Collision Avoidance for Dinghy Cruisers

Next Topic
 
classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
5 messages Options
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Collision Avoidance for Dinghy Cruisers

Neal Bedwell 3638
Hi everyone

I wonder if I could ask fellow members what they think about the collision avoidance aspects of making passages in small boats. In particular when it is sometimes unavoidable to cross into very busy shipping lanes and other vessel traffic management areas. The approches to busy ports being a good example.

Although I'm reasonably experienced cruising in larger boats (30 -50ft) having somehow managed to avoid getting myself in to too much trouble on Englsih Channel crossings, trips to Spain, Portugal and (just once) across the pond to Florida, dinghy cruising is a relatively new experience for me having only "got the bug" a year ago when I had the opportunity to buy a 16ft Rover class centre-boarder, so as a would-be dinghy cruiser I have a lot to learn.

Now that I've been getting to know my little craft for a while I'm thinking about possibly going a bit further afield in her than my local patch (Norfolk Broads) and I'm freshening up on the RYA Coastal Skipper qualification gained in my younger years.

But times have changed a little since the last time I took to the open sea. Much Mmore commercial shipping being one problem, and that commercial shipping being much more automated and "hands-off" than it used to be.
On larger yachts AIS is gradually becoming considered as the "sensible skipper's choice", or radar, or even both if you've got money to burn, but what can be done in a small open boat which doesn't have the benfit of a permanently rigged mast bristling with antennas for the lastest and greatest in collision avoidance?

Are there any small boat alternatives? I have nothing against a good old fahioned foghorn of course (used one many times in the past), but we all know that the latest semi-automated VLCCs ploughing along the North Sea TSS at 30 knots isn't going hear that.

What to do?

I know there are some VERY experienced dinghy cruisers here and I'd really value your thoughts.

Thanks very much.

Neal
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Collision Avoidance for Dinghy Cruisers

Steve Bradwell 2284
This post was updated on .
Hi Neal,

I doubt you will find many busier places to sail than the Solent for vessels of all sizes up the largest container ships afloat. South coast sailors regularly negotiate this traffic with few if any issues.

Avoid trouble by treating all large vessels as constrained by draught and sail in shallow water to avoid them. Crossing shipping lanes is going to be no different from your experience in a yacht, anticipation of speed and distance is required. This is generally done successfully without the aid of electronic aids and shipping in our area are used to the presence of numerous small craft and you could expect watchkeeping to be far better than in open water, this is not to say they will be able to avoid running you down if you sail in front of them!

Crossing shipping lanes in poor visibility is obviously best avoided but if in any doubt communicating by VHF with VTS Southampton or QHM Portsmouth is a good idea and always appreciated. Know your position in relation to buoyage etc before calling! Use the term “permission to cross” if you are in their defined areas of responsibility.

Worth knowing is that there is a 1000 metre exclusion zone to small craft in front of vessels over 150 metres length in the sea area passing Calshot. Similar restrictions may apply to other ports and sea areas.

Steve
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Collision Avoidance for Dinghy Cruisers

Roger Barnes 936
In reply to this post by Neal Bedwell 3638
I'd only consider cross a shipping lane in good visibility. Nighttime is fine (assuming you carry a navigation light) as you can still see the ships. In fog or heavy rain I sail immediately out of the shipping lane and ideally into shallow water. Remember you don’t just have to worry about ships but also fast powerboats, which are probably more of a danger, as they don’t necessarily have crew keeping a proper lookout. I carry a radar reflector (one of the folding octahedral ones) but I would not like to guarantee a large ship’s radar can see me. I have considered an AIS receiver, (which would mean having a fixed VHF and aerial), and this might be worthwhile if you plan to cross the Channel for instance, where poor visibility might catch you unawares and you cannot avoid crossing a shipping lane to get back to safety. In that situation some sort of active radar reflector would also be worthwhile - like Sea-Me - which needs electrical power. But I think it is best to use a dinghy to do the sort of sailing you can’t do in a yacht, in intricate inshore waters, rather than replicate yacht passages. I go across the Channel in a ferry!


Roger Barnes
President
Dinghy Cruising Association 

43 Witham Friary
Frome
Somerset
BA11 5HF

07801 263278
[hidden email]

On 2 Dec 2019, at 16:39, Neal Bedwell 3638 [via DCA Forum] <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi everyone

I wonder if I could ask fellow members what they think about the collision avoidance aspects of making passages in small boats. In particular when it is sometimes unavoidable to cross into very busy shipping lanes and other vessel traffic management areas. The approches to busy ports being a good example.

Although I'm reasonably experienced cruising in larger boats (30 -50ft) having somehow managed to avoid getting myself in to too much trouble on Englsih Channel crossings, trips to Spain, Portugal and (just once) across the pond to Florida, dinghy cruising is a relatively new experience for me having only "got the bug" a year ago when I had the opportunity to buy a 16ft Rover class centre-boarder, so as a would-be dinghy cruiser I have a lot to learn.

Now that I've been getting to know my little craft for a while I'm thinking about possibly going a bit further afield in her than my local patch (Norfolk Broads) and I'm freshening up on the RYA Coastal Skipper qualification gained in my younger years.

But times have changed a little since the last time I took to the open sea. Much Mmore commercial shipping being one problem, and that commercial shipping being much more automated and "hands-off" than it used to be.
On larger yachts AIS is gradually becoming considered as the "sensible skipper's choice", or radar, or even both if you've got money to burn, but what can be done in a small open boat which doesn't have the benfit of a permanently rigged mast bristling with the lastest and greatest in collision avoidance?

Are there any small boat alternatives? I have nothing against a good old fahioned foghorn of course (used one many times in the past), but we all know that the latest semi-automated VLCCs ploughing along the North Sea TSS at 30 knots isn't going hear that.

What to do?

I know there are some VERY experienced dinghy cruisers here and I'd really value your thoughts.

Thanks very much.

Neal



If you reply to this email, your message will be added to the discussion below:
http://forum.dinghycruising.org.uk/Collision-Avoidance-for-Dinghy-Cruisers-tp2015.html
To start a new topic under Dinghies for Cruising: choosing, acquiring & using, [hidden email]
To unsubscribe from DCA Forum, click here.
NAML

Roger Barnes
President
Dinghy Cruising Association

president@dinghycruising.org.uk
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Collision Avoidance for Dinghy Cruisers

Neal Bedwell 3638
In reply to this post by Neal Bedwell 3638
Hi Steve/Roger

Thank you both for your thoughts and experiences on this.

My aim is very much to sail where the bigger boats can't go (even the bigger yachts like I used to sail in). That's the appeal for me. So I understand and agree that the type of sailing that really "defines" dinghy cruising hopefully tends to involve staying away from the deep sea big ship areas anyway.
That's all good sense. But sometimes you have to go through busy places to get to another country's quiet bits

One idea I've been kicking around is a North sea passage to Holland at the right time of year, with a good weather window etc etc. That's not to say I'm definitely going to do it, but it's a tempatation in my more adventurous moments.
However, that route is a good example of the problem. Much of the area to seaward of the Dutch coast contains large areas of traffic management zones of varying types. Crossing them in good viz (timed for daylight of course), with great care, should be ok, but if fog falls, even heavy rain is enough.... no good turning back to shallow water because I'd be approaching them from seaward, and they're big areas to cross and to get away from. Once I'm across I can do all the shallow water sailing that so much appeals to me these days and so probably hardly see any big ships at all, but first I have to get across.

Steve I absolutely take your point about the Solent. Last time I sailed there was several decades ago and it was busy enough then. I imagine it must be far more so by now.Certainly a good training ground for learning to be observant of other craft and to judge proximities/relative courses etc.
The 1km exclusion is new to me. Last time I was there it was more of an informal "just use your sense and keep well clear". Thanks for the info. I'd love to get back to do some solent sailing again sometime and that is useful info.

Roger, thanks for the active reflecter idea, I hadn't thought of that at all and is ounds like something worth trying. I'll definitely look into that.

Now, a battery powered, palm-sized AIS receiver/screen that connects to a handheld DSC VHF and we'd really be talking.  Just anough power to run for a couple of hours at a time then recharge via solar.

In the meantime thanks again for your replies. I appreciate it.

Neal
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Collision Avoidance for Dinghy Cruisers

Roger Barnes 936
There don’t seem to be any handheld AIS sets that you can use at sea (smartphone apps don’t count). The only way I can see that you could achieve it is by fitting an AIS-enabled fixed VHF. 

R


Roger BARNES
25, rue du Port Rhu
29100 Douarnenez
France

P +33 (0)7 76 62 53 62

On 3 Dec 2019, at 18:59, Neal Bedwell 3638 [via DCA Forum] <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi Steve/Roger

Thank you both for your thoughts and experiences on this.

My aim is very much to sail where the bigger boats can't go (even the bigger yachts like I used to sail in). That's the appeal for me. So I understand and agree that the type of sailing that really "defines" dinghy cruising hopefully tends to involve staying away from the deep sea big ship areas anyway.
That's all good sense. But sometimes you have to go through busy places to get to another country's quiet bits

One idea I've been kicking around is a North sea passage to Holland at the right time of year, with a good weather window etc etc. That's not to say I'm definitely going to do it, but it's a tempatation in my more adventurous moments.
However, that route is a good example of the problem. Much of the area to seaward of the Dutch coast contains large areas of traffic management zones of varying types. Crossing them in good viz (timed for daylight of course), with great care, should be ok, but if fog falls, even heavy rain is enough.... no good turning back to shallow water because I'd be approaching them from seaward, and they're big areas to cross and to get away from. Once I'm across I can do all the shallow water sailing that so much appeals to me these days and so probably hardly see any big ships at all, but first I have to get across.

Steve I absolutely take your point about the Solent. Last time I sailed there was several decades ago and it was busy enough then. I imagine it must be far more so by now.Certainly a good training ground for learning to be observant of other craft and to judge proximities/relative courses etc.
The 1km exclusion is new to me. Last time I was there it was more of an informal "just use your sense and keep well clear". Thanks for the info. I'd love to get back to do some solent sailing again sometime and that is useful info.

Roger, thanks for the active reflecter idea, I hadn't thought of that at all and is ounds like something worth trying. I'll definitely look into that.

Now, a battery powered, palm-sized AIS receiver/screen that connects to a handheld DSC VHF and we'd really be talking.  Just anough power to run for a couple of hours at a time then recharge via solar.

In the meantime thanks again for your replies. I appreciate it.

Neal



If you reply to this email, your message will be added to the discussion below:
http://forum.dinghycruising.org.uk/Collision-Avoidance-for-Dinghy-Cruisers-tp2015p2027.html
To start a new topic under Dinghies for Cruising: choosing, acquiring & using, [hidden email]
To unsubscribe from DCA Forum, click here.
NAML

Roger Barnes
President
Dinghy Cruising Association

president@dinghycruising.org.uk