Nearly 30 offshore sailors, including 5 local sea scouts and their leaders, spent a day learning key safety lessons at a US Sailing Sanctioned Hands-On Safety at Sea seminar presented in partnership between the Storm Trysail Club and the Chicago Yacht Club on October 1, 2022.
Moderator Rich DuMoulin (Storm Trysail Foundation Chairman and past Commodore of STC) led a team of dedicated member-volunteers in classroom work as well has hands-on use of flares and fire extinguishers, but the highlight of the day was an afternoon spent on the water. Chicago area volunteer boat owners took the students out in lumpy conditions on a brilliant fall afternoon on Lake Michigan. Practical instruction on crew overboard (COB) prevention and recovery was aided by use of the ‘dummies’ DuMoulin brought with him to Chicago. These dummies (custom made by UK Sailmakers and past Commodore Butch Ulmer) allowed for realistic hands-on practice in recovering COB. CYC’s Belmont Station provided a superb venue and even allowed for practice with life rafts and inflatable PFDs in the harbor adjoining the club.
This is the first time STC and CYC have worked together to present a Safety at Sea Seminar. “The two clubs are both leaders in safety education in the US,” said CYC Rear Commodore (and STC member) Ray Groble. “It makes perfect sense that the two clubs work together. We were thrilled to have Rich join us – a true leader in cutting-edge Safety at Sea training.” In the spring, the two Clubs collaborated for an on-line session which served as “Part I” of this seminar. It included training on the safety ethos, weather, damage control, and more.
“It was fantastic that we had so many Sea Scouts and their leaders join us for the seminar,” said Du Moulin. “They are the future of offshore sailing, and Storm Trysail Foundation is proud to provide grants supporting the two local Sea Scout ships in Chicago. Making sure they, and other sailors, are safe when they go offshore is what Storm Trysail is all about.”
The event was supported by Western Great Lakes Station Captain Michael Hettel and other STC members in the area, as well as CYC’s fantastic on the water staff led by Chuck Nevel, the regatta director. Special thanks go out to the owners of the three boats that volunteered (all owned by STC members or their spouses): _Dakota_ (Ray Groble & Steve Sickler), _Painkiller 5_ (Alice Martin), and _Vayu_ (Ron Buzil).
Those that successfully completed the course (and who complete the necessary online segments) are eligible for the US Sailing International Offshore Safety at Sea With Hands On Training Certificate, a prerequisite for many of the world’s great offshore races.