Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik ZKG

Evacuation at Sea - Learning from the 2012 Newport Bermuda Race

by John Rousmaniere on 1 Feb 2013
Seabiscuit Talbot Wilson - Copyright
No one should underestimate the importance or demands of these incidents and the efforts to deal with them. As Royal Bermuda Yacht Cub Commodore Jonathan Brewin observed, 'We were dealing with just one boat and one casualty. If four or five boats were involved, we wouldn’t be able to handle all of it. We need to have a team ready to work.'

Report below:

The Newport Bermuda Race is closely followed by an onshore team of race officials who alternate four-hour watches as they monitor emails, satphone and radiotelephone calls, and the online tracker that identifies entries and their positions. At a little after 2000 EDT on the 2012 race’s third night, June 17, watch-stander Nicholas Weare, based in Bermuda, received an email from the race’s consulting physician in Massachusetts.

He promptly reported it to race officials: 'Message received from Dr. Barbara Masser advising that she lost satphone contact 7:49 EDT while in communication with Seabiscuit regarding a 38-year-old insulin dependent male who has not eaten or drunk for 24 hours, with elevated blood sugar and appears confused.'

These were the first two of more than two dozen emails (not to mention many satphone and radio calls) sent over the next seven hours concerning the serious problem on board Seabiscuit, a J-46 in the race’s Double-Handed Division. The effort to assist and, eventually, evacuate the seasick sailor, Nathan C. Owen, included more than two dozen people, including race officials, rescue personnel in the U.S. and Bermuda, and the crews of two other racing boats and a cruise ship.

Following the incident there were frank discussions of lessons learned in a debriefing at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, in replies to a questionnaire circulated to 21 people involved in the incident, and in John Rousmaniere’s detailed incident report to the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee. Here is a summary

Seasickness puts lives at risk. Seasickness medication must be trialed by each member of the crew prior to going offshore, checking for side effects, and be used prophylactically wherever the boat is sailing. All vessels must be equipped with proper seasickness and anti-nausea medication, including suppositories (for times when oral medication cannot be held down) and IV saline to provide emergency hydration

At least one crew member should be trained and assigned to monitor crew health and medications. 2012 Bermuda Race Chair John Osmond (a medical doctor) has recommended that sailors take a first- aid course/safety seminar addressing seasickness and dehydration.

Crews must be thoroughly familiar with and practice on their satellite phones and radiotelephones. Satphone calls were lost and dropped because the phone or volume was turned off, or because service providers could handle only a limited number of voice calls at time. Voicemail and email are extremely valuable options for offshore satphones—but they work only if the crews frequently check for messages.

The question 'Who was in charge?' in the questionnaire elicited a large variety of answers. Because some confusion is probably inevitable in such situations, a crisis management plan that looks sound on paper may not be suitable in action. Every plan should be tested in trial runs by its team and rescue officials.

Another crucial issue is having necessary data readily available. Telephone numbers and other contacts for boats, rescue services, and homes must be known and carefully recorded and stored where they are instantly accessible.

For more of the report, go to Race News - Bermuda Race
Bakewell-White Yacht DesignSchaefer 2016 Ratchet 300x250InSunSport - NZ

Related Articles

2016 52 Super Series – Action shots from Day 4 by Ingrid Abery
Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from day four. Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from day four.
Posted today at 7:52 pm
2016 TP52 Super Series – Images from races six and seven by Max Ranchi
Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from races six and seven of Audi Settimana delle Bocche Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from races six and seven of Audi Settimana delle Bocche
Posted today at 4:40 pm
A jam-packed, fun filled stopover awaits the Clipper Race fleet
Seven teams have completed the Ocean Sprint in the LegenDerry Finale, in a bid to get the final bonus points on offer. At 0900 UTC, Daniel’s team holds a one nautical mile lead overClipperTelemed+ which has chosen a more northerly route, and has stretched to 14NM over third placed LMAX Exchange, whose Skipper Olivier Cardin is looking forward to big surf off the west coast of Ireland.
Posted today at 1:25 pm
Entries open for Invited Classes at Sailing World Cup Final
Racing for the 14 classes begin on 8th December, except for the 2.4mR non-classified class who will begin on Tuesday six This year, event organisers have catered for sailors who would usually compete in the Laser Standard, Laser Radial and 49er FX Olympic Classes but were unable to make a top 20 position. These sailors will have an opportunity to be part of the Sailing World Cup scene and compete in close proximity to the highest rated sailors in their class.
Posted today at 12:36 pm
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - ETAs into Derry-Londonderry
The Clipper Race fleet is closing in on Derry-Londonderry ahead of the start of the Foyle Maritime Festival. The Clipper Race fleet is closing in on Derry-Londonderry ahead of the start of the Foyle Maritime Festival. The finish line to the LegenDerry Finale is approximately a three hour motor from Foyle Marina where the fleet will be berthed.
Posted today at 5:20 am
2016 TP52 Super Series – More action shots from Day 3 by Ingrid Abery
Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from day three of Audi Settimana delle Bocche Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from day three of Audi Settimana delle Bocche
Posted on 30 Jun
2016 TP52 Super Series – Day 3 images by Ingrid Abery
Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from day three of Audi Settimana delle Bocche Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from day three of Audi Settimana delle Bocche
Posted on 30 Jun
Azzurra remains in the top three at the Audi Settimana delle Bocche
The course was beautiful and short enough so that the windward/leeward race that had to be abandoned could be recovered. The third day of racing saw breezes kick in a bit late. The Racing Committee decided on a 12 nautical mile course that took the fleet from Porto Cervo to the Secca di Tre Monti between Sardinia and Caprera, and back.
Posted on 30 Jun
A fistful of winners at Audi Settimana delle Bocche Regatta
So far Bronenosec, Provezza, Azzurra and Quantum Racing have all led the table and the points remain extremely tight. So far Bronenosec, Provezza, Azzurra and Quantum Racing have all led the table and the points remain extremely tight. Quantum Racing, with Doug DeVos on the helm, achieved their own points goal for the day.
Posted on 30 Jun
2016 TP52 Super Series – Images from races four and five by Max Ranchi
Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from races four and five Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from races four and five
Posted on 30 Jun