Photo: Spirit of Bermuda by John Wadson
At the invitation of the Bermuda Sloop Foundation that operates Spirit of Bermuda – the 85′ on deck/112′ sparred length, three-masted sail training vessel – Storm Trysail Foundation (STF) partnered in a Bermuda Hands-On Safety at Sea Seminar on March 26-27. The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club kindly hosted the shoreside activities. Alan Burland, one of the founders of the Bermuda Sloop Foundation, was the Coordinator and STF Chair Rich du Moulin the Moderator. There were 31 attendees, including the crew of Spirit and local yachtsmen and women. This was actually the second international seminar held by Storm Trysail Foundation, the other being a Junior SAS in Havana, Cuba many years ago chaired by Barry Gold.
The two-day schedule permitted some very intense and innovative exercises, including Crew Overboard (COB) recoveries by Spirit, probably the largest yacht (with a length overall of 112 feet and displacement of 233,000 pounds) ever to participate in a SAS seminar! Saturday’s shoreside activities included discussions covering: Leadership & Seamanship, Heavy Weather Sails & Sailing, Bermuda Rescue (by Steven Pegg of Bermuda Marine Ops), Damage Control (guest appearance by James Watlington, survivor of sinking of Les Crane’s Monterrey), and COB Practices. There were live drills including firefighting, survival swimming in beautiful Bermuda waters, and life raft usage.
On Sunday, after a safety briefing by Spirit’s captain Alex Peacock, the group spent five hours aboard Spirit firing parachute flares, burning handheld flares, and setting off smoke cans. There was was also an extensive evaluation of the various methods of recovery including use of the Midline Lift, which involves the releasing of a Lifesling followed by halyard lift of the Lifesling’s pennant. Crews also practiced using a Rescue Crew in a bosun chair (or climbing harness). The event finished with a pleasant sail across Great Sound and gybing through the islands back to the RBYC. Several sailors wrapped up the day with Dark and Stormies…