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Page 68 •
• July, 2007
LETTERS in Portland. A little after 9:30 p.m., the sun was down and the glow in the sky was disappearing fast. I had my running lights on, and main and jib up. There was very little wind, so we were ghosting along, mostly propelled by the current. A 40+ft cigarette-type boat had gone downriver a couple hours earlier. Well, we heard it coming back, big and loud, but we couldn't tell where it was. While my novice crew handled the boat, I searched the river in the direction of the noise. It took awhile to pick out the running lights, but I finally saw it — and it was coming fast! A quick assessment was that if we stayed on course, the boat would have come through the middle of our boat. Yelling "Tacking now," I pushed the tiller out of the driver's hand and tacked the boat as fast as I could. Fortunately, we weren't hit. Everyone aboard was shook up when they saw how close the boat had come at such a very high rate of speed. It's true that we had right-of-way because we were under sail, but so what? We would have been dead to our rights. Boats like that come at you fast — really fast. Linda Wanitschek Bailiwick Portland, Oregon Linda — In the Clear Lake case, one of the people on the sailboat told us that Deputy Perdock's boat came at them so fast that they never heard it. Speed — far more than anything else on the water — kills. ⇑⇓THE 'NO LIGHTS' ARGUMENT DIDN'T FLY IN MEXICO You may remember that last season in Mexico, a panga returning to the harbor at La Cruz slammed into one of the many cruising boats anchored outside the breakwater. After the impact, the panga operator started yelling about the cruising boat having not been showing an anchor light. According to Hock, the spooner at Philo's place in La Cruz, the local judge ruled against the panga driver. So the 'no lights' argument didn't fly in Mexico. I must say that I heard reports that the La Cruz accident happened at the beginning of daylight, so the anchor light argument wasn't very powerful anyway. I wish I had more information. Dave Hamilton Sea Grace, Sweden 38 Nuevo Vallarta Dave — If you could get the facts on that case in Mexico, we'd sure appreciate it. For what it's worth, we always leave a bright main salon light on aboard Profligate in Mexico — and everywhere else — and often an additional light in each hull also. We know how people roar around on powerboats, and we want to be seen at all costs. Besides, in close quarters, an anchor light high above the water can easily go unseen. Many other cruisers use the solar lights designed for gardens as additional night lights. They aren't expensive, don't run down the batteries, and are effective. ⇑⇓IS EVERYONE BEING TREATED FAIRLY? Yeah, Dinius Bismarck's situation sucks. But let's not forget, he was legally drunk, and he was at the helm. Would it matter if he was driving his buddy's car drunk, with the lights turned off, and was hit by another car? Just because your idiot friend was drunk driving with the lights off doesn't mean that you can too, or think for a minute that it excuses your behavior. Perdock, who was driving the powerboat, and Weber, the owner of the O'Day who was on the boat, need to
The July 2007 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.