We were sailing in our yacht on a broad reach on a port tack. It was mid-afternoon. There were 4 adults and 2 children onboard, all wearing life jackets. We had two reefs in the main and about 50% of the genoa. A commercial vessel was approaching from abaft our port beam. We were converging and I assumed that she would give us a wide berth. However she continued on a collision course and made no attempt to stay clear of us. We stood on until she was about 100m away and was clearly going to run us down. To avoid collision, we crash gybed and the vessel passed down our port side. A member of the crew was seen to run across to the starboard side of the bridge. Without our quick action we would have been run down. Members of my crew were visibly shaken. I tried calling her on channel 16 but received no reply. I reported the incident to the coastguard.
We sent a copy of this report to the manager of the vessel who followed it up with the Master. The response was very open, with full acknowledgment that the ferry should have kept clear of the yacht. The Master himself and the company have reviewed their bridge procedures to apply the lessons learned. The company is implementing a programme of bridge team management courses. Both have apologised to the yachtsman for the anxiety caused. This has been accepted by the yachtsman.
This is a good example of the value of near-miss reporting. The yachtsman was very helpful in submitting a report, the company acted responsibly in following it up, and the Master of the ferry and his company have taken appropriate remedial action. We thank them all for this.