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Old 12-10-2010, 09:24   #31
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27' boat..Id want one...50' boat not so much....the captain has little to do with that thought process.
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:44   #32
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I've noticed that powerboaters are sometimes less comfortable on my boat than people totally new to boating. I suspect that this is because of the angle of heel, which would be catastrophic back on their own boats. I've found that it's reassuring to discuss the physics of sailing with them. "We have 9,600 pounds of ballast seven feet below the water line, and there's no way that 20 knots of wind can cause a capsize on this boat. The boat is happiest when it's around 15 degrees over because that's how she was designed to go through the water, and it's actually faster for us to heel like this than to go through the water flat. You will feel more comfortable sitting on the high side of the cockpit, and you are welcome to use your feet to brace yourself."

The other consideration is that you should be far more reefed with guests aboard, especially non-sailors, than you would normally use in any given conditions. When I have guests aboard, the genoa is down below and the blade is on the furler. It's a far easier sail for newbs to trim if they want to take a turn at the winches, and it guarantees that we won't be dipping the rail into the water.
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:57   #33
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I wear one of my PFD's anytime under sail. I think it's just proper risk management. Lots of stuff to trip over on a ketch and even with good life lines one could wind up over the side if a mistake is made. I have never been overboard yet but it only takes once.

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Old 12-10-2010, 10:09   #34
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On any boat I'm skippering, everyone is clipped on and wears a life jacket whenever...
  1. ...we're underway and they leave the cockpit
  2. ...we're underway it's dark and they're outside
  3. ...we're underway and they're alone outside
  4. ...I say so.
  5. ...they want to
Your post implies that you have somewhat more lax rules, I guess you probably haven't had anything bad happen to you for a while whilst sailing.

Assuming that you DO practice MOB each time you go out with new crew, I suggest you get your crew to put a wetsuit on and practice actually retrieving them from the water - if you're really confident with your abilities, you could try it while underway - but make sure you're within swimming distance of land! We did it while anchored in an empty bay.

What you will discover is that it's very hard work to get someone back onto the boat. Even if you can manage to get the boat back to them after they've fallen in, that's only half the battle. After a couple of hours of trying different things and running through different scenarios, we concluded that it's really hard to recover an unconscious body with a lifejacket on and virtually pointless to turn back for anyone who falls overboard unconscious WITHOUT a life-jacket on - by the time you get them out of the water, they'll have drowned.

Once you've been through all of this, get your crew to have a go at a full MOB drill without your intervention... - as if you had gone overboard.

Come back after trying all this and tell me you think it was an insult for your crew to wear lifejackets. I'd feel nervous about going out with a skipper with the cavalier attitude implied by your post.
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Old 12-10-2010, 10:31   #35
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Significantly as a result of this experience, I'm realizing that having more people on board, ESPECIALLY non-sailors, hampers rather than helps.
Indeed! You're on stage, front and center! A sailboat skipper shows off his skills! Everybody's watching!

Like any performance it demands a certain amount of cool. You have to smile and conceal it when you're nervous about something (and any good sailor is going to be nervous about one thing or another on a regular basis).

I sail all the time with non-sailors on board because I am not retired and using the boat to entertain business guests is a way to get out on the water more often (during office hours!), and it helps partially justify some of the expense (at least in my own mind). I actually enjoy being in the spotlight, and I find it makes me a better sailor -- I concentrate more on doing everything more smoothly and keeping my cool. Especially docking in a crosswind!
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Old 12-10-2010, 10:42   #36
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I'd feel nervous about going out with a skipper with the cavalier attitude implied by your post.
It becomes apparent that there are different cultures out there as regards the wearing of a PFD. I grew up sailing on a lake where the only people who were required to wear life vests were those who had not yet demonstrated the ability to swim from the east shore to the west shore. It was a badge of honor to be grown up enough not to have to be swathed in orange just to go sailing.

I don't require life jackets to be donned on my boat until the decks become wet. I do my level best, when guests are aboard, to keep the sailing so civilized that the decks stay dry. To me, the "cavalier attitude prize" should be awarded to the guy sailing overpowered and rounding up every few minutes, regardless of whether he's dictated that the crew must wear life jackets. I'll put more faith in reef points than personal flotation devices, because the point seems to be to keep the crew aboard in the first place.
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Old 12-10-2010, 14:05   #37
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An interesting thread.
I ALWAYS give the safety lecture to new visitors to the boat- fire extinguishers, life jackets (stowage etc, radio, flares, how to use the toilet, etc.
I always tell them if non swimmers to wear a life jacket and if they are unsure about sailing to wear one and always in rough conditions.
Safety is not negotiable and can be confidence building.
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Old 12-10-2010, 14:19   #38
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I ALWAYS give the safety lecture to new visitors to the boat- fire extinguishers, life jackets
I thought that was a wise idea too.

Stupidly.

I was doing my safety lecture on Sydney Harbour and got the handheld VHF and said "if we are sinking you just pick this up and say Mayday Mayday Mayday this is Sea Life."
Giving Tanya the VHF I said "Do you think you can do that Tanya?"

"Yes! Mayday Mayday Mayday this is Sea Life......................."
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Old 12-10-2010, 16:34   #39
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MarkJ, that is hilarious!
Your Old Nemesis' point about the MOB drill reminds me of departing on a weeks cruise with my ex and another couple and going through a MOB drill telling them I wasn't worried about them going over the side but wanted to make sure they could pick me up if I went over. Not 10 minutes later, over I went trying to re-tie the dinghy painter. There was one hell of a lot of activity on the boat as it sailed away then came about to come back for me. Nothing like seeing your boat bearing down on you in the water at about 6 knots! Very sobering experience and not easy to get back aboard even though I was much younger than now. Thinking back, my ex was at the wheel and probably aiming flat out for my head! Capt Phil
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Old 12-10-2010, 17:34   #40
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snip

When they showed up, they BOTH showed up in life jackets; him in a "lower-profile" model, and her with the kapok orange "Titanic" model. My composure was shot. I didn't object or say anything, but the tone was set, at least in my mind (that's really where the problem is).

SNip
Any ideas/advice?
I am a Skipper with 30 years experience and have worked commercially doing deliveries, teaching, chartering as well as racing.

On a recent short 10 mile ocean delivery it was just me and a mate with limited experience. It was a warm sunny day with 25 knots that we had to beat into.

I enforced the Life Jacket rule that day. I wore one and so did he. My decision was based on a few factors. Firstly, it made him more comfortable (mentally). Secondly, if I went overboard, the jacket allowed me more time in the water before suffering fatigue. If he went over, it gave me more time to collect him also.

Not that I would always wear one offshore by any means, But this was an 8mtr racing boat that was "very" flighty to sail. Had we been on a 35ft beneteau things may have been different.

I guess what I am saying is that the wearing of life jackets is subjective. I hate the May West style jacket and ensure that my own vessel/s have PFD's as these allow easy movement and are much more comfortable.

Perhaps its worth keeping some PFDs on board for noobie sailors in your case. Lets face it, most Stink Boat people know nothing about boats and usually rely on May Wests as the emergency floatation device because they are cheap.

cheers Oz
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Old 13-10-2010, 02:15   #41
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To those who only require non-swimmers to wear a lifejacket: under what circumstances do you think someone is likely to go overboard - accidentally on purpose? If you concede that it's more likely that someone goes over by accident, do you agree that it's also quite likely that they might be injured by the same accident that sends them overboard? How long can you stay afloat without a lifejacket when injured? - well I guess it depends on the injury.

The point is lifejackets are to stop you from drowning when you accidentally go overboard - you can't determine the circumstances in which it happens, so what makes you think you can determine whether the victim will be in a fit state to swim or not?
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Old 13-10-2010, 02:27   #42
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The other consideration is that you should be far more reefed with guests aboard, especially non-sailors, than you would normally use in any given conditions. When I have guests aboard, the genoa is down below and the blade is on the furler. It's a far easier sail for newbs to trim if they want to take a turn at the winches, and it guarantees that we won't be dipping the rail into the water.

Yup with guests on board we defiitely sacrifice speed for comfort.

When alone you also have more freedom of movement. Sometimes negotiating your way around the guests to do something slows you down. Another reason to be well reefed so things happen slower on the boat.

Here we are in a twilight race with new guests on board. With my race crew we'd have everyone on the rail and the genny full flying. Guests also like to stay in the cockpit.

In regards to life vests. I consider them optional in most of our sailing. Safety brief is done so everyone knows where they are.

In heavier weather and when racing hard jackets are not optional.
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Old 13-10-2010, 02:32   #43
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If everyone is trussed up like a turkey in bright orange kapok the sailing becomes un-fun.

If its a 'normal' day out the chance of misadventure is so low that doing a full man overboard drill is just not relevant. Last time I was on a cruise ship they didnt even do if for passengers going for less than a week.

This whole over safety pervading stuff we sometimes see here is a bit much imho. Go and enjoy life on a boat and if you or your friend dies then stiff biccies. Do better in your next life.

If you come on my boat for the 3 hour cruise you are welcome to put on a life jacket.... but if you want safety drills go sit below or stay on the dock.


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Old 13-10-2010, 02:48   #44
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If everyone is trussed up like a turkey in bright orange kapok the sailing becomes un-fun.

If its a 'normal' day out the chance of misadventure is so low that doing a full man overboard drill is just not relevant. Last time I was on a cruise ship they didnt even do if for passengers going for less than a week.

This whole over safety pervading stuff we sometimes see here is a bit much imho. Go and enjoy life on a boat and if you or your friend dies then stiff biccies. Do better in your next life.

If you come on my boat for the 3 hour cruise you are welcome to put on a life jacket.... but if you want safety drills go sit below or stay on the dock.


In a year of cruising we had several nasty incidents:

1. taking on (a sh** load of) water 1000 miles from land
2. multiple halyard failures resulting in pulling sails from the sea in the middle of the ocean & several mast-climbs in the mid-Atlantic swell
3. engine fire
4. boarded by refugees
5. death of skipper
6. tangled in fishing nets 10 days from land
7. total loss of rudder 300 miles off Fiji

There was one boat we crewed on that we were supposed to be with from Trinidad to NZ - by the time we'd sailed up through a bit of the caribbean, it was clear that the skipper was a danger to himself and we weren't confident he was safe, he never clipped on and didn't wear a life-jacket. We took the decision to leave that boat after the engine fire. Less than a year later he was lost overboard in the middle of the night whilst alone on watch en-route from Tonga to Fiji. When his crew awoke the next morning, they retraced their steps, but they couldn't find him, he'd almost certainly drowned by then.

Everyone makes their own choices, none of the disasters that befell us were our fault, but we fixed them all, and learned from them. I prefer not to leave things to chance, given the crap that can happen even when you're experienced and being careful. Quite often it's a number of things going wrong at once that lead to catastrophe, protecting yourself against some of them makes it less likely that all the bad stuff will come together at once.
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Old 13-10-2010, 04:23   #45
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They're long ocean passages, not a drift around the bay. I think there are different standards of safety, and care because of the different risks invoilved.
The OP was not on an over nighter where someone would be on deck by themselves etc. His was a short cruise.
"Today, they invited us out for a short cruise, and we (I) preferred to enjoy one last sail. We compromised by going with them for a short motor jaunt around the area, and then they came over for a short sail."

Its not necessary to make the sport hideously difficult for guests.



But, for those longer cruises, yes, I agree, however still not making it an all pervading misery. If it becomes that it would be better to hook the van up and go for a driving vacation.




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