sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Boats for Sale MarineBusiness-World Sail-World Racing Cruising Int Magnetic Is RW Photo Gallery FishingBoating
Sail-World.com : Sailing Navigation Safety - What is 'Safe Speed'?
Sailing Navigation Safety - What is 'Safe Speed'?


'SW-SafeSpeed'    Captain John Jamieson

Could you be sailing too fast in some conditions? After all, it's rare that a cruising monohull sailing boat's speed can come close to that of her powerboat cousin.

But the International Rules for Prevention of Collisions at Sea -- written to help vessels avoid collisions in all waters -- do require skippers to regulate speed based on visibility, environment, and your ability to maneuver your vessel with control. Use these five vital 'speed' tips for safer sailing worldwide:

1. Visibility Conditions at Your Location
Fog comes to mind right away. But so do rain showers, squalls, heavy weather with blowing spray, dust storms, or even night time. Night time? Our perception decreases after sunset, as does our ability to see unlighted or dimly lighted objects. Studies show that we are often most sluggish in the wee hours of the new day (around 0200 or 0300 in the morning).

So, it makes good 'sea sense' to reef at night and carry a smaller headsail. Big Genoas can block visibility and turn into a handful if a squall comes up. Keep speed down at night time for easier sail handling and less stress all around for skipper and crew.

2. Traffic Density Where You Are Sailing
Does your sailing route take you close to or near an area frequented by commercial fishing vessels or anchored small boats? Will you sail near traffic lanes or traffic zones? Sail clear to avoid the risk of collision.

Navigation Rule 9 cautions sailing vessels or vessels less than 20 meters (65.6 feet) not to block or hamper boats or ships in narrow channels or waterways. Just another good reason to 'stay clear to stay safe'.

3. Your Vessel's Ability to Maneuver, Stop or Turn
You may have heard the old recommendation to never proceed faster than the speed in which you can bring your vessel to a complete stop in one half the present visibility. That might seem silly for small boats, and indeed it applies more to big ships, but it does make good 'sea sense'.

If in a blinding squall, lower your speed to the minimum or stop the boat. The wisest move may be to heave to and wait it out. Fast moving squalls rarely last longer than a half hour or so. And, if you stop or slow your boat, the weather system will pass by faster than if you tried to run before it.

In the Coast Guard, we sometimes encountered vicious squalls that lowered visibility to the point to where our bow was invisible. The radar could become so cluttered with rain and sea return, that our ability to pick up a vessel by radar would be next to impossible. We would back off the throttles to give us just enough speed to maintain steerage.

As a matter of fact, the single factor of safe speed played a crucial role time and again in saving lives when I was in the US Coast Guard. Read this true sea tale from the Caribbean long ago...

Slow Speed Saves Lives in Operation 'Able Vigil'

In the early 90's Cuba's Fidel Castro opened a narrow 'window of opportunity' to allow citizens to take to the sea in tiny rafts or boats to head to the US. Many of these craft were unseaworthy with just a few inches of freeboard. They were overcrowded and often in danger of capsizing. Many had no lights and were too small and low to the water to be picked up by radar.

Our mission was to rescue them as soon as they entered International waters. At nighttime the difficulty of rescue increased exponentially. We slowed our speed to a crawl and stationed lookouts forward and aft. And they looked and listened. We often never saw them--but heard them!

If you recall, listening is mandated by Rule 5 in the Navigation Rules. And it worked. We would pick up voices of the people in their tiny rafts before they were sighted at all. The result? Not one casualty or fatality from collision. This combined Coast Guard/Navy effort rescued over 30,000 people in one of the most successful peacetime rescue operations in US history.

4. Nighttime Background Lights
Imagine a chameleon that rests atop a huge green leaf. That reptile will turn green like the leaf to become next to invisible. The same can happen at nighttime when you sail in areas with lots of city lights. New York city can be a magical place to sail through at night, but small boat navigation lights will be next to impossible to spot if superimposed with the bright lights of the shoreline.

Consider what the other guy or gal sees from their boat. Pretend that you can beam aboard their boat and look back at your boat. Will you, too, be invisible in the background scatter of lights. Slow down if necessary and increase visual scans when lots of lights are present at night.

5. Your Draft Relative to Water Depth
Power vessels that travel at high speed in shallow water can experience 'stern squat'. In water depths of about 2X or less draft, the stern of the boat will drop toward the bottom. This makes the rudder and propeller inefficient and steering sluggish. Small sailboats may experience a similar condition when water depth approaches 2X the draft of your boat. For example, with a 3 foot draft, you should slow down in water depths of 6 feet or less water depth to maintain positive rudder and propeller performance.

The Rules carry this requirement because you need both of these apertures to give maximum efficiency to avoid collision. Check the water depth of any shallow area you plan to transit and adjust your speed. If your rudder or propeller feel sluggish, slow down to regain control.

You can read more about safe speed and additional hints for vessels equipped with radar in internationally accepted Rule 6 of the Navigation Rules. Click here to download the Navigation Rules to your computer or mobile device now. See Rule 6 for the complete list of 'safe speed' factors that will help you stay safe on the waters of the world. The rule in the link is courtesy of the US Coast Guard, but is standard internationally for all waters and oceans.

Follow the above five sailing tips to increase sailing and cruising safety. This will keep you and your sailing crew or partner safe--wherever you choose to sail or cruise!

John Jamieson (Captain John) with 25+ years of experience shows you the no-nonsense cruising skills you need for safer sailing worldwide. Visit his website at www.skippertips.com. Sign up for the Free, highly popular weekly 'Captain John's Sailing Tip-of-the-Week'. Discover how you can gain instant access to hundreds of sailing articles, videos, and e-Books!


by John Jamieson

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=115699

10:13 PM Sun 13 Oct 2013GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.







Sail-World Cruising News - local and the World

Dutch Chief Mate suspended following tragic yacht incident by Maritime and Coastguard Agency Press,




Changed boating conditions for Jetty Beach at Coffs Harbour by Transport Roads and Maritime Services,






Rescued Australian father and son are recovering fast by Sean Flynn | The Newport Daily News,




Australian father-son duo delays trip back home by By Matt Sheley | The Newport Daily News,


The Wine List by Crystal Blues by SV Crystal Blues,












Roads and Maritime Services expand live vision of conditions by Transport Roads and Maritime Services,


Boaters urged to postpone boating until conditions subside by Transport Roads and Maritime Services,


Rottnest Island set for the annual Festival of Sail by Susan Ghent, Western Australia


































Setouchi International Yacht Rally preview
Cruising yacht disappears in Bay of Islands
Marine Rescue NSW rescue three boaters on hazardous North Coast bar
Getting your gear (wheel) on
Offshore preparedness the focus of operation ‘Blue Water’
Updated disposal options for unwanted beacons
Boat Docking Secrets - How to Avoid Springline Snap-back
New legislation would fix renewable fuel standard
New legislation would fix renewable fuel standard
Provisioning the aCappella Way
Rare and very unusual shark caught by fishermen on NSW Coast
Best Loch Ness Monster evidence may have been destroyed
Tall ship falls over - Could your boat do this?
Dangerous conditions predicted for NSW boaters
Cruise in company and enjoy a beautiful weekend at Cruising Yacht Club
Two Somali pirates appeal in deaths of four Americans aboard yacht
Producing jet fuel from ocean algae
The true story of Donald Crowhurst set for a major film adaptation
Humans drive 500 species of land animals extinct, now marine?
Club Marine magazine subscribers can win Birthday Bonanza prizes
Predicting coral reef futures under climate change   
Sailors for the Sea launches ocean conservation movement to heal ocean   
Changed boating conditions for Triathlon on Cudgen Creek next Sunday   
Family rescued after catamaran breaks in half   
New Holiday Camps at Lake Macquarie with the H2O Sports Academy   
Sailing Sclerosis Oceans of Hope arrives in Panama City + Video   
Planning an open ocean cruise? Become a Citizen Oceanographer   
Rarely sighted frilled shark turns up in Victorian waters   
Croatia First Regatta - Brand new limited entry one design event   
Doyle Sails offer sail repair and basic rigging service at BOISW   
World Arc Leg 2 - Fleet depart for San Blas   
World Arc - First arrivals to St Helena island   
Multihull Solutions launches expansive new website   
2014 warmest year since records began + Video   
Marine Rescue Trial Bay in midnight tow for disabled yacht   
Volcano creates large new Tongan island   
Summer camps for teens aboard an extraordinary tall ship   
Highland Yacht Club - Lake Ontario’s hidden jewel of a Yacht Club   
Particular Harbour – Gananoque   
SE Asia tanker hijacks rose in 2014 - IMB report reveals   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph, contact the photographer directly.
XLXL VIR Cru SH
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT