Lessons Learned or FAQs
Suggestions for Medical Kits
Safety Check Process
Common questions with respect to Appendix A of the NOR, Required Safety Equipment.
Are both sets of flares required? YES, one set (par. 11) is for the boat and one set needs to be set aside for the life raft (abandon ship survival kit par. 9).
Qualifier - New skippers and past skippers with new boats are required to do a qualifier. It is very smart to do the qualifier the year before the race. Since the race is in early June there is way too much to do to get ready for the race to allow time for a qualifier. Documenting the qualifier is important to the race committee and readability is import. This is an example of how the qualifier can be documented which includes a chart showing the route and a log printed for readability.
Pre race shakedown cruise - It is important to have some time on the boat before the actual race to make sure the boat is totally functional; no leaks, all equipment functional, rig secure and tuned, etc. We had one case where the boat leaked on one tack but not the other and did not discover that until he tacked several hours after the start but would have discovered the problem if a dry run had been held.
An interesting study; A Guide to Steering without a Rudder Methods and Equipment Tested by Michael Keyworth.
US: To make reentry into the US from Bermuda you should submit the Customs User Fee Decal ahead of time. It is asked for by Customs when you arrive back into the US. There are two ways to submit this form: 1. Fill it in online at https://dtops.cbp.dhs.gov/ (you can find it by doing a web search for "DTOPS US Gov") or 2. If you have problems with using the form then download (http://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/CBP%20Form%20339V.pdf ) a 2 page form with 2 pages of instructions that can be filled out in 5 minutes. Add a check for $27.50 and send it off to the address given.
Bermuda: Susan Oatley passed to me a new website for Bermuda Customs that should help you get processed through Customs. The url is: http://www.sailclear.com , click on upper right “Register” if you haven’t registered yet otherwise click on “Login”.
Bermuda Maritime Operations requires all boats arriving at Bermuda to fill in an information arrival form. You can actually type the information in via their website vice using this form (yacht pre arrival…). Go to: http://www.marineandports.bm then hover over the "Maritime Operations Center" menu top left then click on "Sailing to Bermuda". Then click on “Online Yacht Pre-arrival Form” in the middle section of the page. If your having problems with the online form then use the following form which can be emailed to the address on the form.
While you are at the "Sailing to Bermuda" page click on the "Sailing to Bermuda" link just above the "Online Yacht Pre-arrival Form" for a pdf file that is full of information associated with sailing and Bermuda; various maritime business, lat/long of the various beacons/buoys (pages 21-22) that you will run into (hopefully avoiding).
The trackers should not need charging for the whole race however if for some reason charging is needed a standard USB A to mini-B USB cell phone charger cable can be used to charge the tracker. We ask that you only charge them if we ask you to do so! If the cap on the USB port is not done up properly (or the seal is lost) then water can get into the unit - in the past when people have charged them this has happened and has damaged the trackers. The units arrive fully charged and based on the transmission rates there should be no need to charge assuming all is well.
The trackers come in their own soft cases and attach to the yacht using one or more strong Velcro straps. Use the strap(s) to attach the tracker to the pushpit or similar rail. We also ask that you secure the tracker with a cable-tie, for extra safety. You are responsible for returning the tracker.
Always leave the trackers open to the sky. Even while in Bermuda do not hang things like wet clothes over the tracker. If the tracker is not open to the sky the battery will discharge trying to contact the satellite.
Continental Shelf: All
skippers in the Bermuda 1-2 are advised to treat the canyon area of the
shelf waters as a region to maintain alertness due to the high probability
of encountering lobster fishing gear, each consisting of several large poly
spherical floats and a radar reflector “hi-flyer” buoy. Tidal currents in
this region cause the gear obstruction, which may be 40 to 50 feet in
length, to stretch out at a right angle to one’s course line. Competitors
have snagged this gear , typically at night. Ask me how I know this to be
true! Not to be recommended!
I treat this area as a region to not be caught napping! I plot my course over ground to where it intersects the steep dropoff of the continental shelf and select that point as a waypoint. I make sure I am maintaining a radar watch if visibility is restricted by fog or darkness. In the daytime and in good visibility, I maintain a visual watch as I approach the area, which is trpically only about a mile or two wide and quickly traversed.
Peter McCrea, S/V PANACEA