ISAF ( International Sailing Federation) has decided that all sailors participating in category 0,1 and 2 have to go through a safety certification. Since Salt is planning to participate in a category two race – either for Stavanger to Banff in Scotland or from Bergen to Shetland – I had to get my certification.
I have always tried to keep the boat ship shape Bristol fashion and safe. But – to tell you the truth I haven’t thought that much about it. I will now. I promise you I will go through Salt thinking about preventing fires – they are scary, and I will implement at least a few tryouts with man over board situations. Besides I will check out all standing rigging and the rudder.
I am not scared after two days of first aid, fire extinguishing and talk about heavy weather sailing. However, I am becoming more safety conscious. Besides – accidents happens. And I am telling you – to get into an emergency fleet, wet, cold and scared, in heavy wind and bad weather is really really hard. And it is definitely something you don’t want to happen to you or your crew.
Dismasting, rudders gone, mob
The 2006 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, ARC, gave the participants good weather, plenty of wind and new records. Given excellent conditions and all the reason in the world to be prepared for the 2.700-mile passage from Gran Canaria to St.Lucia – there are too many accidents and incidents. One boom broke, there where two dismastings, two yachts where abandoned – one of them sunk, there where two may be three man over board incidents, two yachts lost the rudder – and that is just the major incidents. Other things to worry about is that several yachts had trouble with inexperienced crew who where not able to steer without rudder or to take the yacht to port when the captain became ill or incapacitated for some reason.
In short – the ISAF safety certification seems like a good idea. The same goes for checking out the yacht and giving safety first first priority.