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