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SAFETY

Man Overboard

The main way of handling the problem is to avoid the problem. The May 1973 issue of Yachting has an article concerning safety harnesses. These harnesses need not be cumbersome. They can be quite comfortable to wear as well as comforting at the time of rough going. The article expounds on different types of harnesses and those contemplating buying or making harnesses would profit from reading it. It is important that the harnesses be easy to put on, comfortable to wear, easy to work all clasps, and possible to get out of in an emergency.

On boats not equipped with enough harnesses, the next best thing is for everyone to tie on a length of polyethylene line in rough weather. This line floats and is easier to grab and hang onto than is a wet person.

Both of us have used safety harnesses and found them very convenient. When the two of us were out alone in heavy seas, Stan found the harness to be a real asset in handling sails on the foredeck and for strapping himself to the mast while reefing. A few weekends ago with a friend and his 10 year old daughter the two men put on harnesses and used sail-ties cross-chest and a piece of line for the child. She found the harness helped to keep her on the seat with the line around the winch, as well as giving her something to play with.

Should someone fall overboard, a flotation device should be tossed near the individual and then get back to the individual. Jibing is the recommended procedure for most rapidly changing course 180" It is also wise to delegate one member of the crew (if there is one to spare) to do nothing but keep a constant eye on where the individual is: Much has been written in books and articles about returning to the Individual. However the major and most neglected part of the rescue is the subject of a recent article in Sail (July 1973 pg 70) and in Yachting (May 1973 pg 51).

These articles point out how difficult it is to lift a wet individual (conscious or unconscious) out of the water and up over the side - an impossible task for a wife trying to get her husband back aboard. Several recommendations are made and the article in Sail is especially worth reading. A boarding ladder or rope ladder is us-~T~T for a fully conscious person in moderate weather. The ladder must Se firmly attached to the boat by a safety harness or line. A line looped under the armpits of the person in the water and then secured to the boat prevents the individual from slipping away while other steps are being taken to bring him aboard.

One possible method of getting the individual aboard is to attach a halyard to him and winch him up, or the boom or spinnaker pole (with strong topping lifts attached) may be swung out over the individual and a line through a couple of blocks (hand-billy) used to hoist him up. The fixed end is attached to the deck or winch and the free end is at the boom. (See Plate 17).  

Another possible way of bringing an individual aboard is to use the sail; either the main or the jib. The mainsail is taken off the mast with the halyard still attached and the sail still attached to the boom. The sail-sling is fed under the individual (a swab or boat hook might help) and then the sail and person are hoisted aboard. The same can be done with the jib, leaving it attached to the jib stay. The halyard and sheet are used together to hoist the person aboard.

These procedures should be practiced so that they are familiar when the emergency arises.

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Rescue in San Francisco Bay

Sometime ago while returning from a mid-winter race we saw a Rhodes 19 go bottom up in a thirty-five mile wind. The sun was about to set and it was cold. There were only two boats in sight--the Rhodes with its mast stuck in the mud and us. We hastily started the engine, headed MINTAKA into the wind, dropped her sails and proceeded under power to the rescue.

In route we got into life jackets, and got out the spare line and life ring. Upon arriving we found two men without life jackets, one about forty-five and the other about sixty, clinging to the inverted keel.

Thinking it probably wise to maintain steerage way, I decided to make a pass about twenty feet to the windward and toss a line. Unfortunately, it fell short. The next pass was at about ten feet and the younger man caught the line. He tried to get his friend to take it, but his friend, who could not swim, would not leave. Obviously, a different technique was necessary.

This time I guided MINTAKA to the lee side of the upturned boat, headed directly into the gale and came to a stop along side of the Rhodes 19. Throwing a line over the keel to hold us we were able to physically grab the men and bring them aboard. By this time they had been in the water about twenty minutes. The older man was so far gone that he could not help himself aboard. It was necessary for three of us to pull his 200 pounds over the rail by grabbing his clothes.

It occurred to me: How many Triton skippers have thought about how they would rescue a man overboard? I had not, before this rescue. We learned a lot in carrying it out, but had we thought about it beforehand, or better yet, practiced a few times, those men would have spent a lot less time in the cold San Francisco Bay.

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Lightning Protection

Among the many basic jobs you should tackle during lay-up is to check your lightning protection. Newer Tritons (1966 and later) were built with full electrical grounding of all tangs, chain plates, and thru-hull fittings directly connected to the engine ground, which reaches water via the prop. Many older Tritons have incomplete or no grounding and if this is the case, you should give this job priority and complete it before launching next Spring. Here is a report on how one TALIS member did it:

Since I was not content with the original light ground wire, I ran a 3/8" copper tubing from both the port and starboard upper shroud chain plates to the forward keel bolt, which is located between the head and the hanging locker. Although I have never been hit by lightning and hope I never will, the 3/8" tubing should give considerably more protection than the original installation. At least, it gives one "peace of mind," which is half the battle.

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High Tension Wires

Running into high tension wires with sailboat masts. In general the rules are: if contact is made, sit tight, do not move, do not touch rigging or go into the water to push off. Someone with non-conducting implement (like a dry wooden stick) is needed to push off. If someone is injured, first aid should be given but without touching rigging, water, etc. (Yachting: June 1973 pg 31)

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REFERENCES

Pilotinq, Seamanship and Small Boat Handling by Chapman, published by Motor Boating. The grandpappy of boating books.

The Ocean Sailing Yacht by Street, published by Norton, Tremendously detailed, solid stuff. Written by a sailing sailor.

Sea Sense by Henderson, published by International Marine. Thought provoking solid material.

 

The Sailor's World by Beiser, published by Random House. The author is a physicist and a romantic. He writes beautifully yet analytically.

Weather for the Mariner by Kotsch, Naval Institute Press. Serious weather, superb. Guest Weathercaster by Sager. Not a true book though booklike in external form. A weather forecasting device. Based on your observations of the current cloud situation, wind and barometer, the Weathercaster can usually give a very accurate forecast of what's on the way.

First Aid by The American National Red Cross, published by Doubleday.

Advanced First Aid Afloat by Dr. Peter Eastman, published by Cornell Maritime Press. Dr. Eastman has sailed over 50 years and knows what you need to know. He tells you the essentials in the first chapter. The rest of the book is for reference. Read through it once a year, keep it on board!

The Galley Slave by Gerling and Harper, published by Vantage. Good ideas.

The Sea Cook by Townsend and Ericson, published by Funk and Wagnalls, more good ideas.

Self Steering for Sailing Craft by John S. Letcher, Jr. International narine Pub. Co.

Universal Operation and Maintenance Manual. Comes with the engine.

Parts List - Universal Atomic Four Universal Form DFT 8/79 or later.

Your Boat's Electrical System by Conrad Miller. Pub. by Motor Boating & Sailing Books.

Everything You Alwavs Wanted to Know About the Atomic Four by Gordon Groene. Three articles in Motor Boating & Sailinq, Aug., Sept. Oct. '76. More good information in one place than I've found anywhere else.