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Thread: Race Permites for Ocean Races

  1. #1
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    Sep 2007
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    Default Race Permites for Ocean Races

    Greetings,

    As some of you know, a meeting was held on Monday, April 20 at the St Francis YC to discuss offshore race permits with the Coast Guard. The SSS was represented by Mark Deppe and Max Crittenden. The meeting was convened by YRA and the Commodores and Race Officers of clubs that conduct races outside the Gate were invited. I was unable to attend and am grateful to Mark and Max for representing us.

    Before the meeting there was a bit of speculation and some dire predictions that an evil agenda was afoot. There is currently quite a discussion taking place on Sailing Ananchy regarding the meeting, Big Government, etc.

    It appears that the actual agenda is to make our races safer and to work with the Coast Guard in developing a process and proceedure that will help them do their jop more effectively and efficiently in the event they need to go find/rescue someone. Most of the changes being considered are administrative and will make the work of race committees a bit more difficult but will be realtively invisable to racers. In terms of required equipment, the SSS requirements generally meet or exceed what the CG is asking for. Exceptions may be an EPIRB requirement for Farallons and Half Moon Bay and a radio check by boats that haven't finished by sundown..

    I'd appreciate any comments or suggestions regarding this topic. We'll keep you up to date with information as it becomes available.

    Bill Merrick
    SSS Commodore

  2. #2
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    Sep 2007
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    Here's the writeup from Latitude 38 about the meeting:
    http://www.latitude38.com/lectronic/...yid=261#Story2

    There are few differences in the article from what I remember at the meeting... for example, I know that the CG preferred the automatic deploying 406s to the manual ones, but I didn't think they were going to require only the automatic. Also, my understanding was that once the racers left coastal waters, the 4 hour checkin requirement no longer would apply. But I could be mistaken. Or maybe not.

    - Mark

  3. #3
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    Jan 2008
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    Regarding the meeting with the Coast Guard. YRA Excutive Director Laura Paul-Monoz is compiling the minutes, which will be available to everyone, as will a list of attendees. She is meeting Thursday with Bryon from the CG Permit Office to go over things so that what is officially reported is accurate.
    It is my understanding that the 4-hour Race Committee check in will not be required when boats are offshore (Transpac, for instance). The GPS question will also be clarified. The CG uses both standard 406 EPIRBS and McMurdo PLBs.
    I agree that racers will not feel many changes. The one exception is that you will report how many are onboard at check-in. I know that means "1" for the Farallones Race, but a lot of boats sail to HMB with "2." It's more for the fully crewed races than the SSS/BAMA races. Some large boats carry more crew than 1 helicopter can hoist and return with, for instance. And, in the confusion of getting people into either a helicopter or boat they don't want to leave someone behind. Pat Broderick

  4. #4
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    Whatever I think about mandatory 4-hour VHF check-ins.... and I think it's pretty clear what I think....

    ....they won't do any good if the RC, parked on the race deck at the GGYC, can't hear the radio transmissions.
    S-2 7.9: "Wildcat of Loch Awe"
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  5. #5
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    Alan, the 4-hour sched is for RC to call in to VTS, not a roll call of the racers. Still, if they can't hear the racers they won't have much to report to VTS.

    Apparently some cell services work as far out as the Farallones. I think it's reasonable to ask SHF entrants to carry a cell in a ziplock bag and try calling in by phone once or twice during the race.

    Max

  6. #6
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    Nov 2007
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    Default Not reasonable

    I think it's reasonable to ask SHF entrants to carry a cell in a ziplock bag and try calling in by phone once or twice during the race
    I can't believe I even read this..... it the most unreasonable thing I can think of and I'm hoping it was a joke. Requiring a cell phone for racing is not even techically the right solution since cell coverage is not design for offshore useage. My service is spotty out there at best. The only thing requiring 'during race' check-ins will do is result in a bunch of false alarms. The race committee is going to field cell phone calls from 60+ boats? Several times? And I have to get out my phone in adverse conditions and try to make a call in 20+ knots.

    What is going on here folks?

  7. #7
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    FWIW, I've tried my cell phone a bit out there and it doesn't get a signal until inside the Light Bucket (it's AT&T).

    For the SHF, hasn't it been a requirement for all boats to check in at 2200, if still on the course? How well has that worked - have all boats been able to check in?

    Repeating Max, the CG isn't currently asking each boat to check in every four hours. But if they did and since 25 watt VHF's are now required (for SSS's ocean races), maybe we should encourage relays and/or reporting of boats around you, and call it good. Would the CG's nanny boat be willing to relay?

    We can work this out - I understand now what they're trying to accomplish.

  8. #8
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    For the SHF, hasn't it been a requirement for all boats to check in at 2200, if still on the course? How well has that worked - have all boats been able to check in?

    Bob, please read the 2009 SSS Farallones sailing instructions - there is no requirement that a boat check in via VHF at other than prior to the first warning signal. Any additional attempts to reach RC via VHF are requested, not required. (Of course, the SI's could be changed prior to race start.)
    I would if I could - the Regatta Manager link for the SHF SI's goes to the Corinthian SI's. (Edit - found them via the Calendar link.)

    Whether it was "requested" or "required" my point is the same: When boats have attempted to call the R/C from out there at 10:00 p.m., have they all been able to? This seems to get at the core of the VHF question, doesn't it?
    Last edited by BobJ; 04-23-2009 at 08:54 PM.

  9. #9
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    Well THAT is weird! My "Reply" edited Rob's post . . .

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobJ View Post
    Well THAT is weird! My "Reply" edited Rob's post . . .
    Ahah! - maybe you've figured out how to hack into the SSS forum?

    In all seriousness, what IS the VHF question? I haven't yet seen anyone on the board spell out clearly and concisely the problem / issue / area of concern that might be addressed by a VHF radio.

    I really like to see a requirement spelled out as a requirement, and then a solution can be looked for. So far I have seen lots of solutions in search of a problem. I sense there is an interest in increasing the ability to communicate, and it's not clear to whom and for what purpose such communications would be for and/or accomplish.

    The USCG has asked RC to call VTS (presumably via VHF) peridically until all competitors are accounted for (finished or DNF), and that requires no solution other than to talk into the VHF radio RC already has - so no additional solution needed.

    Therefore - why is there a discussion about how competitors might talk to RC while out on the Farallones race course? Does RC need to talk to competitors while they are racing? If so, why? Do competitors need to talk to RC while racing? If so, why?

    - rob

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