A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT. Maritime Monday appears to be a Carnival of the Merchant Marine. This week's port of call is Fred Fry International. A number of informative topics are on the manifest. With the approach of regatta season, a reminder of the "Law of Gross Tonnage" is in order.

The skipper of the sloop might in all innocence be thinking "he's powered, I'm under sail, on starboard tack, he's overtaking to leeward" and hold his course expecting the container ship to give way. Big mistake, even if that channel marker isn't reminding all that some parts of this pond are too shallow for the salties. The pilot can't put it aground, and he doesn't have room to get clear even if there is deep water to port.

Those rules could affect positions in regattas on Lake St. Clair, a wide spot in a river draining Lake Huron into Lake Erie (which allows map makers to name two rivers upstream and downstream from the Grosse Pointes.) The race courses often used the channel markers as marks of the course, and the sailing instructions clearly indicated that the lakers had right of way. There were some interesting times out there ... imagine a closely bunched fleet sailing upwind (into a northeasterly) toward a channel marker, preparing to hoist spinnakers after the rounding, about the same time that a thousand feet of Mesabi Miner is whistling for clearance. Good times.

Speaking of Merchant Navy, tonight's train picture.

Canadian Pacific (35 005) at speed

Canadian Pacific visits the Gloucester Warwickshire. Duck!

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