Mailport June 2012 Issue

Mailport: June 2012

Safety Lessons

The discussions about the Fastnet incident in the May 2012 issue and the WingNuts deaths in the Mackinac Race (April 2012) both omit to focus on the most obvious of points with respect to safety at sea. What happened in both of these cases would not have happened in a Vertue, or an Alberg 37, or a Mason 44, to pick these three from among many possible examples.

The Mackinac Race deaths were the result of two sailors being forcibly struck by their own lightweight, unstable, and entirely unsuitable vessel. The Fastnet capsize was the consequence of an edgy and improperly designed and constructed boat. Despite the occasional Blackfish sinking when keel bolts are not attended to, traditionally designed vessels with safe initial and ultimate stability will rarely put their crews in the water or kill them when properly maintained and sailed.

There are, of course, always some residual dangers, and some rare and unforeseeable circumstances against which no reasonable protections may be had, and for these, the best of safety equipment should be provided.

But, as a starting point, sail in a soundly designed and maintained boat. Generally, she’ll be able to take far more than you can, and—if good seamanship guides her, she may be trusted to bring you back home safely.

Alan Hyde

Via email

Next: PFD Suggestion

Comments (1)

This is one reason the boat yard we use (burr bros boats) offers stainless steel penants in addition to the generous sized regular penants during hurricane season. In Irene last year, BBB lost no boats (including ours), where other boats did break free from other moorings. After the hurricane we notices some varnish wore through under the chock on the side of the boat with the nylon penant (and made a minor cut in the penant), but no damage on the side with the stainless penant (as it is very stiff and stands out from the chock). Great service from the boat yard! Probably will pull the boat next time to reduce the stress level!

Very good tips and information on nylon lines!

Posted by: Phantomracer | May 23, 2012 1:53 PM    Report this comment

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