Welcome to the Dockwalk.com Forum


In order to post a comment in one of the forum topics, you must log in or sign up. Your display name will appear next to your posts unless you check the Post Anonymously box. When writing a post, please follow our forum guidelines. If you come across a post that you would like us to review, use the Report Post button. Please note the opinions shared in the forums do not necessarily reflect the views of Dockwalk.

RSS Feed Print
Collision in St. Barths - Daylight Anchor Watch
Posted: Monday, January 4, 2010 3:00 PM
Joined: 02/05/2008
Posts: 386

This story was sent to us by an anonymous source. The photos were taken by Heston Berkman.

At the time of this (fortunately minor) collision, near St. Barths, a witness says that the conditions were poor. There was both wind and a considerable swell. However, a series of 30+ photographs show that neither vessel took significant steps to avoid the collision until impact was imminent. According to the witness, “It was only a couple seconds before they hit that someone [appeared to notice]. I believe the [motor vessel] knew first. The tender [eventually] zoomed around and wedged itself in between the two boats... The motor yacht, Ocean Emerald, started engines right before they hit and tried to get away. There did not appear to be [noticeable] damage on the [motor vessel] and the sailboat [ended up with] some bent and broken railings around the port side of the bow.”










We’re interested in your thoughts. What is the standard watch procedure on your vessel regarding close-quarter anchoring in unfavorable conditions? And at what point do you consider the quarters “close” and the conditions “unfavorable”?

Posted: Monday, January 4, 2010 4:03 PM

Indeed, sometimes accidents just happen, but as professional crew, we are expected to take the necessary and appropriate precautions to minimize the likelihood of an accident.

Both vessels involved in this collision should have had – at the very least – their anchor alarm function activated, but considering the conditions at the time, there is reason to believe that a more diligent anchor watch should have been in effect for at least one if not both vessels considering the risk potential for this type of accident. While both vessels have the responsibility to take steps to avoid a collision in the anchorage, these photos suggest a failure to observe and react to the developing situation on both vessels. 

Posted: Monday, January 4, 2010 5:10 PM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 341

I will refrain from putting my first thoughts in writing but will make a couple of observations; there is no excuse for not posting an anchor watch, especially  in the conditions described, and tenders are not fenders.

Whoever suggested and/or authorized the tender to be used as a fender should be taken out and shot. Assuming the tender driver did not don a lifejacket in the period between the photos, it appears that a misplaced sense of heroism intended to protect the paint job and a railing overcame the likelihood of being crushed to death between the vessels or being knocked overboard to drown.

This incident should be a heads up to all crew that not all boats are safely operated and not all orders or ideas are good ones. That tender driver is extremely lucky to be alive. No paint job or railing is worth the life of a crewman, even if the pride of a pair of stupid captains is at stake.

Posted: Monday, January 4, 2010 6:22 PM
The photos show very clearly that the anchorage was very crowded. Know that anchorage well, and even when the conditions there are "good" they are not good; lots of swell and current and lots of traffic. Absolutely should have been a person on each boat assigned to watch the conditions far more carefully. Even if you drop anchor first and even if you are somehow absolutely sure you are not going to budge, you never know when someone else is going to drop the hook beside you. This sort of thing seems to happen alot out there. Makes you wonder just how many boats will just drop the hook and forget about it. Once again, an interesting set of photos showing exactly what not to do.
Posted: Monday, January 4, 2010 6:30 PM
Joined: 18/03/2009
Posts: 10

Dockwalk should put together a reel of Chief's most annoyed moments. Because when he is really annoyed by something, his comments are really f***ing funny. Spot on correct more often than not and f***ing FUNNY! Golden, Chief, bleeping golden!
G. Threepwood
Posted: Monday, January 4, 2010 6:58 PM
Joined: 31/07/2009
Posts: 28

Judging from the picture series, the swell doesn't qualify as "considerable". What I do see though is the Ocean Emerald dragging the iron, chain holding back the bow so that the ship is catching the wind, broadside to, listing ever so slightly. I also see that the chain is taut like a violin string at a very steep angle. I do not see an anchor ball on the OE. It suggests OE did not veer enough chain and that the anchor was not skipping in leaps but was actually plowing a bit of sand in a continuous manner. It also suggests that tho OE was in the process of anchoring, perhaps already putting the dinghy out and main engines disconnected. Rule of thumb in at least merchant shipping is depthX3, and veer an extra shackle or to in bad weather. Judging from the pictures, the OE has a very light chain and a light weight patent anchor. For the flaps to get a good grip and bury the anchor in sandy bottom. you need to veer a lot of chain iot have a small angle of attack between chain and bottom. With light weight gear such as this, one must calculate a sway circle 4-5 times the depth. The weight of the chain is not going to help you as with heavier merchant gear. It looks like OE did not veer enough, and tried to get a good spot sacrificing sufficient space to sway, and perhaps didn't give "a jolt aft" to test if the anchor held upon completing the manoeuvre. The sail yacht is bow to the wind and riding fine. As for the fendering stuff with the tender, I agree with Chief, complete folly!
Posted: Monday, January 4, 2010 7:03 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026

Always difficult to judge from a picture but it appears that the sailing yacht is pointing into the wind and the ugly motoryacht that resembles an over sized suppository is adrift...beam to the wind...anchor chain perpendicular to the ship. An observation is that many amateur skippers are not good at anchoring. They terrorize me all year long. In school you are taught about the correct anchoring procedure..how to keep inside your swing radius and outside of mine. Do they still teach this ?? I rarely observe yachts lay their chain then set the anchor under reverse power. Do they still teach this ? Anchor watch is mandatory.. In crowded anchorages fenders are kept ready on deck....never put a rib between two heavy yachts...use fenders and never instruct crew to PUSH OFF !!! by getting between two yachts. In crowded anchorages always pick up toys and swim platforms after every use. Another element of seamanship that seems to be forgotten or not viewed as worthwhile to modern skippers is the ability to instantly dump your anchor chain and escape a drifting anchorage. If my yacht breaks free of the bottom and drags over your anchor its very poor seamanship for me to also break free your anchor and force you into a full on defensive move at three in the morning. I must dump my chain then return after the thunderstorm has passed and retrieve my chain. A 20 meter piece of thin polypropylene SKI ROPE type line does the trick...crew must be familiar with how to rig it then break, cut the chain dead end free and let it run. The skipper of the ugly motoryacht should simply put her in reverse , make space, then pick up and reset the anchor. The crew on the motoryacht looks dazed or inexperienced and are attempting to use a VHF radio to control the situation...NOT ONE FENDER IS RIGGED. Its possible that since this adrift suppository motoryact is not flying her anchor ball that they were just practicing, goofing off, watching videos or maybe not even sure they were anchored at the time of this picture. I find that best practice is...when you observe one of these amateurs come close for anchoring .... TURN INTO A MADMAN...I actually get on the load hailer and shout obscenities at the dorks. If its night time and some idiot is coming in I burn his vision with my spotlight. Ive seen young skipper boys break into tears after one of my furious outbursts.
English Andy
Posted: Monday, January 4, 2010 7:59 PM
Joined: 17/09/2008
Posts: 93

It can clearly be seen from the pictures of OE that the radar scanner was not rotating as it is in exactly the same place on the leading few photographs, which begs the question whether it was being used for positional fixing and constantly checking the range of nearby vessels.  What about guard alarms on the PPI?  Was there a bridge watch in a crowded anchorage?  Did the sail boat call on VHF IMM 16 to warn OE about dragging? Did the sailboat use the tender to get over to OE and warn them of dragging? Was OE and the sailboat conducting a good look out in accordance with Rule 5 - probably not! Was there an Immediate Action drill for the bridge watchkeeper on OE such as using the bowthruster to reduce the pull on the anchor and slow the rate of dragging down, then informing the Captain?  If serious damage is likely to occur then the General Alarm should have been used ........  In a crowded anchorage, I always leave my engines at immediate standby, which means they can be started at the push of a button so the yacht can be manoeuvred within seconds - which has saved my bacon once or twice! Did the Bridge Officer notice how quickly OE was dragging by consulting visual clearing bearings, or by looking at the pattern developing on the chartplotters? If you look at the calm water immediate on the windward side of OE - this indicates turbulent flow welling up from under the hull as the waves were flattened as OE moved down wind at speed! Judging how there are photos of crews using radios assuming to alert others instead of getting fenders over the side in the impact area, which then questions training (again when a tender is used as a fender!) and suitable manning in the wheelhouse and on deck.  It will be interesting to see what the collison report produces ..... but a a salient lesson for all yacht owners and Captains when asked to anchor in a confined space!

Posted: Monday, January 4, 2010 8:03 PM
Hah!!! That same boat almost swung into a boat I was on this past summer in the Med. My crew were very alert to the situation, however; they did not seem to want to do anything!!!! Same boat!
Posted: Monday, January 4, 2010 8:05 PM
They meaning the other crew on that boat! We actually picked up anchor and moved.
Posted: Monday, January 4, 2010 8:23 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026

Andy..you cant use a radar alarm in a tight anchorage with a bunch of swinging yachts...Its useless. Best when in close .... anchor carefully and use your eyes. The worst anchor offenders are the ones who come in late then try to penetrate deep into a full anchorage. Intimidate them and run them out of town.
Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 12:54 AM

   In the boat I work, I'm the guy who chains the boat to the ground, we use 5 to 6 times the depth. Just because. Maybe too much, maybe not. I only leave the bow when I'm really shure it's hooked. I mean really. After that I take sight points and references and azimutes (bearings?) to place objects... and keep watching all the time while doing other things...  The sail boat seems to be Southernwind 100 ds Farandwide... very nice boat!!!



Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 1:41 AM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 341

"It will be interesting to see what the collison report produces ....."

Ah come on Andy, do you really believe anyone will officially report the incident?

Even if one of those brilliant Sons of Magellan submits a report, what are the odds the flag state will investigate or take any action? That was a rhetorical question of course, and I will be stunned if any agency or regulatory body ever hears about this much less publishes a single word about this textbook example of incompetence and dangerous stupidity.  And I will keel over in shock and awe if either one loses his license or endorsement.

If the Queen or Peter Cardy were onboard one of the boats maybe the MCA would ask a few questions but my guess is that outside this forum  the incident is another non-event.

Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 8:30 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026

The sad part of the whole footage is the huge herd of stinkpots grazing in the harbour. Looks like a caravan park. Makes me wonder why anyone in their right mind would spend 50 million on a yacht sail to the Caribbean and join a herd. Imagine the scene when this vast herd of flags of convenience breaks anchor after breakfast and starts the daily stampede to the next secluded anchorage ??
Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 1:18 PM
Joined: 12/12/2008
Posts: 22

No doubt this boat has some serious "design issues." With the obvious windage that boat must have, I imagine every time they set the anchor, you'd half expect to find a Scottsman at the bottom of the anchorage whirling round and round looking to pitch that boat as far as he can like some sort of a weight throwing competition. So why on earth is there a second hook just sitting in the anchor pocket? If what the other poster says is true, they have a history of dragging out of position. What the hell??? If you need to use both hooks to hold the boat properly, and the anchorage is too crowded to do that, then move to another anchorage. It's that simple.
Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 1:19 PM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 341

"Stinkpots ...Makes me wonder why anyone in their right mind would spend 50 million on a yacht ..."


Because most people have two legs the same length and prefer to walk perpendicular to their surroundings.

Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 3:09 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026

JakeG...If you deploy 2 anchors you modify your swing circle and cause grief in a tight anchorage. Don't do it or I will be on my loud hailer talking to you before you learn the hard way.. Ive operated all my life with a single hook. When things are looking bad I abandon the anchorage, find my private storm hole then deploy both hooks. In the picture Id guess that the pro skippers are the ones on the outside of the anchorage. Perhaps with both hooks down Many times I wish that a Harbour Master would be put in charge of organizing yachts in an anchorage....assign you your berth and charge you for it. It would avoid much hassle. Nothing worse than arriving off a harbour only to realize that a small yacht has anchored in the large yacht space.
Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 3:55 PM
Joined: 12/12/2008
Posts: 22

Junior you are arguing the same point. I said that if your vessel requires two anchors to be secure, and the anchorage is too crowded to allow it, then you need NOT drop anchor there. Obviously a point the skipper of OE has yet to learn. I believe you that YOU have always been able to anchor competently with a single hook. But judging by your remarks about "stink-pots" you are talking about anchoring a low profile sailing vessel and not an obnoxious "floating suppository" as you so eloquently noted that is going to swing around wildly with any wind. The point is that there is no shortage of badly designed boats, and if you are running one of them, you cannot make YOUR vessel's problems everyone else's. This guy needs to accept the fact he is running a boat with a windage problem and needs to modify his anchoring stratedgy before he does the kind of dammage that can't be fixed.
captain paul
Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 4:46 PM
Joined: 05/05/2008
Posts: 9

I understand money is money but Captains do we really have to sale out to run such ugly vessels as this powerboat? I guess if your new at the game(and apparently this guy must have been new) you take any job that pays. We can all agree that powerboat was at fault so what are sailboats options? He could of tried to motor to starboard while still anchored but then that would have made him liable as well, I think he did right thing by doing nothing other then standing by with fenders. Bottom line is when the wind is up and your in a tight spot some one need to be posted in the pilothouse. Did I mention how ugly that motorboat was!

Peter de Vries
Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 5:15 PM
Joined: 05/01/2010
Posts: 1

As a bystander I am amazed positively by the good pride in all of the displayed comment. Apparently this design by the famous architect (Norman Foster) is not necessarily favored by each of you! The man is good at buildings is my conclusion. And anchoring should not be mentioned by a layman as a easy thing to do!
Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 5:47 PM
And just which one of the licensed captains in this forum are you suggesting is a layman? The captain at fault should be able to take critism from his peers, he might even do us all the favor of learning a thing or two from it.
El Velcro
Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 8:28 PM
Joined: 19/03/2009
Posts: 17

...and when all is said and done, that's  got to be one ugly boat dragging its bulk across the bay...Sorry I didn't get all the previous 'ugly' quotes, they weren't there when I dropped mine in. As far as anchoring goes, I agree it's not for the layman or the fainthearted, I used to anchor (many moons ago, in the 'olden' days before satellites and Nav aids) in places like St Trop, the Caribbean and all theatres East & West. I would be ordered by my Captain to remain up and awake until I felt it safe to go below, then get someone else to take over, tell him to do the same and remain in the same condition. Taking notes and sightings before you went on watch used to be the done thing but I guess that with all those mod cons that you guys have nowadays, you don't need 'em any more...Used to be the Chief Engineer or at least the No 2 that used to drop anchor when I was a kid. OK we did f**k up occasionally but 'hoomin errer' always reared its ugly head and everyone used to be awake and alert to the fact. Jumpin' Jehosophat, them boats were worth over a million dollars each!

And, Anonymous, nobody said anything about a Captain being a layman, he said it shouldn't be mentioned by a layman as an easy thing to do. Once again someone misread something...That makes a change eh, Junior?

I'll get my coat...

Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 9:10 PM
Joined: 19/06/2008
Posts: 6

Dam that boat is ugly. Anchor watch people. that spot is notorious for bad holding. Unexperienced cereal box captains need to stay on the dock.
Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 9:20 PM
All I ever read in these posts are people who are arrogant and feel some sort of need to say bad things. Chief is an idiot !!! and should stay in the engine room !!!! Get over yourselves , things happen to everyone. And if they haven't then you have to be new to the industry !!!!! Keep your two worthless cents to yourselves !!!!!!!
Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 9:45 PM
Joined: 31/12/2009
Posts: 1

G THREEPWOOD "Judging from the picture series, the swell doesn't qualify as "considerable". What I do see though is the Ocean Emerald dragging the iron, chain holding back the bow so that the ship is catching the wind, broadside to, listing ever so slightly. I also see that the chain is taut like a violin string at a very steep angle. I do not see an anchor ball on the OE. It suggests OE did not veer enough chain and that the anchor was not skipping in leaps but was actually plowing a bit of sand in a continuous manner. It also suggests that tho OE was in the process of anchoring, perhaps already putting the dinghy out and main engines disconnected."

Your spot on Mr Threepwood ..I agree with you, and yes ..WHAT swell ?     (I live in the middle of the Irish Sea ,)..anyway looks to me like he has been in the process of dropping the pick, with not enough chain paid out , dragging the anchor ,  the bow is beam to wind and dragging towards the sailboat , the crew are too busy trying to get the tender launched (in the usual yachtie way ! ) all are too busy to worry if they are holding. there is no anchor watch about it ! The OE had probably only JUST  dropped the pick and there is No anchor ball as is rightly pointed out which adds credence.


Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 10:14 PM
Joined: 21/09/2009
Posts: 1

In the second photo, it look like some body in the bridge. and look like he has started the engine. I think the best assessment of the situation was use the engine, put it in reverse and he could mess the bow of that sailboat. cuz' it was close on missing it. but still early action make a big different . so, lookout and awareness on where and what your anchor doing? The only thing that i dont understand are its day light plus anyone that see this happening? there is hundred of boat around.
Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 10:15 PM
Joined: 09/09/2008
Posts: 62

First off, that has to be one of the ugliest yachts ever!!! Supository for sure and as a design not practical. Second, where do you get the human and tender fender thing. I do not see it getting between any boats, am I missing something. Which photo does it show this happening, or is this some guess at what they were planning on doing. Third, conditions are not that bad, definately need better watchkeeping onboard both vessels, how much damage actually occured and why are there no pictures after the collision. Fourth, just to harp on it....... that is one ugly boat, Tom Fexus may have an heir!!!!!!!!
Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 11:42 PM
Joined: 30/06/2008
Posts: 81

having been tied up next to the MY in Gustavia a couple of days before, I can tell you that this fractional ownership yacht runs flat out with only 7 crew so forget about time for watch keeping! I toured the anchorage after the port was closed due to big swell and all docked boats were made to leave. It was very crowded. Shit happens. A bent rail. OMG. Tenders get used as portable bow thrusters all the time, at the coxswains discretion. Oil and water dont mix, Chief, stay ashore. I hardly know the crew on these boats, I just think a lot of you bloggers are opinionated w##k#rs.
Posted: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 12:19 AM
Really? Would you be saying shit happens if he dragged anchor into YOU and you had to tell YOUR boss about needing a new rail and paint because some skeleton crew couldn't set their hook? (Not that the sail boat isn't partially guilty for not noticing what was going on either.) Good captains don't have sea stories, and a good captain would not run a boat that was not going to be crewed properly. Sounds like a bunch of rookie, bed-wetting skippers out there want to run around wearing a bunch of bars on their shoulders and not leaving any room up there for their responsibility to run the boat properly. Don't want arrogant people to say things about you, then don't call yourself a captain until you have the skills to back it up. Those of us WITHOUT shit happens attitudes are sick and tired of the b-league captains who think smashing into docks and other boats is somehow a right of passage.
Posted: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 12:26 AM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 341

" Tenders get used as portable bow thrusters all the time, at the coxswains discretion. Oil and water dont mix, Chief, stay ashore. "

Ooh, I must have touched a tender spot with a couple of MCA's less than sterling Sons of Magellan. The lead post (should you care to read it) stated the tender was used as a fender. You must be one of those zero to hero types who missed that hour in yachtmaster class but there is a difference between a bow thruster, a tender, and a fender ... maybe the difference is a bit too subtle for you now but sail for a while and you might understand.

Speaking of wankers, the barely controlled rage in your post makes one wonder if you might perhaps be one of the Masters Under God ... a MUG ... who was pretending to be in command of one of those vessels?

Posted: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 3:13 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049

Holy crap that boat is ugly. This was nothing unique, yachts drag anchor all the time because most of them carry anchors that are designed to drag.
Posted: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 3:39 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049

I don't understand why this is a big deal. What makes everyone think there was no anchor watch? It seems that people were doing things pretty quickly. The chain angle under tension was steeper than I like to see especially for a high windage craft, but dragging anchor will always be an issue with that boat. It was designed with offest deployment Navy Stockless type anchors. With that shape, she is going to develop a lot of power as she horses back and forth. With that godawful design, they should have pocketed a couple of Bruces on the centerline to give the boat a fighting chance of holding at anchor. There may have very well been a failing on the captains part on anchoring the boat, but the accident was severly aggravated by design failures in the vessel itself.

Posted: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 7:43 AM
Joined: 10/04/2009
Posts: 3

Basic seamanship in such a tight anchorage would dictate a dedicated crewmember to be on anchor watch at all times as well as having engines on-line in winds that would be capable of creating a drag situation. A .25 nm swing circle between anchored vessels is standard practice in NY harbor with tug/barge units. Dragging anchor is not uncommon....gotta be ready for it to happen and react accordingly ( i.e, heaving anchor and resetting a proper distance from your neighbors-especially if they're not too swift as the case seems to be all to often in the world of  yachts ).

Posted: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 9:06 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026

You dont need a crew member on watch ...you need a captain or mate on watch who can start the engine and control the ship. Just fire up the engine..back up to make space, thruster the bow to windward and off you go. A crew in a tender is about as useful as a lightweight steamroller. I don't let my crew get between two yachts...the danger of injury is too great and the tender is a valuable piece of yacht equipment ..not a fender. Ive anchored that harbour many times...the holding is good and I see no indication in the pictures of STRONG wind. Looks rather normal 20 to 25 knots to me. If you set your anchor well under 5 to one chain scope all should be well. If you dont have the swing space for 5 to 0ne scope...DONT anchor inside. And a thought on anchor watch. I worry about My boat dragging into another so I take responsibility for every yacht who is anchored to leeward of me. The sailing yacht is the innocent bystander here. I would normally have a couple fenders on deck but some owners dont like the look. As far as Time share yachts....I pity the crew. Once again....since the world is overflowing with yachts who are operated with the same discilpine as drivers in a Friday night Wal-Mart parking lot, it would be a good idea for all of us if we requested dedicated a Harbour Master to control busy anchorages and paid the harbour master with mooring fees. 50 or 100 dollars for this service is cheap..makes jobs for locals and keeps discipline in an anchorage. When you steam a ship into an anchorage you are assigned a berth. At this minute I can hear the Port on the VHF telling an incoming box ship to anchor in position "C" 500 meters west of the lighthouse.
Posted: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 11:20 PM
Joined: 22/07/2009
Posts: 97


In the Nautica superyacht Magazine of Summer 2008 comes a very interesting issue of recovering an old method (modernized) of \for   "anchoring in tight places"   or for ecological reasons.  It's called     MARPARK.

  Basicaly, its a buoy  allready  "moored" \ hooked \ fixed on the seabed!!! (Excuse my English!, still learning technical terms, and this computer doesn't have Word correction... : )   You can book it in the net, it has 24 hour surveillance, well, you can find it webwise,  www.marpark.it/    most of you probably know this allready!!

   For the most crowded places it can be an option. For many reasons.


Posted: Thursday, January 7, 2010 12:02 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026

Ya Salvador, the mooring buoy fields are spreading throughout the Med. Work well to organize the anchorage, but the primary reason is Ecological. In the Med they are trying to control the spread of Caulerpa taxifolia. This invasive sea grass is spread by yacht anchoring. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caulerpa_taxifolia The defect of the Med mooring fields is that they are setup poorly. They simply anchor a buoy and you tie onto it. Very difficult to pick a mooring up . None of the fields are deploying mast or spar buoys with the mooring pennant. I always ask but they seem to not know what I'm talking about... http://www.coastalbarge.com/images/mast-buoy.jpg A MAST-BUOY is a floatation device tied to the eye of a pennant enabling my crew to pick up a pennant without using a boat hook. When you operate in these fields insist that the harbour masters get their act together and float the pennant on a spar boy.
Posted: Thursday, January 7, 2010 12:52 PM
Think that is part of the problem with your anchorage assignment idea. It is dependant on those who assign the spots and controlling the anchorage knowing something about boats and holding. How many times do dockmasters try to assign you an unacceptable slip? How many captains and yacht owners are going to grease palms to get the slip they WANT not just the slip they are assigned? Do you really think there is a supply of people standing by with the competence to fill the role of anchorage-orchestration? I'm doubtful of that. But if people who are a hazzard in an anchorage get some public humiliation on websites like this, maybe people will start using their brains a little more when they anchor out. Funny how some captains are more worried about their personal pride than the multi-million dollar investment the owners have entrusted them with and the other multi-million dollar boats beside them.
Posted: Thursday, January 7, 2010 1:08 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026

Not a problem. I regularly deal with first class harbour masters. The typical harbour master is a retired master seaman. They know their business and their buisness is to accomadate as many yachts as possible to generate revenue for the local authority. I never pay kickbacks. They never ask. In many harbours its prohibited to anchor. You are assigned a mooring according to yacht size. Oversize Yachts are assigned to a commercial anchorage. In general I have a high opinion of harbour masters and can only hope that mooring fees are increased to keep the good ones on station with suitable wages..
Posted: Thursday, January 7, 2010 2:06 PM
Apples and Oranges, Junior. It's a noble idea but a harbor master's chief responsibility is to orchestrate commercial vessels and commerce which are all motivated by conserving time and money. Pleasure vessels are all about freedom, owners would hate it and they would make their captains crazy over it. I don't think you could ever make it work. Don't get me wrong. Your idea has merit, but you are talking about less freedom and more fees. Yachting is getting way too regualted as it is, I'm sure yacht owners are starting feel like they are being pecked to death by ducks. Far too many yacht owners and charters would HATE your idea and it will boil down to the golden rule, "he who has the gold makes the rule."
Posted: Thursday, January 7, 2010 3:11 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026

Gee, If your dreaming of... Wild West Freedom of the seas...... your 30 years to late. Modern Yacht traffic pressure is intense in every location we operate. The harbor I'm presently berth is fully booked until 2015. I repeat FULLY BOOKED. Just look at how ridiculously full the harbour in St Barts is. A parking lot. Sorry about your freedom . The only way to accommodate additional yachts are well regulated mooring fields. Sardinia is doing it now..BRAVO !!! I love well regulated harbours. They are freedom. Freedom from stress, Freedom to keep to a cruise schedule. The owner loves them !! The guests love them!!! I see no problem and what I talk about is not theoretical. I use many busy ports and its a joy when I can call a harbour master and communicate my needs. Many times I'm am entering harbours that are 100 percent full and am assigned temporary dockage alongside a ferry terminal by a pro harbor master who understands exactly what I need to do.. Without a pro harbour master this would not be possible. The very best harbours have dedicated anchorages...waiting areas and moorings availble. You may choose not to use them but then you must anchor outside of the Harbour control zone. I have done this yacht stuff all my life and understand the problems faced by skippers and the problems faced by port authorities. A harbour master must maximize mooring revenue at all times. Mooring fields extent his ability to satisfy visiting yachtsmen and generate additional high season revenue to improve port facilities. Think of how much it costs to install and maintain dedicated floating yacht tender docks. These docks give us freedom and can only be installed with revenue generated by mooring fields.
Posted: Thursday, January 7, 2010 5:06 PM
Tilt away, Don Quixote. I wish you well and shall watch your battle with interest.
Posted: Thursday, January 7, 2010 5:53 PM
I was anchored off St Barths during the same period and there were wind conditions that could trouble a well set anchor. In our case, we did keep the anchor watch that everybody is describing. We did drag a couple of times, but our watch was absolutely tight enough that we were watching the situation develop. We also did prepare to manoeuvre out of the way of a sailing yacht that was dragging into our scope at 0430 hours one night. Not sure what the answer is. This is a minor incident in the general scheme of things, although there was scope for it to be more serious. From my point of view I would be very nervous of a captain not setting a high standard for an anchor watch in terms of both attentiveness and training in appropriate actions for watchkeepers for all likely circumstances. Sometimes the best training is experience and I hope the learning points have been rammed home with the crews involved. Our regime of watchkeeping was tough on a stretched crew, but we kept it up as the most important activity. Managed to get our boat and our charter guests through safely.
Posted: Thursday, January 7, 2010 6:38 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026

Well anonymous, I'm not Don Quixote and you really should get out more often. Mooring fields are springing up everywhere !! Best if you learn about them and if you have anything to do with the water, encourage locally authorities to establish mooring fields in ways that best serve the interest of yachtsmen. http://lifeposidonia.caib.es/user/Acciones/acc_d3_en.htm http://www.cmt2009.com/Proceedings/content/CMT2009_WP_028.pdf http://www.marpark.it/aree.aspx Croatia is full of them......
Posted: Thursday, January 7, 2010 8:20 PM
Geee, Funny how the "BLOW BOAT' has set TWO hooks and the large power yacht had ONE set....mind you WAY TOO CLOSE! EASILY AVOIDABLE!...Wnd and waves my A.. !!!!
Posted: Sunday, January 10, 2010 1:21 AM
Actually, I see one anchor chain on the sailing yacht and a snubber line, the" Egg shaped object" has a single anchor chain, but basically it boils down to whom was there first. If the before mentioned "Egg shaped object" were to anchor next to me, I would shout insults such as "you're mother was a hamster and your father smells of elderberries" until they went away and stopped hurting my eyes. (and topsides)!
atlas shrugged
Posted: Thursday, January 14, 2010 3:11 PM
Joined: 14/01/2010
Posts: 1

He was late to the party, they came in and wanted to go inside but due to the swell no one was aloud inside so they turned around and went out to anchor among all the rest of us who had been there for days. Then after no wind and calm seas, except for the north swell which only affected the inside of the harbor we had a breeze come up late afternoon early evening, they had picked a bad spot to close to everyone else who had put down before them. Question is did they take responsability for the damage they did to the already anchored sailing vessel or like so many others slink away........
Posted: Thursday, January 14, 2010 6:05 PM
Joined: 23/11/2008
Posts: 42

it's been a while since i left St Barths, mid 90s having lived there for about 15 years, but strong breezes around the holidays are pretty common.. the locals call them "les vents de Noel" usually resulting in the airport closing for a day or two so it's not like these winds came out of nowhere

if the boat is short of crew for someone to maintain a proper anchor watch there are other ways to handle the situation. for instance, i never got to sleep without a portable GPS by my bedside.  signal comes in just fine thru a fiberglass deck or hull side, if on a larger vessel where the signal wouldn't reach the captain cabin (multiple decks or stell/alum hull) then running an external antenna woudl be an easy solution.

Having a GPS with alarm by your bed lets you adjust the alarm radius based on the conditions.  In an empty anchorage, I may set it to 150' but if anchored in a crowded place or if i want to be alerted of a wind/tide shift, then i set it as low as 50'... also, i find that if the alarm goes off jsut because the boat swung a little more, not having to get out of bed to see what's going on makes it easier to go back to sleep.

obviously, it only addresses your own vessel dragging so you have to assume the other guys will take proper precaution.., or decide if you really want to stay where you are. Sometimes, i've  moved to a spot less exposed to other boats dragging if i felt there was a risk.

In gustavia you have to be close to shore to minimize the swell so options may be limited.

over the years, i've seen way too many guys dragging. usually it comes down to improper ground tackle or not enough scope.. no excuse for that either.

Posted: Thursday, January 14, 2010 7:23 PM
Joined: 12/01/2010
Posts: 7

Not much more to add to the myriad of posts other than one common thread. Given the conditions forget the electronics and get back to the basics of “anchor watch” which does not mean watch one boat collide with another. Before we fry the captain and crew let them come forth with some plausible explanation. Making these incidents more visible to our community will help us police ourselves. If none of the crew come forward perhaps a note to the dock and harbormasters may prevent a re occurrence. S   

 Average 5 out of 5