Posts Tagged ‘CYCA’

Full Report on the Flinders Islet Yacht Race, 9 October 2009

Friday, February 26th, 2010

The 86-page Internal Report prepared for the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) has been released publicly. Its authors, Rear Admiral Chris Oxenbould AO RAN (Rtd), Past Commodore David Kellett AM and Past Commodore John Brooks reviewed reports from and interviewed surviving crew from PWC Shockwave, skippers and crew from yachts involved in the search and rescue (SAR) as well as CYCA staff and race management volunteers.

Interviews were also held with the hydrographer of Australia, members of the Marine Area Command of the NSW Police and staff from Australian Maritime Safety Authority who were involved in the SAR. Information on the reliability of GPS systems was provided by a representative of Garmin Australia.

In addition to investigating the PWC Shockwave incident, the Inquiry Committee interviewed and reported on the recovery of the man overboard from Patrice VI and communications difficulties experienced by crew of that yacht.

There is lots of information in the report that is relevant to all who sail offshore anywhere in the world, whether cruising or racing.

I recommend you download and read the findings of the Flinders Islet Yacht Race Inquiry, in particular the recommendations on pages 55-59. Your life may depend on it.

Spotlight vs floating torch

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

The recently released preliminary report* into the Flinders Islet yacht race incident recommended that:

A handheld portable spotlight be carried on board in a readily accessible position, as it has been demonstrated that the standard floating torch or equivalent does not have sufficient candle power to illuminate objects at a distance from the yacht, particularly in a search and rescue situation.

I must say that I appreciated the usefulness of such a spotlight when arriving in Southport, Tasmania long after dark. We were one of six boats sailing from Hobart to Port Davey, in the South West Heritage Wilderness. One of our fellow voyagers, Charlie, had arrived and anchored earlier. As we approached, we talked on the radio and he said he’d go out on deck and shine his spotlight to show us where he was. He also illuminated other boats, moored or at anchor in the bay. As a result we were able to find a safe place to anchor nearby.

A floating torch would certainly not have provided sufficient light to help us.

As a result I would certainly want to have a handheld portable spotlight on board any yacht I was going sail at night and recommend that other skippers do likewise.

* You can read our report on the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) Board’s recommendations in our Newsletter Archive.

Carry your own torch

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

I remember one of the Christmas presents I received on the eve of my first Sydney-Hobart yacht race in 1987. It was a small, black Maglite torch, with a lanyard attached – my personal light to be used when working on deck at night. It was also very useful down below at change of watch when searching for my sheepskin hat or sailing gloves or other ‘missing’ piece of clothing or equipment. It meant that I did not have to switch lights on to find my way around, disturbing other crew members in the process.

After the recent loss of two crew members from the yacht, Shockwave, at Flinders Islet, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) set up an internal inquiry. The fourth of the six recommendations made by the Board of the CYCA recognised the importance of providing illumination below decks, stating that it “may be achieved by providing each crew member with a small portable torch for use in the event of complete electrical failure on the yacht or any other emergencies”.

Lucky for me that Jim had years earlier provided me with this safeguard.

Read our full report on the Board’s recommendations in our Newsletter Archive.