Ahoy Autumn Sailors!
The Ocotober 8 sail on Lake Geneva could not have been much nicer!  Cool, but not cold and good winds from the west-northwest made for consistently good sailing with little effort.  Boatowners Joe Rittner (crew of Lou Muno, Dick Spears), Eric Mueller (Brad Tilsch, Alisa Corsi, Ty Liles) and Paul Del Monaco (Barbara McCallister) launched from Fontana while John Morris (John Pasch, Joe and Debbie Libert) departed Williams Bay.  Mike Saavedra joined Joe Rittner and crew after lunch at Williams Bay.   The colorful spinnikers of the local regatta made up for the lack of  autumn foliage yet to come.  After a fun day on the lake, most people retired to Gordy's Restaurant for an early evening meal including Peggy and Bill Draver who drove up from a prior committment.  Please send any photographs to Gordon (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and/or Hal Shanefield.  As always, a big thank you to Joe, Paul, John and Eric for bringing their boats...no boats = no sail.  
Co-Cruise Capts.  Joe Rittner and Ty Liles


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BoatUS: Anatomy of a Collision

Who Was at Fault, and Why?


The International Regulations for Preventing Collision at Sea, also called COLREGS or Rules of the Road, were adopted in the United States in 1864. Based on common sense, it has been said if all vessels always abided by the Rules, there would be no collisions at sea. In this issue, Seaworthy will look at one claim that supports the idea that Rules are meant to be followed.

The Collision: Two sailboats on San Francisco Bay are approaching each other, bow-to-bow, on a collision course. Both boats are under power, each traveling at four to five knots, and are closing quickly. A few seconds before impact, the skipper of the larger boat, a 40-footer, throws the helm hard over to starboard and yells at the skipper of the smaller boat, who responds by turning sharply to port. The two boats collide, with the smaller boat ramping up onto the deck of the larger boat. There were no injuries, but both boats suffered extensive damage (Claim #0810161).

As is often the case when two boats collide, both skippers insisted the other was at fault. There were no outside witnesses. These sorts of disagreements are routine and are typically settled by the respective insurance companies. In this case, however, no agreement was reached and the claim went to arbitration. Who was at fault?

    As the investigator noted, "being the stand-on vessel does not unconditionally impart immunity, but rather confers specific responsibilities."

Discussion: Sails were neatly furled on the larger boat but on the smaller boat the mainsail was up. The smaller boat's skipper claimed he was "sailing" (A power-driven vessel underway shall keep out of the way of a sailing vessel) but a check of nearby weather buoys confirmed that San Francisco Bay was uncharacteristically calm that day and his argument was quickly dismissed by arbiters.

The skipper of the larger boat claimed the collision was solely the responsibility of the smaller boat; after all, it hit him. Again, the investigators were not convinced. One of the primary Navigation Rules (rule five) was ignored by both skippers: Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper lookout by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision. Had either skipper been paying attention, the collision would not have occurred.

The Judgment: In most, if not all collisions, there is more than one cause and usually enough blame to go around, even if on the surface the reasons seem obvious. There is no "right of way" for boats. There are stand on vessels, which are required to maintain course and speed, and give way vessels, which are required to take whatever measures are necessary to avoid a collision, usually specifically pointed out in the Rules. As the investigator noted, "being the stand-on vessel does not unconditionally impart immunity, but rather confers specific responsibilities." The Rules make this apparent: When, from any cause, the stand-on vessel required to keep her course and speed finds herself so close that collision cannot be avoided by the action of the give-way vessel alone, she shall take such action as will best aid to avoid collision. Even if the smaller boat was a stand on vessel, she still may be required to make course adjustments to prevent a collision. Finally, if vessels are meeting head on as was the case: Each shall alter her course to starboard so that each shall pass on the port side of the other. The skipper of the smaller boat made the mistake of turning to port, which violated another rule as well; the Rules specifically state that vessels shall not alter course to port for a vessel on her own port side. In a meeting situation such as this, where both parties were not paying attention, a last second turn to starboard by both skippers would not have avoided the collision but likely would have reduced the impact and resulted in less damage to both boats.

After reviewing all the facts gathered by the investigators and the statements from the skippers, the arbiters concluded that, "Based on the diagrams offered by both parties, it is not clear why the two boats did not see each other much sooner than they did. Both parties had a duty for lookout in this case that was breached. That duty was breached slightly longer by [the skipper of the smaller boat]; as a result, he shoulders sixty percent of the liability for the loss and that portion of the damages." The skipper of the larger boat was responsible for the remaining 40 percent.


Originial article appeared on BoatUS Magazine

March 16, 2016 11:10 PM EST

AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico (AP) — David Thompson felt the smack of a wave and found himself hanging by a tether off the back of his sailboat in the Atlantic Ocean, the northern coast of Puerto Rico off in the distance.

No problem, Thompson thought. He was still tied to his boat, wearing his life jacket. All he had to do was hoist himself back onto his boat.

But conditions were rough, 20-knot winds and 10-foot swells. As he climbed back on board, another wave tossed him off. Then the surging water stripped away his life jacket, which had linked him to the boat, and he watched as the boat moved farther away by the second.

"My arms were so tired, I couldn't grab ahold of anything anymore," the 68-year-old said Wednesday from a hospital in Puerto Rico, where he is recovering from his ordeal. "So I was watching my boat sail away. I was thinking that was it."

Yet he kept himself going. He swam and floated on his back and swam — on and on for seven hours, crawling onto a Puerto Rico beach half naked and exhausted.

Thompson, a retired engineer from Kalamazoo, Michigan, who was sailing solo when he went overboard, is being treated for dehydration and expects to be hospitalized for at least four days.

In an interview with The Associated Press from the hospital, Thompson said he had been with his wife, Donna, in St. Maarten. She flew home and he was taking their 49-foot boat, the Enthalpy II, to South Florida. It was about 1 p.m. Sunday when he was knocked overboard.

He recalled that the wave that took his life jacket also stripped off his clothes except for his shirt, leaving him almost naked as he floated in the water and considered his options.

Thompson made his way toward land, about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) away. He alternated between floating and swimming, thinking about his 2 1/2-year-old granddaughter to keep himself going.

"I wanted to see her and hug her again. And I have a wife and a nice life. I didn't want to die."

Thompson kept swimming. A sharp reef cut into his legs as he scrambled onto land. Aware that he was naked, Thompson took off his shirt, stepped into the arm holes to fashioned makeshift shorts before looking for help. He knocked on the door of several homes and called out for help, but none came.

"When they saw me, I was walking like I was drunk because I didn't have any strength left in my legs," which were bleeding. "I didn't look like someone you wanted to invite to dinner."

Finally, he arrived at Villas del Mar Hau, a seaside hotel in the north coastal town of Isabela. He stumbled into the restaurant and asked waiters for help. They gave him food, water and clothes that a previous guest had left behind.

"That man ate so much rice and beans that it seemed like he had not eaten for three days," said Sandra Villanueva, the hotel owner's assistant. "I truly admire him. He was so beat up. He had lost all his clothes. His heads, his hands, his feet were all beat up."

The hotel called police and the U.S. Coast Guard, and Thompson was taken to the nearby hospital in Aguadilla. Officials at the private hospital would not allow an AP journalist inside, but Thompson said by phone that he was awaiting dialysis to get rid of the tremendous amount of protein built up in his body. He was too weak to hold a cup of coffee.

His wife said in a phone interview from Michigan that she was not surprised her husband survived.

"He is stubborn. He is determined. He is like one of the strongest people I've ever known. Once he sets his mind to something, you are not going to change him, which can be aggravating from a wife's point of view," she said with a laugh.

The Thompsons had planned to vacation in the Florida Keys or possibly the Bahamas next year in their sailboat, which the U.S. Coast Guard recovered, but those plans are on hold.

"Knowing that your husband is on a boat by himself, and getting a call from the Coast Guard is the worst call you can get," she said, choking up. "The fact that the boat came through and that he was able to come through, it's a miracle."

Originally posted on Yahoo Finance

Lake Mendota II

Indian Summer Sail debuts at Lake Mendota

The first Indian Summer Sail was a success. NWSA members John Morris, Jim Dahlquist, Pat Burkholder, Eric Mueller, John Pasch, Ty Liles and John Steiner enjoyed great sailing in boats provided by Morris (Enriqueta) and Dahlquist (Tango). Friday, 23 September, involved getting boats set up, launched, and moved over to Mendota Park.

On Saturday all participants were present and divided among the two crews. Pasch, Mueller and Steiner went aboard Enriqueta while Burkholder and Liles joined Dahlquist aboard Tango. Morris and crew chose full sails and enjoyed four hours of really boisterous sailing in estimated 15 - 20 mph breezes, before returning to Mendota park so Steiner could meet family obligations. Meanwhile Dahlquist and crew, under a single reef, sailed for the University of Wisconsin campus, where they went ashore for lunch before returning to Mendota park, arriving there about five PM. Morris and crew changed to a small jib and got in another delightful sail, enjoying a wind shift that al-lowed reaching the length of the lake and back again.

Dinner at Capt Bill's restaurant was very good and the much reduced off-season crowd made for excellent service.

By Sunday morning we were down to four sailors: Morris, Dahlquist, Liles and Burkholder. Morris and Liles took Enriqueta while Purkholder crewed aboard Tango, for a sunny morning's celebration of the joy of sailing. Even the squall and showers that hit just as we were retrieving the boats failed to spoil a wonderful weekend.

Cruise Captain John Morris

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