Originally Posted by donradcliffe
I spent a few days in informal meetings last month with the organizers of the NTB and Transpac races. My take is that the safety requirements are indeed 'lawyer driven'--these guys really want to avoid any loss of life and the attendant lawsuits. However, they have to walk a fine line between safety and driving away the competitors.
One of the topics was requiring the satphones to be left on to receive incoming calls from the race committee. Their reasoning is that if there is a problem with another boat, they want to be able to direct nearby boats to assist. I pointed out that they did not require the alternative SSB's to be left on, and that text messages would probably work
better, especially with systems like the Iridium
Another topic was mutihull entries. Transpac has let multihulls race officially for a while, and was quite happy with the results in 2017. Participating in these discussions were the multihull designer
Gino Morelli and a professional mutlihull boat captain
The perceived issues with multihulls are handicapping and safety. None of the race organizers wants to deal with a capsized multihull in their offshore event. They are relatively comfortable with the professionally raced boats, but not comfortable with amateurs and smaller multis.
Having done 10 of them over 30 years... I think I have some insight into both topics.
was required you had to check in (schedule), report position, and maintain radio
watch at specific times. Since the advent of the trackers, the check in seems like a waste of time to have someone sitting in the nav station noting positions and plotting them on charts
to see where you stand in the fleet. In fact it will be coming on 20 years soon, when just about every boat had a sat phone
to both check position and get weather
(the boat I was on in 2002 had it at least, and I am sure many before that).
Over 10 races (8 as navigator or watch captain) I have have participated in requests for assistance twice. Both via VHF
. One we could barely hear (and were not reachable on SSB), and turns out later it was a recovered MOB
. The other was a double handed boat with one crew going into diabetic shock. We did not have any medical
supplies that could be of assistance, fortunately a cruise ship
To get back on topic. Installing a SSB
on boat used to be and probably still is very, very expensive. When you saw a racing
(note racing) boat with the insulated back stay in the North East - it was “there is a boat that is going to Bermuda!”. Maybe some of that snuck into the RCs requirement for permanent sat phone
installs. And if permanently mounted, why not leave it turned on?
So now let’s turn this into a mono vs. multi thread
The race is steeped in tradition. It allowed Nirvana a 65’ extraordinarily heavy boat by today’s standard to hold the course record
for decades. Biggest boats allow were Max IOR rated (maxis back then). At some point they allowed the MaxZ 86er’s in as experimental (not eligible for first to finish honors), culminating in Commanchee smashing the record
last year (did not matter to press, even dedicated Sailing press), that she was also “experimental” or “open” class. Who can remember the the Gibbs Hill Light House first to finish yacht last year? Or Saint David’s for that matter?
I think there is a huge factor that everyone who enters the race thinks they can win it. Look at Sinn Fein, a Cal
39 that won it twice in the 2000’s. If they want participants to accept multis, they want them lumped in with the Open class, and Bermuda
will have to build another light house to fashion a trophy after. They don’t want boats sailing in their own weather
systems, finishing the race before they even have to consider what a watch system is.