Aft Cockpit Deck Saloon Deck Saloon Pilot House Deck Saloon Deck Saloon Deck Saloon Deck Saloon Aft Cockpit Deck Saloon Deck Saloon Pilot House
Deck Saloon Pilot House Pilot House
ESTABLISHED 1894. VOLUME 150, NUMBER 3078
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WORLD CLASS YACHTING
THE TRAGIC LOSS of two men from a yacht in the Tyne estuary in April is a timely reminder of the responsibilities of yacht skippers for the safety of their crews (full story on page 12). The skipper of the Bavaria 46 Signature, Colin Jessey, was arrested and questioned after the incident in connection with a possible manslaughter offence, later to be released on police bail.
I first raised this scenario in October 1996 after the owner and captain of Mariette were charged with manslaughter after a collision during La Nioulargue in France. I was accused of scaremongering. I raised it again when Mark Litchfied was convicted of manslaughter after the loss of Maria Asumpta. “Ah, but she was not a yacht,” was the reply. This time it is, and whatever the outcome of the investigation, the message to you all is clear: buckle up.
* Whatever the outcome of the Signature investigation, the message is clear: buckle up! *
THE HISTORY of communication at sea is every bit as fascinating as the study of the quest for accurate time for navigation. But in the same way that split-second timekeeping is all but irrelevant on a modern yacht since the advent of GPS, it seems that traditional methods of communication are destined for the scrap heap by the tremendous advances in satellite technology (see feature page 66).
Which is a shame. Like the ritual of the morning, noon and afternoon sights being replaced by the press of a button, the daily sched, the race to contact Portishead after the Traffic List and the crackly one-way conversations on VHF or SSB will be replaced by one of today’s scourges, the musical chirrup of a satellite mobile phone.
I wonder if this will lead to the same ritual incantations affected by mobile phone-toting commuters. ‘Chirrup,’ it goes.
‘Hello”- a short pause and then:
“On the train.”
What will it be on the marine version – “All at sea?”
Photos this page and previous page: North News and Pictures
On the wind
… Skipper liable for manslaughter?
THE SKIPPER of a yacht from which two guests on a hospitality trip were swept to their deaths may be charged with manslaughter, depending on the Crown Prosecution Service’s assessment of evidence now before them.
Although Port Control at North Shields had warned Colin Jessey, skipper of the Bavaria 46 Signature, that the sea conditions were horrendous at the entrance to the River Tyne, the yacht, with nine guests aboard, continued on her trip into the North Sea.
As the yacht returned – in estimated 40ft waves – she broached heavily when she was well inside the pierheads. The local Coastguard, who had been monitoring her progress, had been concerned for the yacht’s safety, but having seen her successfully negotiate the entrance, were confident all would be well.
“We turned away from the window, but by the time we looked back the yacht had broached near the No 1 fairway buoy and people had been swept away,” said a Coastguard spokesman. He confirmed that none of the three men who went overboard was wearing a lifejacket when they were later recovered.
With a strong ebb tide running out of the Tyne, which had helped build up enormous seas in the entrance, the victims were quickly carried seawards and were eventually found a quarter of a mile to the north-east of the entrance, where they were recovered by lifeboat.
The men who died were Alan Barwick (54) and Peter Curry (45), both leading figures in the local construction industry. The third man has since been discharged from hospital following treatment for head injuries.
Following the accident, Colin Jessey was arrested in connection with a possible manslaughter charge, questioned and released
Colin Jessey (right), skipper of Signature, examines the boat with a police officer after the incident
on police bail until 30 June. A file of evidence has been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service which will decide whether or not to charge him.
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