Lessons learned

Yachting Monthly - - LEARNING CURVE -

Clearly it was a mis­take for me to lie down on my bunk again af­ter I had spo­ken to Sea-land Racer. This lack of dis­ci­pline, brought on by fa­tigue, cre­ated ab­sent mo­ments that al­most proved fa­tal. Had I forced my­self to stay awake, to mon­i­tor the AIS and my vis­ual ob­ser­va­tions of the ship, then cor­rec­tive ac­tion could have been agreed ear­lier.

Sea-land Racer con­fused me with an­other ves­sel that was fur­ther out. Flash­ing a strobe light or high- pow­ered lan­tern at their bridge, and ask­ing them to vis­ually con­firm this, would have been a good so­lu­tion.

Since my transat­lantic voy­age I have now in­stalled an ICOM AIS trans­ceiver. It re­ceives and trans­mits AIS data and is the best watch keeper and in­ter-ves­sel alert sys­tem that I know of. If I’d had one of these, the whole

Sea-land Racer in­ci­dent would never have hap­pened.

Un­der­tak­ing any off­shore voy­age is not with­out its risks and re­wards, but as a wiser man than me once said, ‘…do not dis­tress your­self with imag­in­ing. Many fears are born of fa­tigue and lone­li­ness. Be­yond a whole­some dis­ci­pline, be gen­tle with your­self...’. So I would say, have courage, fall in love, ex­tend the hand of friend­ship, sail the oceans, ac­cept the risk and en­joy your life!

In a po­ten­tial col­li­sion sit­u­a­tion, make cer­tain a ship’s mas­ter knows your lo­ca­tion. Give your GPS po­si­tion, range and bear­ing, flash a torch, turn on deck­lights – just be seen

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