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Dick
Posts: 313


10/31/2017
Dick
Posts: 313
Hi Simon,
All good points, thanks for your thoughts and observations. And you are correct to highlight my wider concerns with regard to regulations.
You are also correct in pointing out that Europe is more regulated than the US in the maritime realm, at least in a voluntary fashion. I am quite admiring of the UK mariners and their promotion of RYA and its ability, to a great extent, to bring to the public safe and seamanlike marine skills. And admiring of the its voluntary nature and how well embraced it is by mariners (also your RNLI).
To answer your question: access to international waters could be regulated from the major ports of call (inspections when clearing in or out, I believe New Zealand had offshore requirements for a number of years before they would clear boats from leaving: which eventually was dropped as a requirement). It could also be instituted in the same manner as we had to do last season when Iceland and Greenland required regular reports of various kinds from as far out as 200 miles.
And I agree that facilitating boats and crew being well prepared is (to some measure) a moral duty, but I also come at it from a pragmatic (and personally selfish) stance of wanting to be solely responsibility for my vessel and have as few entities as possible tell me what I can and cannot do.
As for the OCC member being thanked for the rescue practice, I can imagine polite and caring guardsmen/women taking the edge off a rescue with just such a throw-away comment. I doubt this would be said were they called out in F8 and above conditions at the edge of their fuel limits. The rescue crew can feel what they like and want the people rescued to feel ok about their decision, but I would not want anyone to feel sanguine/easygoing about needing rescue. It is a big deal and even the least challenging rescues can go pear shaped.
And yes, the reports on these 2 mariners that needed rescuing after 5 months, gets weirder and weirder. If found in any way fabricated etc., I hope that they incur serious penalties. And it is true, no amount of regulation or community policing/supervising will stop people who are seriously committed to doing something, no matter how un-wise. Such is life.
Always good to bat things around with you.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

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Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
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Simon Currin
Administrator
Posts: 775


10/31/2017
Simon Currin
Administrator
Posts: 775
As time goes on the story of the two missing Pacific sailors you refer to grows more and more mysterious with a number of inconsistencies and probable untruths. We can only guess at their motivation. What is sure is that they do not represent the wider sailing community in particular as one of them had never been in a sailboat before setting off from Hawaii to Tahiti. No type of regulation could have prevented this.
Your point is much wider than this particular episode and raises the question should or could offshore sailing be effectively regulated? In a way we already have a bit of this in Europe where some countries insist in an International Certificate of Competence and anecdotal reports suggest that seamanship in these countries is generally of a lower standard than in countries where there is no requirement to possess it. In the UK we have voluntary certification via the RYA but even their flagship qualifications should probably be regarded as entry level qualifications when going more seriously off piste.
I am not sure how access to international waters could be regulated and who would do the regulating and enforcement? Yes I agree that we all have a responsibility to ensure that we, our boats and our crews are as well prepared as they can be but that should be more of a moral duty rather than a regulator’s requirement.
As for the rescue services one of our own OCC members made an interesting point when he was plucked from his boat this summer in the North Atlantic. He said, on radio, that both the Master of the rescue vessel and the pilots of the Hercules reconnaissance plane that oversaw the rescue had thanked him for giving them the opportunity to practice their skills and seamanship. So there is a different spin on things whether you agree with the sentiment or not!

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Simon Currin
S/V Shimshal simon@medex.org.uk
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Dick
Posts: 313


10/29/2017
Dick
Posts: 313
Hi all,
There has been some recent writing of 2 mariners being rescued after 5 months drifting around on their sailboat. I know little of the actual facts of this incident, but found myself interested in responding in a general way and using it to put some thoughts together on what I see as our personal and community responsibility to our completely voluntary recreational sport.
We are largely un-regulated and I wish to keep it that way. It is my take that regulations/authorities appear as a reaction to abuse/excess/problems.
I believe that these 2 mariners should have been told, by their sailing community, that their plans were un-wise in a multitude of ways and strongly discouraged from leaving. I would want to suggest that every experienced sailor who knew of their plans had some community responsibility to actively and strongly discouraged them from departing.
I say this for multiple reasons:
1. They were lucky not to have died and it was predictably likely they would get in trouble.
2. People who need rescuing at best incur great expense on the part of the SAR people and at worst put them in danger.
3. If we do not police/supervise our sport, I worry others will move in and do so. (Could you picture a bureaucratically administered “offshore license” necessary to sail to Bermuda from the US? Or to the Azores from the UK?)
4. Ours is a sport best learned in a “guild/apprenticeship” like manner: where those with knowledge and experience pass their knowledge along. Book knowledge and self-taught skills can only take you so far. This entails a willingness on the part of those learning to actively search out mentors in areas where they need more knowledge/experience. Concomitantly, those with experience/expertise need to be available, even forthcoming, and maybe even a bit forceful in educating others, especially when observing potentially dangerous practices or intentions.
I am not suggesting this to produce a cadre of supervisors/police-people, but rather to facilitate a caring community who recognizes the adventurous nature of our sport and the inter-dependence necessary to ensure that cruising widely on small sailboats thrives. In addition, most learning, I believe, takes place through interaction.
To my mind we carry a large responsibility when we venture offshore. This is particularly and especially the case if you carry an EPIRB, or radio or satphones etc. with the intention of calling for help if you get into trouble. This responsibility becomes even more magnified with crew/wife/guests on board who believe that the proposed trip makes sense and is safe, but who also have no ability to question the experience/preparations of the skipper.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

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Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
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