F%^$&*@ Sailboats

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Jul 12, 2007, 10:27:15 PM7/12/07
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I had been sailing for about two years and was still sailing as third
mate when this took place. Early in the evening the ship had transited
the Straits of Gibraltar headed west. We were just leaving the first
TSS, the point at which there are ships headed in all directions and
coming from all directions. The look out reported a faint white light
dead ahead, which I looked at and than consulted the radar. According
to the radar there was a ship heading west about twenty miles ahead of
us. So, I figured that the visibility was just exceedingly good that
night, since there was nothing else showing on either radar and the
bearing of the light was steady.

About five minutes go by and the look out again reported the light,
except this time he stated that he didn't think it was the ship I
thought it was. I again looked at it and agreed with him that this had
an odd "feeling". I stepped back and looked at the radar again,
nothing. I ranged down, adjusted the controls, and still couldn't get
anything to come up along the bearing where that light was.

A few more minutes pass and suddenly the lookout reported that the
light was bobbing. I looked and sure enough it was now bobbing,
whatever it was we were approaching it was small and close. Quickly we
went into hand steering and came almost thirty degrees to the right. A
minute went by, maybe less, and the light passed closely down the port
side. When the light was about broad on the port bow I could make out
the white hull of a sailboat and a faint white light at the top of the
mast. At this point I was no longer scared or uncertain of what to do,
I ran out on the bridge wing turned on the spot light and lit the
sailboat up with several million suns worth of illumination. When the
beam hit the sailboat, which was now less than fifty yards off the
beam, the hatch in the cockpit flew open and out tumbled a man naked,
except for his boxers.

I couldn't believe it, how could a person be so stupid as to decide to
take a nap outside one of the busiest shipping channels in the world.
The guy had, and still has, no idea how close he came to dying. If it
hadn't been for a lookout that had continued to pay attention and than
had the fortitude to disagree with the mate on watch, that guy would
have been run over and we may or may not have ever known it had

To this day I hate sailboats.

Maritimelinks.net {Moderator}

Jul 24, 2007, 12:11:41 AM7/24/07
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I have had a lot of experiences with sailboats- and none of them have
been good (unless I was at the helm). I think that the problem is how
much liability is put on us and how little is put on the operators.

I was sailing up the west coast - somewhere off of Oregon in the
vacinity of Umpqua river. I have had a lot of easy sea watches going
up and down the west coast- very laid back, not much to worry about.
But one night I had a sailboat... poorly lit and the operator was
clearly not sober because he sounded more than disoriented. He
couldn't tell port from starboard and didn't know where we were- which
was strange because I had turned on the search lights and lit up my
bow so he couldn't miss me.

**Note for new mates- the RADAR..... never, never trust what you see
on the radar. I thought that I was totally clear at the time that this
happened because there was no sign of this sailboat on the radar.

When I finally figured out where this clown was- It was getting VERY
late. I made my turn the port at the last minute. He looked like he
was going to hit the stern as we went by- he must have gotten within a
100 feet. Way too close for comfort at night in the middle of nowhere.
So yes- I really hate dealing with sail boats. Especially during long
boring transits.

Gutzy Mariner

Aug 13, 2007, 2:19:22 AM8/13/07
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I haven't had many good encounters with sailboats. Usually when I come
across them it seems like they have been drinking and don't know where
the hell they are! I came really close to running one guy over out in
the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. It was freakin dark
and I couldn't see the guys lights out there because he was between me
and the coast- about 10 miles out. All the other lights hid him from
my view.

I got a call and apparently he had seen me, but he didn't know what
direction I was heading. So I think he saw my side lights and masthead
light- but because he has no training, he had no idea which way I was

I barely missed him.

I am not a fan of sailboaters either- too many don't know what is
going on.

On Jul 23, 9:11 pm, "Maritimelinks.net {Moderator}"

> > To this day I hate sailboats.- Hide quoted text -
> - Show quoted text -

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