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Old 29 September 2003, 05:51   #1
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Portsmouth Powerboat weekend!

Having seen the chaos at Cowes with the last racing, I was initially impressed with the organisation at Portsmouth.
However, seeing Friday's pro-vee race aborted because the marker buoys had all moved out of place in the tide was ridiculous!

Congratulations must also go to Alan Priddy for nearly causing a crash during yesterday's Pro-vee race by wandering onto the course during the race. You should count yourself lucky that the drivers didn't know you otherwise I don't think you would have got out of the beer tent alive! If anything, it highlights how badly these UK races are marhsalled that boats can stray onto a course unchallenged. Although in this case Alan, surely the clue would have been all of us other boats holding off in one area watching the race.
Having watched the other races around the world, it is emabarrasing that we can't organise things as well as they do abroad. Apart from that it was a fun weekend and there seemed to be a lot of public watching in Southsea which must be good for the sport in general.
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Old 29 September 2003, 06:28   #2
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Dear Westy

Do you think for one minute that I intentionaly ended up on the race course, drifted or other wise?
I was out on the water as a spectator taking the information of the race course from the previous days news paper. I was equally disgusted that no official or safety boat was to be seen at Horse sand fort to marshall the area.

As for nearly causing a crash I was under the impression that it is the driver of the race boat to take avoiding action and not the viewing public.

The problem is that the racers seem to feel that they do not have to have any seamanship skill and everyone else should get out of their way. Even coming out of the Camber docks while going astern to miss the IOW ferry a boat felt he had the right to shout and scream at me for being in the way. I had right of way. Perhaps it is about time that racers took an exam so as they know and understand the rules of the road. Alan P
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Old 29 September 2003, 16:12   #3
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Surely the racers have been told the course would be kept clear, and it wouldn't be their fault if they hit a spectator straying onto the course...

sounds like lack of marshelling is to blame.
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Old 29 September 2003, 16:29   #4
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No the racers are not above maritime law! They have a responsibility to avoid colision same as everyone else on the water!
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Old 29 September 2003, 16:39   #5
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I was in Portsmouth too but unfortunatly not watching the racing. I was amazed tho at the amount of marshalls I saw, obviously quantity is not quality.

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Old 29 September 2003, 19:55   #6
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I was also in a RIB near Alan at that very moment and I have to agree with him. None of us knew the race would take the course it did and the Marshalls did not warn us. In fact I think they where as confused as us. Talking to them afterwards ... we all thought we where in a safe place.

However now we know the race passed without incident, it was a funny moment seeing Alan being passed on all sides by fast boats. I hope you took some good pics from that vantage point!!
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Old 30 September 2003, 02:14   #7
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Too Close For Comfort

Hi Guy's

I was a guest onboards Alan P's boat and in hindsight, yes we will have some very very close up photo's.

However, I have very grave concerns about the marshalling & safety boat cover on the course. At no time were we challanged or approached by any official boat telling us that we were straying onto the course or that the fort was the turning mark.

By the start of the Class 1 boat race and with them bearing down on us at speed it was a miracle that no one was hurt. Many thanks to all those drivers who took evasive action.

To those drivers that just chanced their arm & closed there eyes you are BLOODY IDIOTS & SHOULD kNOW BETTER

No one person was at fault or to blame other than the officals who were supposed to marshall the course and keep all spectactors and competitors SAFE.

As to the issue of the incident within the Camber Dock "Rules of the Road" Still apply, so does collision avoidance procedures. This dock is a commercial dock & with vessels undertaking their normal daily buisiness. It is not for some "Prima Donna" who thinks that just because he has a race boat he can do as he pleases to the detriment & safety of others.

I think that is was a shame that little incidents like this could not have been avoided, had the correct risk assesments been carried out properly & proper mashalling had taken place.

I make no appolgies about the tone of my note, Safety is my living and too many people are killed or injured as a result of someone not doing their job properly or being blas'ey about safety saying it will be ok. Life is too precious you only get one go!

Those of you who are members of the RYA should be asking some very pertinent questions of the race officials so that incidents like these never happen again.

One final point about officals, I have since learnt that on one of the race days the Officer of the Day was required to attend a briefing, but where was he? Out on the water Racing!!!!

Alan, I am with you all the way on this one!

Regards
Kevin
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Old 30 September 2003, 02:42   #8
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Come on guys, lets not blame the race drivers or Prima Donnas as you call them. My father in law is current Euro champion for Pro Vee, and I know many of the drivers and one of the things that they are experts at is driving and safety.
What amazes me with Aging Youth and Alan Priddy and others, surely you have VHF, ever heard of channel 11 or P4? It wouldn't have taken much to ask, and don't tell me you didn't see other boats that you could have asked.
To use an excuse such as "we weren't told so we didn't know", frankly stinks of the school playground. Surely, your safety is important to you, ignorance may be bliss but it could have been a totally different story out there. Maybe in the future it will make you more aware or is it an ego thing that you guys are so experienced that you don't feel the need to ask questions.
Yes, you are right, about the RYA being incompetent but if you know that, you should be more aware. To give you an example, the Cowes race weekend could have been a disaster. The Pro-vee boats started first on their round the island race, and the other races were staggered afterwards. Some genius had the Honda 225s starting 40 minutes after the Pro-vees, at exactly the same time that the Pro vees would have been completing their circuit. Imagine the scenario, 8 Provees at about 100mph coming round a corner to see 15 odd 225s all abreast waiting to start. How the RYA gets insured for this beggars belief?
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Old 30 September 2003, 02:47   #9
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First of all it was a pleasure to meet up with Kevin (Aging Youth) and Alan P on Sunday.

I would like to clear up a couple of points.

Firstly I witnessed the incident in Camber docks from the quay with a very good viewpoint. The competitor had been launched and was making his way to tie up to wait for the race. Alan reversed out into the middle of the docks from behind some other boats, and never saw the race boat until he had passed him. I really do not believe the driver was acting as a prima donna at all considering he had been nearly reversed into from a boat aproaching him from port. He did what the rules of the road say and avoid colision whoever has the right of way. I saw it as "one of those things" and I admit that the shouting was unnecesary.

There were safety boats all around the race course but the aparent level of marshalling was poor at best. I assume you were talking about the Pro Vee race (Class 1 races are much better marshalled!), as racers we are briefed to uphold all of the collision regs whilst out on the water, the boats you are referring too do not slow down very quickly, and to do so could cause a bigger accident as you might have someone run into the back of you, in addition, there is very little lateral room for manouvre when on a start run with boats either side. I would suggest that none of the drivers closed thier eyes, they are responsible and are very familiar with what the boats are capable of.

I competely agree about safety and the RYA, Fridays race was delayed by 2 hours 45 minutes because the buoys were not put out in time and because the crane area was shut down for at least 30 mins by health and safety.

As for the last comment about the Officer Of the Day - They are the one that gives the briefing, and all competitors are compelled to attend all briefings. If you are talking about John Puddifoot, he was at all the briefings as a competitor although he was not an official for the event, although he was an organizer.

I hope that resolves more questions than it raises!
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Old 30 September 2003, 03:21   #10
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Does anyone publish the course waypoints? I mean on the 'net, publicly available. It would be useful to spectators in boats to put them into the GPS and have the course marked. This would be very useful and help people like me who know next to nothing about racing but would like to find out and be a safe spectator.
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Old 30 September 2003, 03:36   #11
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Nice idea Richard - Sadly we were handed the last of four course alterations 1 hour before the scheduled start of Fridays race - luckily that gave us 3 3/4 hours to update the GPS!
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Old 30 September 2003, 03:47   #12
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Is that normal, or is the course usually set in advance - i suppose some movement of the markers is inevitable?
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Old 30 September 2003, 04:16   #13
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The course is normally announced 1 or 2 weeks in advance, but things change nearer the time.

More effective marshalling is the way to go - it is unralistic to expect spectaors to find out the exact course and where to watch from. I have marshalled at 2 class one races and the public is kept behind a row of buoys - otherwise the race doesn't start!
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Old 30 September 2003, 04:29   #14
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Westy

On the whole you raise some interesting points but I disagree with spectators contacting race control asking for course updates. If half the spectator boats did this race control would never have time to start the race.

The course should be laid and the safety/race fleet advised before the race starts. We both agree its not rocket science and if the UK wants to see more Pro-Vee / Class 1 then they need to shape up.

In my view it should have been the safety fleet to control the course and they should hold responsibility for spectators, whoever they are, crossing the race line. If race control changed the course how can anyone be expected to know the best place to watch it from.

Having done safety for 10+ years I have seen races, including Cowes, start without mark boats and proper cover around the course. At this years Cowes I recovered one Pro-Vee boat ( Ceramica P ) on the Friday from an area that I wasn’t covering because no one else was there and assisted with the sinking Attacking Vikings on the Sunday.

Again in my view if you are involved in an serious incident sinking boat/ injury then there should be a post-mortem ( not literally ) on what happened and how things could have been done better.

Ultimately race drivers should expect that the course is clear and the appropriate level of safety is there for them to race safely. As the safety fleet is all volunteer boats the RYA should provide better backup/support and even could even run courses based on experiences from previous years.

Cheers

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Old 30 September 2003, 04:31   #15
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Westy,

Sorry but I dissagree. When sitting there in clear site of a Marshall waiting for 45 mins for a race to start, you would think that the Marshall may have mentioned that you where in the line of the race. When I spoke to them they had no idea. We had all the paperwork printed out, and listened on the VHF to race control, and to be honest, it did not do us much good.

In addition there was simply not enough marshalls in our area. Yachts etc where causing issues. At one point Marshals where busy dealing with towing people that had retired etc, and we took it upon ourselves to warn off the oncoming Yachts.

I think this was a case of bad comms all round. We must all learn from this and move on. I hope improvements are made for next year.
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Old 30 September 2003, 05:03   #16
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I didn't mean that people should contact race control but merely listening should have been enough or asking QHM on ch 11.
I understand about the safety problems, we rescued Pro Vee 1 in Cowes after the incident with the yacht and there were no safety boats in the vicinity.
Sunday at Portsmouth seemed to be that the marshalls were not prepared for so many breakdowns in such a short space of time.
However, my point still stands, you were on your own where you were and maybe should have realised that something was amiss! It is your responsibility to ensure the safety of you and your crew, merely getting a cutting from the newspaper is incredulous (although the fort was clearly shown as a turn in our newspaper cutting).
It seems to be that some people are happy to put their lives in the hands of some marshalls which is very complacent. I think it is wishful thinking that the RYA will learn from this, it's all on a wing and a prayer. If no one is killed they get away with it, if someone is killed, public perception will be that it was the fault of the "rich prima donna" powerboater. Ignorance appears to be bliss.
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Old 30 September 2003, 05:17   #17
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Question was the race area & times published in the local notice to mariners and press?
When we have run major sailling events ( mainly Dinghy) the course area is (normally!)well published. The safety boats are there to look after the participents and to warn the sectators of the course.
They are also there to escort through people who can't go round, ie split the raceing fleet and send them astern the vessel.
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Old 30 September 2003, 06:58   #18
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QHM issued a Local Notice to Mariners regarding the racing during w/e 20 September complete with a chartlet of the course and full details inc waypoints.

Might be worth singing up for the free e-mail LTM service for future info on the various events held in the eastern Solent.

http://www.qhmportsmouth.com/LNTM/lntm.htm
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Old 30 September 2003, 07:03   #19
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Westly,

It seems you don't listen ... how could we be on our own if the marshall and official camera boat was there also? Why did the marshalls not ensure the course was clear, especially around a nice blind bend like a large fort.

I don't expect to be told where safe passages are, if I did I would never leave the shore. As it happens we saw them coming and moved to a safe distance.

Officials are there for everybodies safety and I have to say they did not contribute to either the safety of the race drivers, spectators or press at that time. That's all my point is. No more no less.
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Old 30 September 2003, 07:51   #20
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Andy,
No need for agression my friend. You have joined in, I was not referring to you initially.
I merely know what I saw on the on boat cameras and helicopter footage, I was not referring to your boat.
I maintain what I said, none of us should be complacent and assume that the marshalls know what they were/are doing.
Ultimately, it was a close thing but no one came out hurt and hopefully lessons have been learnt.
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