Wetsern Ferries annoyed at me

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Old Salt
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Wetsern Ferries annoyed at me

Postby mm5aho » Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:25 am

I was sailing out of Gourock one evening recently, heading towards Dunoon (West bay), and noticed a motor cruiser bobbing about, lights on, but not moving, and no engine running, between Gourock and Cloch Point.
So we went over to them to see if this was an engine failure, and someone to "rescue".
Their two engines had failed, and they thought it was a fuel issue, someone was working on it. There were three adults and a child aboard.
Given the time of day, dusk light failing, and a busy spot for traffic, I said I'd hang about and see that they did indeed get going. Meanshile prepared a tow rope harness etc.
They worked for maybe 20 mins, a few "nearly fired" episodes, then finally engine roared into life. They headed in the direction of Inverkip.
I motored alongside for a little.
Meanwhile Sound of Seil calls me on Ch16 asking "What ARE you doing?". (I'd been circling the casualty before this). Explaining that we'd been standing by the boat with engine failure prepared to assist, Got a response that we should not be doing this in the way of commercial traffic.
I bit my tongue to prevent a reply along the lines of not choosing where another boat broke down!
We deviated west to West Bay, and got anchored for the night, to hear the radio spark up...

"Clyde Coastguard, both engines have failed and we're drifting to the rocks"
The call was picked up by Belfast (it's a while since Clyde closed) using the usual radio procedures.
We're off Clock point
Can you give me your lat and Long?
No, but we're off Cloch, that's opposite Dunoon.
Eventually establishing where this drama was unfolding, Belfast proceded to ask the usual questions while mobilising Helensburgh RLNI, and two others volunteered to assist.
Can you get an anchor down? ... Yes we have two down but both are dragging.
Lifejackets? POB? Distance from shore? Weather on scene - all the usual questions, all answered with rather poor radio technique...
"XXXXX, XXXXX, XXXXX, this is Belfast Coastguard Belfast Coastguard Belfast Coastguard..." was responded to by "Hello?"
(I've not used their name, as I'm not trying to shame them here)

Ali-cat (passenger ferry) offered to stand by but said they could not got that shallow. Police Launch offered to help, and did.

We could not get to sleep but for listening to this drama, and (as it was now dark) watching through the binoculars from our position just too far away to help. They were eventually towed to Holy Loch. I don't know where they'd come from, or what they intended destination was.

Was the ferry driver just confused by my AIS track (which must have looked pretty erratic) while circling? Or did I just catch a bad day to get such a telling off?
Radio procedure was quite compromised by obvious lack of training and /or experience on the boats part.
Anchoring method and or equipment was probably quite poor too to drag 2 anchors in rather benign conditions. (I'd noted earlier that their anchor looked as if it had not been used in a long time).
"Contender" Rival 32: Roseneath this winter, Gourock in summer.

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Old Salt
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Re: Wetsern Ferries annoyed at me

Postby BlowingOldBoots » Tue Aug 29, 2017 8:07 pm

I think you missed a glorious opportunity to shame the arrogant ferry captain with subtle sledge hammer sarcasm, but appreciate that biting your tongue was probably the better thing to do. Glad to hear the motorboat did not end up on the rocks.

What time does the 24hour garage close?

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Re: Wetsern Ferries annoyed at me

Postby Telo » Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:33 pm

Pretty poor show by the Western Ferries skipper. Probably just a bad day and, hopefully, not systemic.

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