Archive for June, 2008


3.14.6 Lifeline Minimum Diameters, Required Materials, Specifications

June 26, 2008   

The reasoning behind a) is that the PVC cracks in the sun allowing water to sit inside the PVC against the wire and eventually it rusts and snaps when the crew are hiking out. This is not only unsafe but it will slow you down and you probably won’t finish the race!

a) All lifelines shall be stranded stainless steel wire of minimum diameter in table 8 below. Lifelines shall be uncoated and used without close-fitting sleeving. Notwithstanding 3.14.6 (a), temporary sleeving may be fitted provided it is regularly removed for inspection

b) Grade 316 stainless wire is recommended.

When using spectra to attach the lifelines I don’t just put the line through the ‘loop’ that is spot welding on the main pulpit/pushpit tube. I figure of 8 the line going through the loop around the pushpit through the loop and back to the eye in the lifeline. That way I am not relying on the spot welding on the pushpit/pulpit.

c) A taut lanyard of synthetic rope may be used to secure lifelines provided the gap it closes does not exceed 100 mm (4 in).

d) All wire, fittings, anchorage points, fixtures and lanyards shall comprise a lifeline enclosure system which has at all points at least the breaking strength of the required lifeline wire.

Table 8
LOA minimum wire diameter
under 8.5 m (28ft) 3 mm (1/8 in)
8.5m – 13 m 4 mm (5/32 in)
over 13 m (43 ft) 5 mm (3/16 in)

4.20.3 Liferaft Packing and Stowage


In Seahorse on the RORC club page the skipper of Holligan V described how difficult it was to access the liferaft when their yacht capsized.

‘Our liferaft was stowed at the stern of the cockpit sole with the knife for cutting the lashing attached to the tiller ahead of the raft – all now underwater and beyond reach. We all carry knives so one of us started to cut through the lashing to release the liferaft. With the stern submerged for muh of the time and at maximum reach for the rest of the time, this proved very difficult and exhausting. It took about half an hour to release the raft and by then the cold was getting to us. Frozen hands dropped the knife just as the last strands were cut through, and we were rapidly losin the ability to think rationally. We finally board the raft but found it impossible to bail with the flexible bailers provided.’

Some key lessons learnt from this experience.
* all crew should carry knives and small waterproof torches as a matter of course.
* liferaft stowage should be reviewed. Ours was accessible with the boat upside down. The four survivors would not be around if our raft had been safely stored in the locker.

Also attaching the liferaft with a hydrostatic release would be a lot safer.

A Liferaft shall be either:-
a) packed in a transportable rigid container or canister and stowed on the
working deck or in the cockpit, or:-

b) packed in a transportable rigid container or canister or in a valise and
stowed in a purpose-built rigid compartment containing liferaft(s) only and
opening into or adjacent to the cockpit or working deck, or through a
transom, provided that:-
i) each compartment is watertight or self-draining (self-draining
compartments will be counted as part of the cockpit volume except
when entirely above working deck level or when draining
independently overboard from a transom stowage – see OSR 3.09) and-
ii) the cover of each compartment is capable of being easily opened under
water pressure, andiii)
the compartment is designed and built to allow a liferaft to be removed
and launched quickly and easily, oriv)
in a yacht with age or series date before 6/01, a liferaft may be packed
in a valise not exceeding 40kg securely stowed below deck adjacent to
a companionway.

c) The end of each liferaft painter should be permanently made fast to a strong
point on board the yacht.

Good thing you are small!

June 23, 2008   

At the weekend I joined another Moore 24 crew for a regatta at Huntington Lake. My normal crew was busy so I decided to go as foredeck with Numa Boa 106. It is a long drive to Huntingon especially when you fight friday traffic out of the city so after getting lost going the locals way we finally got there at around 10pm. The rest of the crew had taken friday off and gone up on thursday with the boat. They had the campsite all set up and a delicous meal of potatoes, corn and steaks ready for us when we arrived. They had even caught some trout from the lake and cooked that up on a roaring campfire.

Stupidly I forgot a flashlight – not sure how I did that – however putting up my tent was not that hard as it is pretty simple and I had thankfully left it packed in a way that made it plug and play. The guys continued to party till 2:45 in the morning I decided to hit the hay around midnight. In the morning I woke to find that we were camping right on the lake shore.

On Saturday we had to put the rudder in the boat and attach our ‘borrowed’ tiller as the boats carbon one had gone missing. We launched the boat and went back to the campsite for breakfast. This is a relaxing regatta with 11:30 starts and short races in beautiful mountain scenery. We had three races on Saturday and our guest sailor was Gilles’s (one of the owners) girlfriend Sally who did a great job slithering under the boom vang. Sailing a Moore with 5 people is squashed. Our first race was not stellar but Mark (other owner) pulled off some great starts and race 2 we got the best result they have had in 8 years of a 3rd finishing overlapped with 2nd and 4th. Dinner on Saturday was chicken which had been marinated all day in orange vitamen water (for that citrus flavour) and soy sauce.

As we left the campsite to go to the bar thinking we would find Moore sailors we were slightly blocked in but Gilles managed to sneak the car through the space to which the women blocking said ‘good thing you are small’ which due to Gilles stature and the whole timing led to peels of laughter from within our car. In fact I have to say the Numa Boa crew is the most caveman like crew I have sailed with in a long time with no pretense at being the least bit refined! The jokes were like preschool full of toliet humor and there was a lot of sticking things up orifices if people didn’t shut up! It became a who can shock Ashley the most I think. However, with Sally and Anne Marie there the girls tried valiently to fight back and clean up the conversation – really to no avail.

Sunday we changed the rig tune a little. Gilles and I decided that both of our boats were examples of the cobblers shoes – with plenty of things needing fixing. Gilles has a business rigging in the bay and he is very good at it. Our other crew was Andy who has been on the Moneypenny program for the last few years and just returned to the Bay. It was a great crew to be sailing with as no one had to be coached. Gilles drove on Sunday and we lined up with the top boats for some speed testing before the start bouying our confidence by staying with both of them straight line. On the first race of the day we were in second place for most of the race getting a great start at the boat (shore) and getting every shift, with great height and speed. Downwind the fleet compressed as the wind came in from the back but we held second till right at the mark rounding when we had to let someone inside as they got an overlap on the last surf. From then on it was a reach then a short downwind then a short upwind. Unfortunately there was a little melt down on the boat due to the over excitement of our unusual position of being so far up in the fleet and we lost 3 boats at the end resulting in a 5th. A shame as a second was accessible for us and very possible. The last race saw the boat leading the regatta retire as they had won without sailing the last race and our first start was very good however the rest of the fleet was general recalled. Unfortunately our start wasn’t great and we played catch up from there. Gilles and Andy were staying Sunday night so lucky Mark and I were able to tie the boat to the dock and get on the road home.

A very enjoyable weekend with some really fun competitive sailing, good food and beautiful scenery.

4.23 Pyrotechnic Signals

June 20, 2008   

In Seahorse RORC Club page pyrotechnics were discussed….

The brightness of white flares varies significantly the best giving off 10K candela and the worst 2.5K. The only way to find out the candela is to check the manufactuere’s data sheet as it is not on the flare container.

During the Holligan V incident a wave dropped into the flare container which promptly sand along with the rest of the flares. A suggestion is to store them in a buoyant container. Also it was noted that flares have different ignition systems which are hard to read in the dark when in the water. The storage of flares needs to be accessible so that in the case of a capsize they are very easy to find.

parachute flares LSA III 3.1

hand flares LSA III 3.2

hand flares*

smoke LSA III 3.3

























of white flares (except colour and candela rating)
should comply with the LSA Code Chapter III 3.2



Jib sheet in haulers

June 16, 2008   

This inhauler is a simple sailmakers thimbel with a stainless bar tack welded to seperate the jib sheet from the inhauler. The edges are padded to stop any damage to the gel coat on the coach roof.

Tie Downs – ORC 2.03.2

June 15, 2008   

2.03.2 Heavy items:
a) ballast, ballast tanks and associated equipment shall be permanently installed
b) heavy movable items including e.g. batteries, stoves, gas bottles, tanks, toolboxes and anchors and chain shall be securely fastened
c) heavy items for which fixing is not specified in Special Regulations shall be permanently installed or securely fastened, as appropriate 

I use padeyes from O’fishl and glue them on to the hull with 5200 you can also use thickened epoxy. A simple and quick way to comply with the rule.

Coastal Cup – a drift

June 14, 2008   

After a lot of work to get the Quest 33 ready for Cat 2 racing Wayne the owner of the Quest 33 RYM is looking after lent us the boat for Coastal Cup. With a crew of 4 – Mark English (Moore 24 owner), Richard Leslie (Melges 32 owner), Olivier Lapparra and myself set off hoping all the forecasts were wrong.

You know you are in for a long race when Commanders sends you and email that starts

1) This does not look to be a lot of fun

a) can be a very fast race, but it looks really, really slow this year, especially tonight, Fri morning, and again Fri night

We didn’t have a good start – second row and very slow. There was a large ebb and we were well clear of the line for the start of Class A. So with a no wind and a rolling start sequence it took us 5 minutes to get to the line and I squeezed up between the J109 and the anchor rode of the start boat – they were kind to let us in was cheeky for us to go in there but with both of us moving at 1.5 knots it wasn’t in his interest to punch it up and push us out.

We tacked straight away so as not to sit on their wind and also because although the most ebb was on the city front it looked very slow going that way. We ended up tacking up to the bridge between Angel and Treasure cutting across to the city front around Blackhaller and then heading out very close to the south tower and working middle to left side outside the bridge. There was a very light NW at this point and we started reaching south at about 200 so that we didn’t close on the coast as per Commanders suggestion of keeping offshore.

All the other boats started to hoist their kites but weren’t even making it around Point Montara so we held off. Finally we decided it was time to hoist and just as I got the spinnaker hooked up a wind line moved towards us and everyones spinnakers backwinded. The light southerly has arrive way early it was only around 1pm. As we sat their trying to make 4 knots of boat speed a whale surfaced next to us several times – beautiful.

We beat till 5pm and dialed all the buoys to get real time conditions every one was showing southerlies less than 10 knots of wind. The crew made a decision it was time to go home – there were better things to do than drift offshore for 4 days. We hoisted the kite and to really show us how much it sucked that wouldn’t even set so it was time for the engine. We motored until we had 10 knots of wind and then hoisted the kite and sailed into a fog bank with about 200m visibility. When we sailed under the bridge you could hardly make out the underside of the roadway. We crossed in front of a container ship sailing at 10 knots missing it by about 250 meters and emerged into a beautiful sunset off coastguard point (sausalito). By the time we got back to the dock, cleaned up the boat and ate dinner it was 11pm.

It is 5pm on Saturday 55 hours after the start and two boats have finished and 5 are still racing. The Beneteau 42 is bringing up the back and is only 140 miles down the track with 137 straight line distance left to go…… I went Friday night racing last night instead with the Fennell family on Good and Plenty and had a good time doing foredeck.Back to making some bags.

Radar reflectors, sailing in fog

June 13, 2008   

Several things effect how far away a vessel can be seen this is not a complete list but are the easiest to explain

1)output power of the unit a 16 mile radar is 1.5KW and a 24 mile unit is 3KW

2)heel angle at 15 degrees anything to windward is invisible and there is a significant blind spot to leeward unless the scanner is on a self leveling system

3)scanner height e.g. scanner is 5m off sea level and the target is 15 meters high the radar horizon is 13.5 miles away

4)atmospheric conditions

Radar reflectors some important points

1)mast shadowing – where ever it is mounted there is typically a 10 degree blind spot aft of the mast if it is mounted on the front. With movement of the vessel however, the return will be pretty consistent of at least 5 miles.

2)Material – some materials absorb (fiberglass absorbs 50% of the beam) others like steel and aluminum reflect even if there is some reflection it might be so erratic that it can”t be monitored on the screen.

3)Standards – 10 m2 is minimum in US reflectors must show range of 4 nm in calm sea.

4)Type –click here for the MAIB commissioned report on radar reflectors and also the MCA Guidance document

a)the octahedral if they are less than 18” wide are useless, shouldn”t be hoisted by the corner and even when it is hoisted correctly they have a blind spot of 120 degrees increasing to 180 degrees when heeled under sail you have a 50/50 chance of being seen

b)the mobri cylinders show nothing at all

c) if you have power and the money go with a Sea Me system it is the best on the market

c)RYM buys Echomax 230 I Inflatables see

RCS Peak m2 24m2 April 2001 6.3m2 Nov 2001 7.96m2
Response below peak 12 peaks 20m2 @ 30 Degree intervals Peaks – 4m2 & 5m2
Performance @ 1.25m2 100% 100%
Performance @ 2.5m2 100% 54%
Performance @ 5m2 100% 8%
Performance @ 10m2 70% zero
+ or – 3 Degrees heel 24 sq.m @ 2.5m2- no nulls 7.96 Seven nulls exceed 10 Degrees
+ or – 9 Degrees heel 19 sq.m peak @ 2.5m2 no nulls 7.0 Seven nulls 28.5% (102.6 Degrees)
+ or – 15 Degrees heel 9 sq.m peak 7.0 Seven nulls 45% (162 Degrees)
+ or – 20 Degrees heel 5 sq.m peak Not tested
Overall length 610 mm 595 mm
Diameter 248 mm 240 mm
Distance between centres EM-230 560 mm
EM-220 BR (17m2) 545 mm
545 mm
Weight 2100 gr 1879 gr

The above test results were obtained at QinetiQ (DERA) in April/November 2001 and May 2002.

7: Try to keep it vertical so if you are sailing and heeled over have two down lines one on each toe rail and you can use these to counter the heel to some extent.

The important things to do in fog is

1)The GPS can be more than 50 feet off so it is best to leave things at least ¼ mile off unless you have a radar

2)Keep moving don’t stop but go at a safe speed (rule 6)

3)Cross a shipping lane at the shortest point and as close to 90% as possible if you have to

4)Keep extra look out

5)Officially you should sound signals (I didn’t have it on the air horn yet but normally I tape the following onto the canister)

1.Long. Under power, making way (sound every 2 minutes)

2.Long, long. Under power, not making way (sound every 2 minutes)

3.Long, short, short. Towing, fishing, restricted ability to maneuver, sailing, and NUC (sound every 2 minutes)

4.Long, short, short, short. Manned vessel being towed (sound every 2 minutes)

5.Bell for 5 seconds At anchor (sound every minute)

6.Short, short, long. You are running into danger (also 5 shorts)

BTW: Number 6 is what I would expect to hear from that ship we were close by in the entrance to the bay if he had thought there was a problem…

6)Have the engine started

7)Listen on channel 16 and 13 in dual watch (I believe we were listening to 16 but not 13) 13 tells us vessel movements

8)Everyone with lifejackets on

9) Make Securite call on VHF if necessary

10)Alterations of course in general should be avoided after hearing a fog signal forward of the beam unless both position and movement of vessel have been determined as you could possibly present your boat into a t boning situation. See,M1�


June 11, 2008   

If you think about having a reef in you should have one in. 9 out of 10 times you are faster with it in than heeling over and going sideways.
* single line reefing – good for short handed sailing but I agree it doesn’t allow great foot control.

* flattening reef (no change at the tack just takes a segment out by having a cringle on the leech)- some of the moore 24’s and express 27’s use them. Haven’t seen any on large offshore boats recently.

* slab reefing – I prefer this but I like to go with the more expensive approach of tylaska’s on a spectra strop attached to the pad eye on the side of the mast. You attach the tylaska to a ring which is sewn into the luff of the main. The advantage of this is that you don’t have to worry about the ring dropping off the horns at the mast especially if you are moving your cunningham after the reef has been put in. It is really important to have the strop at the right length so that you don’t mess with the tack set back as this can cause havoc with the groove in the rig. Last year I had a goove fail on a carbon rig when the strop was a inch too long – expensive mistake there were other things going on but that helped to exasebate (spelling!) the problem.

*reefing diapers – I use these on any booms where I am worried about the crush effect of wrapping a line around the boom. Also they mean you don’t have to worry about the placement of the reefing line along the boom. I don’t have a picture but imagine a piece of dacron in a diamond shape then sew on a piece of spectra webbing that follows the shape of the diamond with the join in the middle of the diamond and two loops extending from two opposite corners of the diamond. Then another piece of webbing on the inside which has loops that don’t extend beyond the material. You lash the diaper onto the boom using spectra laced through the loops of the shorter webbing – this allows you to put it in the correct position. You then attach the reef line to the loops that extend from the material.

*reefing cringles – I don’t believe it is ever good to tie up the extra material by going through the cringles and around the boom. The reason for this is if either your tack or clew blow you have a large chance of ripping the sail as the weight will be on the cringles. Also if it is dark and someone forgets to untie one you don’t have the same result. When you tie the bundle up if you have a loose footed main put the sail tie between the sail and the boom so if a tack or clew blows you just have a sausage foot blowing around. Also when I worked as a sailmaker they use to sew webbing with a loop in it onto a round piece of material than glue that to the sail creating a weak link whereby the loop or patch would fail before the sail would fail.

White collision flares

June 9, 2008   

White flares are not distress flares they can be used for the following  

–  indicate your presence to a ship if there is a risk of collision. 

–  illumination at night in the case of a man over board but they destroy your night vision.

On my boats when going offshore I keep one flare velcroed to the handholds either side of the companionway so that if I need one quickly I just have to reach inside the companionway.