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Old 09-17-2009, 01:21 AM   #29
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two red lights and go to sleep huh... I would think that would just make more trouble than keep people away... If I saw two red I'd try and radio and then go closer to check it out, someone might need help...

another way to go about it is to just rig your white mast head light to flash 2.... I've got a friend who does this and swears he noted a marked difference in ships that came near him.
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Old 09-18-2009, 12:58 PM   #30
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Not getting involved in the discussion as to whether a 15yo girl is ready for a solo around the world voyage or not, but I have sailed this particular stretch of water several times and it is very busy. Even with 2 folks on watch and all of our sailing lights up, we've had to take constant evasive action not to get hit. The worst times of the day appear to be the few hours after dusk and around dawn when the fishing / trawling fleet are out and about.

I'm sure there are busier parts of water in the world but also remember that Newcastle, which Jessica would have been sailing directly towards on her way to Sydney, is the world's third busiest port in terms of tonnage, and most of that tonnage heads north towards China. It's the Chinese industry with their attitude of "we like buy another billion tonne coal / iron ore / wood pulp, here is cheque, you fill in amount" that's pretty much kept Australia out of the world-wide recession and most of that tonnage goes directly up the coast, sailing pretty much into Jessica's path.

Just another data point worth considering, not a measure of seamanship of course.
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Old 09-18-2009, 02:54 PM   #31
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I'm sure there are busier parts of water in the world but also remember that Newcastle, which Jessica would have been sailing directly towards on her way to Sydney, is the world's third busiest port in terms of tonnage, and most of that tonnage heads north towards China. It's the Chinese industry with their attitude of "we like buy another billion tonne coal / iron ore / wood pulp, here is cheque, you fill in amount" that's pretty much kept Australia out of the world-wide recession and most of that tonnage goes directly up the coast, sailing pretty much into Jessica's path.

Just another data point worth considering, not a measure of seamanship of course.
Part of being a competent (won't say "good" here...I'm talking basic competence...) bluewater sailor is knowing when to stay awake and on lookout no matter what! If what you say about this area is true it is also well known. She isn't alone in her logistics--she has sponsors and people supporting her voyage. So, wouldn't she have known that this is a busy stretch? And, wouldn't she have already been trying to take evasive action then if she was keeping a proper lookout? I don't recall, but surely she had AIS? All the major ships are required to send AIS signal--so why didn't she pick up on it?

Many, many questions. I would have the same questions for any solo sailor; though most don't have sponsorship and a team of people supporting their travels.
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Old 09-18-2009, 04:07 PM   #32
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two red lights and go to sleep huh... I would think that would just make more trouble than keep people away... If I saw two red I'd try and radio and then go closer to check it out, someone might need help...

another way to go about it is to just rig your white mast head light to flash 2.... I've got a friend who does this and swears he noted a marked difference in ships that came near him.
That may be the right thing to do, although vessel not under command does not mean vessel in distress. I would think that every vessel carries the distress flag, and that it may be counterproductive to put the 2 reds on if you need help ?
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Old 09-19-2009, 11:50 PM   #33
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On our cicumnavigation in the 90's, on night watch I always enjoyed working out the course of shipping in our vicinity. If the lower white light (bow) was close to the higher white light (superstructure) the vessel was approaching, if they were very close together we were in their path and I would alter course. If red & green became visible it was time to drastically alter course and get right out of their way.

Often the approaching vessels lights configuration would change as THEY altered course to avoid us in a timely manner.

Great times! Great memories!

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Old 09-20-2009, 07:01 AM   #34
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Two red lights in a vertical line - forget it. This is not a distress signal so other vessels should not approach to investigate. On the other hand, nothing in the rules exonerates a vessel from keeping a proper lookout; even if she is not under command.

Getting the masthead light to flash - forget it. It is illegal and the OOW on a large vessel would probably assume that the light was being obscured by rigging as the vessel rolls or by waves if there was a sea running. Also, as a sailing vessel you should not be showing the white masthead light.

IMHO lobbying of IMO should take place to encourage them to allow a strobe light for sailing vessels at the next review of the COLREGS.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 09-21-2009, 04:46 PM   #35
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IMHO lobbying of IMO should take place to encourage them to allow a strobe light for sailing vessels at the next review of the COLREGS.
Great idea!

Another safety feature.

But can we count on that the OOW keeps a watch in the meaning of looking around and does not just rely on the AIS or the radar giving alarm in a situation of close encounter/risk of collision??

I suppose they do in an a sea area of dence traffic. But way out on the high seas?

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Old 09-21-2009, 06:01 PM   #36
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Two red lights in a vertical line - forget it. This is not a distress signal so other vessels should not approach to investigate. On the other hand, nothing in the rules exonerates a vessel from keeping a proper lookout; even if she is not under command.

Getting the masthead light to flash - forget it. It is illegal and the OOW on a large vessel would probably assume that the light was being obscured by rigging as the vessel rolls or by waves if there was a sea running. Also, as a sailing vessel you should not be showing the white masthead light.

IMHO lobbying of IMO should take place to encourage them to allow a strobe light for sailing vessels at the next review of the COLREGS.

Aye // Stephen
Good reply Stephen - you beat me to it! As for Strobes: I have mixed feelings at the moment. I hate to see them currently because they are "illegal" or have no meaning, in the colregs sense. But if they do become legalised or adapted, then, yes, they are a hi-vis asset - provided everyone knows their meaning ("just" a sailing boat? A sailing boat in distress? A sailing boat with the operator asleep? ) Tony
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Old 09-22-2009, 01:57 AM   #37
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A sailboat's masthead light can be, in many circumstances, be mistaken for just another star on the horizon. I like a masthead tricolor, but that isn't always easily seen, either, in bad weather or fog or smoke.

We used our strobe to guide other boats into an anchorage, after communication on the VHF telling them to look for the strobe - then it had a meaning. This was very useful when we were cruising with another boat through Indonesia in '97, when the palm oil plantation owners were burning down Borneo and the smoke was so thick that visibility was minimal. A strobe was much easier to see in that circumstance. Same when we were guiding a friend into an anchorage after dark - full open bay, it was just helping him find the bay and us.

We also used our strobe during the horrendous electrical storms off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, and the South China Sea off Borneo. We just wanted the fishing boats out there to know that there was a boat nearby, because nobody could see much of anything, and a sailboat's lights were probably impossible to see in the terrible downpours we were sailing through. The strobe went off as soon as the weather and visibility improved.

We also turned on our strobe when a boat had to stand off Beveridge Reef one night, waiting for sunrise to come in. I told them by radio that I would leave the strobe on so that they had a visible reference to guide them during the night. My greatest fear was that they would get too close to the reef and be pushed onto it by the strong current. They originally told me that they did not think they would need that light, but the next morning they thanked me, telling me that it made their night watch much easier, knowing that they were not getting too close.

Legal or not, those were circumstances when a static light would have been of minimal use, or useless. It has the advantage of being highly visible, and it was used by us in locations where it could not be mistaken for anything else.
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Old 09-22-2009, 02:28 AM   #38
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"Rule 36: Signals to Attract Attention

Colregs for the Yachties > The Collisions Regulations > Part D - Sound and Light Signals > Rule 36: Signals to Attract Attention

If necessary to attract the attention of another vessel, any vessel may make light or sound signals that cannot be mistaken for any signal authorized elsewhere in these Rules, or may direct the beam of her searchlight in the direction of the danger, in such a way as not to embarrass any vessel Any light to attract the attention of another vessel shall be such that it cannot be mistaken for any aid to navigation. For the purpose of this Rule the use of high intensity intermittent or revolving lights, such as strobe lights, shall be avoided."

Reading Rule 36 carefully , It becomes clear that the use of a Strobe light which could be mistaken for ANY aid for navigation - Is illegal and becomes a hazard to those vessels underway. Specific examples include

the flashing lights of light houses and other navigation beacon lights. There the use of a strobe appears to be allowed ONLY when there are no other aids to navigation that could be visible to ships and other watercraft.
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Old 09-25-2009, 10:02 AM   #39
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The best way a yacht can draw attention to itself is just shining a white light at an approaching ship, an Eveready Dolphin will do it. Never mind that 'light on the sails' non sense .. just shine it a few times at the ship... they see the light .they look through their glasses ..they see your sidelights....

Mind you.. you need to be keeping a watch for this to work......
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Old 09-25-2009, 10:58 AM   #40
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A sailboat's masthead light can be, in many circumstances, be mistaken for just another star on the horizon
No Jeanne, this mistake cannot be made, at least not from a ship's bridge, as the masthead light (which a yacht should not be showing when under sail alone) is too low for that.

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Reading Rule 36 carefully , It becomes clear that the use of a Strobe light which could be mistaken for ANY aid for navigation - Is illegal and becomes a hazard to those vessels underway. Specific examples include the flashing lights of light houses and other navigation beacon lights. There the use of a strobe appears to be allowed ONLY when there are no other aids to navigation that could be visible to ships and other watercraft
And yet this does not prevent submarines and hovercraft being prescribed the use of flashing lights, as are purse-seiners when shooting or hauling nets as well as coastguard and rescue vessels. Admittedly, these flashing lights, with the exception of hovercraft(Rule 23) and fishing vessels (Annex II), are prescribed in national rather than international rules but the fact remains that they are there and sanctioned.

In fact, the only thing identifying a submarine from a hovercraft (as far as lights are concerned) is the frequency of the flash. To me that sounds a little dangerous seeing as hovercraft zoom around at 50 plus knots whereas most conventional subs have a very limited surface speed.

There is no doubt about the fact that the lights prescribed for yachts are, relatively speaking, difficult to see. Red and green are not greatly visible if compared with white or yellow lights.

Regarding the issue of shining a light into the wheelhouse windows of a large merchant ship; if you can do that you are way too close! Better to get out of the way early instead. As a ship's officer, I always kept a good lookout and kept out of the way of yachts when I was in open waters but nonetheless my advice to cruisers is to keep out of the way of big ships. You may have right of way but you may not want that to be your epitaph.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 09-25-2009, 11:24 AM   #41
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Regarding the issue of shining a light into the wheelhouse windows of a large merchant ship; if you can do that you are way too close! Better to get out of the way early instead. As a ship's officer, I always kept a good lookout and kept out of the way of yachts when I was in open waters but nonetheless my advice to cruisers is to keep out of the way of big ships. You may have right of way but you may not want that to be your epitaph.

Aye // Stephen
You miss my point here... you don't wait until you can light up the wheelhouse.. you can do this at 5 miles... they will see it.. you as the watch keeper of the ship then know what you are dealing with.
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Old 09-25-2009, 02:06 PM   #42
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There is no doubt about the fact that the lights prescribed for yachts are, relatively speaking, difficult to see. Red and green are not greatly visible if compared with white or yellow lights.

(...)

As a ship's officer, I always kept a good lookout and kept out of the way of yachts when I was in open waters but nonetheless my advice to cruisers is to keep out of the way of big ships. You may have right of way but you may not want that to be your epitaph.

Aye // Stephen
Absolutely right! A 25W lightbulb on the 3-colour masthead light - a good illumination for the windex. Nothing else was permitted and we more than once had the feeling as if a change of course came rather late, leaving us already in a

Rule 17 situation (i): Where one of two vessels is to keep out of the way, the other shall keep her course and speed.. and that (the tension is rising) before you find yourself in the a

Rule17 a(ii) situation ...The latter vessel may however take action to avoid collision by her manoeuvre alone, as soon as it becomes apparent to her that the vessel required to keep out of the way is not taking appropriate action in compliance with these Rules. ... did he see my dim light or didn't he...

or then even in a Rule 17 ( situation ...When, from any cause, the vessel required to keep her course and speed finds herself so close that collision cannot be avoided by the action of the give-way vessel alone, she shall take such action as will best aid to avoid collision .

So, don't even get into a Rule 17 (i) situation and change course before the big partner sees you.

Hopefully the new generation of brighter led-lights will enable the big partner to recognize us vessels unter sail earlier! Or the already mentioned strobe light?

And as I believe that we can count on a proper lookout by sight and hearing in waters of dencer traffic (coastal, and traffic lines), can we saliors count on this proper lookout by sight on the high sees? Isn't it better nowadays to equip our yachts with AIS and /or Radar Target Enhancers (SEA ME or other brands)?

Uwe

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