|(This is an excerpt from
one of the few editorials Uncle Al has ever produced. It is a shortened
version of page 2 of the December 2000 Whiffle. Having pontificated
on this matter, I felt I should do something positive - such as an article
on how to recover from a capsize without the need of a rescue boat, and
on how to help those in distress.)
Uncle Al’s Corner
Greetings again! This is the “racers’
- a monster issue - as I attempt to capture some of the great, exciting
times which the summer of 2000 has brought us on the race course...
I would suggest however that we ask our various hosts to clarify the safety boat situation before each day’s racing so that all competitors can make their own decision (RRS 4) as to whether or not they want to race. I believe we do an admirable job of trying to make our racing fun, even for the beginners, but there will be times when we race in conditions that are simply too much for some sailors. If that is the case, our response must not be to cancel, since those who thrive when the going gets tough have their rights as well!
There is no shame in sitting out conditions that seem too threatening - Peter Rahn sat out a race of the ‘95 Worlds when he felt the winds were too much for his young crew. Generally speaking, no sailor should go out if he or she is not fairly confident that in case of a capsize, self-rescue can be effected. Rescue boats are - or should be - more for damaged boats or sailors!
One other safety resource that we tend to overlook and under-utilize is self-help!
Rule 1.1, the very first rule in the Racing Rules of Sailing states:
1.1 HELPING THOSE IN
What this means is that any of us needs to investigate carefully, any boat that is capsized within a reasonable distance, and not already being assisted. If there is any suspicion that these sailors need help, we are expected to put their rescue before our race. The rules provide for redress (RRS 62) in such situations.
In so many words - we are our own rescue boats!!
Best wishes for a safe and happy 2001 from
Uncle Al (W3854)
A Case in Point and Resulting Recommendations
Assisting Others as per Rule 1.1
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