Sunshine in the BVI

04 May 2016

Gone are the dark clouds that passed us by on the weekend and the blue skies and hot sunshine are back in Nanny Cay.  It seems like everyone is keen to be here as by early this morning we had all but 2 of the rally boats here already, so 42 boats in Nanny Cay all with their rally flags flying & creating a great atmosphere.  The program has been keeping everyone busy and today was no exception with a morning of safety demos.

First up on the breakwater we had a flare demo which included running through the 3 types of flares that WCC requires that each boat carry onboard:  Parachute (red rocket) flares, red handheld flares and orange smokes.  Apart from the rocket flares we were able to demo each flare on how many you should have, how they should be stored and correctly handled with gloves and goggles to safely set them off.  We then gave instruction to any participants that would like to fire off some flares, and for many this was their first try.  Others have done courses before but you always learn something new...interestingly orange smoke flares, considered a day signal, could if needed be used at night as we have learnt that the rescue helicopters have thermal imaging cameras and will notice a 1 degree temperature difference so the orange cloud of smoke appears as a white blob on their screens.

Shortly after everyone headed over to the swimming pool for the liferaft demo.  This was a chance to see an inflated raft, talk through some of the key features and with some willing volunteers practice a dry boarding, wet boarding and re-righting a capsized raft.  The best case scenario is a dry boarding (entering the raft directly from the vessel) which avoids the dangers of hypothermia and losing someone.  A wet boarding entails the crew entering the water first and then the raft.  We also demonstrated the items we are looking for on each lifejacket: whistle, light, reflective tape, sprayhood, crotch straps and also that the quick release double tether is correctly attached.    

Once all 6 crew were inside the raft we identified the 4 steps:

Cut - Cut the painter, be aware not to cut too early, maybe it is better to stay attached to the vessel

Stream - Stream the drogue, to maintain stability and keep you closer to the point of initial emergency

Close - Close down the raft

Maintain - Maintain the crew and raft, treat casualties, bail out etc

A lot of information to cover but a very beneficial morning for both new and experienced crews and hopefully everyone took a little something away with them - not just the bad taste of the liferaft "food"!!

Up in Portsmouth, Virginia we opened the rally office at Ocean Marine Yacht Center for the 3 boats starting from the USA, so welcome to Blue Mist, the smallest boat in the fleet (Pearson Vanguard 32), First Light and Merlyn of Poole.  They are being taken care of by Andy and Mia and will have time to enjoy the city before sailing to join the bulk of the fleet in Bermuda.  We also have 2 boats making their own way to Bermuda, so safe sailing to Mariposa coming from Florida and Mimosa coming up from Nassau. 

Back in Nanny Cay we have a pretty casual volleyball match starting shortly, although the One Mart supermarket (where boats will be provisioning tomorrow) is bringing a team of guys down to challenge the ARC crews - so watch out it could be interesting!  The spectactors will be cheering on from the Beach Bar, why not check us out on the Nanny Cay webcams