Nordik Light - Thursday, May 4, 2017 Log

The last several days have involved attending ARC’s briefings on provisioning, flares, liferafts and the inspection of Nordik Light for preparedness for offshore passage making.  The hole in the foredeck has been sealed up in a very neat repair for the wires powering the staysail’s furling motor.  There was some sorting out with regard to polarity of the wiring and when that was all good, crew had a chance to practice inspecting the deck gear while underway and made sure the staysail sheets got their usual several wraps around the roller-furled sail.  We did fine on the inspection and came away with some helpful tips, like taping the pelican hooks on the side gates to ensure none come open unexpectedly.  And Inspector Peter’s approvals of most of the gear and conditions on and below deck was a boost to crew confidence.

On Tuesday, Peter, the same man who inspected the boat, gave a briefing on emergency management at sea.  This covered defining what constitutes and emergency (not a hangnail), prioritizing life and property problems, preparations to help avoid trouble via a number of considerations, including getting an offshore capable boat, planning, capable crew, and many other aspects of working to maximize safety and minimize loss.  Peter presented a video of a crewman going very quickly overboard in a Southern Ocean race and discussed elements of this emergency, what went wrong and how to avoid a similar incident (don’t allow a gap in being clipped on).  It was impressive how quickly the man in the cockpit wound up in the water.  A second or so.

Mia gave a well-organized presentation on provisioning for offshore passages.  For those of us new to longer offshore passage-making, she offered lot of helpful suggestions, including crew food allergies and preferences, who’s doing the cooking, menu planning and making sure ingredients match meals, refrigeration capabilities, and having 1.5 times as much food on board as the estimated length of the passage;  just in case.  Mia covered specific meal arrangements used on her vessel, snacks, heavy weather plans versus calmer seas meals.  Even not leaving a knife lying loose on the galley counter, put it in the sink was mentioned, a good tip for avoiding an injury.  What to do if the boat loses much of it’s water supply or electrical power, trash disposal and provisioning in ports along the various ARC’s voyages (Bermuda) were also discussed.  Even with this crewperson’s 21 years of cruising there were helpful ideas in Mia’s presentation, so thank you, Mia, and the ARC folks for another helpful presentation.

The next day, all crew from Nordik Light attended the flares demonstration out on Nanny Cay’s breakwater, with many rally participants getting a hands-on experience firing off and holding a flare.  This was followed by briefing in the pool with life rafts.  Again a good discussion was followed by us boaters donning life jackets and practicing a dry boarding of the raft from the pool deck, then a wet boarding from the water.  Also crew practiced righting an inverted life raft, as the raft will sometimes emerge from it’s container and inflate in an upside down position.  So several sailors got to grab lines or parts of the ballast bags on the underside (now top side) of the raft and pull themselves up onto the raft while pulling it over on top of themselves.  Good takeaway point was to hold one arm and fist vertically over your head to create an air pocket around you after the raft has flipped over and is above you in the water.  This leaves you with air and some time to get out from under the raft with much less likelihood of panic.  Later that afternoon, rally participants had another briefing, this time over at Andy and Mia's Swan, and this time about deck safety, mostly focussing on preventers for the main/boom and rigging and handling a spinnaker pole for the genoa, providing for a steadier and more effective headsail going downwind.  These aspects of sailing are particularly relevant for Nordik Light, as we will be running down the Trade winds on the way to Fort Lauderdale.  Not a first time for us on this topic, but all reminders, refreshers and going over ideas are always welcome. 

Most days this week, after the serious business of preparing to make a safe passage, our crew had a swim, a few beers, some dinner (light, as all of us on Nordik Light are trying to get back into our speedos)……  We are working on improving our morale in a 2 part process:  1) serious preparation and 2) awesome conversations in the evenings about sailing, flying, mechanics, where are we and where are we going? (navigation), love, family, children, Freud’s ideas, the environmental movement, soccer moms, the meaning of life and the probable fate of the universe and what’s to eat.  And all the jokes we can recall,  which, given our young old ages is between 3 and I don’t remember.  Signing off,  Log Keeper of Nordik Light, Lynn

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