Sailing Captain New - May 2021

In this, my last newsletter before handing over the ORCV Sail Captain role to Rear Commodore Jeremy Walton. I am writing to brief you on a number of developments that will affect skippers and crews in the 2021-22 season.

Keel and Rudder Inspections

In response to increased incidence of keel and rudder failures in recent years, Australian Sailing has introduced a new keel and rudder inspection requirement. The regime calls for an inspection of boats participating in Category 1,2 and 3 races - every two years or after any unintentional grounding.

The inspection must be undertaken by a qualified person, reporting any defects to the owner who is then responsible for undertaking any repairs which may be required.

The regulations (AS 3.02) do not require a written report or certification and should not involve significant additional expense as long as the inspection is organised as part of your annual maintenance regime. A shipwright or other suitably qualified inspector should be able to complete the inspection in 10 - 15 minutes or less.

Addressing the new requirement, the ORCV has amended its “Stability and Construction” declaration form to include confirmation by skippers that the necessary inspections have been undertaken. Further details may be found here.

Inspection is recommended for the 2021 Stanley Race, required for the 2021 Christmas races and is mandatory for all Cat 3 and Cat 2 events from I January 2022.

IRC Handicaps

ORCc handicaps have been successfully introduced by the major Melbourne Clubs, and in recent races have overtaken IRC, with counts as follows.

Coastal Sprint Race 1 - AMS 16 IRC 4 ORCc 0
Coastal Sprint Race 2 - AMS 11 IRC 4 ORCc 4
Coastal Sprint Race 3 - AMS 16 IRC 6 ORCc 9
Apollo Bay - AMS 29 IRC 12 ORCc 15

There are signs that support for IRC is falling rapidly and some of the major Melbourne Clubs are considering withdrawal from IRC racing. This would flow through to our IRC entry numbers raising the possibility of insufficient entries for viable IRC racing.

Skippers are advised to monitor developments at other clubs before renewing their IRC certificates.

Automatic Self Inflating PFD’s

Skippers may be aware of discussion at the Commodore and Club level on whether immersion activated inflation of PFD’s should be introduced on a mandatory basis across Melbourne based clubs.

The ORCV Sailing Committee has considered the issue and decided not to mandate the use of Automatic Self Inflating PFD's.

Satellite Devices, Sat Phones and HF Radio and AIS

The new electronic regulations come into effect from I July 2022 bringing both good and bad news. We will be publishing a guide/review of Satellite Receiver, Satphone and HF Radio options in the near future and the purpose of this note is to give advance notice of the change.

First, AIS will become mandatory for all Category 2 events. It's also well worth the money for both safety and competitive reasons and needs to be on the “to do” list for Cat 2 racers who do not already have fully operational transponders.

Secondly, The ORCV’s current existing dispensation enjoyed for use of Satphones in lieu of HF radios has been withdrawn. Satphones are still permitted but the replacement regulations are a little more onerous including a requirement for including permanently mounted external antenna. Some members using Iridium Go will need to undertake a minor upgrade before their next Cat 2 event and the use of rented satphones, while still possible, will be less convenient.

The new communication options available to skippers come with a range of costs and benefits and the choice of equipment and subscriber services will depend partly on the type and frequency of sailing.

Please note that Sydney – Hobart competitors will still require HF radio in this year’s event. Also where a yacht is equipped with both HF and Satphones, as a matter of administrative convenience, the ORCV requires use of HF for position reporting in its offshore events.

The 2022 Sailing Program

The 2022 Sailing Calendar has now been published and 2022 is shaping up as an exciting year. We will continue to develop the Coastal Sprints and our two destination event Rallies. Supporting the 50th King Island Race festivities, we will bring forward the start of the race to the evening of Friday 11 March and, as part of the lead up to the 50th Westcoaster in December 2022, the Melbourne to Devonport Race will be held on Melbourne Cup long Weekend.

Justin Brenan – ORCV Sailing Captain