Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Safe Sailing

By Robert B. Townsend

Yacht Clubs are in a unique position develop and promote sensible and safe boating. The Club Bulletin, and the Wednesday night sailing sessions during the winter and Whitby Yacht Club's adult sailing programmes are excellent venues for teaching safety.

Imagine yourself being caught out on the lake in a very bad storm. (It has happened to many of us, and will happen again to most of us). It has been likened to hurtling down a mountain road in a coach. It's night and you have no headlights. For some reason the windshield has blown out and rain hits you in the face like bullets. You are tearing at full throttle down the wrong side of the road, full of pot holes. Someone beside you is trying to point out the hazards. The throttle is jammed.

In such a situation you do not want to be rescued. The last thing want near you is another boat or land. What you want is confidence in your ability to sail, and in the boat, particularly the rigging.

What about man overboard situations?

Imagine one man of a 3 person crew goes overboard and in the ensuing panic the boom slams down on the skippers head, knocking him out cold. The main halliard gets wrapped around the prop shaft which brings the mainsail up to the top of the mast with such force that it rips the head of the sail off, just before the engine quits.

As the last member of the crew on his feet, what would you do, as skipper bleeds profusely, and the boat drifts away from the man overboard to wards a rocky lee shore?

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