Collision (Overtaking 4)

30th June 2006

Collision (Overtaking 4)

Initial Report

Report text:

Whilst sailing, we noticed another yacht on a parallel course to ours and took no further notice.  About 15 minutes later I noticed that the yacht was much closer and some 100m from our port quarter and then changed course coming straight for our stern.  I then shouted to them to bear away as they were coming up fast.  No change occurred even though there were people on deck and within hearing distance; they kept on coming, now some 15-20m behind, so I shouted again to bear away, no change of course.  Impact occurred soon after with some damage to our yacht. I then shouted to stop, but the other vessel’s crew ignored me and carried on sailing.  We then furled the Genoa, started the engine and gave chase.  After about 1/2 a mile we came alongside and I established the identity of the skipper and we agreed to exchange details on the VHF radio.  We were both on the starboard tack; he was the windward boat and the overtaking boat.  At no time before, during or after the collision did the other skipper alter course, slow up or try to avoid the collision.

CHIRP Comment:

The requirements of Rule 13 – Overtaking have already been referred to in this edition and there is a clear and unequivocal obligation upon the overtaking vessel to keep out of the way of the vessel being overtaken.  Having said that the Maritime Advisory Board believes there is evidence (reproduced in these pages and elsewhere) to suggest knowledge and application of the collision regulations varies greatly.  Skippers and those standing watch in this environment must exercise caution and anticipate and react to situations prudently.

The Board recommends that all navigators, in considering what action to take,  should keep Rule 2 in mind:

“(a) Nothing in these Rules shall exonerate any vessel, or the owner, master or crew thereof, from the consequences of any neglect to comply with these Rules or of the neglect of any precaution which may be required by the ordinary practice of seamen, or by the special circumstances of the case.

(b) In construing and complying with these Rules due regard shall be had to all dangers of navigation and collision and to any special circumstances, including the limitations of the vessels involved, which may make a departure from these Rules necessary to avoid immediate danger.”

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