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Old 28 September 2009, 17:07   #1
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Summonsing help at dinghy clubs etc...

Those of you who are regularly involved with dinghy/windsurf etc clubs...

Imagine a situation on a busy day (lots of boats all involved in different activities), F4 slight chop, a boat gets in difficulty/a person falls overboard/can't get back on their board etc.

Does your club have a standard method for those on board (or someone bobbing in the oggin) to signal that they require assistance? Obviously in an ideal world the safety boat crews spot the incident unfolding but if e.g. they are assisting a capsize and miss someone loosing a sailboard and getting separated from it...

Interested on behalf of a club where the safety boats missed someone in the water for sometime, and in fact only rescued him when summonsed by another sailor.
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Old 29 September 2009, 03:05   #2
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Not the answer your after but the personal flares aren't bad if you do get missed for any length of time.
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Old 29 September 2009, 03:35   #3
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Couldn't the whistle be used in this case? Providing they have one of course.
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Old 29 September 2009, 05:31   #4
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club procedure

Your club needs to have an operations manual to describe how things are managed. Standard signal of distress is waving both arms from your side to above your head. Whistles are ok but often if you are upwind you will not hear. Flares are really only for major distress, they are hot and dangerous and not ideal for capsizes in limited areas. At all times you need to know how many craft and how many people are on the water so you can do a head count. Normally requires a beach/shore master to count people in and out, view the defined sailing area with bino's and co-ordinate with the safety crew via radio.
If your powerboat skills are up to scratch I would recommend the RYA Safety Boat course.
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Old 30 September 2009, 07:17   #5
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Quote:
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Not the answer your after but the personal flares aren't bad if you do get missed for any length of time.
I'm not sure its not the answer I'm after! I think practically they might be more of a headache for a club (safety, training, misuse etc). And they also are quite a serious "I am in distress" option rather than "I need a bit of help here". I suspect getting everyone to invest and carry them might be hard work and then of course there will be the old time-expired issue eventually!

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Couldn't the whistle be used in this case? Providing they have one of course.
I think this is the default option... in reality many windsurfers and dinghy sailors in a club environment won't have one as they are not fitted as standard to bouyancy aids (rather than l/j's). From personal experience they are inneffective as a means of attracting attention from someone upwind of you on a blowy day. Certainly not likely to be heard at any distance over an outboard on a F4.

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Originally Posted by ben tye
Your club needs to have an operations manual to describe how things are managed. Standard signal of distress is waving both arms from your side to above your head. Whistles are ok but often if you are upwind you will not hear. Flares are really only for major distress, they are hot and dangerous and not ideal for capsizes in limited areas. At all times you need to know how many craft and how many people are on the water so you can do a head count. Normally requires a beach/shore master to count people in and out, view the defined sailing area with bino's and co-ordinate with the safety crew via radio.
If your powerboat skills are up to scratch I would recommend the RYA Safety Boat course.
Thanks Ben, i'm not sure that wetsuit manufacturers have picked the best colour of fabric for a person in the water to attract attention by arm waving. Its for the benefit of a club who have procedures in place but will be reviewing them following a windsurfer separated from his board going unnoticed for a long time. I just wondered if there was any common or good practice used elsewhere that they could learn from. I suspect there is not a formal shore master in place - and "management" of the safety boats is as you say the fundamental issue. All the clubs safety boat crews are RYA safety boat trained, and their coaches other boats on the water are PB2 trained.

Your suggestion of a shore master is perfectly sensible (and may already be in the written opperations manual but perhaps not obviously followed - not my own club so not sure). But actually I don't think I have seen that approach in common use at average sized clubs? So (1) is it expected at all RYA clubs (2) is it actually used in REALITY at most clubs.
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Old 30 September 2009, 09:29   #6
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A safety boat should go to every boat that capsizes because they may be fine but if there is an entrapment situation for example there will be no signal from them. And ensuring every time you get to a dingy to do a head count. In the clubhouse hopefully they will have a good vantage point over the course where there should be someone looking for people in trouble and passing this information onto the safety boats as its much easier to see from there. And if other safety boats see things and spot a boat closer pass the info across because sometimes its easy to miss someone behind you.

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Old 30 September 2009, 12:19   #7
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Flares - great but would you buy carry them all the time, what about the cadet sailors?

Whistle, yeah right you'll hear that in a F4 with a 40HP engine droaning behind you.

The safety boat course is great however it is not a real life course. By that it won't put you in a situation where you have 4 boats over in different areas/situations. It is good though for teaching you how to use the boat to assist.

I have been safety boat driving for 7 years. Over that time have gained experience of many situations from 40 cadet boats out sailing in a f3 to 6 boats out sailing an open in a F4 gusting to F7. On all ocasions a capsized oat is attended to. I also take note of who is out and their sailing experience in my head.
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Old 30 September 2009, 14:37   #8
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The situation which prompted the question was actually a windsurfer who became separated from and couldn't get back to his board. My understanding is he wasn't racing, and wasn't part of organised coaching either - so there was no one directly responsible for "managing his activities" (except him). I can imagine that windsurfers can be particularly difficult to "look after" in this sense since they often seem to be in and out the water, take a rest sitting on their board etc. I would suspect that it was a busy, windy day and they were actually "under resourced" - although there were plenty of "powerboats" out they were mostly there for coaching work rather than rescue. Good points about "shore spotters" but wonder how many boats are normally out before this approach is used in practice?
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Old 30 September 2009, 16:19   #9
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Quote:
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A safety boat should go to every boat that capsizes because they may be fine but if there is an entrapment situation for example there will be no signal from them. And ensuring every time you get to a dingy to do a head count. In the clubhouse hopefully they will have a good vantage point over the course where there should be someone looking for people in trouble and passing this information onto the safety boats as its much easier to see from there. And if other safety boats see things and spot a boat closer pass the info across because sometimes its easy to miss someone behind you.

James
i attended an inland sailing event as a guest speaker one evening during the summer ,with around 20 sailing dinghys on the water, every capsize was investigated by one of the 4 safety boats on the water with another back up boat ready to launch should it be needed,a dedicated lookout rota from the club house was also in place , granted it was a small body of water compared to some sailing clubs but the system worked for them .
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