Overflow from our readers postbag which we didnt have room to publish in the magazine
Call for regulation
In August I witnessed a flagrant and dangerous contravention of rule 9(d) when a small yacht of about 24ft came from behind the western breakwater head of the northern entrance to Dover Harbour and sailed across the entrance at a modest speed and across the bows of a departing ferry which had just started to gather speed. If I had been driving that ferry, I would have been very angry.
I had my first sailing boat in 1946 and joined the RYA in 1948. I have campaigned for the long-held freedom to navigate for amateurs at sea. With the massive expansion of boating, I have kept the same view because of the training services of the RYA and yacht and sailing clubs who do so much to put novices right. I have spoken at many yacht clubs. They do a great job.
But seeing this incident close to has flipped me. As boats and yachts are getting larger, the time has surely come to demand formally some evidence of ability before letting loose enthusiastic novices into the fairways around our coasts.
The sea does demand a different mindset to that of the roadways. No, we do not want a ‘safety culture’, far from it, but just basic minimum standards of understanding and ability.
Bill Cooper, Master Mariner, F.R.I. N.