This is a great reminder that no matter how experienced a sailor you are, you can never have too much safety training. This may very well be the reason that Rambler had such a successful outcome of their accident.
The entire crew of 21 on Rambler underwent advanced man overboard and safety training just prior to leaving Rhode Island for the Transatlantic Race and the subsequent Rolex Fastnet Race. The training consisted of a thorough inspection of safety equipment on shore as well as a five-hour training session out at sea. Experienced, licensed training professionals at Life Raft and Survival Equipment (LRSE) of Tiverton, RI conducted the training. Unfortunately, the training had to be put to use on August 15 th when the 100-foot yacht lost its keel in 15-foot waves and capsized immediately, throwing all 21 crew members into the frigid water off the coast of Ireland. Fortunately, all crew survived.
The training primarily involved a two-step process. The first step was on-shore inspection of PFDs, tethers, personal locator beacons (PLBs) and life rafts to ensure that all equipment was functioning properly. The second step was a five-hour offshore trip, which included a thorough review of abandon ship procedures, emphasizing the importance of forming a circle to “stay warm, stay together and stay afloat.” The offshore drills also included inflating a life raft and conducting an exercise to recover a person overboard.
For more information on safety training, go to www.lsre.com.