On Friday September 12th about 5 or 6 in the afternoon we made our way through the narrow south-eastern entrance of Lille Ostsundet. Approaching from the opposite side was a powerboat, but as we were considerably closer, I estimated that we could get through without hindering the powerboat significantly. The powerboat however, kept up its speed and heading until we came much too close, just as we escaped the narrow channel. Behind us, after we had passed each other, there was arm waving and yelling, although we could not make out any words, we could guess what it was all about.
Dear powerboat captain,
I assume that you expected us to alter our course to starboard, as would be normal when two vessels meet head-on. Did you notice that we were in a sailboat? The tall mast thingy on your deck has a counterpart, a deep keel thingy attached to the bottom of our hull. In our case the keel is close to 2 meters deep.
Some charts lack details of this area, but the best one I have shows a channel, of more than 2 meter depth, that is no more the 7 – 8 meters wide at the narrowest. So, when I was passing through, with the concrete quay about 1 1/2 meter off my port side, I was essentially in the middle of that channel. Steering to starboard to accommodate your boat on our port side, is simply not an option. It would have put our boat right in the 2 – 0.5 meter depth area.
I have some difficulty understanding why you approached so persistently, I am guessing that you were trying to teach us a lesson or maybe you did not want to give up what you felt was your right. What you actually achieved was to create a dangerous situation, one that you could have easily avoided. Our options, on the other hand, were limited. We could slow down to minimum steering speed, back all the way out of the channel to let you through first or steer into shallow water and possibly run aground.
I have already assumed that you know the steering rule for head-on approach. Here are excerpts from a couple of other rules you should also know:
Collision avoidance (Rule 8): “..action taken to avoid collision should be bold and made in ample time.“
Priority (Rule 18): “..vessel constrained by her draught“, is second in priority. Only “Vessel not under command” has higher priority, everything else has to give way.
I sincerely hope that our paths never cross again, but if you must take a boat under your command to the sea again, first please familiarize yourself with the entire rulebook and please try to comply.
Lille OstsundetLatitude: 59° 52.305 N
Longitude: 10° 35.21 E
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