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safety meeting

Paul Eldrid from OneSails Perth shares a few thoughts on the state of safe

paul eldridIn preparation for a new boat and a new program, it was time to take the first step in our preparations for the 2014 Sydney to Hobart Race. We did our course under the instruction of Manfred Speicher, a Yachting Australia Sea Safety Survival Instructor. He was kind enough to allow us to use the General Lee for many of the practical aspects, giving a ‘real time’ simulation of drills and procedures. From what we heard there was less than a minute when Rambler went from sailing to inverted, highlighting the need for proper emergency procedures that are rehearsed.

When it all goes wrong (hopefully never)…The advances in PFD’s is impressive. Integrated harnesses, spray hoods (secondary drowning through spray inhalation is a big factor) and the ease of getting into one quickly, and the comport of them is now superb. Different sizes of the air chambers now account for different body weights too – so you can get the right amount of buoyancy to suit your size. Triple hook tethers mean you now move around freely while never disconnected from the boat. Personal epirbs are good for sea search and rescue and are more accurate than ever. The response times are now very quick too. If it’s activated, you will be found. Learning how to survive until that time is what you learn at a SSSC Course. Now with personal AIS why you wouldn’t have one is beyond me – obviously along with AIS on your boat. Being able to sail back and retrieve a crew man overboard with accuracy via AIS is a no brainer…or for ANY other boat with AIS to find you with your personal AIS. I wouldn’t ditch the glow sticks, strobe and torch yet…but it is a huge step forwards.

Life rafts have changed – they are better designed with the inflation chamber setup, more stable, double lined floors, easier to enter and less dangerous to right after capsize due to re-positioning the cylinder. Our good pal Scott Onley from Musto paid us a visit during the course and sized us up for their latest HPX and mid layer offerings. Staying warm is a crucial element in the time you have to stay alive.

Today the RYA & Sea Safety and Sea Survival Convention for Principals and Instructors starts in Sydney. A good thing, really…it’s nice to know those teaching us are sharing notes on how to increase our chances of survival if it all goes horribly wrong.

Oh – and had to scan this image from an old RYA book….this one had our class at the weekend in fits of laughter! You ever seen a boat in heavy weather nice and flat with someone cooking a pot of food while others lay about on the leeward side reading books and chatting on radio?