Safety First

16 November 2017

Part of the invaluable support available for participants in the ARC is access to expert advice from the World Cruising Club team with many years of experience between them. All are on hand in Las Palmas and have been imparting their knowledge through a series of comprehensive seminars, workshops, discussions and hands-on sessions. They are all designed to offer practical and informative advice before the Atlantic crossing.

Earlier today, skippers and crews from many of the 190 boats taking part in the ARC enjoyed one of the highlights of the programme – a full morning of safety demonstrations run in association with Hamble School of Yachting. Crews gathered on the northern breakwater of the marina to view a full SAR (search and rescue) helicopter high-wire transfer. Using a crew member on Karl-Thomas Neumann’s X-Yachts Xc 45, Lin Bi Lan as the volunteer casualty vessel, many participants were interested to see how long such a rescue really takes and it was great to see it up-close from the safety of the shore.


Richard Dallala will sail on Susan Glenny’s Beneteau First 40, @teamtigress for his first transatlantic crossing: “The safety demonstrations have been helpful because you get to see how things are done and the mechanics of it. If there’s an eventuality like this, then we’d be a little bit more prepared.”

Roger Seymour from Hamble School of Yachting, who was in charge of today’s safety demonstrations was very pleased with how things had gone. “It’s been a 100% successful day,” he said after the search and rescue, supervised flare demonstration and a practical session where crews learnt tips on emergency evacuation and had a chance to deploy and board a liferaft. “The day is aimed as a refresher and reminder for the crews. Not all of them would have done the safety courses so it’s a very good thing to do before the start. The helicopter high-line transfer was really realistic and crews could clearly watch from the shore. The supervised flare deployment was also very well attended, but of course the children particularly liked the chance to get into their lifejackets in the pool and a chance to see how difficult it is to board a liferaft. It’s always a highlight.”

Peter Nicholas and family are en route to their native New Zealand on their Beneteau Sense 50, Pelizeo. Although he and his wife had recently done refresher courses, he was pleased that his six-year old son also had the opportunity to take part in today’s safety demonstrations: “You always pick up little bits and pieces and learn something new and it’s a great part of the ARC. All of our crew have been fully briefed and know where all the safety equipment is, and our son has tried the lifejackets out and AIS on the way here.”


Old sailing friends from Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, UK sailing on Hanse 455, Infinity of Yar were waiting poolside to watch the liferaft inversion and righting. Crew member, Miles Peckham said: “It’s a good refresher. I did the course in Hamble so I’ve righted a liferaft to see how it all works, but it’s nice to see it all again and to get a refresher.” His skipper was giving them all a full safety briefing on board following the practical demonstrations.

Isabella, on the Beneteau Oceanis 400, Geronimo is a rookie sailor and was keen to learn as much as possible from the WCC experts on safety day: “It’s been absolutely amazing. I’m really quite new to sailing, so I think it’s a good thing to do as it takes away the panic of it all if anything were to happen. I’ve been to every single seminar here. I just love it. I’ve only done my Competent Crew certificate so I found it all amazingly useful. We’ve learnt a lot and we’ve put so much onto our boat that has been recommended by the lecturers at the seminars.”

Young skipper Rebecca Tilly, sailing Talulah Ruby II, a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 49DS was also impressed with the Safety Day: “I’ve done my Sea Survival twice, but it was really great because a couple of the crew haven’t, so it was good for them to see it all. It’s a brilliant refresher too.”