dacapo

code flag "Y"

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when should the RC fly Code Flag Y (all sailors must wear PFD's while racing)?  We had 2 MOB's Sunday in our Clubs races. a J22 crew got knocked over in a puff when the main sheet wasn't  eased quick enough and an Ensign crew fell out of the boat as it heeled over. there was  12-15 kts of wind, flat water. Yes the water is still chilly but they were not inf for very long.  there are some in our club who feel that code flag Y should of been hoisted and others who think that if the SI's have code flag in them and the RC does not fly "Y" and someone gets hurt the club would be liable....I'm just looking for you're opinion (HAAAAAAA, i;'m sure there are many)  

I'm in the camp of... (As a skipper) :.it's the skipper's responsibility to sail or not due to the conditions and if you have crew that are unfit to sail they don;t go. 

                                   ( As a PRO)  : depends on the weather...20+kts. and steep waves added to chilly water I'd think about it, especially if there a lot of older crews sailing. But Sunday was 83 degrees, ave. of 13 kts of flat water....champagne sailing conditions....

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we don't fly  y  unless extreme conditions , 12-15 isn't extreme, so we wouldn't fly it, but we tell people to put them on because it makes it easier for the rescue people to find the body...     nobody complains..

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My thoughts on PFD's.... if you have to ask "Should we wear PFD's today?" then the answer is Yes, yes you should.  Its better to be safe than sorry. 

 

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48 minutes ago, dacapo said:

when should the RC fly Code Flag Y (all sailors must wear PFD's while racing)?  We had 2 MOB's Sunday in our Clubs races. a J22 crew got knocked over in a puff when the main sheet wasn't  eased quick enough and an Ensign crew fell out of the boat as it heeled over. there was  12-15 kts of wind, flat water. Yes the water is still chilly but they were not inf for very long.  there are some in our club who feel that code flag Y should of been hoisted and others who think that if the SI's have code flag in them and the RC does not fly "Y" and someone gets hurt the club would be liable....I'm just looking for you're opinion (HAAAAAAA, i;'m sure there are many)  

I'm in the camp of... (As a skipper) :.it's the skipper's responsibility to sail or not due to the conditions and if you have crew that are unfit to sail they don;t go. 

                                   ( As a PRO)  : depends on the weather...20+kts. and steep waves added to chilly water I'd think about it, especially if there a lot of older crews sailing. But Sunday was 83 degrees, ave. of 13 kts of flat water....champagne sailing conditions....

Doesn't sound like it was "PFD required" weather, other than the principle that the RC should pull it unexpectedly once in a while, for dual purpose of  keeping racers on their toes and for an equipment check.

For dinghies and youth sailors, it pretty standard to ALWAYs require PFDs. Keelboats with lifelines, not so much. I wear one racing an Etchells though.

17 minutes ago, sail611 said:

My thoughts on PFD's.... if you have to ask "Should we wear PFD's today?" then the answer is Yes, yes you should.  Its better to be safe than sorry. 

 

Bingo. Kinda like reefing

In a heavy-air race some years ago, small-ish keelboat with a pretty well practiced crew, I said "This downwind ride is going to be a bit hairy, let's get everyone into PFDs before we set the spinnaker." It was blowing 25+ and pretty good chop, the upwind was hairy enough that it made sense.

My prankster of a bowman replied "What I hear you saying is, you don't want to set the spinnaker..... you pussy!" Well by the time we'd argued that out, we were more than halfway down the run, wing-n-wing. I think he had a hidden agenda of his own

FB- Doug

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Not PFD related, but since it was mentioned....I have found that in heavy air, often it is better to run dead down wind wing and wing, than to fly a kite.  If you've got the crew and the skills to do it, you're gonna be a rockstar.  But if not, like doing french fries when you should have done pizza, you're gonna have a bad time.  I would say don't ask me how I know, but I am pretty sure most of you have learned the same lessons I have, the same way I did.  At least nothing major broke and nobody got hurt.

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1 hour ago, dacapo said:

when should the RC fly Code Flag Y (all sailors must wear PFD's while racing)?  We had 2 MOB's Sunday in our Clubs races. a J22 crew got knocked over in a puff when the main sheet wasn't  eased quick enough and an Ensign crew fell out of the boat as it heeled over. there was  12-15 kts of wind, flat water. Yes the water is still chilly but they were not inf for very long.  there are some in our club who feel that code flag Y should of been hoisted and others who think that if the SI's have code flag in them and the RC does not fly "Y" and someone gets hurt the club would be liable....I'm just looking for you're opinion (HAAAAAAA, i;'m sure there are many)  

I'm in the camp of... (As a skipper) :.it's the skipper's responsibility to sail or not due to the conditions and if you have crew that are unfit to sail they don;t go. 

                                   ( As a PRO)  : depends on the weather...20+kts. and steep waves added to chilly water I'd think about it, especially if there a lot of older crews sailing. But Sunday was 83 degrees, ave. of 13 kts of flat water....champagne sailing conditions....

Until the water temp is over 60 (it isn't) and until keelboat sailors wear drysuits (they won't), they really aren't playing so smart round the buoys without pfds. People become incapacitated really fast in 52 degree water if not dressed for it. At least with PFD you can get them back.

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I think it’s important to note that the question isn’t “should you wear a PFD,” it’s “when (and should) the RC REQUIRE everyone to wear a PFD.” Also, what are legal repercussions of flying a the Y-flag? We recently had the same problem in New Orleans. I’ve done some regattas that make you prove everyone has a PFD while checking in. I think this is the best way to do it. Requiring competitors to wear a pdf some days and not others leaves RC open to legal risk, imho. I’m not an attorney though.

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The club should never require the competitors to wear pfd's. IMO, if "Y flag means pfd's on", then "No Y flag" becomes "pfd's off".

 

I'm in the camp of "wear your fucking life jacket, dumbass." They should almost always be worn. Only on the hottest, slowest days are you actually "safe" without one, and on those days, they make a great back cushion.

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Wear an inflatable always - after a couple of minutes you don't even know you have it on.

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21 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

Wear an inflatable always - after a couple of minutes you don't even know you have it on.

If that were true, I’d always wear one. My only complaint with them is that I’m yet to find one that doesn’t make itself known when you’re ducking under the lifeline to get back in the boat after hiking. I don’t mind that offshore because you’re usually not short tacking, 

Dinghy style foam vests are the only ones that don’t annoy the hell out of me on a bouy course, but they suck on a hot day. 

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Wearing PFDs on sailboat shares some similarities with wearing a helmet while riding a bike or motorcycle.

  • If I choose not to wear a PFD or helmet, it does not make your sailing or riding experience any safer.
  • If I choose not to indulge in a pre race drink or mid ride smoke, I am making your sailing and riding experience safer

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I always assumed the Y flag was there for dinghy sailing, from the good ol' days when men were tough, and life jackets were only for sissy's. Nowadays, it is written into the sailing instructions. 

I would class a J22 as a "large" yacht, and not a dinghy, and therefore it is the skippers responsibility and decision, not the yacht clubs.

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Our water is cold. There is no need for a Y flag as everyone is required to wear PFDs in the SIs. Always.

If I was an Organizing Authority, I'd have a written procedure that didn't leave the decision up to the judgement of the RC on that day.

The Coasties really like written procedures. Think of it like a Sail Selection chart, with a PFD Yes/No rule, based on water temp/wind speed.


You can do this on your own boat BTW. 

 

Check with US Sailing for real recommendations.

 

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8 hours ago, sail611 said:

Not PFD related, but since it was mentioned....I have found that in heavy air, often it is better to run dead down wind wing and wing, than to fly a kite.  If you've got the crew and the skills to do it, you're gonna be a rockstar.  But if not, like doing french fries when you should have done pizza, you're gonna have a bad time.  I would say don't ask me how I know, but I am pretty sure most of you have learned the same lessons I have, the same way I did.  At least nothing major broke and nobody got hurt.

It's faster to fly the spinnaker; but it's slow to broach/death-roll/shrimp/swoop miles past the leeward mark because you're struggling to get the goddam thing down.

In the absence of problems, the kite is faster.

Some years further back, racing Ensigns..... boats which absolutely do NOT plane, ever, in fact they kind of anti-plane..... we had a downwind drag race between us flying a kite, and a close competitor, wing-n-wing..... they rounded the windward mark about a boat-length ahead of us. Knowing how it works,  I had set the vang bar-taut before our rounding, did the set slightly by the lee and by the numbers, next thing you know we had a roaring stern wave and the rig was groaning under the strain. The guy was tight as a banjo string.

We slo-o-o-w-w-w-w-ly caught and passed them. The run was exactly 1 mile, we did our douse-n-round by the numbers, with a 1 boat length lead.

If we'd fucked up, we probably would have dismasted or sunk the boat. It was -that- windy, stupid to even hold that race. But we were determined to gut it out.

Apologies for the hijack.

BTW we were all wearing PFDs

FB- Doug

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5 hours ago, RATM said:

Wearing PFDs on sailboat shares some similarities with wearing a helmet while riding a bike or motorcycle.

  • If I choose not to wear a PFD or helmet, it does not make your sailing or riding experience any safer.
  • If I choose not to indulge in a pre race drink or mid ride smoke, I am making your sailing and riding experience safer

Tend to agree aggressively, street/relaxed biking I'm adamant that helmets are a scare tactic to making biking look unsafe. We don't wear car helmets... and unless you're fracturing your skull I'm not sure what it gets you other than feeling safe. Concussion is going right through.

Think the main argument for Y is that in most outdoor sports (climbing, paragliding, mountain biking are good examples) our combined access can be ruined by one accident. And while I trust myself - our actions do control outcomes of another. The dumbass falling off the boat in 10-15 with a head injury that could potentially ruin my YC's ability to get a permit... well... that's why we have Y I guess. I hate its implications on my personal choice. But in some ways it gives me a bit of choice too and makes sure my sport stays there.

But it is a grey cultural line to be sorted and adjusted. And allowed to be stepped over considering its been made clear. For example, our club flys Y all the time. Nobody has ever been protested  for not following it or wearing a bouancy aid as I can remember. And there's a lot that don't follow the rule to the letter.

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Being a club member,  I worry about flying the y-flag, liability, and a sue happy society. I like putting safety in the skipper's hand, not the RC or club. Say, for example, you routinely fly Y in anything over 15. Then, one calm day, a squall comes through and someone drowns. Is the club liable for not flying Y at the start? Everyone has adapted to the club telling them when to wear PFDs, but they did not on this fateful day, so it must have been safe.

RC cannot babysit crew. Know when you should where one. Don't rely on someone else telling you when to.

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50 minutes ago, Varan said:

Being a club member,  I worry about flying the y-flag, liability, and a sue happy society. I like putting safety in the skipper's hand, not the RC or club. Say, for example, you routinely fly Y in anything over 15. Then, one calm day, a squall comes through and someone drowns. Is the club liable for not flying Y at the start? Everyone has adapted to the club telling them when to wear PFDs, but they did not on this fateful day, so it must have been safe.

RC cannot babysit crew. Know when you should where one. Don't rely on someone else telling you when to.

That's the whole point of written policies. 

 

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We always Fly the Y flag,      it's our class flag http://www.yeomankinsman.org.uk/index.asp

That being said up till around 20 years ago dinghies had to wear life jackets / bouyancy aids, but anything with a fixed keel didn't . However then they voted for everyone wearing life jackets at all times on board and children at all times under 12 on the club, very small island.

Part of the justification for the vote was, to be an example to the public.. A point of view I disagree with.  Sadly I was 600 miles away at the time or I would have voted against.

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Last Fall during our annual Fall regatta it was blowing a lot harder than 12-15 and during the skipper's meeting I reminded all the participants that first it's their decision to race and if they don't feel comfortable, they were not to sail. Secondly, I reminded them that sailing is a sport that requires self rescue as the primary means and to not rely on the presence of a safety boat as they could be busy on the course with somebody else.  

Decision to Race is in the SIs and since many don't read the SIs, it's always good to remind sailors of their responsibility.

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At a certain point the sailor becomes a liability to a club. The average age of your run of the mill yc has to be roughly 60+, with a fair few clubs having members thinking they can still sail despite barely being able to step aboard let alone handle any sort of sailing dramas. While age alone is not a discriminating factor, years of living the good life and doing minimal physical fitness limits ones self rescue ability. It is 100% up to the person engaging in this recreational activity to be responsible for themselves. It is not a clubs duty to keep them safe, it is only responsible for not purposefully putting them into harm. Look to ski mountain legalities for similar(as similar as it can get) ideas on how to distance yourself from liability. 

I agree with many above posters that flying the flag, and therefore then not, opens one up to lawsuits, which sailing of course is loused with. 

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last thoughts on this, if you're an OA, talk to your insurance agent on minimizing liability.

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