More in­sights into safety around ships

Yachting Monthly - - LETTERS - Peter He­bard

Af­ter read­ing A yachts­man’s guide to ship­ping (Apr 16), I’d like to add a cou­ple of points. First, fer­ries of­ten cut cor­ners. We were mo­tor­sail­ing north­east round Ushant at night. De­spite be­ing well in­shore of the traf­fic sep­a­ra­tion scheme, we met a Brit­tany Ferry head­ing south­west to Spain on a slow turn at 20+ knots.

At­tempts to con­tact the ferry by VHF failed un­til the French Coast­guard in­ter­vened. The ferry claimed not to see us un­til I put our mast­head light on. The genoa cloaked our steam­ing light and our nav lights were too low in the swell. Now I mo­tor­sail with only the mast­head light on.

Later, our Class B AIS failed so I called any ship on a po­ten­tial col­li­sion course, as I do if I am the stand-on ves­sel and the miss dis­tance is less than two miles. We crossed the Chan­nel’s ship­ping lanes in good vis­i­bil­ity and none of the 11 ships I hailed had seen us. Their radars had not alarmed or were off. They were to­tally re­liant on AIS alarms.

Fer­ries some­times stray from the routes of most ship­ping traf­fic

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