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Built to win battles

Published on November 14th, 2021

The USS Midway, a historical naval aircraft carrier now transformed into a museum and special events location, is position along the waterfront of San Diego, CA. The ship is one of the “must-do” tourism stops, but its bow, which extends into San Diego Bay, is to be avoided.

However, this has proven hard as inattentive daysailors have repeatedly lost their mast while scratching the ship’s steel hull. Aircraft carriers are massive, and they are built to win battles, which the French Navy’s Charles de Gaulle did in a recent collision.

While at sea for training off Toulon in the Mediterranean Sea, the flagship of the French Navy reported that the ship, despite an emergency maneuver to avoid an unresponsive 33-foot sailing boat, incurred a collision which ripped off the boat’s mast.

The sailboat had just one person aboard, likely napping at the time of the incident, which was shortly before 7:30am. But unlike the Midway, which stands proud at dock but without resources, the Charles de Gaulle now had to deal with this wayward yachtsman. They launched two boats, one to rescue the sailor and another to prepare its towing to the port of Hyères.

When writing the COLREGS, which are international regulations to prevent collisions at sea, it is the most basic tenet to require that “every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision.”

Maybe the safety warning engraved on passenger side mirrors of motor vehicles, objects in mirror are closer than they appear’, is needed on boats too.

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