Please select your home edition
Edition
Abell Point Marina 728x90 Moor

Solo sailor fined $770 for 'taking 15 minute catnaps'

by Sail-World Cruising round-up on 14 Feb 2014
Ex-racing yacht Apollo 3 - her solo skipper admitted to taking naps .. .
Solo sailors anywhere near Queensland beware. According to the Whitsunday Times, a solo sailor in the Whitsunday Islands has been fined for 'not keeping a proper watch' as he admitted taking 15-minute 'catnaps' while sailing a famous ex-racing yacht, the 16m Apollo 3.

Traditional sailors may also want to be aware, because the same sailor was also cited by police for 'not having electronic equipment, no radar and no depth sounder'. According to the report, Police said he claimed he was sailing by chart and dead reckoning, but they 'couldn't find his course marked on the chart'.

Then, looking further, they found that the safety equipment on Apollo 3 to be out of date.

However, because he was solo-sailing, the magistrate ruled that it was only his own life he was endangering, and fined him $770.00 for these transgressions.

But that wasn't the only trouble this sailor found himself in.

Conrad Charles Ross-Smith did plead guilty to failing to register two vessels (his yacht and its dinghy) and operating a ship while it was unregistered, but he also claimed that that situation had been remedied.

Police prosecutor Elizabeth Cassells said Ross-Smith had set out from Airlie Beach on Apollo 3 on January 14, bound for either Townsville or Cairns. He described the weather and sea conditions as 'quite heavy', but said the vessel was easily able to cope.

Ms Cassells said over the course of the voyage he damaged his headsails, was unable to raise the main and had no means of propulsion as the auxiliary engine was also inoperable.

She said he was drifting in this state for about a day and became exhausted. He then spotted a navy ship and let off an orange flare. Ross-Smith said crew from the navy ship came to his assistance and helped him to jury rig the boat. He said he believed he could have made it to shore.

However, at 7pm on January 16, Townsville Water Police were advised by the Australian Rescue Co-ordination Centre that Apollo 3 was drifting 15 nautical miles east of Magnetic Island and Ross-Smith was eventually towed into Townsville by the volunteer coastguard.

When police caught up with Ross-Smith, they ascertained he had not been keeping a proper watch in accordance with collision prevention regulations. He admitted leaving the vessel unattended while he took 15-minute cat naps.

He also had no electronic navigation equipment, no radar and no depth sounder. He said he had been navigating with a marine chart and by dead-reckoning, however police noticed there was no course marked on the chart.

When the vessel's safety equipment was checked, the emergency flares were all found to be out of date.

On the one hand, Ross-Smith described himself as a 'seasoned sailor' saying Apollo 3, a former contender in Fastnet and Hobart races, was his third yacht. On the other hand, he said it had been 'pretty tough' living on the boat and he put his mistakes down to 'a learning experience'.

Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist said the maximum penalty for unsafely operating a vessel was a $55,000 fine.

Nonetheless he ruled that with no passengers aboard, Ross-Smith was 'the only one that could have perished on this boat' and he imposed the $770 fine.

Nothing was mentioned during the hearing about the time wasted by the Navy personnel and rescue volunteers, but the moral of the story is clear: if you go solo sailing, don't whatever you do, admit to sleeping.
Zhik ZKG 660x82Pantaenius - Worldwide SupportBarz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best Eyewear

Related Articles

Auckland On the Water Boat Show opens full of the Joys of Spring
The Auckland On the Water Boat Show enjoyed a beautiful Spring day for its opening. Despite the inclement weather that has been the New Zealand's daily fare for too long, the Auckland On the Water Boat Show enjoyed a beautiful Spring day for its opening. Today was the first of the four-day show and is also the first time that the Show has been held in the school holidays.
Posted today at 5:37 am
Knowing Harken takes years and years (Pt.II)
We looked at how Grant Pellew became the MD here in Australia, and how they rigorously go about testing their gear In Part One of getting to know Harken, we looked at how Grant Pellew became the MD here in Australia, and how they rigorously go about testing their gear. We also looked at some of the other brands Harken distributes in Australia and so we move on to the last category.
Posted on 25 Sep
Olympic Gold medalist and Volvo Ocean Race winner up for WS Board
Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing in November. The five times Olympic medalist, Volvo Ocean Race winner and several times America's Cup competitor will bring a much needed sailing edge to the Board of World Sailing if he can navigate the politics of the controlling body of the sport.
Posted on 25 Sep
Amel - Do you fit the bill?
Perhaps it is equally as fascinating as the many features that go into either the Amel 55 or 64 It is certainly an interesting set of criterion. Perhaps it is equally as fascinating as the many features that go into either the Amel 55 or 64 and make them a definitive part of the quintessential bluewater cruiser armada. We’ll come to all of those in due course, but firstly we’ll tackle the hero image and why in so many ways, this explains, so, so much.
Posted on 21 Sep
Knowing Harken takes years and years (Pt.I)
You could imagine that being familiar with all that Harken produces and stands for is a lengthy process. You could imagine that being familiar with all that Harken produces and stands for is a lengthy process. So if you were going to be the person at the top in Australia, it would be best for you to have immersed yourself in sailing from an early age. When you grew up, being one of the technical service team would be more than a handy apprenticeship, as it were.
Posted on 19 Sep
Brookes and Gatehouse Videos with Knut Frostad
Navico, the parent company for Brookes and Gatehouse (B&G), Simrad and Lowrance have prepared some terrific videos Navico, the parent company for Brookes and Gatehouse (B&G), Simrad and Lowrance have prepared some terrific videos with Knut Frostad, the legendary Volvo Ocean Race sailor and former CEO. See him talk about sailing in general, the B&G product choices and placement he made for his own boat, and then why he loves his Outremer 5X.
Posted on 8 Sep
Boat Books of the Month - How to Read Water and False Flags
How to Read Water: Clues, Signs & Patterns from Puddles to Sea & False Flags: Disguised German Raiders of World War II. This month the Boatbooks Australia: Boat Books of the Month are How to Read Water: Clues, Signs & Patterns from Puddles to the Sea and False Flags: Disguised German Raiders of World War II.
Posted on 6 Sep
Soft Padeyes – light, strong and versatile
Several types of soft padeyes are now available and are proving increasingly popular over traditional stainless steel pa Several types of soft padeyes are now available on the market and are proving increasingly popular over traditional stainless steel padeyes. They all capitalise on the incredible strength to weight ratio and abrasion resistance of Dyneema® which offers a reliable, robust, flexible and safe termination.
Posted on 6 Sep
The X Factor starring X-Yachts
X-Yachts do indeed have plenty to sing about. X-Yachts do indeed have plenty to sing about. Testament to that is the three-year-old Xp38 on display at the recent Sydney International Boat Show still looked brand new. This was no mooring minder either, but rather a boat that had gone up to Hamilton Island Race Week for each of those years and campaigned hard.
Posted on 31 Aug
The C Beetle Project
Every now and then something comes along your way and you just have to read it. Every now and then something comes along your way and you just have to read it. Such is Phil Smidmore’s tale of Mick Miller and if I could be so bold as to implore you to read, then I know your life will be the better for it!
Posted on 30 Aug