Today started off with a couple of demonstrations here in Nanny Cay, nothing political just a few safety demos that always have a good attendance. Although certainly not designed as full safety courses, which are recommended to take long before the start of the rally, these are refreshers to remind everyone of some of the key points when having to use flares and liferafts.
Our head safety guy Peter Burch started things off on the breakwater, a suitable area within the marina for a flare demonstration, discussing some of the changes that have occurred in what is required by World Sailing (former ISAF) who's guidelines World Cruising Club and many other race and rally organisers follow. One of the big changes is that electronic flares (LED) are now accepted and red rockets/parachutes are no longer required.
Flares should be properly stored in a watertight container with a pair of gloves & goggles, and kept in a locker that is easily accessible and all crew know where to find them. Some of the off a variety of orange smoke flares and handheld red and white flares. One of the more visual lessons learned this morning was when a SOLAS flare and a US Coastguard flare were set off at the same time next to each other. Although the coastguard flare burns for longer it is not as bright (750 candela) and has a lot of debris falling from it. The SOLAS flares burn for less time but are too bright to really look at (15,000 candela) and are visible from much further away.
Another lesson conveyed was that search and rescue teams use thermal imaging cameras as one of their techniques in locating you and so it's worth remembering that when a flare has extinguished it is still very hot. So don't drop it into the water straight away and keep waving it as the heat signal may still be picked up on the camera.
The second part of the morning continued over at the swimming pool and involved the launching and inflating of a liferaft. The demonstration looked at some of the things you can do now like finding out more about your liferaft, it's features and importantly what is inside the liferaft pack and what you might need to 'top-up' your grab bag with eg. food, water, first aid kit. With volunteers chosen there was a chance to carry out a dry boarding (from the poolside) and a wet boarding (from the water) and righting a capsized raft. A dry boarding is preferable as it avoids some of the dangers like hypothermia and losing sight of someone. A wet boarding is less preferable and involves working as a team to enter the raft from the water using the boarding ladder/platform, A lesson from this demo is to clip on to the painter with your tether to make your way to the raft. Another lesson is the 4 actions once in the raft: Cut, Stream, Close, Maintain. Cut the painter. Stream the drogue. Close it down. Maintain raft/crew.
Crews kicked back after a busy (and hot) day this afternoon with sundowners at the Beach Bar. A little volleyball was played but mostly people were connecting with the others crews from the boats next door, or those that sailed together in previous rallies together.