as well as the entrance to the harbour. There is constant traffic - everything from log tows through large ferries freighters & cruise ships all the way to the New Jersey once. Most of us are smart enough & seamanlike enough to stay out of their way. Some aren't and there are occasional rundowns & deaths.

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At about 20" is that a MOB on the stbd side of the sailboat?

Yes.

Documented that one crew member jumped just before.

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Best question yet from the defense lawyer went something like this;

 

"Did you at any time consider stopping and backing up to avoid the collision. ! "

 

Addressed to the pilot of the tanker doing 15=20 knots.

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Yes. Later retrieved by another boat, unharmed. I would have shit my shorts.

They don't wear shorts in the Solent.

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In the UK there is a culture for counter-accusation to the Maritime Safety Agency-

That's a fairly daft statement. The UK has an adversarial legal system, as do many other counties with legal systems derived from Common Law. It isn't "culture" and it isn't anything to do with the Maritime Safety Agency.

 

It appears the yacht skipper expected the ship to begin its turn to starboard towards Fawley earlier, which it could not do because of another vessel. I'll be surprised if that argument prevails.

 

For those that don't know the area, shipping here does a 120 degree starboard turn, circumnavigating a large sandbank, on their way in Southampton Water, which has an oil refinery (Fawley) and other commercial docks. They have to move fast to maintain steerage, it's a narrow channel with cross-tide and there is no "plan B" as to their course.

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3. Why the lynch mob attitude?

Because he could very easily have killed somebody.

 

Plus this kind of incident gives ammunition to those wanting to regulate sailing in the UK as it's regulated in the "land of the free". No thanks.

 

If you don't know this area and what shipping does here, possibly you don't quite understand the situation.

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Rules of the Road? DUH! Why do alot of sailors think they ALWAYS have right of way?

Read em understand them- They apply to you!

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In the UK there is a culture for counter-accusation to the Maritime Safety Agency-

That's a fairly daft statement. The UK has an adversarial legal system, as do many other counties with legal systems derived from Common Law. It isn't "culture" and it isn't anything to do with the Maritime Safety Agency.

 

It appears the yacht skipper expected the ship to begin its turn to starboard towards Fawley earlier, which it could not do because of another vessel. I'll be surprised if that argument prevails.

 

For those that don't know the area, shipping here does a 120 degree starboard turn, circumnavigating a large sandbank, on their way in Southampton Water, which has an oil refinery (Fawley) and other commercial docks. They have to move fast to maintain steerage, it's a narrow channel with cross-tide and there is no "plan B" as to their course.

 

Hence the exclusion zone,

 

which (from what I recall, its been over 10 years since i raced there) Solent racers typically take fairly seriously, its not just a kid on guideline :)

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Has anyone here, who actually sails, ever been inside an exclusion zone while racing? In this case it is a box 200m wide and 1000m in front of the ship.

As above

yes I sail

yes I have sailed in the Solent

No I have never been into the moving exclusion zone in the Solent.

Nor have I tried to cross in front of the chain ferry at Cowes..... seen it done once, that was enough warning :)

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3. Why the lynch mob attitude?

Because he could very easily have killed somebody.

 

Plus this kind of incident gives ammunition to those wanting to regulate sailing in the UK as it's regulated in the "land of the free". No thanks.

 

If you don't know this area and what shipping does here, possibly you don't quite understand the situation.

Exactly, the skipper of the yacht is an incompotent idiot. Its frikken obvious exactly which route the shipping has to take and its even more obvious that they have zero options for avoidance.

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Rules of the Road? DUH! Why do alot of sailors think they ALWAYS have right of way?

Read em understand them- They apply to you!

 

But..but..but..we were RACING.

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Rules of the Road? DUH! Why do alot of sailors think they ALWAYS have right of way?

Read em understand them- They apply to you!

 

But..but..but..we were RACING.

from the 2013 hmr si

1.8 Interfering With Commercial Traffic: A boat is subject to immediate disqualification, without a hearing, if the Race Committee receives a report from a disinterested party that the boat interfered with commercial traffic while transiting to the race area, while racing, or while transiting to her mooring after finishing. This modifies R.R.S. A5 and 63.1. ANY BOAT AND SKIPPER SO DISQUALIFIED WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO ENTER ANY FUTURE HARVEST MOON REGATTA® or LAKEWOOD YACHT CLUB EVENT.

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In the UK there is a culture for counter-accusation to the Maritime Safety Agency-

 

That's a fairly daft statement. The UK has an adversarial legal system, as do many other counties with legal systems derived from Common Law. It isn't "culture" and it isn't anything to do with the Maritime Safety Agency.

It appears the yacht skipper expected the ship to begin its turn to starboard towards Fawley earlier, which it could not do because of another vessel. I'll be surprised if that argument prevails.

For those that don't know the area, shipping here does a 120 degree starboard turn, circumnavigating a large sandbank, on their way in Southampton Water, which has an oil refinery (Fawley) and other commercial docks. They have to move fast to maintain steerage, it's a narrow channel with cross-tide and there is no "plan B" as to their course.

Hence the exclusion zone,

 

which (from what I recall, its been over 10 years since i raced there) Solent racers typically take fairly seriously, its not just a kid on guideline :)

It's pretty underhand to counter accuse when there is a restriction zone , and in any case the ship is of restricted maneuverability from as soon as she enters the inner solent.

 

The state of affairs is Dogwatch that skippers of commercial vessels are as well to detail and report any near misses with the more idiotic yachties out there who have read no further than 'steer to starboard, motor gives way to sail ' because "not remembering the incident" when a yachtie reports you to the MSA is not the start of a good defence.'

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Why was the tug tethered to the stern of the tanker?

Its standard practice in this and other major ports for helping to get the boats alongside the berth.

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Why was the tug tethered to the stern of the tanker?

Its standard practice in this and other major ports for helping to get the boats alongside the berth.

 

Also when you're trying a 120º sharp turn to starboard to get round the Bramble Bank and ensuring you keep in a channel that's barely 10m wider than your 150,000 ton ship and just 2-3 meters under the keel, your rudder effect is hugely assisted by a tug hauling your stern in the correct direction.

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  • 11:13am

    Mr Wilson is now in court 6. He is wearing a pin stripe suit and a red striped tie.

Wonder why its is important to know what the skipper is wearing in court?

what? No knee pads?

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Why was the tug tethered to the stern of the tanker?

 

Its standard practice in this and other major ports for helping to get the boats alongside the berth.

Also when you're trying a 120º sharp turn to starboard to get round the Bramble Bank and ensuring you keep in a channel that's barely 10m wider than your 150,000 ton ship and just 2-3 meters under the keel, your rudder effect is hugely assisted by a tug hauling your stern in the correct direction.

the tug was hooked to the stern of the ship for safety. All ships that haul hazardous such as crude oil chemicals etc. They started doing this in the San Francisco Bay Area so if the ship looses power the tug can stop the ship before it goes up on the rocks or hits a bridge. The tractor tugs can stop those ships in a matter of a few feet. Also they have an extra man on the tug crew just in case something happens. This came out of a ship that was low on fuel, coming in the gates with bad weather. Sturring up the crude on the bottom of the fuel tanks and they had a flame out. They were able to get restarted.. But for a minute or two they were just dead in the water. So this is why other places are also doing it. All for your safety , the safety of the ship and for environmental reasons from ship groundings or wreaking.

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In the UK there is a culture for counter-accusation to the Maritime Safety Agency-

That's a fairly daft statement. The UK has an adversarial legal system, as do many other counties with legal systems derived from Common Law. It isn't "culture" and it isn't anything to do with the Maritime Safety Agency.

Hence the exclusion zone,

 

which (from what I recall, its been over 10 years since i raced there) Solent racers typically take fairly seriously, its not just a kid on guideline :)

 

It's pretty underhand to counter accuse when there is a restriction zone , and in any case the ship is of restricted maneuverability from as soon as she enters the inner solent.

The BBC report refers to 'three counts of contravening maritime regulations', ;failing to comply withe a "moving prohibited zone"', 'by-laws' and 'negligence'.

 

Note that the 'regulations' charged under will not be the COLREGS themselves, which never alone give rise to criminal charges. COLREGS are brought into force by domestic law or regulations, (national/state statute or regulation, port regulation etc), which would then form the basis of a charge.

 

I'm guessing the 'three counts' here are something like:

  1. breach of regulation xx moving prohibited zone
  2. breach of regulation yy fail to comply with COLREGS Rule 9( b ); and
  3. breach of regulation zz negligent navigation [causing injury]..

The last of these probably carries the highest penalty, and is the one involving negligence.

 

Blaming the other guy is a defence, or partial defence, against negligence, even if it's no good against the first two counts.

 

As to the 'culture', bear in mind that in civil marine actions for damages (scratched paint on bow of tanker, dismasting, deck damage, head injury to crew on yacht), apportionment of blame is a usual feature, so its quite proper for the yacht to make the best case it can.

 

That said, I wouldn't be thrilled about his chances. Looks pretty like a last ditch defence to me.

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I suppose if he could prove that he was outside the exclusion zone until the ship changed course, and then made every attempt to exit the exclusion zone but was unable to, then he might have a chance of getting off. However that seems unlikely to me, and if he could demonstrate that doubtless it would lead to even larger exclusion zones...

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As to the 'culture', bear in mind that in civil marine actions for damages (scratched paint on bow of tanker, dismasting, deck damage, head injury to crew on yacht), apportionment of blame is a usual feature, so its quite proper for the yacht to make the best case it can.

 

I was about to make this point after reading the earlier posts, but see that you made it pretty clearly. The sailboat has a legal right to make a case that the tanker is at least partially to blame. They are likely to be apportioned more than 50% of the fault for the accident, but they also should not be apportioned 100% if the tanker was operating unsafely in some way or failed to take action that could have avoided a collision.

 

Maritime law is shockingly sane about collisions, and judges rarely rule that one vessel is entirely at fault.

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if you read the threads over on YBW, it becomes a little easier to understand how they got themselves into such a mess. The ship had to alter course for a motorboat that was dead in the water, so made a number of sound signals and clarity might not have reigned.

 

Which isn't to say that I think he deserves to get off scot free, because I don't. Like all these things, it's a failure of anticipation. You have to notice ships as they move out of Southampton water or show up in the eastern Solent, and work out if they're going to be a problem. Eyes in the back of the head needed, really.

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^

 

Yes, it seems the ship signalled the starboard turn then delayed it to avoid the disabled "Joy C".

 

I'd also assumed the yacht was on its way to the finish line whereas apparently it was heading for a mark to the E i.e. they had headed S'ish to try to avoid the ship's turning zone but were caught out because the ship did not turn starboard as signalled and anticipated.

 

A more complicated situation than I'd previously thought.

 

 

http://www.pbo.co.uk/news/535433/cowes-week-yacht-and-tanker-crash-trial is another account.

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In the weight of breeze there, the j120 could have luffed and let the kite rag while they took caution over what looks very gung ho behaviour from the Video.

 

If there was a sandbank on their port side, then they could have fallen off and gybed out of the way.

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I found this article to be more informative: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2451079/Royal-Navy-lieutenant-Roland-Wilson-crashed-racing-yacht-oil-tanker.html At least for explaining the confusion regarding horn signals and the possible intent of the Atalanta.

 

In all of these articles it is asserted that the Atalanta was in the wind shadow of the tanker when that was clearly not the case. All the boats in the video were sailing starboard gybe and the tanker hit the Atalanta on the port side. From her angle (relative to the other sailboats) it looks like she had come up so much to try and get around the tanker's bow that she lost the ability to carry the spinnaker.

 

The wind shadow was on the other side of the tanker which is clearly what the Atalanta was trying to avoid. In doing so they violated the exclusion zone and took all margin for error out of the tanker's float plan and when another problem came up (the stalled powerboat) there was no avoiding contact. Even if everything went perfectly it would have been a close call.

 

Either way (hit or near-miss) it was a bonehead maneuver. Question for the Solent crowd - if it had merely been a close call rather than actual contact, would it still be prosecuted to this extent or would there at least be some legal action? Waiting until an actual incident occurs to try and modify behavior is generally too late to be effective.

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I've no particular memories of hearing about prosecution for a breach of Colregs/Moving Prohibited zone byelaws. If the ship is preceded by a pilot boat marking the forward limit of the zone (not all are), if you try and go between the pilot and the ship he will turn round and insist that you cease and desist.

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The wind shadow was on the other side of the tanker which is clearly what the Atalanta was trying to avoid.

I don't think that is correct. If the yacht had gybed she'd have gone into the path of the ship which is about to turn hard starboard. If you are dodging a ship that signals one thing and does the opposite, what do you do then?

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The sailboater's argument of trying to predict the tanker's turn rate and location is poppycock.

 

As a licensed mate who has driven tankers the same size as the one in the vid, and a sailor/racer with 40+ years experience, the sailboat driver is a moron. Could have easily resulted in someone getting injured or killed.

 

A tanker that size when loaded as this was, takes miles to stop, and you have to plan the turn well in advance. The sailboat knew he was doing a risky move, and should have had his engine on just in case. Have it ready to throw in gear and get the hell outta the way so nobody gets killed.

 

Just a little common sense... driving an 860ft loaded behemoth with millions of bucks in hazardous cargo in a tight channel for the sake of international commerce, vs. some wingnut and his fluffy pink sail on a joyride... end of story.

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Finally some sense from a professional.

 

Royal Navy lieutenant Roland Wilson's yacht was involved in a collision with a 120,000-ton Hanne Knutsen tanker during Cowes Week 2011.

His Corby 33 yacht Atalanta was nearly rolled under the bow and was dismasted when the pink spinnaker wrapped on the ship's anchor on 6 August, 2011.

Wilson is charged with contravening three Colregs - Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea:

Rule 5; He did not keep an adequate lookout.

Rule 9b; He impeded a large vessel in a narrow channel.

Rule 18; He impeded a vessel constrained by its draft.

Additionally he is accused of breaching Rule 7 by failing to adequately determine a risk of collision and Rule 8d as his actions did not result in his vessel passing a safe distance from the ship.

The trial continued last Friday. Roger Towner, chief examiner of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) was among the witnesses to take to the stand.

He confirmed that the Colregs apply in the Solent and that the Hanne Knutsen at 14.6m draught was definitely constrained by its draught and in a narrow channel therefore should not be impeded by small vessels.

Captain Towner explained that it is sometimes necessary to make a departure from the rules in order to avoid a collision.

In this case it was acceptable for the ship to make a starboard sound signal then slow its turn in view of the disabled motorboat in its path.

The yacht Atalanta should have established that a risk of collision existed and taken early action at an adequate distance. In his opinion the Hanne Knutson was proceeding toward Gurnard buoy at a safe speed in the circumstances.

Captain Towner thought that if Atlanta had continued on its easterly course it would have sailed clear. When asked what the Atalanta should have done he said it could have taken almost any action except the one it did. To sail across the bow was inexplicable.

 

Yup that makes sense to me. Do anything except sail across the bow of a big f******r doing 20 knots

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The sailboat knew he was doing a risky move, and should have had his engine on just in case. Have it ready to throw in gear and get the hell outta the way so nobody gets killed.

 

Don't know if the engine panel was in the cockpit or below on the engine box.

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The sailboat knew he was doing a risky move, and should have had his engine on just in case. Have it ready to throw in gear and get the hell outta the way so nobody gets killed.

Don't know if the engine panel was in the cockpit or below on the engine box.

 

4139570_20121228072117_1_LARGE.jpg

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^

 

Not sure what that's supposed to show us? A gear lever? Engine panel is below on the Corby 33 according to a post on YBW.

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A tanker that size when loaded as this was, takes miles to stop, and you have to plan the turn well in advance.

 

Yeah we know that.

 

The ship has to turn sharp starboard, it has no place else to go. It has signalled the turn. Then it turns to port.

 

Should he have been motoring upwind out of there sooner? Maybe. What if it had been a motor-less dayboat there? It could very well have been. There are several 100s at Cowes Week.

 

All the chest-beating about professionals here is all very well but the yacht skipper was a professional seaman too.

 

Here's another professional opinion.

 

 

 

Tanker 'borderline speeding'

Richard Twitchen, Commodore RN, had written an expert report. In his opinion the escort of one boat was insufficient to police the prohibited zone. He thought the ship's speed was on the borderline of speeding.

He agreed the Corby 33 was manoeuvrable and that if Atalanta had retained her Easterly course there would have been no collision but maintained that had she done so she would have passed across the ship's bow from port to starboard. Slowing the rate of turn was the cause of the accident.

 

Read more at http://www.pbo.co.uk/news/535446/trial-of-cowes-week-yachtsman-roland-wilson#bRS33cfsIKVKDfAO.99

 

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^^ Is that actually Atalanta of Chester? I'm not sure she has the Corby fan transom?

 

Yes, you're right, it looks totally different. Forget the picture I posted.

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May have been removed? It was originally an Irish boat called 'that's life'. Look it up, sail number IRL 7533, plenty of regatta entries stating it to be corby 33

 

 

Edit: actually I wonder if sail numbers have been confused as I didn't think Corbies had windows. Something definitely strange here...

 

Edited again.... http://www.fotosail.com/events/2010wiora/class%201/thats_life_(irl_7533)/d009_8635.jpg

 

That's 'that's life' IRL 7533 in 2010....

 

Must have had a big refit as here she is in 2005, presumably then new to her now previous owner...? http://www.yachtsandyachting.com/photos/irc/2005galwaybay1.jpg

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Any defence of this idiot is laughable. It may indeed have been the case that the tanker made an unexpected turn however these things are huge and do not turn quickly. Its not like you can argue it jumped up at you out of nowhere. Regardless of the tankers manoeuvres he was in a place he never should have been and somewhere that you would never see an experienced Solent crew go.

 

Cowes week SI's enforce the moving prohibited zone so even if he had made it he would have been DSQ'd from the race. I have also heard of charter skippers being convicted and fined for violating the zone however never a private owner.

 

My concern is that he will induce enough doubt in the Jury/Judges mind that the ship is found partly at fault in some way. This would wreck what in the past has been a very harmonious relationship between the port of Southampton and the sailing community. Who have to share a tight, confined area which also happens to be one of the busiest stretches of water in Europe. Ultimately leading to more regulation which disadvantages everyone that uses the Solent because of one idiots actions.

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if you read the threads over on YBW, it becomes a little easier to understand how they got themselves into such a mess. The ship had to alter course for a motorboat that was dead in the water, so made a number of sound signals and clarity might not have reigned.

 

Which isn't to say that I think he deserves to get off scot free, because I don't. Like all these things, it's a failure of anticipation. You have to notice ships as they move out of Southampton water or show up in the eastern Solent, and work out if they're going to be a problem. Eyes in the back of the head needed, really.

 

Good shout, they're saying some interesting stuff over at YBW. Basically the gist seems to be, maybe he wasn't just heading straight across the bows and they did the old left-right-left-right like when you meet someone in a doorway. Obviously at some point it must have become apparent that they'd seriously misjudged it though.

 

Also note the Sunsail F40 fleet has been split by the tanker, half to port and half to starboard. It happens at Cowes, you see a ship coming in and think 'Well, we don't want to be stuck outside him and forced away from the finish - have we got time to make it across their bows and then hug the shore?' So far we have either had enough time or not gone for it.

 

They now use extra escort boats during Cowes Week.

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Why was the tug tethered to the stern of the tanker?

Its standard practice in this and other major ports for helping to get the boats alongside the berth.

Also when you're trying a 120º sharp turn to starboard to get round the Bramble Bank and ensuring you keep in a channel that's barely 10m wider than your 150,000 ton ship and just 2-3 meters under the keel, your rudder effect is hugely assisted by a tug hauling your stern in the correct direction.

the tug was hooked to the stern of the ship for safety. All ships that haul hazardous such as crude oil chemicals etc. They started doing this in the San Francisco Bay Area so if the ship looses power the tug can stop the ship before it goes up on the rocks or hits a bridge. The tractor tugs can stop those ships in a matter of a few feet. Also they have an extra man on the tug crew just in case something happens. This came out of a ship that was low on fuel, coming in the gates with bad weather. Sturring up the crude on the bottom of the fuel tanks and they had a flame out. They were able to get restarted.. But for a minute or two they were just dead in the water. So this is why other places are also doing it. All for your safety , the safety of the ship and for environmental reasons from ship groundings or wreaking.

 

Physics is not your real strong suit - do you have any idea about the force needed to stop a 150,000 ton ship in a few feet? Not even a dock can do that

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My concern is that he will induce enough doubt in the Jury/Judges mind that the ship is found partly at fault in some way. This would wreck what in the past has been a very harmonious relationship between the port of Southampton and the sailing community. Who have to share a tight, confined area which also happens to be one of the busiest stretches of water in Europe. Ultimately leading to more regulation which disadvantages everyone that uses the Solent because of one idiots actions.

 

So your position is that he should forgo his legal rights because it might impact your racing at some point in the future? Good luck with that.

 

I would be shocked if the tanker is not found partially at fault, although I would also be even more shocked if he were assigned the majority of the blame.

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I don't see why the tanker should share blame. The moving exclusion zone extended 1000m in front of it - that's over half a nm. Corby should have been ducking below, not trying to go ahead of the bow. Change in course or not, that boat was not going to stay outside the zone. What would you have the tanker/tugs do..?

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A tanker that size when loaded as this was, takes miles to stop, and you have to plan the turn well in advance.

 

Yeah we know that.

 

The ship has to turn sharp starboard, it has no place else to go. It has signalled the turn. Then it turns to port.

 

Should he have been motoring upwind out of there sooner? Maybe. What if it had been a motor-less dayboat there? It could very well have been. There are several 100s at Cowes Week.

 

All the chest-beating about professionals here is all very well but the yacht skipper was a professional seaman too.

 

Here's another professional opinion.

 

 

 

Tanker 'borderline speeding'

Richard Twitchen, Commodore RN, had written an expert report. In his opinion the escort of one boat was insufficient to police the prohibited zone. He thought the ship's speed was on the borderline of speeding.

He agreed the Corby 33 was manoeuvrable and that if Atalanta had retained her Easterly course there would have been no collision but maintained that had she done so she would have passed across the ship's bow from port to starboard. Slowing the rate of turn was the cause of the accident.

 

Read more at http://www.pbo.co.uk/news/535446/trial-of-cowes-week-yachtsman-roland-wilson#bRS33cfsIKVKDfAO.99

 

 

OH? so you got another RN officer sticking up for one of his own? Well that's a surprise.

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from a ybw form, post #233:

The course of Hanne Knutsen is shown in red on the diagram below and an expected course for Atalanta in pink.

However it can be deduced from the video of the incident that the collision occurred much earlier in the Hanne Knutsen's turn than is suggested by the diagram. Probably about 3 cables SSE of the intersection of the pink and red lines.


Atalantacollision.jpg

 

and from a different ybw forum, coincidentally also post #233:

 

2llkjnm.jpg

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I don't see why the tanker should share blame. The moving exclusion zone extended 1000m in front of it - that's over half a nm. Corby should have been ducking below, not trying to go ahead of the bow. Change in course or not, that boat was not going to stay outside the zone. What would you have the tanker/tugs do..?

 

I can imagine a series of facts that would indicated shared blame... I am not attesting these as facts, just giving an example.

 

1. Sailboat is heading perpendicular to tanker's path on a collision course with tanker's starboard side, sail diverts hard to port to cross the tanker's stern on the current course

2. Tanker signals a starboard turn which would be a turn directly into the path of the sailboat

3. The tanker escort crosses sailboat stern suggesting that tanker will cross sailboat stern on their current course so the sailboat diverts hard to starboard to provide more room.

4. Tanker does not turn to starboard in spite of the signal and does not follow his escort.

5. Sailboat freaks out that ship is not turning, diverts 90 degrees to port hoping to run down the starboard side of the ship and cross the stern. Distance is closing fast.

6. Tanker turns hard to starboard to stay in channel, making it impossible for the sailboat to run down the starboard side of the ship and cross the stern

7. At the last minute, sailboat turns hard to starboard to cross the tanker bow, but fails.

 

Again, I am not suggesting this is what happened, but just pointing out that you cannot tell from the video what actions the sailboat took to avoid collision, nor do you know from the video what information was available to the sailboat about the intended course of the ship.

 

It is possible that at every stage the sailboat was mindful of the ship and took prudent action to avoid collision based on the best information available about the intended course of the ship. It is also possible that the sailboat never crossed between the ship and the escort because the escort was out of position.

 

It is really hard to stay out of the way of a turning ship. Simple rules like "constant bearing, decreasing range" do not work. You need to know the ship's intended course, and the ship/escort has a legal obligation to accurately indicate that course. It is not impossible that the tanker failed in its duty.

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I find it astounding that anyone would try to defend the actions of the skipper of the sailboat or to try and put some of the blame on the ship's skipper. What he did was stupid, no if's, and's or but's.

 

It was a perfect example of the all too common "But we were RACING" mentality.

 

Let me repeat - he was S.T.U.P.I.D.

 

When there is a huge, deeply laden ship moving near you, you stay the hell away from it - period.

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I find it astounding that anyone would try to defend the actions of the skipper of the sailboat or to try and put some of the blame on the ship's skipper. What he did was stupid, no if's, and's or but's.

 

It was a perfect example of the all too common "But we were RACING" mentality.

 

Let me repeat - he was S.T.U.P.I.D.

 

When there is a huge, deeply laden ship moving near you, you stay the hell away from it - period.

 

It must be nice to know everything.

 

How do you know that he did not take evasive action? How do you know what his "mentality" was? How do you know he wasn't originally trying to conservatively take the ship's stern but was thwarted by substantial changes in the ship's speed and direction? All you've got is a video that shows you absolutely nothing about the situation before the collision and your imagination.

 

I

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I love people asserting that the video 'Doesn't show what happened' being used to defend the skipper and then coming up with a long complicated reason why it wasn't his fault. Something which is just as baseless as the claim which they are rejecting. The fact is that it was Cowes week, there were 1000's of people on the water that day and many saw the whole thing first hand, not just what is in that video. This has been discussed at length in the bars and crew houses of Cowes and I have not talked to a single eyewitness who blames anyone but the skipper for the accident.

 

When racing in the Solent dodging shipping is something that happens with monotonous regularity on a regular Sunday race, let alone Cowes week. The fact of the matter is ships this big do not make sudden course alterations. You simply should never be so close to these boats that a course alteration on its behalf puts you in a position where you can't avoid in time. The Solent is a busy, congested, restricted, commercial waterway which also happens to play host to a huge number of racing and recreational yachts. Yet collisions like this are extremely rare because the sailing community go to great lengths to not inconvenience commercial shipping, something this skipper blatantly disregarded.

 

So your position is that he should forgo his legal rights because it might impact your racing at some point in the future? Good luck with that

 

Ergh no, read what I wrote, not what you would like to think I wrote. I don't venture to say what he should do, I hope to never cock up so badly as to find myself in his position. I simply expressed a fear that this case would lead to unnecessary over regulation.

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It is possible that at every stage the sailboat was mindful of the ship and took prudent action to avoid collision.

 

 

No, that is not possible, because the sailboat sailed right into the small cone of inevitable collision in front of the ship.

 

If he had been taking prudent action to avoid collision, he would have been "mindful" of this region in front of a huge, heavy moving object, and simply not been that close to it.

 

FB- Doug

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My concern is that he will induce enough doubt in the Jury/Judges mind that the ship is found partly at fault in some way. This would wreck what in the past has been a very harmonious relationship between the port of Southampton and the sailing community. Who have to share a tight, confined area which also happens to be one of the busiest stretches of water in Europe. Ultimately leading to more regulation which disadvantages everyone that uses the Solent because of one idiots actions.

So your position is that he should forgo his legal rights because it might impact your racing at some point in the future? Good luck with that.

 

I would be shocked if the tanker is not found partially at fault, although I would also be even more shocked if he were assigned the majority of the blame.

I would be shocked if the current proceedings found 'fault' on the part of the tanker. They are proceedings in the Magistrates Court against the skipper of the yacht apparently for breaches of the Southampton Port Corporation by-laws. There are no proceedings afoot, as far as we can see against the tanker or any persons connected with her.

 

While attempts to 'blame the victim' may have some faint hope of working to at least lessen the severity of eventual sentance in this trial, apportionment is a feature of civil claims for damages under maritime law, and it is highly unlikely that the verdict or sentence in this court will be expressed in those terms.

 

 

I don't see why the tanker should share blame. The moving exclusion zone extended 1000m in front of it - that's over half a nm. Corby should have been ducking below, not trying to go ahead of the bow. Change in course or not, that boat was not going to stay outside the zone. What would you have the tanker/tugs do..?

I can imagine a series of facts that would indicated shared blame... I am not attesting these as facts, just giving an example.

 

...

 

It is possible that at every stage the sailboat was mindful of the ship and took prudent action to avoid collision based on the best information available about the intended course of the ship. It is also possible that the sailboat never crossed between the ship and the escort because the escort was out of position.

Note, this is all pure speculation without seeing the yacht's track and hearing all the evidence.

 

I've been trying to fit some sort of sensible scenario around this.

 

Possibly, in this case,

  • initially, say when the tanker was at Prince Consort Buoy, the yacht was on a rhumb-line course from the Aquatec mark to the South Bramble Buoy (on port gybe), more or less parallel and reciprocal with the tanker's course and passing clearly north of the moving exclusion zone, at that time;
  • yacht anticipates that the tanker will turn to starboard to enter the channel (whether or not prompted by the two blasts signal) and gybes so as to stay West and South of of the expected course of the tanker as she turns to starboard.

This would seem a prudent enought course: the yacht foresees that as the tanker turns, she will end up in the exclusion zone, and that standing on on her easterly course may not be sufficient to 'beat' the rate of turn of the ship and her exclusion zone and allow her to pass safely ahead of the ship, and therefore manoeuvres with the intention of eventually passing astern of the ship

The gybe will inevitably put the yacht in the exclusion zone (but that was going to happen anyway, no matter what the yacht did), and will will involve a zig-zag across the bows of the tanker, which woudl not do any good to a pilot with a weak heart, but it might have come off.

  • tanker then curtails her starboard turn, yacht shys up even harder and loses the kite and voila: you see the results caputred on video.

So, conceivably, rather than an act of negligent idiocy, this was a reasonable plan, unsuccessfully executed.

 

That said, this is exactly why the exclusion zone is 1000m long.

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tanker that size when loaded as this was, takes miles to stop, and you have to plan the turn well in advance. The sailboat knew he was doing a risky move, and should have had his engine on just in case. Have it ready to throw in gear and get the hell outta the way so nobody gets killed.

 

Speaking of risky moves, the guy that abandoned ship took an interesting option.

 

What thing that can be said, this guy might as well quit sailing. I can't see anyone wanting to crew for him again... ever.

 

Cheers

Craig

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I sail inland waters in the States and one of the first rules I ever learned was the "steel hull rule". Yeah, power gives way to sail BUT everyone gives way to commercial traffic. Pass in front of a raft of barges and get taken aback by a sudden wind shift you will be plowed under. You can try yelling your protest to the Tow Captain as you float by but you're likely to hear him reply, "Steellllllll Hullllll" as the Tow continues to steam on.




I was in a 16 hour endurance race on the Tennessee River just two weeks ago and aproaching Upper Lake Guntersville Light a Tow with a raft of barges was coming out of the Guntersville Bulk Terminal and turning into the main channel near the US Hwy 431 bridge. We might have been able to clear ahead as she was not up to speed yet. We knew, however, she would soon overtake us if we did, so opted to pass astern even though it cost us some speed passing through her prop wash.



No race is worth one's life nor the life of one's crew!



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Getting hit by a tanker is like trying to run across train tracks to beat a train and failing to make it. At some point you stop and watch the train go by. Or die. Estimating time and distance is a basic part of racing a sailboat well. Just like the tactician who broke his legs in mexico didnt do someone on that boat needed to grab the helm and round the boat up well short of the collision zone when the math stopped making sense. Smartest guy on the boat jumped off imo.

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I find it astounding that anyone would try to defend the actions of the skipper of the sailboat or to try and put some of the blame on the ship's skipper. What he did was stupid, no if's, and's or but's.

 

It was a perfect example of the all too common "But we were RACING" mentality.

 

Let me repeat - he was S.T.U.P.I.D.

 

When there is a huge, deeply laden ship moving near you, you stay the hell away from it - period.

 

It must be nice to know everything.

 

How do you know that he did not take evasive action? How do you know what his "mentality" was? How do you know he wasn't originally trying to conservatively take the ship's stern but was thwarted by substantial changes in the ship's speed and direction? All you've got is a video that shows you absolutely nothing about the situation before the collision and your imagination.

 

I

You're absolutely right - he did everything right - his getting mowed down by a huge tanker on the Solent was someone elses fault entirely. :rolleyes:

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I find it astounding that anyone would try to defend the actions of the skipper of the sailboat or to try and put some of the blame on the ship's skipper. What he did was stupid, no if's, and's or but's.

 

It was a perfect example of the all too common "But we were RACING" mentality.

 

Let me repeat - he was S.T.U.P.I.D.

 

When there is a huge, deeply laden ship moving near you, you stay the hell away from it - period.

 

It must be nice to know everything.

 

How do you know that he did not take evasive action? How do you know what his "mentality" was? How do you know he wasn't originally trying to conservatively take the ship's stern but was thwarted by substantial changes in the ship's speed and direction? All you've got is a video that shows you absolutely nothing about the situation before the collision and your imagination.

 

I

You're absolutely right - he did everything right - his getting mowed down by a huge tanker on the Solent was someone elses fault entirely. :rolleyes:

 

SloopJonB - just get over it. There is more to this than you seem to be able to digest. You seem ready to lynch based on the headline - and not prepared to read the content. And then you make S.T.U.P.I.D replies to anyone who thinks there is a shadow of grey in this incident. Enough.

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You're absolutely right - he did everything right - his getting mowed down by a huge tanker on the Solent was someone elses fault entirely. :rolleyes:

 

I have repeatedly stated that I don't know the facts in this case, but expect the the sailboat to be found at fault based on the outcome. I just resist the mob of fools that is entirely certain they know exactly how and why this occurred without access to any of the evidence normally required to make those determinations. Given you do not seem to know anything about this case other than what is included in that video, don't you think you could stand to be a bit more humble in your judgements about things that are not observable in that video? What evidence indicates that the racer's "mentality" was the ultimate cause of the accident?

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Ergh no, read what I wrote, not what you would like to think I wrote. I don't venture to say what he should do, I hope to never cock up so badly as to find myself in his position. I simply expressed a fear that this case would lead to unnecessary over regulation.

Which is a valid fear but not a good reason to find someone guilty. Up to yesterday I subscribed to the "yacht skipper was an idiot" position. Now I'm not so sure. It seems to me there's a case to be made that he'd acted in reasonable anticipation of what the ship could be expected to do and signalled it would do, before it did (for perfectly good reasons) the exact opposite. Remember these are criminal charges and need to be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Just because there was a collision does not mean one skipper or the other was criminally liable for it.

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Anyone who sails in the Solent knows you just don't go near them, whenever we race in the Solent we just work out the easiest way to keep clear. Many people break these exclusion zones as well especially when racing but these are mostly the exclusion zones at the sides and rear of the ship. Also in the Solent it's worth noting that the high speed redjet ferries will go to further lengths to avoid racing yachts and in the past we've found that you let them avoid you. The larger red funnel car ferries will also take action to avoid sailboats in a relatively empty solent but this is impossible during Cowes week. In summary the skipper of the yacht is a douchebag

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Anyone who sails in the Solent knows you just don't go near them, whenever we race in the Solent we just work out the easiest way to keep clear. Many people break these exclusion zones as well especially when racing but these are mostly the exclusion zones at the sides and rear of the ship. Also in the Solent it's worth noting that the high speed redjet ferries will go to further lengths to avoid racing yachts and in the past we've found that you let them avoid you. The larger red funnel car ferries will also take action to avoid sailboats in a relatively empty solent but this is impossible during Cowes week. In summary the skipper of the yacht is a douchebag

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As someone who watched this happen, I can't see it being anything but the yacht's fault. Those of us who sail there regularly know the risks of those things and, if we're going to cut it close, know exactly what dangers we face. The fine just for being in the 1000 x 200m box off the bow is massive, let alone cocking up like this. General opinion in Cowes that week is that there were dozens of ways they could've avoided it.

As an aside, the guy who chucked himself off before the collision bobbed down the other side of the ship and found himself under the rope at the stern staring at a tug about to blend him. One of the support ribs from the Extreme series came in like shit off a shovel, got him in and made it out with only a few seconds to go by the looks of it. Kudos to that guy.


S.

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I find it astounding that anyone would try to defend the actions of the skipper of the sailboat or to try and put some of the blame on the ship's skipper.

 

its like this lawyers are involved, some of whom like to defend all sorts of crazy cases, sometimes they win. I am not sure why some lawyers are like this may be its there ego may be its the money. Its just all part of this crazy world we live in.

 

just say thank god it wasn't me and can I have another beer.

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The trouble with this stuff is that whilst witch hunting is pretty easy, working out exactly what went wrong is a little more challenging. It would be interesting to see an overhead animation of the track of the ship and thus the exclusion zone against the track of the yacht. When I saw the video I thought it was open and shut, but now we hear that the ship was manouvering round a broken down vessel it does seem more a *little* more plausible that the circumstances could have dumped him in a position that was hard to get out of.

In the circumstances think its possible to say that the unexpected manouvers from the ship could have contributed to the collision without suggesting that the master and the pilot were at fault for doing what they did (ie not running down the boat that had broken down in the fairway). Seems to me the person most to blame is the one who broke down in the shipping channel.

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