Having fun and staying safe

Yachting of all kinds involves certain elements of risk. All of us involved in the sport know this. It adds excitement to our sport and is the reason for prudent seamanship.

Deck and Cockpit Safety

You must develop a constant level of awareness.
Remember – “One hand for you and one hand for the ship.”
You will develop good balance and an instinctive use of grab points: the pulpit, mast, standing rigging, railings, etc.
When moving about on a sailing vessel always work the windward side and hold onto a strong support. In rough weather, use your safety harness.
Students always observe the instructor before doing this so they can follow a good example.

Danger Areas

Between the standing rigging and the pulpit, the companionway, the working area of the cabin top, the cockpit hatches, the engine well and the after area of the cockpit.

Safe Areas

The pulpit at the bow, the standing rigging around the mast, and the cockpit sole are the safest areas on deck.

NOTE: When moving about when sailing, always stay/move on the windward side. Never work “behind” the boom or foresail. Should a sheet inadvertently let go, the sail may sweep you into the water. Always wear safety harness attached to jack lines during foul weather or when sailing at night or single-handed. 

Safe Sail Handling

When working on the foredeck with the foresail, putting it into the bag, work facing the sea so you can anticipate ocasional wave. Position yourself so you can hold onto the railing.
When working with the halyards, position yourself so you stand within the area defined by the shrouds. This way you can lean against the shrouds and wrap your arm around one of the shrouds.
Whenever standing near a shroud or stay, wrap your arm around it while you are working. Keep your feet flat and braced against slipping.
When furling the mainsail, make sure that all lines are clear of the deck on which you are working and that the mainsheet is hardened and cleated. Slide the main cabin hatch shut so you will not fall into the cabin.
Make sure the cockpit hatches are shut to avoid falling into the cockpit lockers.
In strong winds, even without sails up, the vessel will heel. Stay to windward! When working at the aft end of the boom, brace yourself against the backstay.

NOTE: When kneeling, always put the soles of your feet on DECK. Never step on lines or sailcloth – it is very slippery and will damage easily.