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mtbradey trip report 2013 - Day 3 (Rhone, Dogs, North Sound)
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Link to this postPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 11:13 am    Post subject: Note mtbradey trip report 2013 - Day 3 (Rhone, Dogs, North Sound)

Day 3 - June 7

We awoke on the ball at Cooper and got started about 8am. We motored over to the Rhone and were the first ones there. I and one other crew member were the only divers. We descended on the bow and did the swim through. Then we made our way over to the stern via the wreckage along the way. At the stern we saw a turtle and unfortunately a lion fish.

Getting back on board we cast off and sailed up the SFD channel to Great Dog. We were close hauled all the way and made 4 tacks getting there. Two significant events along the way. First, the apparent winds all week were averaging high teens and plenty of sustained gusts in the low 20s. The crew quickly came to understand why it's called beating. They were on the trampoline loving it. But as we arrived near Great Dog we discovered that our dinghy, which wasn't high enough on the davits, had lost its gas tank overboard, taking the coupling of the gas line with it. We called Moorings base from Great Dog and they said Leonard at Saba would help us when we got into North Sound. He did indeed, but this was just the beginning of our dinghy woes for the week.

The second thing that happened was that one of the smaller auto ferries that goes back and forth between Spanish Town and RT was making the trip from ST. We were on a collision course, him obviously under power and us under sail. My crew asked what the protocol is and I told them the rules, knowing the ferry might not stop or turn. So we ended up in a game of chicken, both holding course and speed. I couldn't simply alter course to get behind him, because I was on a starboard tack close hauled and he was approaching from starboard. I could have tacked, but was waiting to see if he would alter course or slow down. He did neither. With about 200 feet remaining I did what my crew later called a "crazy Ivan". I put the helm over hard to port and we turned a 360 (once into the wind I had to start the starboard engine to keep us going around). By the time we were back on our original course and under sail the ferry had gone by. They were waving their hands at us like we had done something wrong and I was communicating with them in return. They weren't a large vessel and either speed or course change would have been very easy for them. Oh well.

We lunched and snorkeled at Great Dog next to The Chimney. We had a Moorings 4800 ask to raft with us since no balls were available. I had never done this before, but agreed. The anchorage was calm and confused, so I figured we wouldn't hurt the mooring. We were rafted for about 30 minutes before we gave him the ball and left for North Sound.

We motored between Great Dog and George Dog before setting sail on a starboard tack toward Anegada. With four tacks we were about half way there. I had to get in before 5pm to catch Leonard, so at that point we motored the rest of the way. We got a ball in front of Saba to take care of the dinghy tank, then moved over closer to Bitter End since we planned on going to Fat Virgin for dinner the next night and wanted to shorten the dinghy ride.

The crew cleaned up for dinner and we went ashore to let them look around and shop a bit before eating. I was looking forward to the Friday night seafood buffet at Bitter End, but it turned out the previous Friday was the last one of the season. We ordered a la carte. It wasn't a bad meal, but it was the least favorite of the crew all week. We'll probably eat at Leverick or do two nights at Fat Virgin in the future.

After dinner it was back to the boat and turn in for the night.

Ever since we started going in June we noticed that you can see the Southern Cross low in the early night sky. This year was no different. The clouds this week made it touch and go, but we were able to see it anyway.
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Link to this postPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:06 am    

Great report! I look forward to reading more.

We often tie a line to a hard-point inside the stern of the dingy, out and under the dingy, crank it up tight, and secure it to the mother ship somewhere to keep the dink from swinging.

On the ferries - IMHO they are driven in a criminal fashion about 90% of the time. confused

You simply have to stay out of their way no mater what size they are.
They are rude and do not obey the rules of the road.
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Link to this postPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 7:48 pm    

Thanks, Twanger. We'll steer well clear of them in the future.

A whole week of wearing shoes. It still doesn't feel right.
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Link to this postPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:04 pm    

I'm not sure about the differences in the BVI rules of Navigation, but I believe they are under the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS). And no offense, but I pretty sure you were the Give-Way vessel in this situation.

According to Rule 18
(b) A sailing vessel underway shall keep out of the way of:

(i) a vessel not under command;

(ii) a vessel restricted in her ability to manoeuvre;

(iii) a vessel engaged in fishing.

Under the definitions, a ferry would fall under (b) (ii).

Therefore, the ferry (by carrying cargo) and all ferries (transporting people) have the Stand-on status and you were the Give-Way vessel.

This rule overrides the Starboard-As-Give-Way vessel.

This is the same rule in the Inland US waters.

Of course, while they have the right-of-way any captain can abuse their authority and drive like a maniac, abusive or "criminal manner"!
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Link to this postPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:08 am    

Good to know. No offense taken! I'm always happy to learn. The ferry wasn't driving like a maniac at all. It was my understanding that a vessel under sail always has the right of way over a vessel under power unless the vessel under power meets one of the qualifications you listed above. I was not aware of a formal definition of "restricted in her ability to maneuver" that included any vessel under power carrying cargo. Lacking a formal definition, I can assure you this little ferry was capable of maneuvering. So I thought I had right of way. In the end I gave way anyway. I'll keep this in mind in the future, though. Thanks!
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Link to this postPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:28 am    

Here's a link with the rules:

Rule 3(g) says:
(g) The term "vessel restricted in her ability to manoeuvre" means a vessel which from the nature of her work is restricted in her ability to manoeuvre as required by these Rules and is therefore unable to keep out of the way of another vessel.

The following vessels shall be regarded as vessels restricted in their ability to manoeuvre:

(i) a vessel engaged in laying, servicing or picking up a navigation mark, submarine cable or pipeline;

(ii) a vessel engaged in dredging, surveying or underwater operations;

(iii) a vessel engaged in replenishment or transferring persons, provisions or cargo while underway;

(iv) a vessel engaged in the launching or recovery of aircraft;

(v) a vessel engaged in minesweeping operations;

(vi) a vessel engaged in a towing operation such as renders her unable to deviate from her course.

3(g)(iii) is the key on this one.

My experience (although by no means as extensive as most on this forum) in Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico (lot's of commerical vessels throughout) is that "defensive sailing" is better than sinking, injury or death. Smile

3(g)(v) is the one I never expect to experience. Smile Why would I be sailing where someone is minesweeping? If this were the case a collision is the least of my concerns (sanity, or lack thereof, is the first).
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Link to this postPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:52 am    

I never get in anyone's way when sailing in the BVI. Too many people don't know the rules, or don't care, and it ain't my boat, so I'm not messing with the rules.

I clearly signal my intention by usually getting WAY out of the way early and have never had a problem in 21 years of sailing...

Some people say that I shouldn't, but if I am very clear on my intention, I don't usually screw anyone else I take the safer, saner route - would rather be safe than dead right.

PS - If you sail in the SVI's, you might run across a Minesweeper! They are still trying to clean up the area of munitions... Smile
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Link to this postPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:57 am    

3(g)(iii) does not apply to a ferry in normal operation. 3(g)(iii) applies to vessels that are moving people or cargo onto or off of the vessel while underway, which definitely restricts their maneuverability since it requires a rendezvous with another vessel that is also underway.

Ferries, in general, are not restricted in their ability to maneuver. The only time that they are is when they are constrained to a channel.

The COLREGS work reasonably well for vessels of similar size, but do not address vessels that differ greatly in size.

In general, large vessels are considered to be less maneuverable than small vessels, and smaller vessels should normally expect to give way to vessels that are significantly larger. We call this the "big boat rule".

It is debatable as to whether or not the ferries in the BVI are significantly larger than many of the sailing craft. However, the majority of the BVI ferry and barge operators give little consideration to any pleasure vessel.
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Link to this postPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:39 pm    

Thanks, Walker. In my 103/104 course I was told this rule applied to ferries. I can see the confusion because of the term "transferring". As a lake-boater (no ferries) forever, the definition of including a ferry with 3(g)(iii) was no problem. I did a quick search on the Internet (because "they can't put it on the Internet if it's not true") and couldn't find any interpretation or application (or non-application) in regards to a ferry.

My experience on lakes, Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico is that consideration is seldom given to anyone by anyone. I've always (power or sail) done as Dawn mentions - figure out as early as possible if there's a problem, make adjustments as safetly as possible and large enough adjustments that the other operator knows that I'm giving way.

Of course in the narrow channels of Clear Lake, I add "go slower than you think you ought to going."
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Link to this postPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:48 pm    

Walker wrote:
However, the majority of the BVI ferry and barge operators give little consideration to any pleasure vessel.

^^^^ THIS

The ferries in the BVI are generally small and quite maneuverable... far more maneuverable than your typical sailboat.
I have been in MANY situations under-sail where they could easily changed course and yet they choose not to do so, thereby putting my vessel at-risk.
They will run you down in the middle of SFD channel if you let them.
More so, they appear to take great delight in seeing just how close they can get with their huge wakes.

The behavior is criminal.

I get out of their way as fast as I can, but if you're going 6 knots there's little you can do if a 20-knot ferry wants to see how close they can get without scraping paint.

Rolling Eyes

This is one of my pet peeves about the BVI.

Rant off.
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Link to this postPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:51 pm    

I will be sure to remain on the lookout for these when we come in October!

BTW, I did get 100% confirmation from the USCG on the ferry issue:
"Rule 3(g)(ii) refers to "underway replenishment" or "replenishment at sea", not to the routine transfer of people or cars done by ferries (while moored or not under way)." I sent them an email and they responded within an hour.

Therefore, there is no doubt that Matt was correct with his understanding of the rules of navigation and the ferry (as well as I) was wrong. As Matt said "I'm always happy to learn."

Just the same, I'll join with Dawn and Walker and try to avoid them. And I don't think any of us would consider Walker's comments on the ferries as ranting.
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Link to this postPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:53 pm    

I need to add Twanger to that list.
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Link to this postPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:09 pm    

Way to go to the source! After Walker chimed in I thought his reading made more sense, but sometimes "sense" has nothing to do with reading regulations. Thanks for the lesson, guys. And the bottom line is that next time I will simply tack.
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