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How windy is too windy

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The Moo View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote The Moo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Aug 18 at 6:39pm
Originally posted by mozzy


In an ideal world I'd prefer the race officer to think about the fairness of the racing and the competitors to make decisions for their own personal safety. After-all, you should best know your ability and you should best know your risk aversion, so you as a competitor is best placed to make the call on whether you go racing or not. 
If the wind is so light it becomes impossible to get the boats around the course and racing is a lottery, then can the racing. If it's so windy that the same is true, then can the racing. 
In a work place, if I am employing someone to do a job, then I should ensure they are able to do it safely. They are doing it for me, therefore I have duty of care. 
On the other hand, a RO is setting a course and running a start and finish. It makes no difference to the RO whether anyone races or not. The RO has nothing to gain by people racing. The people racing aren't doing it for him. My personal opinion is that duty of care should not extend to situations like this. It leaves the people least informed about the specific risks in the position of making safety decisions. Obviously legal people love it, because it creates huge amount of work!
The exception I make is children. When I was coaching, and parents leave their kids in my care, I understand that they may not have yet developed the awareness to judge risk for themselves, and therefore I would take a precautionary approach. Ideally, parents should be around to make that decision for their kids... but often that's not the case and duty of care is transferred to the organiser. 



But in most situations isn't the race officer acting on behalf of an organisation that does have a wider interest and and a greater duty of care?
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JimC View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Aug 18 at 7:02pm
In my opinion sea state has a lot more to do with safety than wind speed, and the RO is going to know that far better than any competitor. If, for example, the sea state is such that half his rescue crews are going to be seasick there's no way he should be running racing. I've sailed at Datchet in, according to the clubhouse anenometer, a genuine Force 8, but somewhere like Plymouth I'd welcome racing being called off in F6. There are gusts to consider too. 20 knots steady is one thing, 20 knots with 35 knots gusts coming in different directions is quite another.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Aug 18 at 7:02pm
Legally, i get that they are. And they have to put processes in accordingly. 

But I believe that should extend to maintaining the club property. Once you're sailing in your boat, in your kit, with your sailing ability, knowing the conditions you face that day, then the individual is best placed to carry out the risk assessment on whether to sail or not. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote iGRF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Aug 18 at 7:39pm
We called off the annual 'ship race' a race down the coast to a pub called the ship, it wasn't because of the wind, it was because of a reluctance on the part of the safety boats to launch into the shore dump caused by the southerly dead onshore direction of it. The windsurfers went anyway and as it turned out they slogged through lack of wind as it died, but it was the right decision.

Edited by iGRF - 31 Aug 18 at 7:39pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 423zero Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Aug 18 at 7:40pm
I choose wether to sail that day based on boat I am using, if it's a classic I wouldn't go out in wind likely to cause damage, Mirror I would go out in virtually any wind and I would also sail my MiniSprint in any wind, even though I have invested a fortune in cash and labour on it.
I will also crew in strong winds.
OOD will have final say, but we have some members who would cave in and allow sailing against their better judgement if pressured.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote PeterG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Aug 18 at 7:46pm
Originally posted by mozzy

Legally, i get that they are. And they have to put processes in accordingly. 

But I believe that should extend to maintaining the club property. Once you're sailing in your boat, in your kit, with your sailing ability, knowing the conditions you face that day, then the individual is best placed to carry out the risk assessment on whether to sail or not. 

But, you also will be expecting safety cover, or at least the RO will, we hope, be planning to provide appropriate cover, so it doesn't just come down to individuals making a decision - even if they are fully competent, maintain their boat properly, and have some idea of how to come ashore if the wind blows up and the landing area, beach or whatever becomes a lee shore.

And of course there are plenty out there who are not in that category, and the RO could easily end up in a situation where limited (but practical) levels of cover are completely swamped by the number of boats going over, breaking equipment etc., and as suggested already by Jim, by boat crews getting sea sick, unable to cope etc. Because in most situations the boat crews are going to be relatively inexpert volunteers doing it once or twice a year, and not used to heavy seas.

An RO has to be able to say - the wind (or forecast wind) is too strong, the direction is wrong or whatever, even if they are conditions in which some crews think they would be OK.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote ClubRacer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Sep 18 at 12:05am
While I'm all for fair sailing and hate having a race which is a lottery, gear failure in a strong breeze can be put down to both poor maintenance and incorrect use of that component. I've never had a breakage on my boat that I couldn't have prevented by being more vigilant in the first place 

As to the issue with Sea sickness. For a serious open the race team/safety crew should be experienced and would know if they're likely to get sea sick and take a stugeron or not commit to it in the first place. For a club race I would be perfectly fine calling it off if those conditions existed but the whole reason people travel to opens is that the racing is meant to be of a considerably higher standard than they would get if they stayed at home  

I also have no objection to the fact the RO can call it off if conditions are bad as some people will just go out whatever, but this decision should be done as a very last resort. It's too easy to just play the safety card and most people will keep shtum 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote blueboy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Sep 18 at 10:28am
Originally posted by ClubRacer

As to the issue with Sea sickness. For a serious open the race team/safety crew should be experienced and would know if they're likely to get sea sick and take a stugeron or not commit to it in the first place. For a club race I would be perfectly fine calling it off if those conditions existed but the whole reason people travel to opens is that the racing is meant to be of a considerably higher standard than they would get if they stayed at home  

What club do you belong to? Clubs can put up their better ROs for opens but the idea they can pick and choose the people who volunteer on a particular weekend or that people will necessarily self-select months in advance for suitable events is pretty unrealistic.

I've driven a safety boat at a sea meeting when the whole fleet was capsizing and it got pretty worrying. Boats were scattered over several square miles over the course and downwind of it, a RIB can only attend one capsize at a time and it became impossible to be certain that somewhere, someone wasn't in serious trouble with no RIB nearby. That's even though we had a RIB for something like every six boats and I doubt many clubs could or would put out more coverage than that. It was certainly the sea state rather than the wind strength that was the issue and equally, it was the sea state that made it hard to reliably identify capsized boats from a long way off.

I've also been part of a search group looking for a sailor minus boat, which suddenly turned a day out on the water to a very serious feeling undertaking. In fact it turned out the sailor was safe but it took a couple of hours for that to become known.

Whatever RRS4 might say, if someone drowns at an event, the club officers, the RO, the safety lead and probably the safety boat drivers are all likely to find themselves testifying at a coroner's inquest. It's a daunting prospect, especially for those who volunteer to help run club events and may only do so for a few days each year.


Edited by blueboy - 01 Sep 18 at 10:32am
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Post Options Post Options   Quote zippyRN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Sep 18 at 12:06pm
The irony in  the case of those who put up the 'we're only volunteers'   arguement  on such topics, the the  case law on this  which  rocked the whole amateur/ volunteer / charity  service provision movement about 20 years ago  is about Safety boats...

Stephens v DPP [2000] EWHC J1019-1

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Post Options Post Options   Quote blueboy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Sep 18 at 5:23pm
Originally posted by zippyRN

The irony in  the case of those who put up the 'we're only volunteers'   arguement  on such topics, the the  case law on this  which  rocked the whole amateur/ volunteer / charity  service provision movement about 20 years ago  is about Safety boats...

Stephens v DPP [2000] EWHC J1019-1


Without a legal library subscription I can't find much on that case, can you summarise please?
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