Saturday, 14 June 2008

Rescue me! I've capsized....

Today I was RO for an event with Old Wooden Boats, among them two original FD's, 12 Larks, seven Akkrumer Jollen, several OK Dinghies and some various and other old classes.

Especially the Larks were a sight to see. I've asked my brother to take some pictures and he has and will tomorrow, so I can show you in a future post. Here's a couple from the cover page of the SI:OZH cover_Page_01

Go to Oud-Zeilend-Hout website for additional photo's

Now, in addition to get everybody started and finished, there was another issue with this event. Above force 4, Larks are very prone to 'nose diving' when sailing on the run, and like a catamaran, then trip over and capsize..

And of course later in the afternoon some of the clouds brought an increase in wind to above force 4... So, there they went, one, two.... five in all in a timeframe of less than 10 minutes.

I did get an additional safety boat for this event. With two, I thought I was covered. 32 entries normally warrants only one in my book. Now I had two. With those five boats capsized, I scared up a third rescue boat by asking our harbor-master to help as well.

But when is it enough? Two of the boats had to wait for 15 - 20 minutes before I could get a safety boat to them. There was no immediate danger, they were in shallow water very close to shore, so could just leave the boat and wade to land. The water has warmed up in the last weeks, but is still cold when immersed in it to long.

In our annual regatta with two hundred plus boats,there are about 6 or 7 rescue boats, plus two tug boats who bring capsized boats back to shore/harbor once straightened out. Again an average of about 30 entries per rescue boat. Granted, the sailors in this event weren't very experienced and I knew about the problems with the Larks, but how many safety boats does an event like this need? The costs go up as well.

What do you think? How many safety boats do you use at your event(s)?


  1. Jos

    The club I belong to in Canada, has a different policy. We have an open or closed fist to commuicate they need help. We do not worry aboutthe boat we focus on the individuals. Boats can be replaced, lives can not be. We carry in our rescue boats 10 lb anchors with lots of line and bright orange survey tape. We getthe sailors off the water, anchor the boat and put survey tape on the boat to identify that the sailors have been removed. We leave the boats there until the storm blows over or until another group of sailors can go out and getthe boat. This is normally after racing or everyone is off the water and we have the manpower to ensure that the baot can be recovered safely.


  2. There is no fixed number of boats, and any arbitrary number would over the long term fix limits which the courts would latch onto.

    Save to say :
    Most boats for Under 18s
    Standard for dinghies (consider class and experience)
    Less for keel boats generally

    Out job is to prevent injury not principally to save boats.

    I would have thought you were fine here in the instance you quote.


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