This is the core issue, isn’t it? Why …

Comment posted 2012 Scottish Islands Peaks Race Oban to Troon – just finished by newsroom.

This is the core issue, isn’t it? Why then? Pharos does not have the sort of deadlines the CalMac ferries have to deal with. The decision to sail just then seems unhelpfully blinkered – , when earlier or 15 minutes later would have been respectful of a once-a-year unique, spectacular and highly competitive event.

Recent comments by newsroom

  • The EVEL mess and the name of the game
    ‘Scottish Affaires Committee’ sounds quite exotic, NCH.
    As a political realist, l am as uninterested in the ‘affaires’ of the Scottish Affairs Committee at Westminster as I would expect any serious nationalist to be.
    The SNP has indy within its grasp if it has the bottle to go for it in the 2016 Scottish Election.
    I have absolutely no doubt that, if it wants indy, the party can muster what it needs to take the win in May 2016; even though, on the hardest of hard evidence, in my view it would be – after the Blair 2003 Iraq gig – the stand out act of irresponsibilty in the direct experience of my lifetime.
    And if the UK Government were so foolish as to deny a second referendum, the mandate of the 2016 Scottish election that had led to the request would support a UDI in short order.
    The power is not at Westminster and I would have thought you would celebrate and use that rather than get drawn into silly parochial games in the House of Commons.
    It remains a matter of wonder to me that the SNP are now focused on Westminster, with Holyrood already the B-arena.
    The seduction of the bigger game seems irresistible even to supposed separatists with supposed contempt for ‘Westmonster’.
    Why so worried about whatever happens at the Scottish Affairs Committee? It doesn’t matter.
  • Is Greece facing the possibility of another junta?
    ‘Perpetual bailout’ has been exactly the case – and the IMF’s calculations of the impact of the austerity requirements on Greece were very short of the mark, with the reality biting much deeper, harder and not necessarily in the right places.
  • Is this the ultimate dream Scottish property? Golfers will agree.
    Not unlucky, Treble T – lucky.
    I used professionally sourced information on a subject I know nothing about, which may actually prove to have been correct.
    The eventual correctness would be a relief – but the enjoyment has been the learning – from your knowledge of the sport and of that course – of how you may be able literally to create eighteen different playing holes with six greens and eight tee blocks.
    The ingenuity of this is fascinating and I now want to know the detail of how this course is arranged.
    This has been a wholly positive contribution and the thanks are genuine.
  • Is this the ultimate dream Scottish property? Golfers will agree.
    This is very illuminating. Thank you.
    So – speaking logically and in ignorance of golf, this would suggest that, since the Tower of Lethendy has eight tee blocks, each of these will serve ore than one hole, creating perhaps eighteen different ‘holes’, using the same six greens but coming at them by different routes.
    If this is the case, it may be possible for ‘eighteen holers’ of this nature to gain a Par 57?
    The design would be intriguing to know- and we have asked to know.
  • Western Ferries: history and validation
    You are quite right – and the title and text are being edited to conform with that.
    I have lived for some time with a quite wrong sense of what ‘valediction’ means.
    The mistake was mine. Apologies for that. Lynda

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26 Responses to This is the core issue, isn’t it? Why …

  1. The Helicopter would be landing at the Northern Lighthouse Board depot, not far from Manor House. It looks like their helicopter.

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  2. Excellent reporting – but I’m mystified at the behaviour of the skipper of the Pharos; a couple of years ago I returned to Plymouth on the Brittany Ferries flaghip – the Pont Aven, 41,000 tons. It was a sunday afternoon and Plymouth Sound was infested with small boats racing. Pont Aven crawled around and through them, taking great care – and no tooting at anyone. I’d like to hear Pharos’s side of the story – surely it doesn’t need a pilot in Oban waters, or maybe a French skipper?

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  3. I echo Robert’s view. Pharos’s performance is in stark contrast to that of the Cal Mac outer isles ferry which meets the race fleet every year just outside Dunollie and invariably keeps well clear and shows patience and the short few minutes of forebearance required. And unlike Pharos, the ferry doesn’t have dynamic positioning systems that can balance it on a penny.

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  4. We on yacht Capricorn (Team SPIE) were the yacht right under Pharos bow when the skipper came out onto the gantry and asked us to make room in a less than polite manner including gestures.

    In strict accordance with the COLREGS he was undoubtably correct in that he was manouevering in restricted waters and so had right of way – but was his need so great to leave whilst the fleet were negotiating the tight exit to Oban Bay whilst adrenalined up to the eyeballs?

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    • This is the core issue, isn’t it? Why then? Pharos does not have the sort of deadlines the CalMac ferries have to deal with. The decision to sail just then seems unhelpfully blinkered – , when earlier or 15 minutes later would have been respectful of a once-a-year unique, spectacular and highly competitive event.

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      • Pharos was waiting in the bay all morning; we sailed quite close to her while jockeying for the start. Why she decided to leave when it was clear that there was going to be significant traffic in the narrows seems to require explanation. While she could argue she was stand on vessel, this give her no rights if the other boats also are restricted in their ability to manoeuvre, which was the case with these sailing vessels in light or no wind in a restricted channel. I think team SPIE/Capricorn have reason to be less charitable. Pharos is funded from public money.

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        • Pharos may claim simply colreg Rule 9, the right “not to be impeded” by sailing vessels under 20 metres length in a narrow channel.

          At nautical college, my lecturer, former NLB master of the old 1950s built Pharos as it happens, emphasised that the over-riding essence of the colregs is that you must take every action possible to avoid collision, and with all due regard for the circumstances.

          I think Rules 7 and 8 may have some relevance. Rule 7, Risk of Collision: was there a risk of collison? Most certainly, yes, many times over. Why? Because when Pharos left her berth, the channel, and indeed much of the rest of the bay, was congested, full of slow, close-hauled and tacking sailing vessels. And let’s not forget that from the perspective of the yacht skippers, there would be colregs obligations to contend with between the 50 sailing boats too.

          Rule 8, Action to Avoid Collision, “8(e) If necessary to avoid collision or allow more time to assess the situation, a vessel may slacken her speed or take all way off by stopping or reversing her means of propulsion.” (Or even remain at your berth for a few minutes longer?) Obligations on a right of way vessel “8(f) (iii) A vessel the passage of which is not to be impeded remains fully obliged to comply with the rules of this part when the two vessels are approaching one another so as to involve risk of collision.” The essence of Rule 8 is, don’t get into a close quarters situation, regardless of who is right, and if you do, then avoiding collision takes over from the right not to be impeded.
          Rule 13, Overtaking “13)a) … any vessel overtaking any other shall keep out of the way of the vessel being overtaken.” Difficult when that’s vessels x 50 to be overtaken in a narrow channel and all are constrained by draught, even assuming they’re trying not to impede you.

          Finally, Rule 34, sound signals, “34(d) When … either vessel fails to understand the intentions or actions of the other, or is in doubt whether sufficient action is being taken by the other to avoid collision, the vessel in doubt shall immediately indicate such doubt by giving at least five short and rapid blasts on the whistle.” Since it seem as though there was a lot of failure to understand intentions or actions, perhaps the sailing vessels should have given 5 blasts when Pharos was leaving the NLB pier.

          Edit – to cut through any irony in the above, I believe Pharos should not have gotten under way if it was obvious what she was heading out into. And given the view avaialble to her from the lighthouse pier, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t crystal clear.

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          • Thanks for that explanation. I agree that she has a right “not to be impeded” but the essence of this is that Pharos put herself in the position of claiming this right at a point in time where the yachts were already committed to the passage, and because of the light winds, unable to give way to this requirement. As a result I think Pharos at least risked breaching the rule 8 that you describe.

            Still, as discussed at the briefing, and regardless of the rules of the sea, the race rules expressly allow the use of engines in such situations, and perhaps this might have avoided a close quarters situation.

            I think both parties, and indeed all the race participants should reflect on this and learn lessons. Describing us as WAFIs in tupperware boats really risks polarising the discussion over what is a complex issue. I have had several episodes where professional seamen have not acted with credit to their profession. It does not make me want to insult the professionalism of the others by using disparaging language.

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        • NLB is funded from light dues gathered from shipping using our waters, and doesn’t cost the tax payer one penny. Sorry to burst your bubble. WAFIS on the other hand, use all the facilities without charge…you’re welcome.
          The wider issue is whether the opinion of leisure sailors in Tupperware boats “adrenalined up to the eyeballs” is of any value arguing about “steam” gives way to sail in a commercial shipping lane, getting in the way of marine professionals.

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          • The only alternative to the Pharos being mildly inconvenienced was for all the competitors to disqualify themselves by starting their engines. Are you seriously suggesting this is what should have happened?

            I wasn’t there, but it sounds to me as though the skipper of the Pharos was unnecessarily and pointlessly aggressive no matter what the technical situation under the IRPCS. Hardly the behaviour one would expect of a ‘marine professional’.

            Fortunately relations between yachties and ‘marine professionals’ – whether fishermen, CalMac, tourist boats or dive boat skippers – are generally excellent in our local waters, and this incident is very much a one-off.

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      • yes she was on a cruise of the Clyde, saw her on monday afternoon off the cumbraes and again off Jura on tuesday afternoon her speed was very slow about 6 knts , why didn,t he leave by the south channel!!!
        Or perhaps he should have gone to SPECSAVERS !!!
        His BULLY BOY i,m bigger than you attitude stinks

        Calmac however were brilliant as ever , altering course to keep out of eveyones way

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  5. Why can’t this event be given more advance publicity to promote public interest? The start from Oban is always worth watching, even without the Pharos!

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  7. I was racing on my fathers yacht during SIPR 12, and I am disgusted at the complete arrogance of the Pharos Captain, from our view it looked as if he was deliberately trying to cause chaos. Why could the Pharos have not waited for 30 mins or leave the bay via the sound of Kerrera?

    I am looking forward to the video of the whole incidence going up on youtube for the whole world to see and make their own opinion! My personal opinion is that the captain of the Pharos, should explain his actions to not only the SIPR team but also to the NLB commissioners & why he should allowed to keep his job!!!

    It was utterly disgusting behaviour from the Pharos who should have waited or left 30 mins earlier! Something needs to be done about this before someone seriously gets hurt or killed!! The captain is a complete nutter!!

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  8. Who is “Jack Aubrey”? Could there be such a coincidence that our “marine professionals” cheerleader actually has the same monicker as that murderous, belligerent, Napoleonic War nutter played by Russell Crowe? Maybe he has Aubrey-like anger issues. Or is he just a wannabe hard man? In fact, I’m beginning to see some very disturbing connections here … I surely hope he’s never given charge of so much as a kayak, far less a ship.

    Use your real name, man, and have a proper reasoned discussion if you’re capable of it. Dismantle my interpretation of the International Rules for the Prevention of Collision at Sea if you can, and BTW, your opinion might carry some weight if you wouldn’t hide behind a rather pathetic pseudonym. What happened last week was real world, not fantasy.

    Nothing in the collision regs says that commercial shipping has any rights over anyone else. If you can’t accept that then I hope you never take charge of anything that floats because you’ll plainly be a menace.

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    • Touchy?!!
      Calm down dear, let’s keep it real. I suggest looking up “brevity” in your dictionary and apply it to your posts, which are in danger of becoming longer than the original articles.
      Lots of people had a great day despite these windy colreg explanations. As Homer would say, “blah, blah, blah”!
      Well done Forargyll and all involved, what a spectacle.

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  9. It looks as if the Oban Times has applied the telescope to the blind eye because I see no report of this major event whatsover in today’s issue.
    Well done For Argyll for your excellent coverage.

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  10. I was an RYA Offshore Instructor for 20 years on the West Coast. All trainees had to obey the Collision Regs. to the letter, as they had been taught during their shore based theory training – but always with the rider – never take your eyes off the other vessel- he probably knows less than you do!

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  11. Whatever the correct interpretation of the Collision Regs , it seems that at least Pharos’s master is guilty of a gross lack of manners. If she absolutely required to sail when she did , were the race organisers informed ?Did she make a general announcement on VHF , as Calmac do , that she was about to depart.

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