US Sailing Investigator’s Recommendations


Ron Trossbach, the lead investigator for US Sailing in the Rambler 100 incident, recommended the following changes to US Sailing’s Offshore Special Regulations (OSR) and US Sailing Prescriptions. He also recommended that these be forwarded to the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) to be included the ISAF Special Regulations Governing Offshore Racing for Monohulls. The items in parentheses reflect the OSR section that would be amended.

  • Modify ISAF OSR Appendix K (Movable and Variable Ballast) to include emergency escape and access to a life raft and grab bag from an inverted position. (ISAF OSR , App K)
  • Add a requirement to be able to launch a horseshoe, man-overboard-module, or Lifesling from an inverted position.
  • Add a requirement to paint underwater appendages with an area of highly visible color for movable ballasted boats. (OSR 4.02.3)
  • Require Digital Selective Calling (DSC) connection and emphasize its use in a MAYDAY Situation. (OSR 3.29)
  • Add a recommendation that the required waterproof handheld VHF radio have DSC installed. (OSR 3.29.1 e)
  • Mount one EPIRB topside. (OSR 4.19)
  • Add a requirement that AIS remain on during all races. (OSR 3.29.1 n)
  • Mount AIS antennas on masthead. (OSR 3.29.1 n)
  • Add a requirement to list PLB info on crew lists for offshore races. (OSR 4.19 e)
  • Add a recommendation that PLB owners add their boat’s name on PLB registration forms. (OSR 5.01 k)
  • Require full ISAF hands-on training for all US Cat 1 and 2 Race Boats. (OSR 6.01)
  • Emphasize the need for USCG to accept ISO life jacket standards. (OSR 5.01)
  • Add requirement to wear PFD and harness when reefed to US Sailing Prescription. (OSR 5.02.5)
  • Recommend that all auto-inflatable PFDs have a manual-only option. (OSR 5.01)
  • Review tether snaphook design requirements. ( OSR 5.02.5 d)
  • Add warning notes about whistle and strobe light adequacy. (OSR 5.01)
  • Modify the existing recommendation (ISAF OSR 5.02.5 e) to pre-fit and keep your own PFD, tether, and harness for the duration of the race.
Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.


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