"London businesswoman Sarah Young has been laid to rest at sea after dying during a global yacht race." This man overboard headline from the Guardian newspaper caught my eye yesterday and made me think about safety at sea, especially after our own recent yacht delivery from Guadeloupe to Miami.
Ms. Young died after being washed overboard by a large wave while competing in the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race. Ms. Young was not tethered and did not seem to be wearing a personal Man Overboard (MOB) beacon. While we don’t know the exact circumstances of Ms. Young’s tragic death, I have to wonder that perhaps if she was tethered, perhaps she would be alive today.
Unfortunately, few of us actually heed the most basic safety rules and we become somewhat complacent.
A boat docking simulator like Dock Your Boat by sfinx-it helps beginners or experienced sailors hone their skills in the harbor. Docking a sailboat is, for most "newbies", the most difficult maneuver to make. It is also where there are the most critical eyes watching you and sometimes worrying about their own boats sitting nearby and most of our buyers and students, always fret about docking a big catamaran.
They always seem to be intimidated by the high freeboard and wide beam but by understanding the procedures and the theory behind the docking manuevres allows you to quickly master the techniques and build the skills to do a perfect docking. If you can handle docking, you can handle any other maneuver situation.
The sfinx-it team are avid sailors themselves so they have a passion for helping other sailing enthusiasts learn safer, more confident docking.
Stephen and I have made numerous ocean passages, some lasting only a few days and others several weeks at a time. The longest passage that we have done is from Cape Town, South Africa via St. Helena Island to Fortaleza, South America and then Miami. It was a total of 42 days at sea. It took some real planning on our part. Not only did we have to plan the usual things like navigation, provisions, fuel etc. but we were also actively working while we were doing the crossing, so we needed to have good communication. We used a software called OCENS with our Iridium Satelite phone to send and receive email and for making calls, as well as getting the weather forecast. That was back in 2005, today it is much easier and cheaper to do. As we all know, good preparations are crucial to successful ocean passage making. Stephen and I, each have our own dedicated areas of responsibility to prepare the boat and the crew. That way we know what is expected of each crew member and there is no confusion about who did what. We then double check to make sure all items have been taken care of before we cast off.
As you may have noticed, we are BIG Americas Cup Racing fans and we drink in everything "Americas Cup". We were watching the races on Sunday between Team Oracle USA and Team Emirates NZ and we are still in awe of the incredible design of these catamarans, not to mention the skill of the crew involved to tame this beast. It is quite simply one of the most impressive displays of engineering and innovation in yachting today.
We have fielded many questions about how these catamarans can sail so fast. One of the best explanations of what happens when these catamarans get going, is the one by Grant from NauticEd. He explains how these AC72's can not only go faster than the true wind but actually go faster than the apparent wind. He points out that the limitation on boat speed is not hull design or even wind speed as one might have thought but the angle that a boat can go into the wind. It is a great article. Be sure to click on the green buttons in the animations to see how it happens!
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