3000 sailors complete CYCA safety courses in lead-up to Sydney to Gold Coast Yacht
There has been a massive response by offshore sailors seeking extra safety training,
knowledge and experience before Australia's major ocean races of the coming
2000-2001 bluewater season.
In fact, by the time the 67-boat fleet lines up for the start of the Cruising Yacht Club of
Australia's Sydney - Gold Coast Race on Saturday week, July 29, an estimated 3000
sailors will have completed the CYCA's safety seminars or gained certificates from
equivalent courses at other clubs throughout Australia.
According to CYCA sailing manager Phil Thompson, this clearly underlines the
awareness the Club has created among sailors of their need for greater theoretical and
practical knowledge of safety measures, including helicopter rescue operations, weather
forecasts and heavy weather seamanship.
'Before last year's Telstra Sydney to Hobart some 1500 sailors had completed safety
courses at the CYCA and other clubs in Sydney as well as at Victorian and Tasmanian
yacht clubs - by the time this year's race gets under way that number will have doubled -
and by a lot more,' Thompson said today.
'Everyone has a much better approach to the vital need for good seamanship in ocean
racing. However, not only are sailors participating; we are getting people from people
involved in offshore powerboat events, including big game fishing.
In last year’s Telstra Sydney to Hobart we required 30% of crew members of each yacht
to have attended safety courses. For this year’s race the limit is at least 50% of the crew
of each yacht, Thompson added.
Thompson said that yacht owners and their crews, both experienced offshore sailors and
newcomers to the sport, had accepted fully the CYCA's edicts on safety, both in boat
equipment and in personal safety. The value of this had been underlined in last year's
Sydney to Hobart, an exceptionally hard race for the smaller boats in the fleet.
'While the Gold Coast Race is a Category 2 safety offshore event, the CYCA is
conducting three safety modules in the week leading up to the start, with practical and
theoretical demonstrations and lectures on man overboard situations, helicopter rescue
drill and firing flares. All have been booked to capacity.
We expect that at least 50% of crew in the Gold Coast Race will have completed the
safety courses, even though the requirement for this Category 2 coastal passage race is
30% of the crew of each yacht, Thompson added.
The CYCA is planning to issue a preliminary Notice of Race for the 2000 Telstra Sydney
to Hobart, with the proviso that there may be additional safety requirements
recommended by the Coroner when he hands down his findings of the Inquest into the
1998 Sydney to Hobart tragedy.
The preliminary Notice of Race will include new or extended requirements that:
To establish stability requirements, each yacht must have a current IMS certificate,
whether they enter under IMS, IRC or PHS (new for this year).
At least 50% of the crew must have completed a CYCA safety seminar or an equivalent
course conducted by other clubs (increased from 30% last year).
Each yacht’s crew must include two qualified HF radio operators and two crew members
with senior first aid certificates (double last year's requirements).
Thompson reminded yacht owners that their boats must also carry a 406 mHz EPIRB
which provides far greater accuracy and the ability to identify yachts; a hand-held,
waterproof VHF radio; white parachute flares; and be fitted with the new race frequency
'These were required for last year's race and while the need did not arise to use an
EPIRB in the race, the new race frequency, the requirement for hand-held, waterproof
VHF radios, and the white parachute flares were all tested during the tough race to
Hobart,' Thompson added.
Additional safety measures for the 2000 Telstra Sydney to Hobart include:
Lloyd Helicopters will again provide a specialised day and night search and rescue
aircraft to follow the fleet south.
The Tasmanian Water Police will again have their vessel van Diemen stationed on the
Tasmanian East Coast during the latter part of the race.
The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania's radio reception and transmission capabilities will
be vastly upgraded with the establishment of an antenna 'farm' on the East Coast.
For further Information contact:
Peter Campbell, Media Director, 2000 Telstra Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
Telephone: (02) 9869 8197 or 0419 385 028.
or Lisa Ratcliff, Media Officer, Sydney to Gold Coast Race, mobile 0418 428 511
Via Peter Campbell