A report was subsequently emailed by M Bolton after being notified of M Pigneguy’s complaint …
To the Harbourmaster’s Office, Auckland Regional Council
Re Classique / Ferry incident Saturday 14th March ’09
Area between Brown’s Island & Motuhie
Time aprox 1040 am – High Tide – 1040 am. Conditions – clear & calm in lee of SW Motuhie, slight Easterly breeze.
Situation/incident – from a position, off Brown’s Island beacon, aprox S36deg 49.9’ : E 174deg 55.9’
Heading at 7 knots, course 70 deg (compass) to anchor at SW Motuhie,
I saw the Waiheke low speed vehicular ferry aprox 2.7 nm away the other side of Motuhie aprox S36deg 49.9, E174deg 57.3’ – there were no other vessels insight.
Knowing the ferry’s destination to be via Nth Head to it’s facilities at the Tank Farm area, I assessed the potential which was to develop, as the distance reduced between us, using an infallible rule of thumb based on the “Changing Bearing” method of navigation & determined with no shadow of doubt that with each of us maintaining our present courses & speed, the ferry would pass astern of me by a safe margin.
In addition there was expected to be a course change eventually by the ferry to round Brown’s Island beacon enroute to Nth Head, giving even greater clearance.
I kept the ferry in view all the time – it maintained it’s heading towards a point aprox Rangitoto Wharf which although surprising, didn’t alter my initial assessment of the safe margin if there was to be a crossing situation.
There was no need to alter my course or speed.
In a range of considerations, my turning to starboard wouldn’t have been sensible when the ferry was expected to turn to Port, towards Brown’s Island/ Nth Head sooner or later.
A turn to Port on my part wasn’t an option – Classique would’ve been placed more in the way of the ferry, reducing the margin.
Slowing Classique down would’ve just jeopardized the expected turning to Port of the ferry.
Increasing the forward speed of Classique was the safety plan to adopt if the ferry increased it’s speed or course towards me.
I reached a point, after traveling ¾ nm, of aprox S36deg 49.9, E174deg 54.8 where the ferry passed safely 50 to 80 metres astern of Classique with 2 irate blasts from the ferry skipper in response to an OK wave from Classique but still the ferry maintained it’s course & low speed to Rangitoto turning Port/SW to Nth Head from a point close toRangitoto Wharf, thence up to it’s Tank Farm destination.
I was mystified by the ferry skipper’s actions in maintaining a course of aprox 286 deg instead of nearer 260 deg for no apparent reason.
It was high tide with adequate water out from Brown’s Island, no other vessels around, no facilities for it at
Rangitoto or Takapuna but going several miles off course to reach Nth Head.
My VHF radio was on with no transmission from the ferry, the ferry made no sound signal prior to reaching the point of crossing to indicate inadequate clearance (eg 5 blasts)
Classique is a 22mtr sailing/motor vessel I’ve owned/skippered internationally for 23 years – licenced in Aust & Caribbean. Hull speed 10 knots, 260 hp Volvo, 39 inch 3 bladed prop – sufficient power for evasive action if necessary.
I have held since 1977 a Restricted Limits ticket & Navigation qualifications – Coastal/Celestial, with practical knowledge of Collision Regulations both for Sail & Power vessels (eg over the past 8 years I’ve crossed the inner harbour up to 4 times a day during the week, to my ARC mooring near Bayswater safely contending with traffic both ways.)
On weekends Classique is taken to close by, sheltered, appropriate anchorages to prepare & spray paint her deck areas, after stripping/revarnishing her wheel house, continuing work of replacing the keel/rigging/painting the hull during a 4 months winter haul out.
Having viewed the photos supplied to ARC taken from the ferry, there are some points which should be taken into account considering they give a very different view of the situation from the actual esp as seen from Classique.
The ferry has a construction different from normal in that the bridge is in a tower on it’s port side, consequently in both photos the shot is taken diagonally to the side of the unusually high wide/blunt roll on/off bow.
If the ferry had a bridge allowing a shot inline from the starboard side, the angle would’ve been quite different & Classique would not appear to be on the ferry’s Port bow, neither would Classique appear to be near the Ferry’s bow in the close up shot.
Because of the concertina effect these shots are obviously intended to have, a zoom has probably been used.
If it was actually as these shots show, that ferry was obligated to indicate early concern by giving 5 short & rapid blasts – it didn’t.
Further more if the ferry found the give way vessel’s action was insufficient, it was also to take action – in this case there was clear water to it’s Port side, the side to which it was expected to have turned some distance back considering it’s destination – a factor contributing to this situation in the first place.
Consequently this appears to be an artificially created situation for the purpose of making a frivolous & vexatious complaint.
I trust that this skipper hasn’t been unduly influenced by “The Professional Skipper” magazine which has maintained since 2006, an unjustified feature of Classique in it’s “Roll of Dishonour “ web site, ” Stop the Pirates.”
One such, is an associate of that editor, the manager of Bayswater Marina, who has trespassed me from using that marina’s public access dock in spite of ARC resourse consents regarding boats on moorings nearby – his reason being that he is penalizing me in the event that Maritime NZ hasn’t found against my Cost Share Co-operative Crew concept.
Another indication of that editor’s antagonism is his active discouragement of a previous employee who sails on Classique.
I regret that your department may have been unnecessarily involved & I shall provide you with an incident report for Maritime NZ in the unlikely event this matter proceeds.