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Having been in this area many times I don't understand what happened to Florence Spirit as she seemed to veer to the wrong side of the canal. It is normal to keep to the right and allow a one whistle pass. The canal is wide at this section so should have been no problem. Unless she had a steering problem which would account for the sudden alteration in course. In the narrow section, you both keep to the centre and then alter to starboard when a couple of boat lengths away and the interaction keeps both boats apart.
 

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I passed that way many times too. There was a warning alarm sounding quietly all the way through the recording, but no ship's whistles, and I saw no sign of bow thruster activity. It seemed a very leisurely collision but sure spoilt some people's day. We await more news.
 

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LakerCapt
It appears that the Florence Spirit has considerably more headway than the Alanis. I would think that the Florence Spirit failed to slow down for the meeting and got too close to the right hand bank and experienced bank suction which caused the sheer to port, resulting in the collision. If she had reduced speed for the meeting, she may have been able to apply power (a bigger bell) to try and break the bank suction. Your assumption of a steering failure would also be a possible explanation, but I think that bank suction is a more likely explanation from viewing the video.
While I've never practiced the "Texas Chicken" maneuver with a real ship as you've mentioned in your post, I did conduct it many times with the maned models at Port Revel in France and it works very well. We were fortunate in the San Francisco Bay area that the very narrow channels had been limited to one way traffic after several mishaps. The "Texas Chicken" name comes from the Houston Ship Channel where it's routinely utilized with great success.
 

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LakerCapt
It appears that the Florence Spirit has considerably more headway than the Alanis. I would think that the Florence Spirit failed to slow down for the meeting and got too close to the right hand bank and experienced bank suction which caused the sheer to port, resulting in the collision. If she had reduced speed for the meeting, she may have been able to apply power (a bigger bell) to try and break the bank suction. Your assumption of a steering failure would also be a possible explanation, but I think that bank suction is a more likely explanation from viewing the video.
While I've never practiced the "Texas Chicken" maneuver with a real ship as you've mentioned in your post, I did conduct it many times with the maned models at Port Revel in France and it works very well. We were fortunate in the San Francisco Bay area that the very narrow channels had been limited to one way traffic after several mishaps. The "Texas Chicken" name comes from the Houston Ship Channel where it's routinely utilized with great success.
I think you may correct as I too thought Florence was too close to the canal bank and got caught with bank suction as I can't think that steering gear failure was the problem.
I too was at the course at Port Revel and get a few handling tips that stood me in good stead when ship handling. They had only two of us, lake boat captains, at the course on that occasion. The worst part of the course was the massive lunch and after this, you just wished to snooze !!!
I have used bank suction in the canal when there was a strong wind to keep the stern up and breaking it with a sharp power increase.
 

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The Pilot Commission in San Francisco had a policy to have pilots attend the training with the manned models in Port Revel on a 5 year interval, and I was fortunate enough to attend the classes four times. I thought the training was superb! Before I went the first time, I asked one of the pilots whom I held in high regard what he thought of the training. His reply was "it was excellent. Now I know why I've been doing things the way I have for the last 30 years!"
That would be Captain Gar Long who was a very innovative pilot who would often do a job differently than most pilots but his methods always worked. I interpreted his answer that the training at Port Revel taught him the physics behind his maneuvers which were so successful in practice.
 
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