An Important Reminder Regarding Safety, Route Planning, etc.

14 Aug 2014 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Okay J-Town. Season’s well underway. We’re enjoying ourselves on the lake. Conditions are great.

As such, it's likely timely that we review a few considerations surrounding keeping ourselves safe while having our fun. We don't want people getting complacent out there.

The fleet sheet probably shouldn't look like this at 11pm. Sign your boats back in!!!First thing is, sign the log book when you’re headed out. Record the boat number, who you’re sailing with, where you’re headed (outer harbour = OH, inner harbour = IH, lake = L), and the time. If you’re planning to explore some particular area or direction, jot it down on an extra line in the log. Also, tell other members where you’re headed before you go out. In the event we start to get nervous, it’s very helpful. We can always send a power boat out to poke around but without some clues you’ll be tough to locate. And when you’re back to the clubhouse, sign in.

Second thing is, research your route hazards a bit. The Toronto Harbour poses quite a few hazards. Water temperature can be warm near shore but frigid toward deeper water. Weather can change quickly, bringing about hypothermia unexpectedly. Wind can become dangerously heavy or uselessly light. Waves on the lake can become very large. Thinking about these things in advance is important. Try to have a plan for how to handle the unexpected in the areas you're traveling.

Further, ask other members for info if you’re exploring new areas. Sailing outside of the Leslie Spit and traveling around the island are very long distances and can take many hours. As well, there are no-boat areas near the airport, and boats are not permitted to travel through the western gap under sail. Those that do so anyway must contend with the very narrow channel and big ferries. Ferries and freighters have right of way and usually cannot maneuver or stop quickly, so always stay well clear. You could even encounter float planes landing or taking off.

Last, it can be a bit risky sailing alone. Often it’s good to sail with a buddy boat, particularly when exploring areas new to you. Hardware can fail (always tie those rudders down!), accidents can happen. Consider how well equipped you are to handle an emergency situation on your own.

Suffice to say, there’s much to be cautious of when sailing. We get better by pushing ourselves, so do, but where possible we should also aim to anticipate and appreciate the risks.

Anyway, we may flesh this out a bit in future letters.

Have fun. Play hard. Stay safe.

© St. James Town Sailing Club -
10 Regatta Road, Toronto, ON M4T 2P1
(416) 466 - 3421 (May - Sept)
www.sailtoronto.com
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