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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 9:53 am 
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Location: Issaquah, WA
"Sailing Can Be Dangerous" from IHCA Sept. News. Good article, and reminder of our racing obligations. Caleb Tarleton

Most of us never think about the dangers of sailing. The following incident actually happened. It shows how easily accidents can happen in sailing.



In 15 knots of breeze boat S rounded the windward and short offset mark on starboard tack. Boat S put up their spinnaker to proceed to the leeward gates. Boat P on port tack, mistook the offset mark for the windward mark. On seeing the lead boat round the correct windward mark Boat P bore away and started to thread their way through the boats that had rounded the windward and offset mark.



The crew on boat S, not seeing boat P, nor expecting a boat to be in that position. hopped out on the trapeze. The crew of S and boat P made a heavy contact. Unconscious, the crew of boat S still connected to trapeze fell to the leeward side of boat S. Boat B behind boat S saw the incident and S crew limp on the leeward side of the boat. Boat B stopped with the crew of B jumping into the water and rescuing the crew of boat S.



The crew of boat B stayed with the crew on a rescue boat to the boat went ashore with a waiting ambulance to take crew B to hospital. Crew S will make a recovery and hopefully be sailing soon.



Every week we see boats come in on port tack at the windward mark. This incident was made worse by boat P making a mistake in identifying the wrong mark as the windward mark. This was an accident, though every week end we see similar incidents. Boats coming in on port tack to the windward mark without any rights. It was also a concern that in an 80 boat race only one boat stopped to offer assistance. Sailors should remember that if they do not offer assistance they can be protested under Racing Rules of Sailing Rule 2.



Boat B was given redress and a good finishing place though she did not have to complete the race for this to happen. This is done compensate sailors that do assist so they do not lose positions on the race course.



The IHCA recognizes the great sportsmanship of Neville Thompson and Shamus Stevens (Boat B) in their efforts and involvement in the rescue of the crew of boat S after a horrific accident on the water.



All at the IHCA and I am sure all fellow sailors wish the crew of boat S a speedy recovery and wish him fair winds and good sailing in the future.



Sailing is safe sport if we all take a few precautions. If someone does get injured or a boat is severely damaged, please stop and offer assistance.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 11:34 am 
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Location: Finger Lakes, NY
:lol: I am not making light of the accident or the story, it is a good reminder that we travel at higher than normal speeds on Hobies so that caution and knowing rules of the road are extremely important as well as knowing some basic first aid, and being willing and able to help.

Stating the obvious: Accidents can happen when you are only cruising too, but common sense and learned behaviors can take a back seat in the heat of competition causing accidents to happen with higher frequency and intensity. Knowing the rules and keeping your head on a swivel are keys to safety when boating under any conditions, for pleasure or racing.

The worst injuries I have seen cruising are when my wife and a friend were both trapped out next to each other during a high-speed pitchpole. They had mirror image bruises that covered their entire hips from knees to lower back from the impact. They got wacked together like a couple of those balls on strings that we had when we were kids. I have since been forgiven. :oops:

But the worst injury I have ever seen during a race was two 16's colliding at a mark when one boat refused to give way on a rather obvious overlap while the overtaking boat insisted on asserting his right-of-way. The crew on the overtaken boat got his upper arm, somehow, wrapped between the side stays of both boats as they rolled over each other. It ripped his wetsuit wide open in a spiral around his biceps from the shoulder to his elbow and cut him so badly it required many stitches and an emergency room trip. Man did he bleed. Being trained in First aid, thanks to our younger days in the Boy Scouts, we wrapped the injury tightly and had the committee boat rush us to the shore. Other sailors took control of the damaged boats while we ran for stitches. THAT was freaky though. And now he has this really cool scar to show for it. I do not recommend this as a method of body-modification :roll:

One thing for sure, these boats hit each other hard and there was almost no damage to the them. They are built tough.

So, two things to keep in mind:
1) No matter who is right or wrong according to the rules of the road, avoiding a collision comes FIRST.
2) Don't go sailing with me unless you like to live dangerously :twisted:

Happy Sails!

_________________
The fact that this windy world is largely covered in water obviously means that man was meant to sail.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 1:48 pm 
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Location: North Carolina
Many of these accidents could be avoided all together if races were run with that thought in mind. I have been hit by a Nacra 6.0 at 20+ knots while racing on my 18. I was on port and gibing to starboard when hit. No hail, no attempt to avoid. His port bow hit below where my wife was seated and launched her in the air. I was at the stern passing the tiller. He hit us so hard on the port side it snapped the starboard hull in two. My wife still has scars from the glass and will never race with me again. To make things worse the skipper of the 6.0 in the water said he never saw us, on land at the committee hearing he stated I was clear ahead and turned in front of him and he didn't have time to avoid. He is obviously a crafty liar, he knows it and I know it. This was my wifes second time racing and my third in many years. I didn't know all the rules and was unable to defend myself at the hearing. That skipper now has a nice new Nacra F18 I'm sure he bought with the money from my insurance company. The point I'm tring to make is rookie racers should not be on course with seasoned racers ever. Non- spin boats don't belong with spin boats. If racers of equal knowledge, and boats of comparable speed are kept together there will likely be less accidents. I went to have fun, not to get hurt or have my boat destroyed. I feel there are too many out there that have tried racing, gotten scared or hit, and never come back to it. This happened to me almost 3 years ago and I have raced once since then. Race organizers must realize that not everyone thats interested in racing is serious about it and set the races up accordingly. In the '80s when I started sailing there were a,b and c fleets with courses for each. I understand that fewer people race today but does that mean its safe to run F18s, I20s, H18s, H16s, H17s and whatever else shows up at the same time on the same course. Also if insurance is required to race why doesn't anyone ask for policy numbers on their registrations. I was in a collision with a 16 at the startline. He was on port, had just fouled the 18 in front of me that didn't protest him. I hailed, attempted to avoid but he sheeted in and pulled right in front of me with boats on my left and right. He was obviously in the wrong but refused to give me his insurance info as he felt my damage was minor and I should repair it myself, 1k later my boat is repaired. The race committee would do nothing to help me get the insurance info so I could file a claim. That a-hole skipper even had the nerve to say he thought I was on a 16 and he knew he would be gone before we hit, I sail an 18 magnum with the wings on. How could you mistake that for a 16. At this race 60 boats were started together with the F18s allready on the course. I'm thru ranting now, sorry!


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 6:56 pm 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
It sounds like you are in the wars Ncmbm! I race regularly with other boats of all levels of experience and knowledge. Most of the time all is well. Occasionally there are near misses though and I'm sorry to hear your wife won't race again (although it sounds like she was very lucky not to be seriously hurt or worse)

I am very firm though that *ALL* boats must have at least a working knowledge of the rules. That doesnt mean they should quote every last sub-section to the letter. A working understanding of the rules and then 10 min with a rule book to understand the finer points would have made it possible to defend yourself.

A second bit of advice is for people to get their head's out of the boat and think about what is going on. If I tack or gybe here, who am I likely to hit 30 seconds down the way??? That boat over there above/below me - is he likely to change course and hit me without knowing I'm here??? Everybody needs to think about what is going on and this applies to right-of-way boats and give-way boats equally.

Re your start line incident - put in your protest form and when you win, put in a form to your insurance company (including your upheld protest) saying that the other boat was at fault. The insurance company will then chase him for the $$$ - it won't be your problem any more.

Tiger Mike


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 8:58 am 
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Location: San Diego, CA
ncmbm wrote:
Many of these accidents could be avoided all together if races were run with that thought in mind. I have been hit by a Nacra 6.0 at 20+ knots while racing on my 18. I was on port and gibing to starboard when hit. No hail, no attempt to avoid. !


As part of your rant about people knowing the rules, Was the Nacra on starboard? And you gybed underneath him?

A boat tacking or gybing has no rights, until the sail is filled on the other tack. And if you establish rights over the other boat because they are on port tack, and you tacked or gybe'd onto starboard, you MUST give them time to be able to avoid you.

It is a very valid argument that if you gybed in front of them, they 1) did not expect you to gybe, and did NOT have time to avoid you if they where up to speed.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 12:58 pm 
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I was in the wrong by being on port with my wife that didn't know to look for starboard boats bearing down on us. We were jybing to starboard when hit. The Nacra skipper stated in the water that he never saw us. He had cleared the start finish line on the left and I had gone below and cleared on the right. I had been on port for some time before the collision and was at the layline to come to starboard. The Nacra was allready on that layline. He could have ducked behind us with no problem, he could have hailed us, he could have gone in front of us as we were basically sitting still. Had I been ahead and jybed in front of him, you are right. This was not the case, he had plenty of clear water to avoid the contact. I don't know how you can miss seeing a white 18' boat directly in front of you. I was ill prepared for the insuing protest, didn't have a rule book, didn't know what to do. It won't ever happen again, period. My wife will never race again as a result and hassles me every time I think of entering a race. The other racers were quick to tell me it was my fault and I was financially responsible because I was on port. If this were to happen again I would take it to court, not release my insurance info before fault was determined. I am an agent and have considered pursuing this matter legally. The Nacra skipper is a good guy and I know he didn't do this on purpose, so we'll let it ride. But never again. This was a stupid mistake!


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 1:26 am 
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Even in the protest room, and legally there probbably would not have been much that you could have done. Unless you had allot of wittness's that claimed the other skipper saw you, and had ample time to avoid a collision the repsonsibillity of you being the give way boat. 1) Being on port tack, 2) You where the one who changed course by gybing to go to Starboard.

Being dead in the water, either being slow to come through a gybe, or getting into irons (Unless you have a mechanical failure or are capsized, you have NO rights until your sail in filled and you are on propper course on starboard tack.

At best both of your would have been disqualified, You for causing a foul, and him for not avoiding the collion. That still does not change the at fault party however. From what I have heard in the case of there being a protest the courts will lean heavilly to the side of the protest committee.

Outside the protest, and who is at fault, before the incidient even happened, regardless of if the right of way vessel hailed or not (And from what I have read the right of way vessel is under NO obligation to hail you to begin with). Anyone on a race course or even when fun sailing, needs to be aware of what is going on around their boats to begin with, especially when they are going to change course, and I myself have been caught in a few situations where I just didn't look (I got caught up in the moment, and another boat snuck in my danger zone). I might be more aware of everything that is going on with the boat, Main and Jib, and the boats around me because 80% of my time on a 16 is single handed.

The advice to make sure others see you and know your intentions is as valid when your the give away vessel as it is the right of way vessel. If you get into a situation wher eyou can not get out of someones way. HAIL THEM. (Even if it is to tell them to change course, And I'll do my circles!) Visibility below you isn't that good, even with windows in your sail There is a hudge blind spot right off the leward forward cross bar allmost all the way o the bow ( and it sounds like about where you got caught on his boat).

The other thing I make sure I do, regardless of if I am sailing with experianced or new crew, is that I make sure they are aware that we are going onto port tack, and to watch out for any boat coming up on starboard, and if we are going downwind, to let them know that anybody coming up wind on starboard, regardless of our tack we also have to watch out for. Crew resource management at it's finest :P

Please don't take this personally, I am just calling it as I see it, so maybe we can all (Especially the newbies in racing) can learn from it.

Does anyone on here, how has ever served on a race committee or protest committee care to comment?


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