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Safety & Seamanship

Lessons from a Death at Sea

On November 18, 2017, Simon Speirs was washed off the bow of Clipper 70 CV30 during a southern ocean leg of the Clipper Around the World Race. He was attached to the boat with a 2-meter tether, which initially held him but failed within a few minutes. He was recovered 32 minutes later, but he could not be resuscitated.

Tragic Accident Highlights Safety Gear Shortcomings

The United Kingdoms Marine Accident Investigation Branchs report on the death of Simon Speirs highlighted several factors that contributed to Speirs death, as well as the many elements required of successful MOB rescue. The full report, documenting in great detail the events leading up to Speirs going overboard, and the eventual recovery of his body should be required reading for any offshore sailor. You can find it online at: https://bit.ly/36lzh8H

Clipper Ventures Cites Inaccuracies in Report

The following is an excerpt from the statement that Clipper Ventures released in response to UKs Marine Accident Investigation Branchs report on the death of sailor Simon Speirs. The full response can be found online at: https://bit.ly/36cpUb3

A Dangerous Way to Learn

We recently talked about the tremendous forces at work when a person goes overboard (see PS December 2018, Leg Straps Put the Load on Fanny). Monterey Bay sailor Jack Davies, 63, who is lucky to be alive, felt those forces firsthand. Davies set out in his Ericson 35 Ean na Mara for a winter sail from Monterey Harbor to Point Pinos about three miles away and back. On the return leg, with sunset closing in, he…

Superlight Helmet Suits Sailors

Primarily known for mountaineering and industrial climbing gear, sailors know Kong for the robust Tango tether clip used on most safety tethers (See Safety Tethers Under Scrutiny, PS March, 2018). In addition to climbing gear, Kong also makes anchor swivels, mooring hooks, and snap shackles. Here, in an update to our July 2019 report, we look at their new helmet.

Fire Escape Hoods for Boats

In case of fire, obviously there are times when quick retreat is the only plan. If gasoline, propane, or even a can of WD-40 is likely to become involved, you need to go. Fiberglass ignites fast, so only incipient fires are worth fighting. Of course, if you are sailing and aware, this is the only sort of fire you should face. Thus, assuming the engine is diesel and the propane is shut off at the tank, which is also some distance away, you have a few minutes.

Mailport: DSD; PFD Testing; Water Purification; Rewiring; Air Conditioning at Anchor

Like Tom Taylor and Joseph DiMatteo (see Mailport PS August 2019), Ive stopped using inflatable PFDs and instead wear inherently buoyant foam versions. I found that ones designed for dinghy sailing are often very comfortable and have convenient pockets for knives, whistles, flashlights, and even handheld VHFs (I keep one with GPS and DSC on myself, especially when single-handing).

Tips to Preventing a Crew Overboard Incident

Some simple steps can reduce the risk of a crew overboard incident.

Tether Lanyard Simplifies MOB Recovery

For years, safety advocates have touted the use of a four-part block and tackle attached to the end of the boom as the hoist of choice. It affords a great dockside demo, but put to use in a rolling seaway, a crew quickly notes that boat motion causes the boom to flail about and the hurriedly dropped mainsail further complicates using the boom as a hoisting tool.

Mailport: oil filters, cabin fans, Catalina 22, Hunter 30, watermakers

With regards to your recent marine oil filter tests (see PS July 2019, Marine Oil Filter Comparison Test), having spent my career in the aeronautical engine technical field specializing in maintenance I must state my allegiance to non-encapsulated filters and independent housings. This trend towards spin-on filter assemblies prevents in my opinion the most important aspect of filter maintenance which is particle inspection. Filters are not removed so you can inspect or replace them, they are removed so you can ascertain your engines condition. This practice seems to have been set aside to make way to quick and easy maintenance using spin-on filters. Oil analysis is fine but it should start with a simple sediment inspection after a low cost electro- sonic cleaning in a 60 Hz bath (jewelry cleaner bath).
j/24 and Olympic Circle Sailing Club

Keep Calm and Carry On Cursing

I know plenty of sailors who wouldnt hesitate to curse a J24. I should mention that these are mostly racing sailors, and they do a lot of cursing.