sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Photo Gallery Boats for Sale Sail-World Racing Cruising Int MarineBusiness-World FishingBoating Magnetic Is RW
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

11:13 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



Pam, 90-year-old pearling lugger, to sail again by Sail-World Cruising round-up,














How sailors really do have a voice in the future of our oceans by Sandra Whitehouse, Sailors for the Sea,




Message-in-a-bottle record - 102 years by AFP/Sail-World Cruising,
















Canadian solo sailor rescued north of Auckland by Sail-World Cruising round-up,








Ipad and sailing boats in Australia/NZ - What works and what doesn't *Feature by Andrew Keays, Island Cruising Association,




















Free online fuel spill course - how much do you know? by BoatUS Foundation/Sail-World Cruising,


Smaller but plenty of space: The Nautitech Open 40
Product of the Week: Chafe guards save lines from friction
Government sneaks through the 'Affordable Boat Act'
Japan's Antarctic whaling program harpooned
Yacht of the Week: Kokomo III - and she could be yours
To Sea in a Sailing Ship: the glory days - at CYCA TOMORROW!
Life-shattering event sends 'rookie' couple sailing the world
Mysteries of the seas, happening right now - missing, sunk, foul play
Sail Norway and Russia this summer - your own boat, or charter
Sunshine4kids' 'Fleet of Hope' sets off again
3,200-year-old boat found in Croatian waters
Product of the Week: the LineGrabber
So-called 'Med Mooring' - handy in some anchorages, and here's how
Canadian storm bomb threat - sailors advised: get off the water!
Carbon monoxide poisoning - is it possible on YOUR boat?
Go crazy about whales in a special family fun day at the museum
Southport Yacht Club achieves Gold Anchor status
Sailing family condemmed for taking 3-year-old on circumnavigation
New contract-free plan for satellite communicator on your smart phone
Melbourne Boat Show earlier this year - 12 to 16 June
Southport Yacht Club will host a free 'Discover Sailing Day'   
Farmer sails his super-size pumpkin across lake - a New Zealand first   
Yacht of the Week: The Dashew creation: no sails, but eco-friendly   
No laughing! Sailing mistakes I don't want to make   
Destination: From Moscow Sea to the White Sea   
Land sailors of India on adventure across the Rann   
Future of Auckland's rescue helicopters in doubt   
A Paint App to (almost) replace your marine store assistant   
Amazing Whales – Evolution and survival opens tomorrow   
Maritime Alert - Dangerous conditions forecast for NSW boaters   
Club Marine Pittwater Sail Expo - Sea Guardian on display at RPAYC   
Hilary Lister and Nashwa Al Kindi set a new trans-ocean record   
How to anchor and 'never utter a word'   
Non-pyrotechnic flares for my boat - Can I or can't I?   
Health benefits of sailing   
Cruising in the Maldives - some nuts and bolts   
ISAF Guide to Offshore Personal Safety for Racing and Cruising   
Halyard Tension - a video   
The Pittwater Sail Expo - Award winning show for Vicsail   
Breeze, square-rigged brigantine, sails from Auckland   


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  



















 
Our Advertisers are committed to our sport, please support them!
This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia Pty. Ltd and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.

Photographs are copyright by law. If you wish to use or buy a photograph you must contact the photographer directly (there is a hyperlink in most cases to their website, or do a Google search.) with your request.

Please do not contact Sail-World.com as we cannot give permission for use of other photographer’s images.

Only if the photographer named on the image is Sail-world.com, Powerboat-world.com, Marinebusiness-world.com or NZBoating-World.com.
Contact us .
Ph: +61 2 8006 1873 fax: +61 2 8076 0459 or complete our feedback form    Contact us .
   View our Privacy Policy.    [Go Home]     [  Banner Advertising Specification]    [Bot Archive ]

Customised news feeds -Marine Industry companies, Clubs and Associations have their own customised version of our news feed on their website.
Look_here_to_see_examples

XLXL WAS Cru SH