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Old 14 March 2005, 07:36   #1
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Cock up in Southampton Water

I want to declare at the outset of this post that I acknowledge we made a grave and potentially very serious error of navigation at night returning from Ryde Sands to Lymington. We were simply unaware of the poor vision ahead of a large vessel turning into Southampton water and thought that 500m or so (but it is hard to judge at night given our lack of experience) was sufficient clearance given we were going at 18 knots. We were also, mistake I acknowledge, only monitoring Channel 77 as we were in close contact with our companion rib as we lacked night time experience and knew our limitation. We should have been triwatching 16 and Southampton VTS as well. So we were at fault, twice.

But what happened next concerns me. A Southampton Harbourmaster launch raced up to us, blue flashing light, shines a spotlight down at us blinding both of us, and shouts at us in a very threatening manner "what the **** are you doing?" "this is unbelievable!". He then told us in no uncertain terms to bring our rib alongside. Jo, at the helm, was understandbly spooked by this, and coming alongside the launch as the wash of the big container vessel arrived proved hard for her (it would have for me). "who is the skipper of this boat?". Me, obviously. Anyway, once I had got on board, and explained the afternoon's events, our lack of experience, and our lack of understanding about the 1000m rolling exclusion zone, he calmed down. Apparently the captain of the vessel thought he had run down one or two powerboats, and had radioed the launch in some concern, so undertandably everyone was tense.

Now, I say again, I was at fault. I admit that. And it could have been very serious.

But, does the aggressive attitude of the Harbourmaster launch really help anyone? We were tired, cold, doing our best. We should have known about the rolling exclusion zone - but we did not. We should have been listening to VTS and 16, but we failed to, my fault again.

It just leaves a bad feeling at the end of the day, and I wonder how this 1000m rolling exclusion zone can be better publicised. Am I just blind and it should have been obvious to me? I had no idea of the huge blind spot in front of a large container ship. Surely they would have a lookout on the bow?

Please understand, I am not saying it was an unfair cop. Just:

1) please everyone remember / be aware of the 1000m rolling zone
2) monitor 16 and VTS
3) be prepared for some attitude if you do break a byelaw on a rib

A wiser,

Bruce
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Old 14 March 2005, 07:50   #2
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It's al part of......

...the learning curve. Bruce, don't be too hard on yourself and for that matter, too hard on the Harbourmaster either. The main thing is you've learnt a valuable lesson and one which will make you a better and wiser skipper. Thanks for sharing your experience, that alone takes guts.
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Old 14 March 2005, 08:04   #3
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Sorry to hear about your near miss Bruce the information you required is published on your charts re the 1000 metres ahead and 100metres either side exclusion zone . It is a shame the Harbour Master was abit rude but if the master of the vessel thinks he has just run over two small craft imagine how he must have been feeling . Still lesson learned maybe you should consider abit more training now Intermediate is the one for you and you know details of various Instructors on this forum .Glad you are ok quite an eventful trip for you it seems.
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Old 14 March 2005, 08:05   #4
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I agree with MeMe.

Big up to you Bruce for sharing this.

I did my advanced PB finishing in Southampton Water at night a few years ago and the 1000m rolling zone was never mentioned.

I for one need to get some more night experience and its something I aim to do this year. You never know when circumstance catches you out and you end up out at night unexpectedly, however much planning you put into a trip.

Glad all came out of it ok.
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Old 14 March 2005, 09:09   #5
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Hi Bruce

Harbourmasters can be a little touch sometimes (Little Hitler and all that).

Did i pass you the other day on the dual carriage way? i was in silver landy 90 and blue rib?
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Old 14 March 2005, 09:20   #6
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Bruce & Jo - sorry to hear about your 'escapades' but glad you and the boat are all OK.

As others have said, if nothing else, this will make you better skippers. Your two (mis)adventures show the importance of passage planning and winter homework. It is tempting for those of us who use the area regularly to think of the Solent as a giant playground and a 'safe' place. Before venturing out on our own the first time Richard and I spent a couple of hours with Reed's Almanac and our charts, getting to know the main hazards/things to watch out for. There is a wealth of information there and IMHO every boater should regularly consult these as things change from year to year.

Also, we have a book and twin pack of videos which point out many of the danger points. The book is called 'Solent Hazards' and was written by Peter Bruce. The videos are called 'Telehazards: An Aerial Pilot of the North Solent Shore & An Aerial Pilot of the Isle of Wight' I highly recommend them!
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Old 14 March 2005, 09:44   #7
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If solent hazards is the one I'm thinking of it's an interesting read, lot's of great photos
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Old 14 March 2005, 09:51   #8
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Bruce, It was not your day, was it.
I agree with everything that is said above. You can take lessons, read books and so on, but you then have to get experience. My wife has some interesting stats somewhere about learning and information retention. They are something along the lines of:- lecture 15%, reading/video 25%, practical 90%.
You got 2 very valuable lessons on Saturday, and just as important you have passed them on to a load more people who will probably remember and be wiser for your adventures.
Regarding a forward lookout, that is what the HM launch does. I guess you must have passed between him and the ship. They have the blue lights on at all times when escourting a ship.

The Harbour Master did have a word earlier with one of the Pompy/Calshot group as we waited at Calshot. We were rafted up/milling outside the channel but were drifting into it. I guess he was pointing this out and probably wondering what was going on.

I am glad to hear that you got home safe and sound in the end.
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Old 14 March 2005, 10:15   #9
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15+25+90=130
So if you do all 3 you'll learn more than there is to know?
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Old 14 March 2005, 10:30   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Halliday
They are something along the lines of:- lecture 15%, reading/video 25%, practical 90%.
Nice one Mark I like that.

Solent hazards is a right riveting read and all that but getting out there is the best medicine. I 'd lay a bet they have already read it.

Both Bruce & Dave are no fools and I'm sure both know the ryde bank very well. Lessons learned etc etc and I'm sure they will add it to their tall stories in future.

paul
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