Jul 16, 2012, 2:26 PM
Post #15 of 27
From Guy Buchanan:
Re: [The Publisher] Trapeze safety
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What Mr. Assad is missing is not trapeze hooks, but personal responsibility; not his own, but as a general concept. Perhaps thanks to the discussions that went on here after the SSA death he now feels that quick release hooks are "essential at the learn-to-trapeze level". Really? Why? I learned to use a basic hook harness at 15 and taught many down to age eight to use one. I never lost a student. Indeed, in many, many years of racing trapeze dingies I never heard of a death, though many had stories of getting caught, and the potential for drowning made for many a scary "campfire story." We even used "automatic" trapeze systems, which guaranteed you were attached to the boat when it went over, yet I still cannot remember a single drowning. (I imagine they happened, just not often enough to be noticed.)
Could it be that Mr. Assad can't find his trapeze hooks because when Ms. Constants drowned, most of the responses to the tragedy were to blame the hook, the lack of training, the lack of supervision, or the lack of nearby assistance? Is it possible (probable?) that hook manufacturers are looking really hard at their culpability in manufacturing such a dangerous object? Can the potential liability possibly be worth the meager profit they get from selling them? Not since you decided to heap the responsibility on the hook. What's wrong with calling Ms. Constants death a tragedy, and leaving it at that?
Mr. Assad's question led me to the Cooney interview at US Sailing, which is probably the best example of "why sailing is dying" that I have ever read. With the best of intentions, Mr. Cooney and his safety minded friends at BYC are doing their level best to kill the junior program, the racing program, and even sailing in general. When I read this article I though, "My God! How many people has BYC lost? Ten? Twenty? A hundred? They must be dropping like flies!" Think I'm being critical? Look at what a prospective race organizer has had added to his plate thanks to BYC's safety efforts:
- Has every participant in the trapeze classes attended a BYC approved trapeze safety course? Better check. Better run some safety courses so they can race in your regatta. That's easy, all it involves is US Sailing certified instructors, lifeguards, a rescue diver, etc. (Parents could never handle such a complex subject.)
- Is the Go/No Go document on board? If not, no race.
- What if the weather's not on the Go/No Go card? Who's going to take the responsibility? Better cancel the race.
- Is the iPad on board the signal boat? Is it charged? Do we have a certified trained iPad operator on board? If not, no race. If it dies during the race can we continue?
- Are the laminated "Emergency Communications Cards" on each support boat? Are they legible? Better check. If not, that boat's grounded. Can we run the race without it?
- Is the new support boat working? Is it fueled? Do you have the US Sailing certified instructor lined up? Is their CPR current? If not, no race. (I won't even talk about all the other stuff a support boat "requires", like radios, etc.)
- Has the Coast Guard Event Permit been filed? If not, no regatta.
So much for spontaneity. When I was a kid all we needed to throw together a race was one person to run the "Committee Boat".
And what about the increased costs? Paid instructors? Support boats? These must be passed on to the participants in the form of increased entry fees, (resulting in decreased attendance,) or increased yacht club dues, (resulting in decreased membership.)
What's worse, Mr. Cooney is confident that "other clubs have done more." Let's hope not. However his call for action virtually guarantees that more will be done, a new standard be set, and that insurance companies and juries will take notice of that new standard. Perhaps without realizing it, the good-hearted BYC board has heaped their club, (and possibly every other yacht club,) with heavy additional liability by acknowledging "their responsibility" to make sure all these noble safety items are done, every time, and correctly.
What's next? Mandatory helmets? (Soon for juniors.) Abolish trapezes? (Eventually for juniors.) How about a safety boat for each entrant? (Soon for juniors.) What about centerboard boats? Perhaps we should have righting standards for everything? Perhaps sailing is just too dangerous in general? Of course I'm being facetious, but when you respond to a tragedy, please, please, please think about the long term implications of your response. (Even in a Scuttlebutt forum.) I am both a sailor and a private pilot and know well the damage that "good intentions" cause. I am also a parent of teenagers and am constantly confronted by how hard it is for my children to have a "childhood", even compared to what I had as a kid.