US Sailing Recommendations

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The US Sailing report makes several specific recommendations to prevent future accidents such as the one that involved WingNuts, among them:

Race Standards

Race organizers should establish minimum standards for both the skipper’s and crew’s experience of each boat as well as the boat’s suitability and seaworthiness.

Stability

US Sailing has already heeded the report’s recommendation that a more conservative formula be used to determine the stability index, the number representing a boat’s ability to recover from a capsize.

Safety

The Safety at Sea Committee should conduct a study of different tether/life jacket/harness designs to determine whether an optimum combination of security and ease of release can be found. The committee should consider rewriting the Offshore Special Regulations to make them easier to understand.

Training

US Sailing Safety at Sea seminars should demonstrate the possible difficulty of releasing a tether once the life jacket has inflated, and encourage sailors to practice releasing tethers using their own gear. Stress the importance of boat stability.

Weather

Race organizers should make a high priority of promulgating weather awareness and information in close coordination with the National Weather Service.

Inspections

Organizers of distance races should have a committee of knowledgeable inspectors to conduct pre-race inspections of at least one-half of the fleet and random post-race inspections, with widely publicized penalties.

Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on sailboats and sailing gear for more than 45 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising. Its independent tests are carried out by experienced sailors and marine industry professionals dedicated to providing objective evaluation and reporting about boats, gear, and the skills required to cross oceans. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser who has been director of Belvoir Media Group's marine division since 2005. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license, has logged tens of thousands of miles in three oceans, and has skippered everything from pilot boats to day charter cats. His weekly blog Inside Practical Sailor offers an inside look at current research and gear tests at Practical Sailor, while his award-winning column,"Rhumb Lines," tracks boating trends and reflects upon the sailing life. He sails a Sparkman & Stephens-designed Yankee 30 out of St. Petersburg, Florida.

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