Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Report on Jessica Watson's yacht collision

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has released a preliminary report on the collision between Jessica Watson's yacht Ella’s Pink Lady and the bulk carrier Silver Yang off Point Lookout, Queensland on 9 September 2009. While media reports have questioned the wisdom of a teenager solo sailing, what comes through in the dry technical language of the report is of a skipper acting calmly under pressure.

After the collision the report says the skipper, seeing the mast was about to collapse retreated to the cabin, assessed the yacht was still seaworthy, radioed the Silver Yang that assistance was not required, reported the incident and returned to port.

Ella’s Pink Lady was equipped with an Automatic Identification System to detect other ships electronically, a radar, a radar enhancer (to make the yacht show up better on radar). Navigation equipment included fixed and hand-held magnetic compasses, four GPS units, an integrated electronic chart-plotter/radar display and a laptop computer with a back-up electronic charting system. Also there were two VHF radios, a high frequency (HF) radio, an Inmarsat-M satellite email/telephone and an Iridium satellite telephone.

At 0151½ on 9 September 2009, in a position about 15 miles east of Point Lookout on North Stradbroke Island, Queensland, the Australian registered, single-handed yacht Ella's Pink Lady collided with the Hong Kong registered bulk carrier Silver Yang.

At the time of the collision, Silver Yang was en-route to China and travelling at a speed of about 9 knots on a northerly heading. Ella's Pink Lady was under sail on a voyage from Mooloolaba, Queensland, to Sydney, New South Wales. The yacht was making good a course of 144°(T) and a speed of about 7 knots.

Ella's Pink Lady was dismasted as a result of the collision, but the skipper was able to cut the headsail free, retrieve the damaged rigging on board and motor the damaged yacht to Southport, Queensland.

The ATSB investigation is continuing.

From: Abstract, Collision between Silver Yang and Ella’s Pink Lady off Point Lookout, Queensland, 9 September 2009, ATSB, 268-MO-2009-008, 20 October 2009

No comments: