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Sailing can be dangerous


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Sailing can be dangerous

from IHCA Sept News.


Most of us never think about the dangers of sailing. The following incident actually happened. It shows how easily accidents can happen in sailing.

In 15 knots of breeze boat S rounded the windward and short offset mark on starboard tack. Boat S put up their spinnaker to proceed to the leeward gates. Boat P on port tack, mistook the offset mark for the windward mark. On seeing the lead boat round the correct windward mark Boat P bore away and started to thread their way through the boats that had rounded the windward and offset mark.

The crew on boat S, not seeing boat P, nor expecting a boat to be in that position. hopped out on the trapeze. The crew of S and boat P made a heavy contact. Unconscious, the crew of boat S still connected to trapeze fell to the leeward side of boat S. Boat B behind boat S saw the incident and S crew limp on the leeward side of the boat. Boat B stopped with the crew of B jumping into the water and rescuing the crew of boat S.

The crew of boat B stayed with the crew on a rescue boat to the boat went ashore with a waiting ambulance to take crew B to hospital. Crew S will make a recovery and hopefully be sailing soon.

Every week we see boats come in on port tack at the windward mark. This incident was made worse by boat P making a mistake in identifying the wrong mark as the windward mark. This was an accident, though every week end we see similar incidents. Boats coming in on port tack to the windward mark without any rights. It was also a concern that in an 80 boat race only one boat stopped to offer assistance. Sailors should remember that if they do not offer assistance they can be protested under Racing Rules of Sailing Rule 2.

Boat B was given redress and a good finishing place though she did not have to complete the race for this to happen. This is done compensate sailors that do assist so they do not lose positions on the race course.

The IHCA recognizes the great sportsmanship of Neville Thompson and Shamus Stevens (Boat B) in their efforts and involvement in the rescue of the crew of boat S after a horrific accident on the water.

All at the IHCA and I am sure all fellow sailors wish the crew of boat S a speedy recovery and wish him fair winds and good sailing in the future.

Sailing is safe sport if we all take a few precautions. If someone does get injured or a boat is severely damaged, please stop and offer assistance.

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