The Sailing Safety Race

I was discussing sailing safety the other day with several other racing sailors and came up with the idea of a Sailors Safety Race. The intent is to provide crews an opportunity to make time to practice critical safety drills and, because we’re more than a little competitive, to have some fun. I’ve based these scenarios on the training requirements outlined in the World Sailing Special Regulations as well as notes from other safety classes race preparations that I’ve been involved with.

DISCLAIMER: The the skills described here, particularly putting a person in the water, are inherently risky. The club along with the skipper of each vessel will need to develop risk mitigation strategies such as employing a safety boat, etc. to conduct the event with an acceptable level of risk. You are using these ideas at your own risk!

Start / Leg 1

Sailboats racing in Charleston Harbor.

Man Overboard start (from an area behind a very long starting line) – At the horn the MOB goes into the water, from a boat with all sails up and underway on a broad reach after the MOB is recovered and in the boat sail to the first mark. As an alternate boats may recover a dummy/float with a 3-5 minute penalty. The reason for the penalty is that bringing a person back aboard is not a trivial task.

Leg 2

Tiller Failure/Alternate steering – sailed without use of the boats normal helm (tiller or wheel lashed to centered), helm is restored when four boat lengths from the mark (it may also be unlashed for safety purposes to avoid collisions etc. at a 1:1 time penalty, for example 30 seconds unlashed incurs a 30 second add to course time.

Leg 3

Fire drill – each crew member under the owners/captains supervision locates each portable fire extinguisher on the vessel. This is also a great opportunity to agitate your dry chemical fire extinguishers. After the last crew member has finished place an orange cushion on the deck above the galley or (other fuel source) representing a fire, position the boat with the fire downwind and come to a full stop, douse the fire with a bucket of water and then continue around the mark.

Leg 4

Finish Abandon ship preparation – each crew member under the owners/captains supervision will open and then close (or close and re-open) each sea-cock on the vessel the last crew-member will locate the ships ditch bag, at the finish one crew-member could disembark and present the ditch bag, take a photo of the open bag and send, etc. to the race committee. Time bonuses will be awarded for completeness of the ditch bag.

What additional skills would you add to the event? Which of these are you comfortable that your crew could execute without your help?

Sailing safety is a primary consideration whenever we go out, the Peregrine racing program’s stated priorities are “Be safe, have fun, win!” We carry those same values to our charter experience and we’d love to have you come join us!

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