Originally Posted by tommie
Great video,I am a new come'r here,,but I am amazed that none of the children are wearing any safety vests,,no matter how calm the sea is, or how experienced the skipper is,,there is always the danger there.
Tommie, thank you for the comment on the video, gald you enjoyed it, that was the purpose.
Also, thank you for the concern on child safety and for the remark on safety. We don't know each other, but rest assured, I am well aware of it.
However, without taking much of your time, allow me some comments in my defense.
First, and before I go to deep, let me in on our European regulations, that require our boats to be certified, inspected and require safety equipment, including harnesses to all crew members listed in the hull capacity, and I do have them, and went further, I have 6 more safety gear sets, appropriate for young "bastards" as the ones you see in the video, so they are fit and snug. Our regulations require us to have them on board, but leave it up to the skippers judgment to apply them to the crew. So it is my call as Captain in command of that boat to decide wether they should have them or not.
Second, I, and I alone decide on the use of safety gear, and I do that based under two hardcore rules I have guided my life at sea.
a) I am a strong believer in "teaching how to grow potatoes" rather than "giving potatoes", this means I instruct my kids, and those you see there have been at sea since they were born, (sea rats), all they need to know to survive. This is with the objective of empowering those with me, of having them judge and make the decision by themselves, kinda like a mother Wolf teaching the little cub to hunt instead of bringing him food. I teach and pass the burden of safety to them so they understand it, rather than me just telling them to put the safety vests on. This gives them knowledge and makes the issue of safety their responsability. So if conditions are unsafe, they will on their own, go down and suit up for conditions. If I see they are not doing it...I make them do it. After all they are my kids, I made them.
b) I don't go to sea if I can not master my vessel in a safe way. If conditions apply, I am the ruler, the master and the commander. my way or high way.
I am in control of my vessel at all times, and I am in full understanding of current conditions at all times. I DO NOT get caught in bad weather. I have sailed in bad weather, by choice.
Now, altough it is true what you say about PFD's I in that instance decided the PFD's were not needed. I was in control of the situation at all times, there were 4 good sailors, all capable of stoping the boat within 10 seconds, the winds were < 15 knots, and as you can see the seas are calm.
These kids sail in Cascais and Lisbon, every week at least 3 times, my sailing area is known for the sea conditions and wind forces, their behaviour in a boat is not what one could consider "normal". As you can see these kids can on their own fully operate a 42' racer at 9 knots boat speed, as they have demonstarted, and my vessel is not exactly what we would consider a "easy to sail" boat for a sailor with average skills. They also are accomplished swimers, that know the environment.
My boat is equiped with 2 retractable MOB floating devices, in the stern, with 200' of rope, and all on board would jump to the relatively warm waters of Portugal to assist a MOB, should it be needed. These kids swimm here 3 times a week, as they piss in the water, by exiting their little boats.
Both kids never leave the cockpit, (as you can see) and are both well bellow the boom. The only risk they are exposed, is me.
It is a given that above 17 knots all minors wear PFD's (see bellow photos), an never I had to tell tehm to put them on...they do it on their own.
They wear them on, every time I am the only adult on board, or if the remaining adults are not able to assist.
See bellow an example. I operate the boat alone..kid has vest on, wind was 20 knots.
Kid is instructed to own his PFD and knows about it, when he sails alone in his boat.
So basically altough I say you are 100% right, it boils down to the conditions, to who is doing what, who is in command, what the level of understanding and awarness is and what the boat is doing.
That day, I allowed them without vests. I am the captain, allways have ben.
A kid alone in command of the boat, in calm conditions, soince he is the captain, and I am doing something else, he has the pfd.
This one just does what I say, he can't even stop shiting his pants...
If I sail alone with only one kid..pfd on, I have one too, and am tethered. He is not.
BOAT RAT at work...