The Storm Trysail Club, organizers of several of the nation’s prominent yacht races, has requested feedback on a proposal to update MOB protocol aboard race boats. The report, which seeks to elaborate on requirements for the rendering of assistance to vessels in distress, comes in the wake of a crew overboard this summer in Rhode Island waters.
During Block Island Race Week in July, a crewmember jumped overboard to assist his already-overboard wife, only to find that several boats sailed past, continuing the race instead of offering assistance. While both crew were brought aboard safely, the incident set off a firestorm of debate on racing websites and at yacht clubs around the country over the race’s Rule 1.1, in which the rendering of assistance to a boat in need is a basic requirement.
But the rule is vague, according to the STC, organizers of Block Island Race Week, and should be updated to include various emergencies such as fire, MOB, grounding and other sundry calamities, and cautionary language stipulating that failure to respond to such an emergency will result in expulsion from the event.
The STC draft, entitled Prescription for Rendering Assistance, reads in part:
“At future events, STC will enforce this Prescription (not Recommendation) for ‘Rendering Assistance.’ Boats and their owners (and skippers if different) who in STC’s opinion violate this Prescription will be disqualified from the race and possibly ejected from the series and future STC events. STC requires every competitor to comply with this Prescription and to protest any violations. STC also solicits suggestions from the yachting community as to how to improve this Prescription.”
The complete draft of the proposed changes, along with an email address for comment, is available online at www.stormtrysail.org.