Yacht racing in West Sydney Harbour and Parramatta River has additional safety considerations for all skippers involved due to restrictions to vessel movements due to the geography of the area. These waterways are enclosed and restricted by depth. We share these waters with boats from up to five other sailing clubs over a range of performance and speed capabilities.

A recent close contact incident with GFS boats during Saturday racing has been brought to our attention by a member of Parramatta River Sailing Club. While not attributing blame to any party involved as no protest was lodged, the Club takes this opportunity to remind all skippers that Racing Rules of Sailing apply to any vessel racing in any Sailing Australia endorsed event and of course Col Regs apply to all other vessels in a vicinity of possible contact.

As different club courses on any event day will inevitably cross, often in opposite directions, Skippers and their crew must remain aware at all times of vessel movements in their vicinity and be prepared as a matter of courtesy to make their planned course or course adjustments obvious to other close vessels when a likely close contact may occur. A hail or hand signal, and consistent straight steering maybe all that is required and is a means to say g’day to our fellow yachties on the way past.

Don’t forget Col Reg #1, a vessel must at all times maintain an adequate look out and take all steps necessary to avoid contact with other vessels.

There is provision for inter club protests to occur if deemed necessary by lodging a protest in accordance with RRS and your club Sailing Instructions.

David Leslie

GFS Safety Officer

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