April Newsletter

From Commanding Officer and Dog Robber

APRIL 10 IS YOUR DEADLINE FOR ENTERING POOLE WEEK IF YOU WANT TO SAVE YOURSELF 25% OF THE ENTRY FEE. Entries are published on line so they can be viewed. Therefore, so the argument goes, seeing an already large entry at an early stage, will encourage others to come and join us – it makes sense to us.

ON APRIL 1ST, Ann and I attended the recent Class Captains’ meeting on your behalf. A number of important issues arose from this meeting. Firstly, two J24 sailors gave a presentation in which they explained their role in an incident which led to Condor going into emergency reverse. The ensuing discussion, hosted by the Captain from the Harbour Commissioner’s Office lasted almost an hour.  The club will take a dim view of anyone causing interference to commercial shipping; the J24 sailors involved were banned from competing in the rest of the series: you also risk a hefty fine. There was a lot of debate surrounding the roles of ‘U’ flagged Parkstone boats, and the Pilot boat, (although, in this specific instance, no Parkstone rib was in attendance). All of the comments can be reduced to the simple advice: make sure you keep clear of commercial vessels. Although not explicitly stated, it did seem to be, (as is often the case?), the motivation for crossing in front of the ship was to protect a racing position. The Sailing Secretary has advised all fleets that in a situation where the race is affected in this way, a fleet should stop racing and begin again, after the vessel has passed, with an informal Gate Boat start. With the number of boats we get out, this might prove difficult to organise, but it was clear from the official comments made that if there is a continuing increase in the number of incidents involving sailing boats causing interference to commercial vessels operating in narrow channels,(defined for us, by the Harbour Commissioner’s Office as ‘all the channels in Poole Harbour’), then sailing in the harbour will be compromised. Some old hands out there may feel they have heard this tale before – we’re reporting what was said, and have tried to give you a flavour of the atmosphere in which it was said.

FOLLOWING ON FROM THIS, the meeting discussed some important aspects of safety boat usage. Firstly, any PB2 Certificate holder that feels either rusty or in need of some top up training, should contact Charlie in the Haven, who will be more than happy for any of his PB Instructors to offer advice or actual training when an opportunity arises. Alternatively, Gary W will also undertake this training for any Laser sailors.

Class Captains were invited to remind all PB2 Certificate holders of the correct technique for picking up a man overboard.  For an ‘into wind’ approach, following a slow and controlled approach to the MOB, take all power off the RIB and achieve contact with the MOB,  by use of the rib’s crew. Once contact has been made, switch off the engine. As skipper, you will need to balance the benefit of switching off the engine for the safety of the MOB, against the hazards posed by the sea and local traffic conditions you are facing. 

For an upwind beam approach, come to rest upwind of the MOB, allow the RIB to drift downwind towards the MOB, and, when alongside, switch off the engine. The same caveat of sea and local traffic conditions applies.  

The point of the whole discussion was to remind RIB helms, under normal circumstances and conditions, of the need to switch off the engine when close to any person in the water.  The sailing committee may invite Race Officers to remind their assorted rescue crews (some of whom may only drive a RIB once or twice a year) of this fact before racing commences.  

RACE MANAGEMENT ISSUES CONNECTED TO SAFETY were then discussed. The information that you need from this discussion relates to what you should do when you retire. If you decide to retire from a race, please try to inform a rescue boat as your first action. If, as is probable, this isn’t possible, you should inform the Beach master as you tally off. You should ask the Beach master to inform the ROD of your retirement, (they should do this anyway, but some have not been doing so) – it will help if you do this as soon as you are ashore, i.e. before you de-rig. 

MONDAY NIGHTS present us with a problem because the beach is not manned. For those of you who are new to Monday Night sailing and a reminder to the ‘old hands’;  it is the job of the race team to make sure they are checking numbers and to keep a ‘distant’ watch on retirees to make sure they have got back to the marina in good order. 

SO THAT THERE is no confusion over roles on a Monday night, the priority of the race team is to act as a rescue craft and to be observant of general safety. In most conditions this can be done alongside the secondary responsibility of starting and finishing races. There is written into the Monday Night Sailing Instructions provision for starting and finishing races informally – this does not involve the ROD. Basically you have to note who you finished in front of and behind. Disputes can be resolved in the bar!  As we only operate one rescue craft on most Monday evenings, the safety aspect of race management takes precedence over bureaucratic responsibilities.

THE START of the official racing season would seem to be an appropriate time to remind the fleet of the issues outlined above; certainly we have been requested by the Sailing Committee so to do. Using these guidelines and commonsense should help to increase enjoyment on the water for us all. The start of Monday and Wednesday night sailing is just about a week away and Saturday sailing is even closer than that – only six more sleeps, as I write!

ON THE SUBJECT of Monday Night sailing, we need a supply of PROs and AROs. Everyone who sails on a Monday Night is expected to be available for such duties. Please let Ann or John know your preferred Monday. Should you not do this, you may well be allocated a Monday which is inconvenient for you; in which case, it will be your responsibility to arrange a swap. A list of Monday duties will appear on the web-site within the next two weeks.

IT WOULDN’T BE the proper newsletter without a reminder to use the fleet’s web site to help you to keep up to date with Parkstone Laser Fleet matters. For example, you can find there a summary of the key Laser sailing dates (mostly at Parkstone but there are some external events).

The address is: http://www.parkstonelasers.org.uk

Sail fast and fair,

Ann & John


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