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Going forward on shift?

When sailing shorthanded, as Connie and I do continuously on Waiata, do you go forward during a shift when you’re the only one awake?

We have a rule onboard which goes like this:

  • Calm weather you can go forward as far as the shroud to do checks, BUT you must be wearing your lifejacket with PLB attached.
  • If night or rougher weather you can go forward as far as the shrouds BUT you must be wearing your lifejacket with PLB and hooked onto the Jacklines.
  • If you need to go further forward for any reason you MUST wake up the other party, wear your lifejacket, PLB and if rough clip on.

You might ask “don’t you wear your life jacket at all time?”. Well the answer is no, not whilst “inside” the boat or “inside” the cockpit and helm enclosures. We are sailing for days at a time and lifejackets become uncomfortable. Better for them to be part of a formal risk management strategy than just always worn and not a conscious thought given to the risk.

In short we don’t go forward beyond safe reach of the helm or cockpit at all without waking up the other party. Life’s a risk and you really can’t avoid it, but you can avoid stupid!!!!

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2 Responses

  1. This is a good discussion to have on any boat. My rules on delivery are different than yours (not better, just different). No one ever leaves the cockpit without someone else on deck and watching. We’re never shy about waking people up (usually have the benefit of more bodies than you have). Offshore, most things can wait for the next change of watch when there are three people up (oncoming watch, offgoing watch, and me).

    I don’t have many actual rules ( but depend on judgment. Not leaving the cockpit when alone on deck is an actual rule. I’ve put people off the boat for not complying.

    1. Ki Ora Dave, My name is matt and I am part of Waiata’s shore crew helping to assist during their Atlantic crossing, I enjoyed the video

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