Buddy Sailing & How to minimise the likelihood of getting into difficulties

“Buddy sailing” is the term used for the situation when there is no safety boat on the water. Under these conditions, for both safety reasons and as a condition of our lease, water usage is possible but there must be two or more craft on the water that are capable of helping each other in case of difficulties.

Since we have be able to open up to recreational buddy sailing – things have generally gone really well and people have been ‘cautious’ and ‘considerate’ and made sensible choices about when to go on the water, what equipment to use and made sure they have a buddy.

However – there have been one to two incidents which we can all use as a timely reminder of good practice to keep ourselves and others safe:

  • A few people have booked/ gone on the water without establishing a particular buddy. – It is not enough to know other people are at the club/ on the water. Please make personal contact with another individual and agree to keep a particular eye out for each other. Talk through your plans, concerns, where you intend to sail, for how long and establish how you are going to communicate (mobile phone in waterproof case/ whistle?)
  • A sailor went out without a buoyancy aid on. – Make a conscious point of double checking all your personal kit, your boat/ board and their condition/ correct fitting just before you launch.
  • A sailor capsized and their boat inverted. They were not able get it up themselves so the crew of a double hander had to jump in the water and right the capsized boat. The helm of the double hander then picked up their crew using the ‘man over board’ procedure. – All this could have been avoided by use of a mast head float. A mast head float makes your sailing so much safer and less tiring as it means your boat will not invert therefore avoiding entrapment and exhaustion issues and reducing the likelihood of needing help/rescue . You can order them on line, from Mike Saul or improvise with a couple of large plastic sealed containers. There are mast head floats on club training boats such as the Pico’s and the Comet. Please do not go out on the water without one if you are unable /might struggle to right your boat from inversion or if you are going out in conditions/in a craft that is towards the top end of your comfort level. Why not just use one anyway – rather safe than sorry?
  • A Laser sailor had their boom come off their goose neck. They were able to land on the far shore and sort themselves out but their buddy ‘missed’ the whole episode. – Carry a whistle as a simple means of attracting attention. It costs virtually nothing, is easy to tie onto your buoyancy aid and takes up no room.