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PostPosted: May 31st, '14, 12:57 
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I went for a day sail from Shorncliffe into Moreton Bay on Friday. Wouldn't be as crowded as the weekend would it.

Visibility was about three km in the morning, due to smoke haze caught in the Brisbane basin under a high.

Very light wind from the south east made the journey to Mud Island a leisurely pleasure while the visibility slowly improved.

After some lunch beside Mud, I headed back to home with a nice following breeze just far enough off to the port to keep the jib filled and not collapsing all the time.

About a kilometre from the main shipping channel I was crossed by one of those high, ugly, monstrosities… car transporters, that are appearing more and more. He was heading out of the Brisbane port.
You know the things. Look like sometime during their construction, someone ran out of money and the boss announced, “Stop there, make it watertight and get it out of here.

About five minutes later I did a sweep of the horizon and saw the thing off in the murk heading for Moreton Island. On the port side; a couple of tinnies making a pretty, constant bow waves indicating they were travelling well over the smooth waters. Behind was something unidentifiable way off in the distance.

Another five minutes of concentrating on trying to make the coffee pots, but steering to keep the jib full and making between five and six KPH, I made another horizon sweep. I was about four hundred metres from the shipping channel.

I was very surprised to see the car transporter coming from the Moreton Island direction less than a kilometre away.
Took a while to work out that it was the bow that was facing me. Very little white water being produced in the calm conditions.

I nipped into the cabin and took my mobile off the charger and checked the Ship Finder app to see what its name was and how fast she was coming.

If I was a smart aleck I could start the motor and hoot across his bow with room to spare.
Been bitten by Murphy’s Law before, was enough to decide to turn parallel to the channel and let the sails out to make way at a minimum speed.

I reckoned the pilot had his glasses on me often, wondering what my intentions were. At least he’d see the heading change and flopping jib and realize I was keeping clear.

Naturally I was watching him and deciding which angle I’d take a couple of photos for the next few minutes.
By now I knew he was a different ship to the outbound bloke, as I could see them as well as all other nearby commercial vessels on my phone.

Heard an engine noise from behind and my left and turned to get a nasty surprise of the view of about eighty meters of tug pushing a long barge, closing in on me and overtaking me.
Where the hell had he come from?

He was the unidentifiable bloke WAY off in the distance five minutes before. I’d been looking through the murk at its bow. And it appeared to be miles away.

There I was, drifting into a wedge. If I turned towards the oncoming monstrosity I’d increase speed towards him. three hundred metres looks CLOSE.

I decided I probably would be missed if I maintained my heading but Murphy is always lurking, so I started the motor and did a beaut tight about turn on the tug and barge side and headed outbound for about fifteen seconds, which cleared me of both vessels.

Mistakes for the day were:-

Not realizing just how close things are in low visibility. Both vessels had appeared to be MUCH further away five minutes earlier. The visibility seemed to be ten or so kilometres which was a huge improvement on the morning’s.

Not swinging the head around often enough, because I was concentrating on my heading to keep my track and speed.

Believing that all commercial vessels have Marine AIS (Auto Identification Service) so they are visible on Boat Beacon or Ship Finder apps. The tug wasn’t transmitting any code, so I didn’t realize he was shooting up on my left and would cross my track. The car transporter was there doing nine knots which had me performing some mental arithmetic about how long he’d take to be beside me.

Not having a radio with me, Channel 12 is the local shipping frequency and I could have called the pilot to let him know my intentions. Maybe the tug skipper would have given me a call if he heard my call sign.

Obviously the tug skipper thought I wasn’t a problem or I’d say he’d have given me five hoots (or would he?)


Anyway, next time I‘m out, I’ll be keeping a more regular look out.


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PostPosted: May 31st, '14, 21:37 
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Thank you for sharing your experience...

I have always considered a VHF Radio a necessity rather than optional, but then again I came from the dark side...

A VHF radio with DSC and AIS receive capability was the first thing I fitted to Pearl when I bought her... It replaced an ancient 27 Meg radio that was at least 30 years old.

In addition when sailing in commercial harbours, ports or near controlled shipping lanes, without a VHF radio how is it possible to know if a special exclusion zone vessel is transiting your area? Not all ports have a pilot vessel chasing boats away...

Relying on third party internet apps for immediate navigation decisions is high risk, there are just too many variables, including critical time delays, signal loss, etc. and they depend on shore based receiving stations that may have areas in shadow where smaller vessels may hidden, vessels such as small tugs working barges.

Making the decision to yield is to be commended, I have seen sail boats and power boats get onto all sorts of strife by claiming right of way even when not entitled... I'm not sure of the rules in Morton Bay, but some controlled waters have local regulations that requires all smaller vessels, including sail, to give way to large commercial ships under pilot or in shipping channels...

On bow waves... if a ship is travelling toward you the bow wave pushed up often hides the breaking white water observed from the side or behind, hence bow waves are not an indication of speed or movement. In addition with the advent of newer bow designs some ships can be moving very fast with almost no bow wave being generated or visible. Judging speed of an oncoming or departing vessel, travelling directly toward or away, is very difficult and generally if it is getting bigger it is coming toward you... if it's getting smaller it is moving away... :)

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PostPosted: May 31st, '14, 23:44 
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My VHF receives AIS and displays it on the chart plotter. Only time it annoying is in Newcastle harbour when the alarm keeps joining off. Better safe than sorry

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PostPosted: Jun 3rd, '14, 12:53 
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The problem Terry is, we don't live in a perfect world. There are way more boats out there with no radio than ones with radio and the owners aren't going to buy AIS capability.
Mobile phone Apps with all their weaknesses are far superior to having nothing at all.

I was in Moreton Bay on Sunday. The shipping lane is an uncomplicated thing. There were boats anchored right beside it fishing. Some dropped crab pots around. Those things don't stay where they were dropped overboard often enough. They're a real cow in the narrow channel I motor in and out of, by sliding down the slope and finishing up in the channel, and there are a couple of coves who have black or dark green buoys on them.
There were heaps of boats flitting about, gaggles of Kayakers and a couple of heroes on jet skis. Only the expensive ones and commercial vessels appeared on AIS. I had both VHF and 27 Meg radios listening out. Not a lot of chat on them. I take it your VHF is there to save you as well as make you aware of what's happening around you?
I'm not sure the majority listen out over the engine noise.

We need to educate those who won't fork out hundreds for equipment that mobile phone apps are there to help.

I'm over seventy and my mates are a similar age.
New fangled gadgetry isn't a thing most older blokes are interested in. if we can get that interest they start self educating and find out things that are too hard at the moment.

Plenty of retirees buy a boat as well as plenty of heroic young blokes. Funnily neither seem to remember the rules after getting the license.
Boaties are by nature adventurous and many adventurous people have spent their lives not worrying about what might happen. They work on the principle, "I'll handle it if I come across it ... always have and it's worked for me."
On another forum there's a thread about some of the idiots out there that we are sharing the water with. "Rules... Can't be bothered." seems to be all the go.

The slow response of a mobile phone app isn't as pressing in a little slow boat as something doing twenty knots. The best speed I do is 180 meters a minute and average speed is about 80 meters a minute. Better something than nothing.


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PostPosted: Jun 4th, '14, 10:01 
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This is an excellent link for others that do not know how shipping moves in Morton Bay...

http://www.brisbanepilots.com.au/vpp.php

The bay is a perfect place for a swing keel... lots of shallow water :)

Using a potentially time delayed app for a safety device will remain beyond my comprehension...

Staying outside the shipping lanes is the best defence... No apps required...

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PostPosted: Jun 4th, '14, 11:12 
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Yes it's not that hard and you can cope perfectly well without AIS APPS or whatever. We all have a chart which clearly state the shipping lanes. If you're about to cross it (in the shortest way possible) you look left right left right left right untill you're on the other side. If you see something big or something fast coming your way (from left or right) you decide if you can make it safely across and in doubt just wait. Meanwhile listen to VHF 12.

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PostPosted: Jun 4th, '14, 12:57 
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The simplest and best advice I can give is to forget about Shorncliffe and launch from Manly. Great ramp and plenty of good parking.
Just a short distance to get out into the Bay proper and you don't have to sail across that rotten Bramble Bay to find good deep water and true breezes. It is also much closer to the interesting anchorages.
The VHF is a MUST in a commercial harbour like Moreton Bay. I am sure that it is compulsory to keep a "watch" on channel 12 when crossing any of the designated shipping channels in Moreton Bay.
There is also the added bonus, if you wish to race, of having the Manly Combined Clubs competition racing monthly out of Manly.

Cheers
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PostPosted: Jun 5th, '14, 11:57 
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Terry, as Mees says you don't need the apps. You are missing my point. The apps are handy as an addition to safety, not a head down, blind dependency.

Apart from the smoggy day, every time I've crossed the channel (at right angles Mees, looking both ways for the 170 metre crossing which takes 2 minutes sailing and 1 minute with the outboard going), vessels in the river and out to sea are quite visible and my slow speed gives me plenty of scope to calculate closing speed.

The phone apps give me their name and speed to help with my mental calculation of the closing speed. They also show up low traffic (Pilot boat for example) coming down the river blanketed from vision by the high rock walls when I'm on the south side.
Even the high speed craft don't come up on you at the speed of a Boeing and my apps tell me from their colour if they are high speed craft.
Most speedsters I've seen are boaties out for a fish and they don't show up on any AIS screens.

I'm out having fun, so any commercial vessel is going to be given right of way by me even if my sail has right of way. To me I'm the bottom of the pecking order... they're all bigger than me and I don't have a time limit on me.

Chris! wash your mouth out. Manly for me is like suggesting Beachmere for you.
I'm a died in the wool north of the river person. I don't even know where many south side suburbs are exactly. I've been to south bay side suburbs twice in the last forty years.
I have a deep aversion to tolls and mindless traffic lights, having lived out in the boonies of the Caboolture shire for over forty years, I can avoid traffic lights. I had one to annoy me on my way to work for twenty years. Highway and Gateway Motorway route

Shorncliffe is further than Scarborough for me, but the plethora of traffic lights and the angry young warriors who don't want to get caught behind a boat trailer make the four traffic lights and open roads to Shorncliffe much more desirable.

I'm in the VMR, and leave my vehicle and trailer in a lock up hard stand. I've noticed the broken windscreen glass on the public ramp car parks.

I rang the harbours and marine today and there is no requirement for listening out on VHF, but as you all say it is bloody desirable to do so, although sometimes working out what they're saying in their particular language isn't totally clear.
We can contact the other shipping and let them know we're remaining clear to put them at ease (My apps enable me to know their call sign and name).

I also asked about the requirement for AIS on commercial vessels and ones under thirty metres operating in smooth and partially smooth waters aren't required to carry AIS, so that's why the tug didn't show up last Thursday

Your participation in the discussion is what I aimed in starting it. We have others looking and perhaps thinking.
The bottom line everyone is getting across is keep a good lookout all the time and more regular in busy areas.


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PostPosted: Jun 5th, '14, 16:02 
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sixtiesrelic wrote:
I'm out having fun, so any commercial vessel is going to be given right of way by me even if my sail has right of way. To me I'm the bottom of the pecking order... they're all bigger than me and I don't have a time limit on me.


By law you don't really have a choice :wink:

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PostPosted: Jun 5th, '14, 18:27 
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You see on U tube and hear of the odd character who doesn't think so with interesting results.


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PostPosted: Jun 5th, '14, 19:20 
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I used boat beacon when we went out to lady musgrave and through gladstone harbour (twice) recently. It was very useful knowing what boat was what and their direction and speed. On the way to lady Musgrave 20 miles out to sea our path converged on the shipping lane with a huge boat heading north and one heading south and us heading East. It's hard to judge speed and distance as those coal boats and tankers are huge. The AIS really helped us to know we were not on a collision course and you could see them on the screen long before you could see them on the horizon. I also had our boats info loaded and destination etc so hopefully they could see us as well and know our intentions. With the 100's of boats travelling around Gladstone harbour these days it's was good to be able to see who was what and what they were up to. Most of the commercial boats had AIS even tugs and pilot vessels.

I found it very useful and my only complaint is that the boat beacon software uses a lot of battery so you need to keep the iphone plugged in. If I could afford it I would consider a proper AIS system. Whats your life worth?

Obviously if you sail on the lakes and tie up to jetties every night then it's not worth worrying about.


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PostPosted: Jun 5th, '14, 22:34 
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Tumbleweed wrote:
I found it very useful and my only complaint is that the boat beacon software uses a lot of battery so you need to keep the iphone plugged in. If I could afford it I would consider a proper AIS system. Whats your life worth?

Obviously if you sail on the lakes and tie up to jetties every night then it's not worth worrying about.


Have a look here Tumbleweed,
http://www.aisonvhf.com/index.html



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PostPosted: Jun 5th, '14, 23:32 
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Ukuri wrote:
Tumbleweed wrote:
Have a look here Tumbleweed,
http://www.aisonvhf.com/index.html

An interesting little add on for the price... At least it's real time...

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PostPosted: Jun 7th, '14, 13:18 
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Ninety seven bucks is not bad HOWEVER, none of my mates or I, own a laptop, so again the older blokes are going to say too expensive.

Many blokes born up to 1950 to maybe 55 don’t have the increasing income coming in, so they have to be careful in what they buy, they’ve turned into their fathers who said, “Don’t need it” when people try interesting them in the latest gadgetry.

I have two car GPSs I take out with me in the boat. One is a good speedo and the other is mainly set on map with the corners of Marine National Parks pointered, so we can pull the line in if we’re trolling.

I’m not paying for a marine GPS. My reasons are the same as many other old blokes (Cost) but I have the addition of an incurable tumour growing merrily in one of my lungs in spite of being half killed with the latest experimental drugs. This present trial had me on my back, not interested in food because of the feeling sick from eating and after eating it for hours after, for four months. Feet on fire from the drug seeping out of my bloodstream into the soles of my feet and producing ten cent sized fiery blisters. You don’t even want a blanket touching THEM.

Body is getting accustomed to the treatment enough for me to say buggr the consequences I’m going sailing and I’ll get over it tomorrow. There’s only a finite number of days I’ll be sailing left and I don’t know how many. I only lasted about three and a half hours yesterday before the guts ache made me think it was time to get the boat back on the trailer, but I had a ball while I was out and I was in phone contact with one of the coast guard volunteers who had just put Boat Beacon on his phone and recognised the usefulness of it as he watched my progress.

I turn it on for a while and off to let the battery charge back up Tumbleweed. The rescuers aren’t watching continually and a twenty minute rest isn’t going to have some coal ship rear up unexpectedly if you looked about before turning it off. I'm virtually one of those lake type sailors as I've agreed with the family to remain in mobile coverage which still leaves me hundreds of square kilometres to explore.

There is an increasing number of older blokes being given their kids hand me down smartphones when the contract finished and they want the new model.
“Whader I need that for? Can’t see the writing without putting me glasses on….ALL I want is a telephone that is just a telephone I can talk on with big buttons I c’n see …don’t need all this other stuff!”

You’ve all heard it.

Some of us get over digging the heels in and find they’re pretty handy.

I went sailing yesterday for four hours. In that time two ships left port and three (if you include the Tangalooma Flier) came in. They do up to fifteen knots in the bay and sevenish in the river.

When I go under the Brisbane take-off and landing flight path I’m three km from the Coffee Pots (nice big identifiable channel markers one and a half km from the river mouth). That is about half an hour from them and I have about six km visibility up the river to note any traffic moving and the north end of Moreton island on a reasonable day. Plenty of time to gauge my one to two minute, 180 metre crossing of the channel.

I still disagree with you Terry in the need for instant updating when you are in a boat that oozes along at five to maybe fifteen kph and have a strong sense of survival. Definitely nice to have but we ain’t in Boeings.

I’d say the majority of boaties crossing the channel for fishing purposes wouldn’t know about channel 12 IF they have a radio. There’s plenty of them hooting about.

Encouraging the use of apps with all their restrictions is better than nothing at all for old blokes or others with shallow pockets… but keeping the head moving around is the primary safety feature we have.


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PostPosted: Jun 7th, '14, 19:10 
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I'm not trying to convince you to buy the right tool for the job... Your too old for that ;) We have different needs...

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PostPosted: Jun 7th, '14, 19:25 
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Agreed.
If I sailed in open waters I'd be equipped up to make it as easy for the rescuers to spot me.
Of course I'd never need 'em... till Murphy proved me wrong.

There are a number of yachts and pleasure boats in Moreton Bay with AIS, but there are a hell of a lot more out there you can see with the eyes.

Talking about what's available May get more people deciding to use it.


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