A RED Funnel captain whose ferry ploughed into a yacht in The Solent told coastguard he was "the dog's badoodahs" as they quizzed him over the crash.

Ian Drummond was captaining a Red Falcon when the ferry crashed into a 32ft yacht as it crossed from Southampton to Cowes.

But a court heard after the crash, in September last year, he was quizzed by coastguard.

He told officers: “I don’t know what to feel guilty about. I’m as good as it gets. I’m the dog’s badoodahs out on the Solent.”

Yesterday, on day two of his trial, Southampton Magistrates' Court heard Drummond could have avoided the crash if he had stood up out of his chair so he could see what other boats were on the water around him.

Drummond would have been able to spot the 32ft yacht from his 305ft Red Funnel ferry if he hadn’t treated his seat “like a crow’s nest” and also looked at CCTV in front of him, it was alleged.

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Captain John Simpson, an expert witness for the prosecution, said Drummond should have been “at least standing up” to eliminate blindspots on the Red Falcon as it left Southampton and crossed the Solent.

He claimed the yacht - named the Phoenix - could have slipped into Drummond’s blindspot depending on how the 62-year-old was sitting.

The defendant, who began sailing in 1972, also would have had experience of smaller vessels “suddenly” appearing in front of his passenger ferry, he said.

Drummond allegedly sat “static” in his chair as the ferry, named the Red Falcon, collided with the Phoenix motor cruiser and forced it to tilt with four passengers inside.

The experienced skipper allegedly remained completely "unaware" the Red Falcon had crashed into the yacht and only discovered the news just before arriving in Cowes, Isle of Wight.

Russell Kelly, defending, put it to Capt Simpson that Drummond would have been able to maintain a proper lookout by remaining in his chair.

But Capt Simpson said views of the entire sea surrounding the ferry were needed throughout the voyage and could only have been maintained by walking around the vessel.

He told Southampton Magistrates’ Court heard: “If you are aware of the limitations of your position on the bridge, as to how much you can actually see, then you need to be at least standing up to eliminate the blindspots that are close to the vessel.

“It may be referred to as a lookout chair but I don’t think it means that it’s the crow’s nest, for example.

“I would suspect this is not an isolated incident in his experience, small vessels appearing suddenly.

“You are able to get a good view around the vessel but you are not able to see everything from the chair and that’s the key.”

In the wake of the crash, Master mariner Capt Simpson made a similar voyage from Southampton to Cowes to check on visibility issues.

He said glare seen in court on the Red Falcon’s CCTV footage was ‘exaggerated’ and other vessels in the Solent would have been visible to crew as they passed, despite the possible low sun.

He told the court: “An effective visual lookout can only be kept by some movement around the bridge, not least because there are blind spots close to the side of the bridge due to the modifications that were carried out.

“But on any ship, there are window frames and other objects on the bridge which means you have to stand and move around to make sure you scan the whole sea around you.

“Even allowing for the glare on the monitor, the Phoenix is visible by CCTV. In my opinion, the Phoenix would have been clear.

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“I believe with a good visual lookout, it would have been detected and allowed for in the monitoring process.

“She would have been detectable with the glare, with the naked eye or with binoculars.

“The Phoenix could possibly be in the blindspot but that depends how he was sitting.”

Drummond, Sandringham Road, Southampton,denies a charge of misconduct of master likely to endanger ships, structures or individuals, and being the master responsible for the conduct of a vessel contravening the Merchant Shipping regulations on September 29 last year.

The trial, which is set to enter its third and final day, continues.

Red Funnel said it would release a statement after the conclusion of the trial.