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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 9:35 am 
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This is a follow up to the Fleet week airshow posting a while back. We left from Richmond and crossed over to Angel Island and Ayala Cove. Took a break, stretched out legs, then headed out with Alcatraz as our destination. Winds picked up as we rounded the west end of the island. All of a sudden the right ring I clip my seat into breaks. No biggie I think but soon find this to be a pain in my back. Then the Port Ama breaks loose when we pile into the back of a wave. Fortunately my forward splash guards are on bungy cords so the collapse was slowed down and I could release the mainsheet before anything else happened. Now I find I do not have a spare bolt to insert into the Aka brace but manage to dig up a zip tie and run it through the gap.

All this of course has taken some time and the rest of the fleet is long gone. Not a problem, I will hail them on the radio and let them know what's what. Or, at least, I tried. No more the five words came out of my mouth before the radio shuts down due to battery drain. Now I have no way to contact the rest of the fleet, and all things considered, I was done so headed back to the ramp. I still had a cell phone but no numbers for the rest of the fleet. I had a dead VHF radio but I knew one of the others sailing had a "family band" radio. I own a set of those, but they were at home.
So my question is on group rides how do you all communicate? Do you have redundancies in place? Our fleet was just three boats but do larger groups assign a sweep boat to follow up the pack. The guys I was with assumed I was okay when I disappeared, and safely so since there were tons of boats on the water as well as Coast Guard vessels. But this makes me think about being in a more secluded setting.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 11:27 am 
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Location: South Florida
I'm impressed by your lack of preparation in case something goes wrong. Now, you were in SF Bay with "tons of boats on the water," so it was likely that you would be rescued if that was necessary. Still, personally, I never leave shore without my repair kit, tools, and many spare parts including at least 4 extra aka shear pins. One thing to be aware of is the CG may rescue you but their job does not extend to saving your boat. If they think your boat is a navigation hazard, they will likely deep-six it with a 50-calibur machine gun.

I made the mistake last spring when I separated from a partner boat to do one more tack as we neared our destination (about a mile away.) It was rough seas and my partner boat, a tandem, as well as others at our destination did not see me capsize. When I disappeared (capsized in rough waters), no one worried about me. I was probably the most experienced in our group; again, "no reason to worry." I eventually righted my boat--solo--and made my way to camp. I lost a very important dry bag which was bungeed on. Lessons learned: (1) stay in visual touch with at least one other boat in your group. (2) Tether everything of value, which you do not want to loose, to your boat. (3) Get on your fully charged VHF radio immediately and contact you traveling companions. At our distances and in strong winds, whistles do not work. (4) Have it understood, that you are traveling together--at least 2 boats minimum in a group. If a boat "disappears," immediately locate that boat and its passengers.

Keith

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Last edited by Chekika on Thu Oct 29, 2015 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 11:30 am 
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Location: Houston, TX
Sounds unnerving. We use VHF radios. Phones as backups but often they are stored away. PLBs last. As I'm sure you will admit now, you need to make sure the VHF has a full charge every time before going out. You never know when this will be the time you will need it. Also everyone needs to study up on how to use a VHF and how to communicate with ships or Coast Guard before a crisis occurs.

A Horn might be considered as well. I wrote with permanent marker on my horn, diagramming all of the emergency horn signals. You never know. Fog can creep up up fast some times.

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2016 AI - Spinn & Jib

“Out of sight of land the sailor feels safe. It is the beach that worries him.”
– Charles G. Davis

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 11:41 am 
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Location: Houston, TX
And about the sweep position. In very large groups we have assigned a sweep. With 2-4 boats we have not. Keith's advice about never losing visual with the group is sound. I would add make sure at the launch site that everyone agrees to stay together. It is easy to loose site of someone offshore, especially if the winds kick up and people are pushing the limits of separation.

I have been in one offshore situation where I gave myself a 50/50 chance of surviving. You never forget that feeling and it's not pleasant. &^%$ happens fast. Never again. Safety happens long before the sail ever opens up.

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Greg

2016 AI - Spinn & Jib

“Out of sight of land the sailor feels safe. It is the beach that worries him.”
– Charles G. Davis

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 3:11 pm 
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For Island events we have done, we had one boat marked by a colored streamer that was used as the follow me boat. Everyone should be concerned with tracking the boat at the rear. To gather up from time to time. No fun to be the straggler.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2015 3:56 am 
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Location: Fairfax, CA USA
Vhf, phone as backup, visual sweep and no sail left behind.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2015 12:11 pm 
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Location: Vallejo, calif
Just a small impute for group and sailing safty

My I suggest a small Parafoil or kite. You can see it a long ways off, and a banner or flag for (help me). It can also be used to pull a disabled boat back to shore, like back in the old days of the Mitte ships, if the wind is blowing that way.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2015 10:44 am 
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Thanks all for your ideas and insights. Hope to have larger fleets in the future and it will be nice to have protocols in place.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2015 5:00 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:54 am
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Location: Auckland, NZ
The club I belong to have an extensive list of safety rules, if you are the organiser, then you should have a clear set of instuctions of what is expected from everyone taking part.

Personal Safety for Kayakers

Remember you have to make the final decision about getting onto the water on any given day and if in doubt, DON’T GO OUT!

1. Safety Equipment

• PFD - Lifejacket must be the correct weight for the paddler and it must fit properly.
• Useful to have one with pockets to carry a whistle and other bits and pieces. (Knife, chocolate bar, compass, Mobile phone, etc) but don’t make it too heavy
• VHF must be carried by all members
Appropriate clothing, safety gear etc
• Layering is best due to changing weather conditions out on the water.
• Good waterproof outfit with some thermal gear underneath is advisable for cooler weather.
• Booties to keep the feet warm also to protect feet
• Headgear - high visibility cap French Foreign legion style neck and face protection is ideal. A cap or beanie can be worn underneath in colder conditions.
• Brightly coloured flag
• Eye protection against the sun and splashes is also a must.
• A signaling mirror in the form of an old CD, not DVD is useful
• Night kayaking an all round white light is required recommended min 1m above deck of kayak
• A tow line
• Paddle leash is an essential item
• Sufficient liquids and snacks should always be on board in case needed for a while longer than you anticipated
• Protection from the sun in the form of sunscreens, hats and long sleeved or legged clothing
• If club is going to a remote place a mini survival pack with say lightweight thermals, extra high energy foods, liquids, rescue blanket, first aid kit etc.
• GPS can give useful information should you need to be found
• A waterproof torch is always handy to have as well.
• Hook Extraction hints - don't try to pull it back out - the barb will tear you to pieces. If you have no other choice than to remove the hook, use your pointy-nose pliers to push it forward and direct it out until the point is through your skin. Use the wire cutters to cut off the hook's eye and then pull the hook the rest of the way through.

2. Keeping in touch

• Any form of communication equipment is better than nothing.
• Marine VHF radio is preferred.
• Mobile phones are one person to one person Identification so not as useful as a VHF.
• Always carry a form of identification on your person.
• Mark your kayak with your name address and contact number. A felt pen in a place such as inside the cockpit is ideal.
• Tell someone of your destination and expected trip time and estimated time of return
• Avoid alcohol

3. Trip Planning

• Duration
• Distance
• Landing and Facilities
• Fitness of group
• Suitability of the kayaks in the group for the trip
• Information from Charts - make use of charts of the area so you will be familiar with the lay of the land, depth of the water, whereabouts of rocks and reefs and currents in the area.
• Tides and the wind directions on the day.
• Buddy up with someone if possible
• Let the Coastguard know when, where and numbers attending trip and inform them of return.

4. Wind, weather forecasts and hazards

• Wind is probably our greatest enemy when kayaking.
• Weather conditions can rapidly change on the water. Keep watch of the conditions and how they will affect your return trip
• If paddling into a wind and getting nowhere, head for shelter and wait out the wind.
• Beware of strong offshore winds,
• When drift fishing always keep checking on how far out you are
• Side on winds can cause you to drift off course so if paddling towards land, it may be a better option to make the land first, then paddle towards your destination, it may even be possible to walk along the waterline pulling your kayak along by the towline.
• Wind direction and speed can be variable due to surrounding land formations
• Wind against tide can also cause sharp-faced waves and choppy seas.
• Weather forecast should always be consulted so you are aware of the visibility expected, bearing in mind rain shortens visibility drastically, temperatures and wind speeds. Internet, radio broadcasts, newspapers and marine VHF radio are all sources for this. The Metservice on the internet is a very good source. Click Here
• Tide also affects sea state considerably, particularly wind against tide
• You have the final say if you go out or not so if your not comfortable on the day don’t go

5. Rules of the road

• Kayakers must always make every effort to be seen. Better to look like a roman candle than to be ground up by a boat prop.
• Kayaks like all other vessels on the water are required to obey the rules of the road and a good lookout for other vessels must always be kept.
Powered vessels should always give way to vessels powered by paddle or oar, but we have to be seen first before this will happen.
• Sail vs paddle is unclear, but it is advisable for the kayaker to get clear well ahead of time. Always be aware and even better try and avoid areas where water skiing, jet skis, ships, ferries and other vessels operate.
• In Narrow channels always try and keep to the starboard or right hand side.
• In periods of little light you should also learn to recognize how vessel lights work so you know in which direction they are traveling.
• When fishing in the Auckland area please ensure you comply with the ARC visibility of Kayak bylaw (refer to EAKFC for details)ARC Bylaw ~ Visibility of kayaks and paddle craft

Effective from 1 July 2008

Clause 2.17 Auckland Regional Council Navigation Safety Bylaw 2008

1. Every kayak and paddle craft that is navigating in waters beyond 200 metres from shore shall ensure they are highly visible to other vessels. This shall include:

(a) wearing a high visibility vest or high visibility PFD; and

(b) use of reflecting tape on oars or paddles and also on clothing; and

(c) at night, showing a continuous white light visible in all directions from a distance of two nautical miles.


6. Trip Safety Rules

• Members must complete a Trip Plan Form if you are participating in the trip.
• If possible cancellation of trip will be made the night before the event, the organiser will send out an email and also post on facebook.
• The trip registration form is on the club web site.This needs to be completed prior to the close of date and time as noted for the trip(on the website and posted on facebook).
• All members attending trips must have a VHF radio.
• Members are also asked to stay in sight of each other, buddy up or in radio contact.
• If you leave early please let the Trip Coordinator know either by VHF radio or a Txt msg.
• Weigh in time/s will be noted in the email or FB posts.



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2015 5:13 pm 
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snakebite,

That is a very comprehensive list. Thanks so much for sharing.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 1:43 pm 
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Just found this,https://www.bask.org/trip_planner/ overall a grea planning tool.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 5:29 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2007 6:14 pm
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Location: South Florida
About 10 yrs ago when kayaking with a professional guide in Maine, the guide said that power boats had the right of way over kayaks. The reason is pretty obvious. Often Maine power boats have very high prows--they literally cannot see a kayak in front of them. Therefore, it is best to say "power boats have the right of way," and kayakers know that they must take whatever action is necessary to get out of the power boat's way. I think it would be prudent for Hobie Islands to use the same approach as kayakers. That same Maine guide said, "To a working lobster boat, kayakers are considered speed bumps."

Similar reasoning is behind the following Rule 9.

Rule 9: Narrow Channels. You may think that since you are the smallest and slowest vessel on the waterways, you have the right of way all of the time. False! In fact, the opposite is true. A vessel shorter than 60 feet is required to not “impede the passage of a vessel that can safely navigate only within a narrow channel or fairway.” There’s a good reason for this. Large vessels often cannot maneuver or stop quickly enough to avoid a collision if you are in their path. If your regular paddling area is near a commercial seaport, and you often see large cargo ships or military vessels, you must stay out of the ship’s navigable channel, which is usually marked by red and green buoys. That channel is for large ships; therefore, they are the primary users. You can use the channel to navigate when no ship is using it, but paddlers should generally navigate outside of a narrow channel, when possible.
Read more at http://www.canoekayak.com/start-paddling/rules-of-the-road-for-paddlers/#hMIXZk8xoup6OW1O.99

Here is another rule:
Maneuverability Is Key

Following is the order of increasing maneuverability. Any boat lower on the list must give way to boats higher on the list:
•A disabled boat
•A boat that is difficult to maneuver, like a dredge or barge in tow
•A boat whose maneuverability is restricted by size or draft, like a freighter
•A boat engaged in commercial fishing, like a trawler
•A boat being rowed
•A sailboat
•A recreational powerboat
For further reading go to: http://sailing.about.com/od/lawsregulations/ss/Rules-Of-The-Road-For-Sailboats.htm#step2

Keith

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"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 9:45 pm 
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Location: Forster, NSW, Australia
Keith, I see contradictions there...

I live by an abridged verdsion:-
"Power gives way to sail unless power has limited maneouvrability"

...with my late dad's words ringing in my ears as a rider....
"he was dead within his rights, he was dead alright"

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2015 7:10 am 
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Location: South Florida
tonystott wrote:
...with my late dad's words ringing in my ears as a rider....
"he was dead within his rights, he was dead alright"

That's good, very good.

Keith

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"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2015 9:38 pm 
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Got a tidbit that makes sense. We were on a test sail (bigger boat) in San Francisco bay. As part of the pre-sail safety talk I was designated emergency contact. I was told, if needed, to call 911 and say, "patch me through to Coast Guard San Francisco."
In this situation it made a ton of sense. I have heard Mayday calls being "stepped on" by other radio users. And I don't think there would be anywhere in the bay where you would not be able to get cell coverage. A nice clear connection uninterrupted by other users. I will remember that when out solo. I was disappointed that they did not monitor channel 16 while we were underway for the test sail. Mine will stay on even if I use the phone for emergency communication.

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