Too Fast, Too Close

31st January 2009

Too Fast, Too Close

Initial Report

Report Text:

My yacht was anchored in about 4 metres off an island off the West coast of Scotland.  A French yacht was anchored about 100 metres. south of us.  As we prepared to weigh anchor I spotted a motor boat coming towards us from the north, obviously at speed.  We weighed anchor and, as my crew stowed it, I motored at about 2 knots heading approximately North.  The motor boat still appeared to be coming straight at us: longer inspection made me believe that she was going to just clear us to starboard, but much too close for comfort.

The boat subsequently cleared us by about 30 metres, and the French boat by less, with no noticeable reduction in the speed, which I would put, at a very rough guess, as about 20 knots.  Immediately she passed I turned into the wash and my crew later reported that the resulting pitch put our bow roller well under water.  The French yacht was left rolling like a metronome.  We hadn’t spotted the motor boat’s name, but the company’s name was painted prominently on her side.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Although visibility was good, before weighing anchor I should probably have made a VHF call to advise the motor boat that she was currently heading towards two anchored yachts and an inflatable dinghy.
  2. It might have been better to remain at anchor until the motor boat had passed since (a) this would have clarified the need for her to take avoiding action, and (b) this would have eliminated the risk that a delayed anchor recovery, e.g. a need to clear weed, could, in the worst scenario, have seen us breaking free just as the motor boat arrived.

CHIRP Comment:

We contacted the company that owned the motor boat.  They advised that they had reinforced their guidance to their skippers to avoid such close quarters situations at speed and apologised for the anxiety caused. As in a previous report in this newsletter, we compliment the yachtsman for having reported the incident and the company for having followed it up responsibly.

Comment (Your email address will not be published)

Up next: