Jessica Watson checked her radar at 0146 to check for traffic before taking a 20 minute catnap she spotted a vessel about 6 miles off her starboard quarter and in a safe situation so went to sleep with an alarm set. Her alarm didn’t wake her, the collision of her tiny yacht with a 225 metre bulker five minutes later as the officer of the watch tried to avoid her did that job.
What Jessica had not seen in her radar check, for reasons we’ll have to await the final Australian Transport Safety Board to find out, was the Silver Yang just a mile off. ATSB released its preliminary report a diplomatic two days after the 16-year old adventurer departed Mooloolaba, Queensland, for what will be a trip of a lifetime. It will be another six months or so before the final report is released but ATSB is distributing the preliminary report to highlight the issue of yacht-ship encounters and hit-and-run vesssels.