Posts Tagged ‘man overboard’

Who takes over? – Tip #8

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

OK, so we know from our last newsletter that the skipper is responsible.

But how would your crew fare if you fell overboard, had a heart attack or were knocked out by the boom? These are just three of many scenarios that would prevent you from controlling your yacht.

Firstly, don’t assume “It will never happen to me!” – that approach is asking for trouble. We know, first hand, that these things do happen. And, how your crew react may mean the difference between life and death – yours.

As skipper, you need to:

1. Have nominated a second in command, who will take charge of the boat and crew. Your choice probably will depend on the size of your crew. With a small crew, nominate one as mate – each time you sail. A large crew, split into watches, will have two watch captains. One of these will do.

2. Ensure you give that person plenty of opportunities to run the boat for you, including man overboard drills, mooring and coming alongside.

3. Encourage your crew members to undertake first aid training– and keep your qualification up to date.

4. Have more than one person qualified to use the radio, particularly if going offshore. Mobile phones may work but should not be relied on. In any case they can reach only the number you ring – not a wide audience.

5. Your deputy has to be more than somebody you trust – the crew has to trust them too.

In both The Boating Bible Manual of Seamanship and our newsletters, we promote safety on the water.


1. Racing with a difference

In the last few weeks we’ve seen notices of races and sets of sailing instructions for several rather different events.

For example, the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club held the inaugural Hong Kong Nations’ Cup, contested by “anything from a Laser, through J80s and Hobies, up to Jelik” and catering for racers and cruisers.

But the fun is in the requirement that everybody on board had to be of the same nationality. However the rules governing ‘nationality’ are fairly broad, namely:

“A sailor qualifies as a national of a country if ANY of the following apply:
* The sailor was born in that country
* The sailor holds a valid passport of that country
* The sailor has the right of abode in that country (i.e., HK requires a Permanent HKID Card)
* The sailor has been normally resident in that country for at least 10 years at some stage in their life (for clarity, the 10 years need not be continuous)
* The sailor has represented that country at a major international event, for example the Olympics, the Rugby World Cup, the United Nations, or the Miss Universe pageant
* The sailor fluently speaks the language of that country
* The sailor can sing the national anthem of that country (in the native tongue)”

And the results? 58 boats competed, with 55 finishers. An English team led by Russ Parker won, from Jamie McWilliam (Ireland) and Warwick Downes (Australia) in a Flying Fifteen.

Other teams completing the course were from 17 different countries, while one of the boats that failed to finish claimed to represent Uranus. We wonder what his ‘passport’ was to race and under what flag!

Check out the whole story.

2. Old meets new

Before sailing from Sydney as skipper of HM Bark Endeavour, Captain Ross Mattson exchanged letters with NASA’s Space Shuttle Endeavour, Captain Mark E. Kelly. The latter wrote: “…We are proud that our Space Shuttle shares its name with your sailing vessel and all that it represents.”

Part of HM Bark Endeavour’s mission on her current circumnavigation is to promote the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships to be held in December. Ten Olympic class world titles will be contested, all of which are important qualifiers for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Endeavour has been chartered by the organisers of the Perth 2011 for 2-18 December. Event Director, John Langley is pleased to have her back in the West. He knows her well as he supervised her building in Fremantle in the early 1990s.

It will be quite a contrast between the go-fast modern skiffs and the sedate 18th century replica.

In their own words: GEORGE ELIOT

I would not creep along the coast but steer
Out in mid-sea, by guidance of the stars.

This couplet is sometimes, incorrectly, attributed to T.S. Eliot. The proof? It is the opening of chapter 44 of George Eliot’s Middlemarch.

George Eliot was the penname of Mary Ann Evans (1819-1880), who also wrote The Mill on the Floss and Silas Marner.

What was John Bonds best known for?

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

He’s the man who pioneered the Quick Stop method of retrieving a crew member from the water.

As a member of the Safety at Sea committee, John Bonds conducted some 600 tests with midshipmen and using different equipment before concluding that the Quick Stop was the most effective manoeuvre.

It took some years for the Quick Stop to be adopted as the preferred man overboard response but it is now taught in sailing courses around the world, displacing the traditional, broad reach method.

What other significant innovation was he responsible for?

The answer is in this week’s newsletter, where we acknowledged John’s impact on sea safety.

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.