Wednesday night is race night for the various yacht clubs around Halifax, and for the clubs in the North West Arm, that means racing in the Middle Ground – the area off Point Pleasant between Ives Knoll and Maugers Beach.
The race committee vessel, confirmed with traffic that the racing would be kept out of the channel, to the west. The race Committee vessel were also made aware of the 18:30 departures of Grandeur of the Seas and the container ship X-Press Makalu.
Despite the clear communication with Halifax traffic, however the race course was set to use Mark #37 on the NSYA Race Mark Sheet. Mark 37 is more commonly known as buoy H22, or Ives Knoll West, and getting to it requires crossing both traffic lanes.
The CCGS Frederick G Creed was inbound, and had to slow up considerably, complaining to Halifax Traffic about the racing yachts failing to give way. the Pilot aboard the X-Press Makalu also complained about the conduct of the yachts blocking both channels as they were coming off the dock. By the time the two outbound vessels were underway, the yachts were held clear of the channels and the two ships passed without the use of Horns.
It would appear that the the Race Committee misled Halifax Traffic about their intentions. They got called out for being in the wrong place by both the Pilots, and a Coast Guard vessel, and potentially put peoples lives in danger.
Halifax Traffic will have recordings of non-reporting traffic in the lanes from the radar on Georges Is, as well as recordings of the the communications on VHF Ch12.
One final note..
the comment this post is going to receive is the rules of the road say Sail has the right of way over power. While this is true, it is not compete. Colregs Rule 9 gives right of way to any vessel over sailing vessels and vessels under 20m (60′) in a narrow channel. the traffic lanes would count as narrow channels. Sailing vessels are required to give way to Vessels Not under Command, Restricted in ability to Maneuver, or engaged in Fishing.
Give the Full Colregs a read at https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/c.r.c.,_c._1416/FullText.html