sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
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.







News - USA and the World

40 year old Charles Caudrelier the skipper of race leader Dongfeng was a major figure of the winning French team Groupama in 2011-12 . With the Dongfeng team now approaching Sanya, almost unstoppable, its worthwhile hearing from Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad who is hugely pleased with the current on water situation. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race. The northerly drag race continues, with the stable light wind forecast to drop slightly. The boats have all remained in position, if anything cementing their places with gaps between them increasing slightly through the night. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race Leg 3 - After what can only be described as a frustrating few days of wind and current conditions in the Malacca Strait, the shipping lanes we had to pass were a bit more entertaining as it was upwind which meant some tacking. ... [more]  

To the 91st 2015 Bell's Beer Bayview Mackinac Race significant changes have been made in order to enhance the race experience, and by the looks of it, sailors are embracing them wholeheartedly. ... [more]  

Quantum Key West Race Week provided the opportunity for the GC32s to make a spectacular debut in the USA. During the five days of racing held in balmy temperatures off the southernmost tip of Florida, crews experienced a range of conditions. ... [more]  

Alpari World Match Racing Tour - Monsoon Cup preview by Alpari World Match Racing Tour
The final event of the 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour, Monsoon Cup Malaysia, is to take place in its new home of Johor, the southernmost state of Malaysia, over 10th-14th February. In addition to being the grand finale of the Tour, the event will also see the 2014 ISAF Match Racing World Champion crowned. ... [more]  

In the Barcelona World Race the two lead boats are preparing for a gruelling 3,500-mile game of chase across the Southern Ocean, until the next natural gateway of the course, Cape Leeuwin in south-west Australia. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race Leg 3 - Sailing in a straight line was never supposed to be as tense as this. We’ve been pointing at Sanya for almost a day now and fortunately, Alvimedica, MAPFRE, and Brunel far enough back to not be in AIS range anymore. The problem is they’re not in AIS range anymore. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Leg 3 Finish - Live video feed by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz
Tune in here to see the finish of Leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean race in Sanya. Will sailing history be made? Can Dongfeng become the first Chinese flagged yacht to win a Leg in a Round the World Race? ... [more]  

2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami - Bigger than ever in 2015, with an atmosphere crackling with adrenaline, the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, Presented by Sunbrella, was ground zero on Sunday as competitors from 63 countries made their final preparations. ... [more]  

The Chinese entry Dong looks set to create sailing sailing history when she finishes first on Leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race, Sanya in two days time. Includes video Currently Dongfeng is 250 nm to the finish line in Sanya and the chasing pack with ADOR ahead in second place 55+ nm behind the Chinese team. ... [more]  

The first of the iconic Great Capes has been passed in the Barcelona World Race with Cheminées Poujoulat rounding the Cape of Good Hope earlier this morning. Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam passed 20°E around 400 miles south of Cape Agulhas – the southernmost tip of Africa – at 0935am (UTC) today and have begun the Indian Ocean leg of their race around Antarctica. ... [more]  

The Classic 18fters were racing again on Saturday on Sydney harbour. Michael Chittenden caught the action from a shore vantage point. ... [more]  

When race leader Dongfeng rounded Singapore 60+ nautical miles ahead of the chasing pack, it looked like the final 1200 miles of Leg three would be a procession but over the last day, the Volvo Ocean race leg from Abu Dhabi to Sanya China appears to have tightened incredibly. ... [more]  

US Sailing and Rolex USA announced last week that the 2014 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year is Stephanie Roble. Her accomplishments on the water last year were recognized by the selection panel for her versatility; her accomplishments as a skipper and as a crew; and her competitive successes on a variety of platforms, sailing against both men and women. ... [more]  

Barcelona World Race - The first of the Great Capes is fast-approaching, with the leading boats in the Barcelona World Race expected to pass the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope at the tip of South Africa tomorrow. As they pass 20°E, the Atlantic Ocean will deliver its verdict – did Cheminées Poujoulat’s east-bound track or Neutrogena’s southerly gamble pay off? ... [more]  

Mardi Gras may not be for another month but US Sailing’s National Sailing Programs Symposium (NSPS) kicked it off early for Oakcliff Sailing this year. This evening, Oakcliff received The Captain Joe Prosser Award, given to an organization that has made an exemplary contribution toward improving the quality and safety in the training or instruction of sailors. ... [more]  

The 35th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has already attracted entries from 20 different countries: Antigua, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Puerto Rico, Russia, St.Maarten, Uruguay, USA and the US Virgin Islands. ... [more]  

The world is watching. Can Dongfeng Race Team hold onto their 57 nautical miles lead to China for what will essentially be the ultimate home victory? Or will another team get desperate and make a bold decision that could cost Dongfeng their win? ... [more]  

Most of the marque classes at Quantum Key West Race Week 2015 came down to the last day of the regatta, which delivered the toughest conditions of the week. Howling winds and rough seas challenging the competitors on Friday, forcing the top contenders to raise their game in order to claim overall victory. ... [more]  

Barcelona World Race - Sport met science today on the Barcelona World Race when the pairs of skippers took the first opportunity to deploy their data monitoring Argo beacon which was given to them in Bareclona prior to the start. ... [more]  

2015 Quantum Key West Race Week - It really wasn’t our week. Two races were held today in very nice conditions and we finished third in both. Bella Mente won both races to win the class. ... [more]  

The Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series, incorporating three days of coastal racing and the Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race concluded last night at a sumptuous, Mount Gay Rum-fuelled prizegiving dinner and party. The final 300-mile Ocean Race to Antigua to tie up with the Superyacht Cup starts on Saturday. ... [more]  

Photographer Ingrid Abery was on the water again today at 2015 Quantum Key West Race Week, and provided this gallery of images from day five ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2015 - With a solid 17-20 knots from the north east, reducing the possibility of a distance sapping park up, the likehood of the Leg three leader the Chinese boat Dongfeng getting the gun in Sanya just 640 nautical miles ahead continues to strengthen. ... [more]  

The 2015 ISAF Youth Match Racing World Championship set to be held in Swinoujscie, Poland from 15 – 19 September 2015 Notice of Race has been released. ... [more]  

Currently doing scheduled maintenance. Some elements of site may not be visible at the moment. ... [more]  

On 2nd January 2015, Team Vestas Wind announced that skipper Chris Nicholson had been tasked to review the team during the month of January. The objective is to ensure the right team for the come back to the race, which is now, for this team, of a different nature than the scheduled original route from Alicante to Gothenburg. ... [more]  

Beau Outteridge has compiled a video of highlights and interviews from the 2015 McDougall + McConanghy Moth Worlds completed recently in Sorrento, Melbourne ... [more]  

Former Oracle Team USA team member, Matthew Mitchell has issued a media release stating that he has lodged a complaint with the International Sailing Federation over the actions of a fellow crew member, Simeon Tienpont, and inaction by the International Jury for the 34th America's Cup, in San Francisco. ... [more]  

Photographer Ingrid Abery was on the water at 2015 Quantum Key West Race Week, and provided this gallery of images from day four. ... [more]  

2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami - Along with the rest of the 848 sailors from 63 nations currently training in Florida ahead of ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, Presented by Sunbrella (January 26-31), US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider athletes and coaches have entered a period of intense focus ahead of the first major Olympic and Paralympic event of 2015. ... [more]  

2015 Quantum Key West Race Week - It probably won't be a late night on Duval Street for the sailors competing on Division Two and Three at Quantum Key West Race Week 2015. After doing three races in strong winds on Thursday, there are no doubt a lot of sore muscles, aching bones and tired bodies. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Jump seat and Pro-Am race spots up for auction
Lauderdale Olympic Classes Regatta overall
Volvo Ocean Race - Dongfeng? Race Team suffer? damage
America's Cup: Italy to host first America's Cup World Series regatta
Breeze and Sunshine at Quantum Key West Race Week
Images of the Millennium Cup and Bay of Islands Sailing Week - Day 1:
2015 Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race – Three records broken
St.Maarten Heineken Regatta - Simplified logistics and fun themes
2015 Quantum Key West Race Week - Day 3 images by Ingrid Abery
Millennium Cup: Racing in the picturesque Bay of Islands
Volvo Ocean Race - Up up and away
Barcelona World Race - 'Haves' and 'Have Nots'
Volvo Ocean Race Leg 3 update from Jack Bouttell onboard Dongfeng
ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami - Game time!
Extreme Sailing Series™ 2015 – Ninth year ready to rock!
Foiling GC32s Key West Race Week images by Ingrid Abery
Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race - Crews prepare for big race
2015 Quantum Key West Race Week - Day 2
2015 Quantum Key West Race Week - A challenging day
America's Cup: Spithill leads Oracle reconnaissance team in Bermuda
Extreme Sailing Series announces new teams and venues for 2015   
Barcelona World Race - Leaders enter the fastest section of the course   
Martinique Surf Pro - Must attend event in the world surfing circuit   
New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup preview   
RORC Caribbean 600 proving irresistible   
18ft Skiffs: Images from NSW Championships - Race 2   
Volvo Ocean Race – Malacca Nightmare – now it’s a boat race again!!   
2015 Annapolis to Newport Race - Battle for Surflant Prize   
2015 Quantum Key West Race Week - Off to a great start   
Volvo Ocean Race: Team Alvimedica - Enter the Dragon + Video   
Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series - Day 3   
World Match Racing Tour's title sponsor goes into administration   
Kieler Woche 2015 promotes Olympic sailing competitions   
Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía – Kiteboarding and Dragons return   
ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami preview   
Audi Melges 20 Class - Miami Winter Series   
Barcelona World Race - The South is looming.   
Island Water World Grenada Sailing Week announce new one design class   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 Leg 3 position report for 19th January   
Pape Chevrolet North American Championships - Register today!   


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 NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT