Gear

Make Sure Your Harness Fits Properly

To be safe, all harnesses, whether integral with a PFD or not, should fit properly.

This may be an issue if you are smaller than average, as noted below.

Regarding the fit of a sailing harness, the core instructions are: the attachment point of a harness must be “above the lowest point of the rib cage” (from ISO 12401). US Sailing has expanded on the ISO rule to note that many inflatable PFDs with a built-in harness are designed for people 5’6” in height or greater.

Spending your Safety Dollar Wisely

No one wants to spend money foolishly, and no one wants to be subjected to unnecessary risks. How do you figure out how to spend your safety dollars efficiently to minimize the risks associated with going to sea in sailboats? Risk analysis generally boils down to the likelihood of something bad happening, the cost incurred when it does happen, and the expense of avoiding the problem in the first place.

Blind Reliance on Instruments

One of the requirements for the 1982 Singlehanded Transpac was to have sailed 300 NM, singlehanded, in the boat that you were going to take to Hawaii. For my second Singlehanded Transpac, I had selected an Olson 30, Collage, which I saw has having dramatically better creature comforts than my 1980 boat, a Moore 24. Due to my work schedule at West Marine, I didn’t have time to sail my Olson down the coast to LA and then trailer it back: my solo voyage was to head out of the Golden Gate, continue southwesterly for 150 NM, turn around, and come back to the relative security of the bay.

Retiring Safety Gear from the list

The 2015 meeting of the International Sailing Federation, now known as World Sailing, was held in Sanya, China. One of the committees that met was the Offshore Special Regulations committee, which is responsible for creating equipment rules for six categories of sailboat racing, based on the proximity to rescue and the duration of the event. The Offshore Special Regulations have grown over the years: in fact, the 1982 version published by the then-United States Yacht Racing Union fit on a single sheet of paper. By 2014, the OSRs, as they are known, had grown to over 200 pages.

AIS and Antenna Installation Choices Explained

This article describes the different types of Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponders, summarizes the recent safety equipment requirements of several offshore race organizations, and provides some operational and technical considerations of different AIS types and antenna installation choices.  The sections below provide background information on AIS that will help in understanding which type of AIS and which type of antenna installation to choose.