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better safe than sorry?

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A Open Letter to the 2016 Islands Race Chairs

March 8, 2016

Good evening:

Big breeze with a long lee shore is not a good combination. In the 2013 race, onboard OEX, we spent six hours under the assistance of the United States Coast Guard following the race. We set the elapsed time course record. We sustained tremendous damage. We were fortunate. All crew-members returned safely and the boat was not lost.

Craig Williams and his family were far less fortunate.

"While the Islands Race has a rated distance of 129.5 nautical miles the northwest corner of San Clemente Island is 75 miles from San Diego Buoy #1 and therefore in inclement conditions help is not readily available." - 2013 Island Race Report on US Sailing's Safety Report.

We had considered withdrawing from the race. If put to a vote, I would support and recommend the inshore course. This seems a prudent contingency plan for competitors and organizers alike.

Sincerely,

John Sangmeister
Owner/Skipper
S/V OEX USA-88
#IslandsRace #SDYC #NHYC

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Is it April 1? In 1968 a very select few took off around the world in boats that wouldn't measure up to anything that todays sailors (can we really call us that?), would be lost on. No electronic nav, no global communications, and more lee shores than you could shake a glued box section spar at. No doubt, the last run of the Islands race exposed the weakness of the Columbia 32, but...maybe that was all it did, the consequences were brutal and not easily forgotten or maybe forgiven. But they and we participate in this sport partly for the risks involved. Who of us, does not want to be battling the odds. Deep down, who of us does not want to be facing that moment when it could all go pear shaped, and then hopefully regailing our mates with the what if stories after? The alternative could be sitting at home............

 

We all go by the grace of our own wisdom, but when that fails we have this....

 

1 Eternal Father, strong to save,

Whose arm does bind the restless wave,
Who bids the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

2 O Savior, whose almighty word
The winds and waves submissive heard,
Who walked upon the foaming deep,
And calm amid the rage did sleep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

3 O Holy Spirit, who did brood
Upon the waters dark and rude,
And bid their angry tumult cease,
And give for wild confusion peace;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

4 O Trinity of love and pow'r,
Your children shield in danger's hour;
From rock and tempest, fire, and foe,
Protect them where-so-e'er they go;
Thus, evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

Go race the course, Those that went before you, would expect nothing less.

For those in peril on the sea.

 

Doug Johnstone.

Sailor.

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Wait and see what the conditions will be. If there's a good chance of boats breaking conditions, then go inshore, if not, run the standard course The islands race is special because it isn't another run down the coast, it has a lot of tactical decisions based on island current, exclusion zones, etc. I personally want to run the whole course. I hope that conditions agree.

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Currently, our professional forecast model has predicted gusts variations as high as 30%. There are very few boats in Southern California prepared for 38 knots of wind. We will considered withdrawing from the race.

If put to a vote, I would support and recommend the inshore course. This seems a prudent contingency plan for competitors and organizers alike.

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Makes the Melbourne to Hobart look tame in comparison.

.

.

.

Actually, no it doesn't.

M2H is a simple jaunt across Bass Strait, then down 250 NM of lee shore. There are a couple of possible anchorages (which you can't get into in a big sea). 5000 + NM of fetch, and apparently the southern ocean gets windy from time to time.

 

If it was easy, they'd have kids doing it in opti's. Being a bit harder is what makes it special.

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Indeed, epic races all. All sailed with boats built for the test. Our boats in Socal are light air rockets, many are approaching their 30th lap around the sun. Fastnet, Hobart and Bermuda have all postponed starts, as has the Volvo on many legs when conditions called for prudence.

 

I was there in 2013 when things went pear shaped quickly. We had a fire and a near grounding on a lee shore.

 

Three boats lost rudders.

 

One boat grounded on San Clemente and Craig Williams died.

 

He left a young daughter and a wife pregnant with their second child.

 

Hoorah on your bravado!

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It's up to each crew to make their own desision to take part. This is the way it should be.

For the record Sydney to Hobart in my knowledge has never had a delayed start.

Sydney - Southport delayed about 15 years ago for the only time I can think of, this is also a lee shore race of around 360nm.

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I have no opinion on the topic but have one question...

 

When has the Hobart (aka Sydney to Hobart Race) ever had a postponed start. Maybe it should have all those years ago...

Indeed, epic races all. All sailed with boats built for the test. Our boats in Socal are light air rockets, many are approaching their 30th lap around the sun. Fastnet, Hobart and Bermuda have all postponed starts, as has the Volvo on many legs when conditions called for prudence.

 

I was there in 2013 when things went pear shaped quickly. We had a fire and a near grounding on a lee shore.

 

Three boats lost rudders.

 

One boat grounded on San Clemente and Craig Williams died.

 

He left a young daughter and a wife pregnant with their second child.

 

Hoorah on your bravado!

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No. Take responsibility for your own actions. If you feel it is unsafe or a risk that you are not prepared to take, don't do it. Nobody is forcing you to.

 

It's a boat race. There will be another one next weekend/month/year.

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I would hate to be owner of a stout boat in Southern California, waiting patiently for heavy weather and a race date to align in my favor, only to see my rare advantage evaporate when a race committee resets the course or the date.

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Hoorah on your bravado!

Hardly bravado. Rather acknowledgement that those who finish these races have earned considerable respect. Inshore racing doesn't garner that same respect for obvious reasons.

 

I'm not aware of any Melbourne to Hobart race being delayed. Some years see a lot of competitors withdraw, there have been as few as 1 boat finish.

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I would hate to be owner of a stout boat in Southern California, waiting patiently for heavy weather and a race date to align in my favor, only to see my rare advantage evaporate when a race committee resets the course or the date.

Can't agree more, If people want to race lightweight boats that they don't feel safe in when conditions get bad, fine race inshore & very carefully offshore, where you have somewhere safe close & win more races than the guy with the stronger seaworthy boat.

 

But don't then say the other guy who has made a decision that he wants to finish more than he wants to finish first shouldn't be able to go in conditions which he feels safe in & he can be competitive in.

 

You can still race you just start, anchor somewhere calm & continue when conditions are favourable. You won't win this one but you will probably still finish mid-fleet due to retirements, but he doesn't win the light races either.

 

My real issue though is that if you don't think your boat & crew can handle 38 knots why are you going offshore at all. I don't know what conditions are like around you but here, (Oz east coast), any 25 knot (predicted) southerly buster is likely to hold 40k knot puffs if you happen to be in the wrong place.

 

I tell any one who asks that if you didn't see 50 on the way to Hobart you didn't go! (OK this year it topped out around 43).

 

TUBBY

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If your boats are not set up for 38 knots of breeze then you should not be going out unless you have a cast iron forecast that nothing above 25 will be coming your way. The organisers of an offshore event should not have to take into account the standard of your boat as this is the skippers/owners sole responsibility. If you want a sport where the organisers protect you from nature in what is fairly normal conditions for a offshore event then I would suggest adult offshore sailing is not for you. If this were an Opti event then I may follow the original posters logic as the race officer has a duty of care to protect the minors whose parents may not know the risks that their offspring are getting into albeit they are signing on the entry to say that they do. In adult races this is not the case.

 

Quoting other races where starts have been postponed is a bit of a red herring as these have mainly been high performance ocean racing yachts built to an organisers rule and carrying professional sailors and safety equipment. The sponsors are not keen on their investment being damaged on the first night of a race and hence neither are the organisers. There is no commercial driver for any amateur team to leave the dock if they are not happy with the standard of the boat for the conditions or their capacity to deal with all eventualities. Whilst it is no doubt tragic the case of loss of life being quoted the responsibility for this lies with the boat builder or designer of the rudder that failed unless this failed due to impact with an object in the water.

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That's what make (or should) ocean racing different from regattas: Boats have to cope (in their own chosen way) with the sea and wind vagaries.

 

When I was a youngster the RORC boats went "typeformed" into upwind beasts for one single reason;: if weather deteriorated - not unknown in mid-august, one needed to be able to climb upwind of a lee-shore whatever the weather.

A points championship along the season allowed one to take risks on his boat, knowing, he could gamble on retiring of harsh races.

 

Horses for courses: ocean racing boats are different from inshore boats, tough races are there to give a chance to tough boats and should stay that way.

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Hoorah on your bravado!

 

Hardly bravado. Rather acknowledgement that those who finish these races have earned considerable respect. Inshore racing doesn't garner that same respect for obvious reasons.

 

I'm not aware of any Melbourne to Hobart race being delayed. Some years see a lot of competitors withdraw, there have been as few as 1 boat finish.

I may be wrong but the year Flying Colours sank at Portsea Pier the start was delayed by 24 hours for the M2H

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That's what make (or should) ocean racing different from regattas: Boats have to cope (in their own chosen way) with the sea and wind vagaries.

 

When I was a youngster the RORC boats went "typeformed" into upwind beasts for one single reason;: if weather deteriorated - not unknown in mid-august, one needed to be able to climb upwind of a lee-shore whatever the weather.

A points championship along the season allowed one to take risks on his boat, knowing, he could gamble on retiring of harsh races.

 

Horses for courses: ocean racing boats are different from inshore boats, tough races are there to give a chance to tough boats and should stay that way.

 

++++

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A boat shall have a mainsail reefing capable of reducing the luff length by at least 10%. If the boat’s mainsail is not compliant with 3.33.1 she may satisfy this requirement by carrying a storm trysail in compliance with USSER rule 3.33.2 which reads “A boat shall carry a trysail, with the boat’s sail number displayed on both sides, which can be set independently of the main boom, has an area less than 17.5% of E x P, and which is capable of being attached to the mast

 

Thought I'd see what the gear requirements were. Copied from the notice of the race. I assume that's a typo, only a 10% reef OR a trysail required.

No wonder people can't handle 38knots.

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Indeed, epic races all. All sailed with boats built for the test. Our boats in Socal are light air rockets, many are approaching their 30th lap around the sun. Fastnet, Hobart and Bermuda have all postponed starts, as has the Volvo on many legs when conditions called for prudence.

 

I was there in 2013 when things went pear shaped quickly. We had a fire and a near grounding on a lee shore.

 

Three boats lost rudders.

 

One boat grounded on San Clemente and Craig Williams died.

 

He left a young daughter and a wife pregnant with their second child.

 

Hoorah on your bravado!

 

If you correctly remembered the Fastnet was not postponed to protect the competitors from the conditions (but the competitors from bad decisions) and relieving the RNLI of the prospect of 300+ mayday calls of people who were not prepared .

 

They were started in the high of the storm so competitors could make the decision not to start in stead of finding out in the celtic sea that it was as bad as predicted. Many did a upwind beat in 60 kts to plymouth to get absolutely shitfaced in a tent.

 

and the Volvo was postponed because there was a little cyclone that destroyed several Polynesian(miconiasian?) islands so not quit 40 kts

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Incredibly, there are "sailors" who now believe sailing should be completely safe. There is an aspect to this sport that is dangerous, and among other lovely things, the challenge of negotiating with those dangers is part of the draw for me. Sorry for any misfortunes and especially lives lost, but I can't support regulating the sport to the point of it's complete castration. If I was signed up for a distance race that followed John's suggestion above, that would probably be the last time I joined that race. Not to make a statement or anything. Simply to avoid putting so much energy into something devoid of the sense of accomplishment sailing is so good at delivering.

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Indeed, epic races all. All sailed with boats built for the test. Our boats in Socal are light air rockets, many are approaching their 30th lap around the sun. Fastnet, Hobart and Bermuda have all postponed starts, as has the Volvo on many legs when conditions called for prudence.

 

I was there in 2013 when things went pear shaped quickly. We had a fire and a near grounding on a lee shore.

 

Three boats lost rudders.

 

One boat grounded on San Clemente and Craig Williams died.

 

He left a young daughter and a wife pregnant with their second child.

 

Hoorah on your bravado!

 

If you correctly remembered the Fastnet was not postponed to protect the competitors from the conditions (but the competitors from bad decisions) and relieving the RNLI of the prospect of 300+ mayday calls of people who were not prepared .

 

They were started in the high of the storm so competitors could make the decision not to start in stead of finding out in the celtic sea that it was as bad as predicted. Many did a upwind beat in 60 kts to plymouth to get absolutely shitfaced in a tent.

 

and the Volvo was postponed because there was a little cyclone that destroyed several Polynesian(miconiasian?) islands so not quit 40 kts

 

 

The start of the 2000 Vendee Globe was delayed by 4 days.

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If you correctly remembered the Fastnet was not postponed to protect the competitors from the conditions (but the competitors from bad decisions) and relieving the RNLI of the prospect of 300+ mayday calls of people who were not prepared .

 

They were started in the high of the storm so competitors could make the decision not to start in stead of finding out in the celtic sea that it was as bad as predicted. Many did a upwind beat in 60 kts to plymouth to get absolutely shitfaced in a tent.

I wasn't on that Fastnet but had friends who were and spoke with them shortly afterwards. The race started after the big breeze had already been through. There was still a large and confused swell and that's why many - most I think - retired. including my friends. It has to be remembered that the grand-prix fleet is the tip of the iceberg, most of the sailors are weekend warriors and most of them aren't out there to get battered. FWIW I've done 3 Fastnets and most talk about tough boats is irrelevant. Almost all boats are tougher than the sailors are or want to be.

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I would hate to be owner of a stout boat in Southern California, waiting patiently for heavy weather and a race date to align in my favor, only to see my rare advantage evaporate when a race committee resets the course or the date.

We are the boat you are referring to. Our Rogers 46 has sailed in 2 Fastnets, Middlesea Race, 2 Baltic Sprint Cups, TransAtlantic Race and 2 Transpacs. We have a triple reef main, storm sails, FRO's and Fractional A5. This is why we race distance - to see varying conditions over the course. One of the reasons the SoCal 300 was implemented was to get boats offshore into varying conditions.

 

I understand John's point of view, and they did have some damage and a fire and wrapped kites, etc. - but we also raced the 2013 Islands Race, having owned the boat less than 1 year (with no professional crew), no carnage, top speed 26.8 knots, no wipe outs, full main and A3. As I recall, the 41 foot J125 finished behind and corrected out on us. Along with a SC52.

 

In addition, the race course is safer - the OA is placing marks so we stay away from San Clemente Island. After 2013, we would suspect that no skipper is going to turn away assistance should they have gear failure. Another concern is that many Southern California sailors have limited experience in moderate to strong breeze. And shortening courses with 20+ knot forecasts, this trend is going to continue.

 

 

Lastly, the forecast is showing 18 - 22 knots on the nose going to San Clemente Island from Catalina - our boat happens to like this forecast.

 

If conditions were absolutely considered to be dangerous, we would not go. But it is the owners confidence in their boat, preparation and strength of crew that should determine if they go or not.

 

This is just our opinion, and we are ready to go.

 

Cheers,

opusone

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i don't disagree in principle with the notion of delaying a race or using a different course because of weather conditions

 

while some may say, that dealing with extreme - even life-threatening - conditions is part of the appeal.., i think that most sailors don't want to actually risk their lives.

 

they want to have fun, and go home.

 

the issue i have here is that the threshold seems a bit low - forecast sustained winds of 30kts.., with gusts to say 40 for a part of the race, and max seas of ~3m

 

yes, it looks like there is a lee shore issue, but it seem like boats will have a choice of how closely they pass that shore

 

boats can always abandon before they get there too.

 

But I don't sail those waters, and maybe there is some more dangerous aspect to the conditions that i am not aware of

 

also, it seems like while their regular inshore racing may be mostly in light air.., big wind is not uncommon on this race

 

maybe people with boats optimized for the inshore racing just shouldn't expect to do this race - after all, it is an ocean race...

 

anyway, it's a decision for the local sailors and the OA to make - they should ignore all the "advice" here

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the northwest corner of San Clemente Island is 75 miles from San Diego Buoy #1 and therefore in inclement conditions help is not readily available."

Helicopters still fly don't they? I always considered "near shore" or "coastal" to be within the flight range of the USCG. How about the Coastal Cup..... there is not a much more lonelier stretch than from Monterey to Conception. It's been raced in 25-30k+ for the entire stretch numerous times.

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John,

 

Seriously?

 

Because this is either some ill conceived brain fart or it's a recommendation that most of the world's great coastal races be abandoned before the committee gets on station.

 

Sailing is different from nearly every other sport for two reasons - first, it's intrinsically dangerous and, second, personal responsibility has always been, literally, Rule 4.

 

Your suggestion to adopt an inshore course may seem to be prudent, but the evidence shows that the choice of course has no correlation to loss of property, injury or death in boating of any sort. There are far more deaths on flat, protected waters than there are offshore. Loss of steering on lee shores is a vanishingly small source of problems. Competitors are far more likely to die from heart failure than anything related to a lee shore.

 

And the natural extension of what you're recommending is to eliminate the Cabo Race, the Puerto Vallarta Race, the Coastal Cup, the Ensenada Race, the Half Moon Bay race, the Kings Harbor Race and many, many more, all of which are sailed on lee shores in conditions that are often significantly more challenging and more remote than any associated with the Islands Race. In short, there are no west coast ocean races that don't feature an inhospitable lee shore and none of them have any "inshore" option available.

 

Allow me to repeat that. The suggestion that the Island Race course be changed is a recommendation that every major west coast race be eliminated.

 

Ocean racing will never be safe. There is no detail of course design or action by race committee or coordination with rescue agency that will make ocean racing safe. There is no evidence that safety is bad or has gotten worse in the recent past.

 

There is much evidence that skippers are failing to be prudent and are failing to display good seamanship and are competing with poorly constructed, poorly equipped and poorly maintained yachts. Ill found yachts, poor preparation and poor decisions are behind every single fatality on the US west coast in recent years.

 

If you believe the course is dangerous on the day in question, then your responsibility is to not race or to not continue racing. You are bound by the rules to appraise yourself of the conditions and be responsible for yourself, your crew and your yacht.

 

But to write open letters and post them on public forums, suggesting that a race course is dangerous, is a display of remarkably poor judgement and one that places a sport, already poorly understood and the subject of ridiculous scrutiny, in a precarious situation. It's an effort that at most has no positive effect and likely causes substantial turmoil with no substantive change to any measurable outcome.

 

Frankly, from my perspective, your note is closer to a Rule 69 violation than a display of good will and I respectfully request that you withdraw it from the record.

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Ocean racing will never be safe.

 

Frankly, from my perspective, your note is closer to a Rule 69 violation than a display of good will and I respectfully request that you withdraw it from the record.

 

actually, i think ocean racing is pretty safe

 

rule 69? really? that's ridiculous

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If the quote

 

"While the Islands Race has a rated distance of 129.5 nautical miles the northwest corner of San Clemente Island is 75 miles from San Diego Buoy #1 and therefore in inclement conditions help is not readily available." [emphasis mine]

 

then the race is not "Coastal" per the US SER (which are actually easier to interpret than the ISAF OSR). Unless the situation has changed the race's been mis-levelled.

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Ocean racing will never be safe.

 

Frankly, from my perspective, your note is closer to a Rule 69 violation than a display of good will and I respectfully request that you withdraw it from the record.

 

actually, i think ocean racing is pretty safe

 

rule 69? really? that's ridiculous

 

MD had the hyperbole set to 11 for that post.

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No. There is no hyperbole in that post whatsoever.

 

John's letter is the epitome of irresponsibility. He has put the race committee on notice and created an untenable situation for the club, the committee, the competitors, the national authority and the rescue authorities.

 

By calling into question whether the course is "safe", there is no option but for the officials to respond - and what are their choices? The can claim the course is safe, which is a falsehood because no course is safe. Or they can change the course - which is a travesty for the sport.

 

I can honestly think of few ways in which a one can create this kind of impact and yet have no possibility of any positive outcome. It's the definition of a Rule 69 violation despite best intentions.

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ISAF Rule 4: The responsibility for a boat’s decision to participate in a race or to continue racing is hers alone.

 

Everything else is irrelevant.

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US7070,

 

Yes, ocean racing is pretty safe by most interpretations of that word, and that's the point, really.

 

However, technically, ocean racing is not safe. There is property damage, injury and loss of life that result from ocean racing and there is substantial consideration to how any such undertaking can be made safer as there are vast sanctioning bodies who see it as their responsibility to make everything safer for everyone. And they're willing to go to great lengths for modest returns because the cost of their ink is remarkably low.

 

John's note is exactly the sort that get these authorities primed to help. And help they will. And the result will be inane as it has always been.

 

If someone wants to reduce water craft property damage, injury or loss of life, the focus should be on personal watercraft on inland lakes, not sailing on the ocean and certainly not on ocean racing.

 

But John's note presents an obvious case for the uninformed to make a simple change with unanticipated consequences. It could not be more poorly conceived or delivered.

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Most of you are missing the point here. The OA and RC have ALREADY documented their concern for dangerous conditions, defined parameters for making a course change or abandoning and by doing so, have let the competitors and the world know what their position is. John and OEX are simply acknowledging and supporting the OA's decision to take the conditions seriously and adapt as needed based on past history and loss of life.

 

www.islandsrace.com/documents/islandsrace16_si_amend1.pdf

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Frankly, from my perspective, your note is closer to a Rule 69 violation than a display of good will and I respectfully request that you withdraw it from the record.

Oh FFS.... Why is it that every time someone so much as farts aboard a boat these days, someone is screaming Rule 69? There is nothing in Rule 69 that even remotely touches expressing one's opinion about which course to choose in a regatta. I suppose, then, that all the owners at Block Island last year who expressed mild to significant displeasure with the idea that shit would break in 32 knots for round the island race should also be 69'd? 69... Pure hyperbole here.

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While yacht racing is different than Formula One, the following facts fit the situation:

 

At the 2005 Formula One Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in practice, drivers running Micheline tires could not handle the high speeds in Turn 13, while the drivers running Bridgestone tires had no problem. Race teams running Micheline tires lobbied to change the race course by having a chicane put in to slow the cars down in Turn 13. Race officials refused. Drivers running Micheline tires ran one slow lap and then quit. Six cars finished. Fourteen cars were given a DNS. At the time the public outcry was loud; "If your car cannot handle the speed, slow down, but don't boycott the race". Formula One has not recovered in the US to this day.

 

Yacht racing has experienced a significant decline in participation and the suggestion that race organizers change the course because things might get rough in an offshore race demonstrates some of the reasons why. There will not be a public outcry, but yacht racing will be diminished if the course is changed... and racers will know what happened.

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Incredibly, there are "sailors" who now believe sailing should be completely safe. There is an aspect to this sport that is dangerous, and among other lovely things, the challenge of negotiating with those dangers is part of the draw for me. Sorry for any misfortunes and especially lives lost, but I can't support regulating the sport to the point of it's complete castration. If I was signed up for a distance race that followed John's suggestion above, that would probably be the last time I joined that race. Not to make a statement or anything. Simply to avoid putting so much energy into something devoid of the sense of accomplishment sailing is so good at delivering.

 

This. This happened on the Texas Coast last Fall. Largest race in Texas (175 boats) cancelled the day before the start because of the threat of serious wind and rain at the finish location AFTER the finish! Yes, the conditions during the actual race were forecast to be sporty, but nothing even over 30 knots and that would have been only for the Westsail 32 that rated 250 or so. We spent about $1k in registration, equipment (it was a Cat 3 race), and housing for this race and trailered our boat to start 3 hours away. Do you think I will return to that race in the future? Not a f.... chance.

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Most of you are missing the point here. The OA and RC have ALREADY documented their concern for dangerous conditions, defined parameters for making a course change or abandoning and by doing so, have let the competitors and the world know what their position is. John and OEX are simply acknowledging and supporting the OA's decision to take the conditions seriously and adapt as needed based on past history and loss of life.

 

www.islandsrace.com/documents/islandsrace16_si_amend1.pdf

 

What a fucking pussy move!!!!!!

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Currently, our professional forecast model has predicted gusts variations as high as 30%. There are very few boats in Southern California prepared for 38 knots of wind. We will considered withdrawing from the race.

If put to a vote, I would support and recommend the inshore course. This seems a prudent contingency plan for competitors and organizers alike.

 

 

How do people who would be ocean sailors find themselves unprepared for 38 knots?

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There are very few boats in Southern California prepared for 38 knots of wind.

 

That is just sad.

 

Here's some free advice, don't expect help or rely on it on, rely on your skill. If you cant handle it or your boat is not up to it then don't race. A sailor is self reliant, like a mates dad who sailed from the UK to NZ in a 30 footer, he took no VHF or communication device because he did not want anyone risking their lives to find him.

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Currently, our professional forecast model has predicted gusts variations as high as 30%. There are very few boats in Southern California prepared for 38 knots of wind. We will considered withdrawing from the race.

If put to a vote, I would support and recommend the inshore course. This seems a prudent contingency plan for competitors and organizers alike.

 

 

How do people who would be ocean sailors find themselves unprepared for 38 knots?

 

 

They live in a bubble where sailing is always a sunny 12 kts and help is but a club RIB away

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John,

 

Really !!!!!!!!!

 

Maybe make your own decision, respectfully and quietly ?

 

Tremendous damage ? Quantify what is tremendous ?

 

And, you did set a new course record too.

 

Don't forget to take your cotton wool just in case it happens that the race goes outside or goes at all.

Like a real ocean race you might get wet.

Wrap yourself in the cotton wool if it gets bad.

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Frankly, from my perspective, your note is closer to a Rule 69 violation than a display of good will and I respectfully request that you withdraw it from the record.

Oh FFS.... Why is it that every time someone so much as farts aboard a boat these days, someone is screaming Rule 69? There is nothing in Rule 69 that even remotely touches expressing one's opinion about which course to choose in a regatta. I suppose, then, that all the owners at Block Island last year who expressed mild to significant displeasure with the idea that shit would break in 32 knots for round the island race should also be 69'd? 69... Pure hyperbole here.

 

those owners were just pussies...........East Coast flavored

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There are very few boats in Southern California prepared for 38 knots of wind.

That is just sad.

 

Here's some free advice, don't expect help or rely on it on, rely on your skill. If you cant handle it or your boat is not up to it then don't race. A sailor is self reliant, like a mates dad who sailed from the UK to NZ in a 30 footer, he took no VHF or communication device because he did not want anyone risking their lives to find him.

Sadly, the California political mentality has started to infect sailing. They expect the folks in charge to handle the decision making for them. I feel bad for all the real sailors in Cali, which is sad, because there's a lot of them.

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Some personal observations:

There used to be a race from Dana Point, around San Clemente Island, and finishing in San Diego. I sailed in it twice. 18-22 kts is a common forecast between Catalina and the west end of San Clemente Island.

 

The possibility of gusts to 38 kts is much different than sustained winds in that range.

 

The appeal of the various So Cal races that go around the islands is offshore sailing in pretty wild locations and the possibility of some sporty conditions.

 

20-25 kts with higher gusts is common on a summer afternoon near Long Point on Catalina Island, but somehow the numerous cruisers sailing in that area seem to survive.

 

To sail a boat offshore you need to be prepared for gale force winds. The possibility of encountering some gusts in the gale force range over a portion of the course is not the same as leaving the dock in a gale.

 

This is just sad.

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This race is the equivalent of a 2 or 3 day ski-mountaineering trip in the wilderness as compared to a day's skiing at the local resort. Don't apply the criteria of one to the other.

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Frankly, from my perspective, your note is closer to a Rule 69 violation than a display of good will and I respectfully request that you withdraw it from the record.

Oh FFS.... Why is it that every time someone so much as farts aboard a boat these days, someone is screaming Rule 69? There is nothing in Rule 69 that even remotely touches expressing one's opinion about which course to choose in a regatta. I suppose, then, that all the owners at Block Island last year who expressed mild to significant displeasure with the idea that shit would break in 32 knots for round the island race should also be 69'd? 69... Pure hyperbole here.

 

those owners were just pussies...........East Coast flavored

 

Blondei,

 

Our you siurre they sayeng Rulle 69 an notte juste 69? Thick aboutit a lemme no.

 

S_y

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ISAF Rule 4: The responsibility for a boat’s decision to participate in a race or to continue racing is hers alone.

 

Everything else is irrelevant.

 

+1, if you think your crew/vessel is not up to conditions DON'T GO.

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Some personal observations:

There used to be a race from Dana Point, around San Clemente Island, and finishing in San Diego. I sailed in it twice. 18-22 kts is a common forecast between Catalina and the west end of San Clemente Island.

 

The possibility of gusts to 38 kts is much different than sustained winds in that range.

 

The appeal of the various So Cal races that go around the islands is offshore sailing in pretty wild locations and the possibility of some sporty conditions.

 

20-25 kts with higher gusts is common on a summer afternoon near Long Point on Catalina Island, but somehow the numerous cruisers sailing in that area seem to survive.

 

To sail a boat offshore you need to be prepared for gale force winds. The possibility of encountering some gusts in the gale force range over a portion of the course is not the same as leaving the dock in a gale.

 

This is just sad.

Having sailed out of Dana Point and Newport our whole lives - I agree with your assessment of our local conditions.

 

Here is a snap shot of the email from SDYC "The purpose is to provide a heavy weather course inside the islands, if needed. The course will be selected no later than 1800 on Thursday."

 

What is "Heavy Weather" in the eyes of an Organizing Authority? And at the same time, SDYC is promoting the SoCal 300, where 25+ knots is found more often than not.

 

Here is the SDYC Race Promo video -

 

The video shows winds in the mid 20's, puffs to 30's and (well prepared) boats having a great time. We even go outside of San Nicholas Island and 121 miles offshore. How do you promote the race as fast and fun, than tell the racers that it is too rough (especially here in So Cal where it almost never gets over 40 knots). Is the SoCal 300 next on the list?

 

And I apologize for my rant, but we went out and specifically bought a robust, offshore capable boat. It is just frustrating.

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Nothing to see here, after all as soon as the downwind drifter to Mexico was over, nearly everytime, it blew 35 and I was only 1000 miles dead downwind from home..

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man .. if i had a sled i'd be drooling at this forecast . maybe not the on-the-nose part so much , but dayum , growing up in socal racing a 56ft IMS we would salivate at these conditions because we rarely got this opportunity. to me the islands race is to epitomize the out of the norm light air affair that is most of socal . and if i owned a SC70 , and was fearful , i would keep to myself, and probably sell the damn thing if i was turning my back on the offshore course. how sad this is indeed. if you're not prepared, stay home .

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Most of you are missing the point here. The OA and RC have ALREADY documented their concern for dangerous conditions, defined parameters for making a course change or abandoning and by doing so, have let the competitors and the world know what their position is. John and OEX are simply acknowledging and supporting the OA's decision to take the conditions seriously and adapt as needed based on past history and loss of life.

 

www.islandsrace.com/documents/islandsrace16_si_amend1.pdf

 

What a fucking pussy move!!!!!!

 

 

 

A Melges 24 could handle these conditions...

 

...best stay away from the Southern Straights race in the NW...the conditions listed look like an annual checklist :lol:

 

The fundamental areas of concern are forecasts for the period of 03/11/16 00:00 - 03/12/16 23:59 consisting of:

a. sustained winds in excess of 28 knots and/or;

b. wind gusts in excess of 32 knots and/or;

c. swells in excess of 10’ and/or;

d. air temperatures below 50 degrees.

 

unfuckingbelievable :mellow:

 

 

 

 

They live in a bubble where sailing is always a sunny 12 kts and help is but a club RIB away

 

 

 

...talk about bleached brains ....time to trade that sled for a nice couch <_<

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Incredibly, there are "sailors" who now believe sailing should be completely safe. There is an aspect to this sport that is dangerous, and among other lovely things, the challenge of negotiating with those dangers is part of the draw for me. Sorry for any misfortunes and especially lives lost, but I can't support regulating the sport to the point of it's complete castration. If I was signed up for a distance race that followed John's suggestion above, that would probably be the last time I joined that race. Not to make a statement or anything. Simply to avoid putting so much energy into something devoid of the sense of accomplishment sailing is so good at delivering.

Agreed 100%

 

In the 2009 Bermuda 1-2, there was a front forecast to move through a short while after the start of the return leg, with 40 knots hitting the fleet for maybe 24 hours. A couple of skippers took it on themselves to organize a vote on the question if we should delay the start. No matter that the NOR, SI or RRS had no provision for a democratic choice.

 

A bare majority expressed a desire to delay. The organizer was put in a bad spot, and bowed to the majority.

 

I thought and still think it was a mistake to delay, and a mistake to allow the fleet to make the decision.

 

The irony is that the result of the delay was that the front stalled on top of us by the time we actually started. Had we started on time, the entire fleet would have been fine. Instead it blew like snot for a week and was freezing cold. It was the roughest sustained weather that I have had in 47000 miles on Dragon. Lucky for me, we only had 70 hours of misery. Most of the fleet, including those who voted for delay, had 4 plus days of it. Karma.

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Incredibly, there are "sailors" who now believe sailing should be completely safe. There is an aspect to this sport that is dangerous, and among other lovely things, the challenge of negotiating with those dangers is part of the draw for me. Sorry for any misfortunes and especially lives lost, but I can't support regulating the sport to the point of it's complete castration. If I was signed up for a distance race that followed John's suggestion above, that would probably be the last time I joined that race. Not to make a statement or anything. Simply to avoid putting so much energy into something devoid of the sense of accomplishment sailing is so good at delivering.

Agreed 100%

 

In the 2009 Bermuda 1-2, there was a front forecast to move through a short while after the start of the return leg, with 40 knots hitting the fleet for maybe 24 hours. A couple of skippers took it on themselves to organize a vote on the question if we should delay the start. No matter that the NOR, SI or RRS had no provision for a democratic choice.

 

A bare majority expressed a desire to delay. The organizer was put in a bad spot, and bowed to the majority.

 

I thought and still think it was a mistake to delay, and a mistake to allow the fleet to make the decision.

 

The irony is that the result of the delay was that the front stalled on top of us by the time we actually started. Had we started on time, the entire fleet would have been fine. Instead it blew like snot for a week and was freezing cold. It was the roughest sustained weather that I have had in 47000 miles on Dragon. Lucky for me, we only had 70 hours of misery. Most of the fleet, including those who voted for delay, had 4 plus days of it. Karma.

 

and.... BOOM goes the dynamite !

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Nothing to see here, after all as soon as the downwind drifter to Mexico was over, nearly everytime, it blew 35 and I was only 1000 miles dead downwind from home..

Tru Dat!!

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Most of you are missing the point here. The OA and RC have ALREADY documented their concern for dangerous conditions, defined parameters for making a course change or abandoning and by doing so, have let the competitors and the world know what their position is. John and OEX are simply acknowledging and supporting the OA's decision to take the conditions seriously and adapt as needed based on past history and loss of life.

 

www.islandsrace.com/documents/islandsrace16_si_amend1.pdf

 

What a fucking pussy move!!!!!!

 

 

 

A Melges 24 could handle these conditions...

 

...best stay away from the Southern Straights race in the NW...the conditions listed look like an annual checklist :lol:

 

The fundamental areas of concern are forecasts for the period of 03/11/16 00:00 - 03/12/16 23:59 consisting of:

a. sustained winds in excess of 28 knots and/or;

b. wind gusts in excess of 32 knots and/or;

c. swells in excess of 10’ and/or;

d. air temperatures below 50 degrees.

 

unfuckingbelievable :mellow:

 

 

 

 

They live in a bubble where sailing is always a sunny 12 kts and help is but a club RIB away

 

 

 

...talk about bleached brains ....time to trade that sled for a nice couch <_<

 

 

Pretty sure you've got room on yours!

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130nm Blast not suitable for a 32ft boat? Skipper & crew had plenty of experience in the conditions & in the boat & in the previous similar boat. Unfortunately it was just a series of small errors thst led to his death. Take note - prepare better - but don't say it's unsafe when it's not.

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Sydney - Southport delayed about 15 years ago for the only time I can think of, this is also a lee shore race of around 360nm.

IIRC, that was as much to do with an ongoing search for the Canadian Tornado team that got lost out training on the Manly Circle. They didnt want the fleet tearing through the search area.

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Indeed, epic races all. All sailed with boats built for the test. Our boats in Socal are light air rockets, many are approaching their 30th lap around the sun. Fastnet, Hobart and Bermuda have all postponed starts, as has the Volvo on many legs when conditions called for prudence.

 

I was there in 2013 when things went pear shaped quickly. We had a fire and a near grounding on a lee shore.

 

Three boats lost rudders.

 

One boat grounded on San Clemente and Craig Williams died.

 

He left a young daughter and a wife pregnant with their second child.

 

Hoorah on your bravado!

 

If you correctly remembered the Fastnet was not postponed to protect the competitors from the conditions (but the competitors from bad decisions) and relieving the RNLI of the prospect of 300+ mayday calls of people who were not prepared .

 

They were started in the high of the storm so competitors could make the decision not to start in stead of finding out in the celtic sea that it was as bad as predicted. Many did a upwind beat in 60 kts to plymouth to get absolutely shitfaced in a tent.

 

and the Volvo was postponed because there was a little cyclone that destroyed several Polynesian(miconiasian?) islands so not quit 40 kts

 

 

The start of the 2000 Vendee Globe was delayed by 4 days.

 

IIRC, that was mostly because the harbour entrance was unpracticable, the risk was reaching the start line not so much sailing after the start.

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Sydney - Southport delayed about 15 years ago for the only time I can think of, this is also a lee shore race of around 360nm.

IIRC, that was as much to do with an ongoing search for the Canadian Tornado team that got lost out training on the Manly Circle. They didnt want the fleet tearing through the search area.

 

Hmm... I remember it was due to large seas. The wind wasn't so bad (35-40 I think), but there was an enormous leftover swell from the tail-end of an East Coast Low.

 

Don't forget the pussification bailout of the Cabbage Tree race in November due to a gale warning. It turned out to be a fizzer (no more than 30kn), and the race is a Hobart qualifier!

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Here's a reply from Sangmeister to all the negative comments he's gotten. For those of you who don't know him, he's a rather accomplished sailor and a huge contributor to the sport, in many ways. I'm proud to be able to call him a friend.

 

 

It seems yesterday’s note generated some discussion, some positive, some negative, some down right mean, from a variety of participants, couch sailors and yachting journalists. One consistent characteristic of the authors of these anonymous comments is that few, if any share, the financial responsibility for their boats or shoulder the burden of personal responsibility for the safety of their crew. Apologies are in order, that note was written to owners and those with contingent responsibility and liability for a sailing event.

A good friend and fellow owner, sent the traditional Libertarian quip calling for “responsibility lies squarely at the feet of the individual owner.”
Well yes and no. Let me explain; first the financial implications: is it possible to self insure? No. No marina in the United States would allow a vessel to enter and berth without third party insurance from a known rated agency. We each pay into financial pools to mange and share each others risk. There was a time in the late eighties-early nineties when the West Coast sleds were faced with the threat of being un-insurable. Today’s modern equipment is wonderful until it isn’t? It’s stronger, lighter and faster. It also has limitations. It’s no longer possible to pull an all nighter, sleeve your broken aluminum mast and sail with a Frankenstein rig the following day. My old boss lost his carbon fiber rig sailing in a local regatta off San Diego. The end result was his boat was a total loss. The replacement costs of the rig and sails far outweighed the value of his boat.
“Responsibility lies squarely at the feet of the individual owner.” How far should that extend? Can it be limited to you and your crew that sign on for a voyage? Does this mean we shouldn’t call for assistance if necessary? Taken literally, is it fair and reasonable to put those lives in jeopardy as well? Will these actions prevent future events from being issued permits or insurance? No one advocates a nanny state, but surely we should avoid the nutty state as well.
Moving forward, I’d offer the following for consideration:
1) Manage expectations: Race committees should prepare and post contingency plans with the Notice of Race. A great deal of preparation goes into these races at all levels. Let’s have a plan in place for organizers, owners, crew and family should Mother Nature prove uncooperative.
2) Adopt the Highest Safety Standards: Let’s unify USSER’s rule to conform to World Sailing/ISAF OSR’s. Some of these changes are small, a return to wire lifelines etc; some are more involved such as better and more comprehensive Safety at Sea seminars. Where there are differences, the higher standard should prevail.
3) Be smart, Remain viable: Offshore sailing in the United States is taking it on the chin. Can you recall Big Boat Series with Big Boats, SORC’s spanning 6 weeks and Clipper Cups attracting competitors to Oahu from around the world? It was a magical time. When a fleet gets beaten up it may draw page views and click throughs, but owners, sponsors and affiliates lose interest. Nothing good comes from making the 11 o’clock news.
It’s been my privilege to serve as a sponsor, skipper, sailor, owner, competitor and fan over many years of sailing. We’ve won some races and lost more, withdrawn for breakdowns but usually boredom. Sometimes life is just seconds and inches. I’ve been on board three big boat dis-mastings, celebrated big wins, held an unconscious bleeding man in my arms for many minutes while treading water off Fremantle (he lived but lost his leg), successfully recovered a man overboard lost off a high speed offshore catamaran and sailed in a race where a young father lost his life.
The Volvo, the Bermuda and Fastnet have all delayed starts. Everest expeditions routinely wait for weather windows. I wasn’t suggesting not sailing, merely encouraging support of the alternate routing proposed in the Island’s Race amendments.
This is one owner’s opinion, not a former young crew member with only himself at risk. Having switched roles, I now look at the world through a new pair of glasses.
Thank you for your consideration.

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One consistent characteristic of the authors of these anonymous comments is that few, if any share, the financial responsibility for their boats or shoulder the burden of personal responsibility for the safety of their crew.

 

 

Actually it's clear that some commenting here are owners.

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Here's a reply from Sangmeister to all the negative comments he's gotten. For those of you who don't know him, he's a rather accomplished sailor and a huge contributor to the sport, in many ways. I'm proud to be able to call him a friend.

 

 

It seems yesterday’s note generated some discussion, some positive, some negative, some down right mean, from a variety of participants, couch sailors and yachting journalists. One consistent characteristic of the authors of these anonymous comments is that few, if any share, the financial responsibility for their boats or shoulder the burden of personal responsibility for the safety of their crew. Apologies are in order, that note was written to owners and those with contingent responsibility and liability for a sailing event.

A good friend and fellow owner, sent the traditional Libertarian quip calling for “responsibility lies squarely at the feet of the individual owner.”
Well yes and no. Let me explain; first the financial implications: is it possible to self insure? No. No marina in the United States would allow a vessel to enter and berth without third party insurance from a known rated agency. We each pay into financial pools to mange and share each others risk. There was a time in the late eighties-early nineties when the West Coast sleds were faced with the threat of being un-insurable. Today’s modern equipment is wonderful until it isn’t? It’s stronger, lighter and faster. It also has limitations. It’s no longer possible to pull an all nighter, sleeve your broken aluminum mast and sail with a Frankenstein rig the following day. My old boss lost his carbon fiber rig sailing in a local regatta off San Diego. The end result was his boat was a total loss. The replacement costs of the rig and sails far outweighed the value of his boat.
“Responsibility lies squarely at the feet of the individual owner.” How far should that extend? Can it be limited to you and your crew that sign on for a voyage? Does this mean we shouldn’t call for assistance if necessary? Taken literally, is it fair and reasonable to put those lives in jeopardy as well? Will these actions prevent future events from being issued permits or insurance? No one advocates a nanny state, but surely we should avoid the nutty state as well.
Moving forward, I’d offer the following for consideration:
1) Manage expectations: Race committees should prepare and post contingency plans with the Notice of Race. A great deal of preparation goes into these races at all levels. Let’s have a plan in place for organizers, owners, crew and family should Mother Nature prove uncooperative.
2) Adopt the Highest Safety Standards: Let’s unify USSER’s rule to conform to World Sailing/ISAF OSR’s. Some of these changes are small, a return to wire lifelines etc; some are more involved such as better and more comprehensive Safety at Sea seminars. Where there are differences, the higher standard should prevail.
3) Be smart, Remain viable: Offshore sailing in the United States is taking it on the chin. Can you recall Big Boat Series with Big Boats, SORC’s spanning 6 weeks and Clipper Cups attracting competitors to Oahu from around the world? It was a magical time. When a fleet gets beaten up it may draw page views and click throughs, but owners, sponsors and affiliates lose interest. Nothing good comes from making the 11 o’clock news.
It’s been my privilege to serve as a sponsor, skipper, sailor, owner, competitor and fan over many years of sailing. We’ve won some races and lost more, withdrawn for breakdowns but usually boredom. Sometimes life is just seconds and inches. I’ve been on board three big boat dis-mastings, celebrated big wins, held an unconscious bleeding man in my arms for many minutes while treading water off Fremantle (he lived but lost his leg), successfully recovered a man overboard lost off a high speed offshore catamaran and sailed in a race where a young father lost his life.
The Volvo, the Bermuda and Fastnet have all delayed starts. Everest expeditions routinely wait for weather windows. I wasn’t suggesting not sailing, merely encouraging support of the alternate routing proposed in the Island’s Race amendments.
This is one owner’s opinion, not a former young crew member with only himself at risk. Having switched roles, I now look at the world through a new pair of glasses.
Thank you for your consideration.

 

Dear John,

 

It is a shame you had to send Peter to speak for you and could not stand up yourself. I assume you have given this matter some thought.

 

I am an "owner" and have had the "contingent responsibility and liability for a sailing event" so perhaps you might permit me to offer comment along the same lines that you did. I have raced my own boat(s) in breeze in the 30s many times, 40s a handful of times and 60s once (thankfully only once and not by conscious choice). Equally I have cruised my own boat(s) extensively with my wife and I sharing responsibility for each other and our 2 young children. We have covered many many thousands of nautical miles, offshore, and coastal and while racing and cruising have dealt with damage such as dismastings, and on-board injuries.

 

I respectfully suggest you look up the word(s) skipper or captain or accountability or command responsibility.

 

If you judge yourself, your crew or your boat not up to the expected conditions - make the command decision to not do the race or to withdraw at such a time as continuing is no longer prudent. There is no shame in that decision. It is in fact what is demanded and expected from you and every other skipper. The only shame is not making that decision or worse yet shifting it to others.

 

Regards,

 

Wess

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Here's a reply from Sangmeister to all the negative comments he's gotten. For those of you who don't know him, he's a rather accomplished sailor and a huge contributor to the sport, in many ways. I'm proud to be able to call him a friend.

 

 

It seems yesterday’s note generated some discussion, some positive, some negative, some down right mean, from a variety of participants, couch sailors and yachting journalists. One consistent characteristic of the authors of these anonymous comments is that few, if any share, the financial responsibility for their boats or shoulder the burden of personal responsibility for the safety of their crew. Apologies are in order, that note was written to owners and those with contingent responsibility and liability for a sailing event.

A good friend and fellow owner, sent the traditional Libertarian quip calling for “responsibility lies squarely at the feet of the individual owner.”
Well yes and no. Let me explain; first the financial implications: is it possible to self insure? No. No marina in the United States would allow a vessel to enter and berth without third party insurance from a known rated agency. We each pay into financial pools to mange and share each others risk. There was a time in the late eighties-early nineties when the West Coast sleds were faced with the threat of being un-insurable. Today’s modern equipment is wonderful until it isn’t? It’s stronger, lighter and faster. It also has limitations. It’s no longer possible to pull an all nighter, sleeve your broken aluminum mast and sail with a Frankenstein rig the following day. My old boss lost his carbon fiber rig sailing in a local regatta off San Diego. The end result was his boat was a total loss. The replacement costs of the rig and sails far outweighed the value of his boat.
“Responsibility lies squarely at the feet of the individual owner.” How far should that extend? Can it be limited to you and your crew that sign on for a voyage? Does this mean we shouldn’t call for assistance if necessary? Taken literally, is it fair and reasonable to put those lives in jeopardy as well? Will these actions prevent future events from being issued permits or insurance? No one advocates a nanny state, but surely we should avoid the nutty state as well.
Moving forward, I’d offer the following for consideration:
1) Manage expectations: Race committees should prepare and post contingency plans with the Notice of Race. A great deal of preparation goes into these races at all levels. Let’s have a plan in place for organizers, owners, crew and family should Mother Nature prove uncooperative.
2) Adopt the Highest Safety Standards: Let’s unify USSER’s rule to conform to World Sailing/ISAF OSR’s. Some of these changes are small, a return to wire lifelines etc; some are more involved such as better and more comprehensive Safety at Sea seminars. Where there are differences, the higher standard should prevail.
3) Be smart, Remain viable: Offshore sailing in the United States is taking it on the chin. Can you recall Big Boat Series with Big Boats, SORC’s spanning 6 weeks and Clipper Cups attracting competitors to Oahu from around the world? It was a magical time. When a fleet gets beaten up it may draw page views and click throughs, but owners, sponsors and affiliates lose interest. Nothing good comes from making the 11 o’clock news.
It’s been my privilege to serve as a sponsor, skipper, sailor, owner, competitor and fan over many years of sailing. We’ve won some races and lost more, withdrawn for breakdowns but usually boredom. Sometimes life is just seconds and inches. I’ve been on board three big boat dis-mastings, celebrated big wins, held an unconscious bleeding man in my arms for many minutes while treading water off Fremantle (he lived but lost his leg), successfully recovered a man overboard lost off a high speed offshore catamaran and sailed in a race where a young father lost his life.
The Volvo, the Bermuda and Fastnet have all delayed starts. Everest expeditions routinely wait for weather windows. I wasn’t suggesting not sailing, merely encouraging support of the alternate routing proposed in the Island’s Race amendments.
This is one owner’s opinion, not a former young crew member with only himself at risk. Having switched roles, I now look at the world through a new pair of glasses.
Thank you for your consideration.

 

Dear John,

 

It is a shame you had to send Peter to speak for you and could not stand up yourself. I assume you have given this matter some thought.

 

I am an "owner" and have had the "contingent responsibility and liability for a sailing event" so perhaps you might permit me to offer comment along the same lines that you did. I have raced my own boat(s) in breeze in the 30s many times, 40s a handful of times and 60s once (thankfully only once and not by conscious choice). Equally I have cruised my own boat(s) extensively with my wife and I sharing responsibility for each other and our 2 young children. We have covered many many thousands of nautical miles, offshore, and coastal and while racing and cruising have dealt with damage such as dismastings, and on-board injuries.

 

I respectfully suggest you look up the word(s) skipper or captain or accountability or command responsibility.

 

If you judge yourself, your crew or your boat not up to the expected conditions - make the command decision to not do the race or to withdraw at such a time as continuing is no longer prudent. There is no shame in that decision. It is in fact what is demanded and expected from you and every other skipper. The only shame is not making that decision or worse yet shifting it to others.

 

Regards,

 

Wess

 

 

Excuse me, but John did not send me here to post this. I saw it on his Facebook feed and posted it on my own in the hope that it would further expand the conversation in an enlightened manner.

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Did people really complain at block island last year? True pissification of the sport.

I don't remember anyone actually complaining, just surprised that on such a weird weather day, that was the day they decided to go RTI. Especially since the next day was forecast (and turned out to be) a fantastic day for exactly that kind of race.

 

Hell, even the owner of Zefiro Torna, who ended up with a wrap that even the race officials couldn't fully cut free, said that it was the most fun he'd ever had on his boat.

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A Open Letter to the 2016 Islands Race Chairs

March 8, 2016

 

Good evening:

 

Big breeze with a long lee shore is not a good combination. In the 2013 race, onboard OEX, we spent six hours under the assistance of the United States Coast Guard following the race. We set the elapsed time course record. We sustained tremendous damage. We were fortunate. All crew-members returned safely and the boat was not lost.

 

Craig Williams and his family were far less fortunate.

 

"While the Islands Race has a rated distance of 129.5 nautical miles the northwest corner of San Clemente Island is 75 miles from San Diego Buoy #1 and therefore in inclement conditions help is not readily available." - 2013 Island Race Report on US Sailing's Safety Report.

 

We had considered withdrawing from the race. If put to a vote, I would support and recommend the inshore course. This seems a prudent contingency plan for competitors and organizers alike.

 

Sincerely,

 

John Sangmeister

Owner/Skipper

S/V OEX USA-88

#IslandsRace #SDYC #NHYC

 

 

 

 

Here's a reply from Sangmeister to all the negative comments he's gotten. For those of you who don't know him, he's a rather accomplished sailor and a huge contributor to the sport, in many ways. I'm proud to be able to call him a friend.

 

 

It seems yesterday’s note generated some discussion, some positive, some negative, some down right mean, from a variety of participants, couch sailors and yachting journalists. One consistent characteristic of the authors of these anonymous comments is that few, if any share, the financial responsibility for their boats or shoulder the burden of personal responsibility for the safety of their crew. Apologies are in order, that note was written to owners and those with contingent responsibility and liability for a sailing event.

A good friend and fellow owner, sent the traditional Libertarian quip calling for “responsibility lies squarely at the feet of the individual owner.”
Well yes and no. Let me explain; first the financial implications: is it possible to self insure? No. No marina in the United States would allow a vessel to enter and berth without third party insurance from a known rated agency. We each pay into financial pools to mange and share each others risk. There was a time in the late eighties-early nineties when the West Coast sleds were faced with the threat of being un-insurable. Today’s modern equipment is wonderful until it isn’t? It’s stronger, lighter and faster. It also has limitations. It’s no longer possible to pull an all nighter, sleeve your broken aluminum mast and sail with a Frankenstein rig the following day. My old boss lost his carbon fiber rig sailing in a local regatta off San Diego. The end result was his boat was a total loss. The replacement costs of the rig and sails far outweighed the value of his boat.
“Responsibility lies squarely at the feet of the individual owner.” How far should that extend? Can it be limited to you and your crew that sign on for a voyage? Does this mean we shouldn’t call for assistance if necessary? Taken literally, is it fair and reasonable to put those lives in jeopardy as well? Will these actions prevent future events from being issued permits or insurance? No one advocates a nanny state, but surely we should avoid the nutty state as well.
Moving forward, I’d offer the following for consideration:
1) Manage expectations: Race committees should prepare and post contingency plans with the Notice of Race. A great deal of preparation goes into these races at all levels. Let’s have a plan in place for organizers, owners, crew and family should Mother Nature prove uncooperative.
2) Adopt the Highest Safety Standards: Let’s unify USSER’s rule to conform to World Sailing/ISAF OSR’s. Some of these changes are small, a return to wire lifelines etc; some are more involved such as better and more comprehensive Safety at Sea seminars. Where there are differences, the higher standard should prevail.
3) Be smart, Remain viable: Offshore sailing in the United States is taking it on the chin. Can you recall Big Boat Series with Big Boats, SORC’s spanning 6 weeks and Clipper Cups attracting competitors to Oahu from around the world? It was a magical time. When a fleet gets beaten up it may draw page views and click throughs, but owners, sponsors and affiliates lose interest. Nothing good comes from making the 11 o’clock news.
It’s been my privilege to serve as a sponsor, skipper, sailor, owner, competitor and fan over many years of sailing. We’ve won some races and lost more, withdrawn for breakdowns but usually boredom. Sometimes life is just seconds and inches. I’ve been on board three big boat dis-mastings, celebrated big wins, held an unconscious bleeding man in my arms for many minutes while treading water off Fremantle (he lived but lost his leg), successfully recovered a man overboard lost off a high speed offshore catamaran and sailed in a race where a young father lost his life.
The Volvo, the Bermuda and Fastnet have all delayed starts. Everest expeditions routinely wait for weather windows. I wasn’t suggesting not sailing, merely encouraging support of the alternate routing proposed in the Island’s Race amendments.
This is one owner’s opinion, not a former young crew member with only himself at risk. Having switched roles, I now look at the world through a new pair of glasses.
Thank you for your consideration.

 

 

This is what is wrong with this sport. You seem to be looking at the world through aged eyes. Eyes that no longer have the drive and passion to push the limits or take on risk.

 

It seems your stance reflects that of other 70 owners I know. You have already been there, done that. You have accumulated assets, family, businesses, etc. The challenge and risk is no longer worth the reward to you. I think, as younger owners, we understand your position and respect your opinion.....however: you need to mind your own business and let us do our thing.

 

The issue here is your demographic has enough money and political clout to influence the direction of sailing in our country. Sadly it seems, rather than use this power for good, those like you use this power, money, and influence to change the sport to fit the retirement home mold for your own benefit, rather than let it grow organically with a free market approach.

 

Your good Libertarian friend is entirely correct. Don't attempt to force your bifocals on those that are not ready to wear them.

 

“responsibility lies squarely at the feet of the individual owner.”

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This is what is wrong with this sport. You seem to be looking at the world through aged eyes. Eyes that no longer have the drive and passion to push the limits or take on risk.

 

It seems your stance reflects that of other 70 owners I know. You have already been there, done that. You have accumulated assets, family, businesses, etc. The challenge and risk is no longer worth the reward to you. I think, as younger owners, we understand your position and respect your opinion.....however: you need to mind your own business and let us do our thing.

 

The issue here is your demographic has enough money and political clout to influence the direction of sailing in our country. Sadly it seems, rather than use this power for good, those like you use this power, money, and influence to change the sport to fit the retirement home mold for your own benefit, rather than let it grow organically with a free market approach.

 

Your good Libertarian friend is entirely correct. Don't attempt to force your bifocals on those that are not ready to wear them.

 

“responsibility lies squarely at the feet of the individual owner.”

 

 

Dude....do you have any idea of ALL the types of boats Sangmeister owns and sails.

 

So in other words, you think a guy who owns Tritium and sailed it in Transpac is ready for a retirement home?

http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/2002/Orma-72-2637352/San-Francisco/CA/United-States#.VuF-7Ta5fgW

 

And how about the foiling Nacra he had last year?

 

There are few people who work as tirelessly to promote the sport in a variety of ways as does John.

 

If you bothered to talk to him, you'd find out he's all about advancing the sport, and trying to go as fast as possible.

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