Archive for January, 2012

Sensible safety upgrades

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Many of you may have read about the near disaster of the yacht Rambler 100 when its keel dropped off shortly after rounding the Fastnet lighthouse in this year’s Fastnet yacht race.

The yacht promptly turned upside down. This led to two major problems.

The first was the liferafts became inaccessible. The second was that there was no back up emergency communication that the crew could use for contact with yachts nearby and/or rescuers.

The Australian yacht, Wild Oats XI, which will start in this year’s Hobart race on Boxing Day, has used the knowledge of Rambler 100 incident to improve several safety features on board at no great expense.

The paramount one is to shift the liferafts into the boat’s cockpit, which means that in the event of a capsize they could be launched through the stern.

The boat now carries two life jackets for every crew member, one standard and the other a light weight one to sleep in.

Aboard Wild Oats XI, which is favoured to get line honours in the race, is a light foam surfboard for use in rescuing anybody overboard.

Last and not least, the boat has a second high frequency radio after an incident during last year’s race in which the officials claimed the vessel had not radioed in at the start of its crossing of Bass Strait. An international jury dismissed a protest by the officials.

For those who wish to read either of the reports in full, click the relevant link:

* Wild Oats XI – safety refit
* Rambler 100 Capsize safety review

Giant wave

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Normally we don’t discuss wave height – particularly in a bar – because there is hardly ever any real proof of what is usually a subjective statement.

However, this wave is well-documented by respected authorities.

Here’s where you can read more about the 67 foot (20.4 metre) wave off Ireland.

I know a fair proportion of our readers sail only in protected waters. We’re not trying to frighten those who go to sea but as you’ll see this is what can happen out there.