On behalf of your GFS Committee, welcome to the 2021-22 Sailing Season.  Your Commodore  and Rear Commodores have been busy planning and preparing for Twilght and Saturday Racing and we are ready to go.  However, as you are all aware we are being foiled again by Covid19. Community sports are not possible now, and potentially until at least the end of October.  I am being optimistic!

As Safety Officer my plans for hands on safety audits prior to racing are also foiled. Although the days were scheduled in the Sailing Programme, these are obviously placed on hold.  Your Committee have endorsed that in accordance with recommendation by Sailing Australia and, consistent with other Sydney Sailing Clubs, the validity of Safety Audits expiring 30 June 2021, is extended until 31/12/2021.  When we know if and when Sailing events can recommence, we will advise a programme of Safety Audits at GFS.

In the meantime I make the following advice to skippers:

  • Responsibility of the Person in Charge – AS Special Regulation 1.02

The safety of a boat and her crew is the sole and inescapable responsibility of the person in charge who shall do their best to ensure that the boat is fully found, thoroughly seaworthy and manned by an experienced crew who have undergone appropriate training and are physically fit to face bad weather.  He/She must be satisfied as to the soundness of hull, spars, rigging, sails and all gear.  He/She shall ensure that all safety equipment is properly maintained and stowed and that the crew know where it is kept and how it is to be used.  He/She shall also nominate a person to take over the responsibilities of the person in charge in the event of the skippers incapacitation.

  • Under the Health Orders, you can visit a vessel on mooring or in a marina, to check the soundness and safety of the vessel and moorings and ensure that on board systems remain functional and safe.
  • A vessel can be driven to for from a slipway or maintenance facility for purposes of service and repair.
  • The 2021-24 Safety Audit Forms for Cat 7, 5 and 4 are downloadable from the GFS Website Racing Information Tab. Now is the time to download the form and undertake the skipper’s requirements for forthcoming audits. At the least:
    • Check your First Aid Kit contents for quantities and expiry dates. First Aid requirements have been simplified for Cat 7-5 so this is not onerous but sensible.
    • Now is the time to do your inflatable PFD surveys. Skippers are reminded that NSW Roads and Maritime can stop and check vessels on the water at any time for safety compliance.
    • Check your lights and torches are functional and spare batteries available;
    • Download, print and study your 21-22 GFS Sailing Instructions. There is new stuff in there!
    • Radio checks are simple, easy and essential.

A note with respect to radios. With the potential for outside starts and outside finishes during the twilight series a functional radio will be essential for race management reasons aswell as safety.

STAY SAFE: David Leslie, GFS Safety Officer                                             

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