Akuna Bay Cruising Club

Commodore's Report - Spring 2009

Sunday 22 November, 2009

Hello Members and welcome to the 2009/10 boating season! We've had a great start to the boating season despite the inclement weather over the last few months. The record rainfall at least has been appreciated by our lawns and gardens. The other result has been that the strong winds and rain have discouraged many of us from venturing out. But while the planned October long-weekend raft-up was a victim we have already enjoyed both social and boating safety events with great success. Your Committee has also put together a comprehensive social calendar for the coming year and I will provide some more detail about some of these events.

The Season Opening Dinner on Saturday September 26 was a great night with 50 Members and friends enjoying each others' company at the Cafe. A delicious buffet with a curry theme was set out by Joe and team at All Senses catering and live music was provided by our long term friend, Wendi Jackson. It was a lively start to the 2009/10 boating season which allowed old and new Club friends to catch up as we head into the warmer boating season.

On the weekend of November 14-15 we arranged a get-together at The Basin on Pittwater, an idyllic spot where there is a popular camping ground which is accessed by ferry from Palm Beach. As the Club has only one mooring there this can be a little bit "off the radar" for some Members but offers superb swimming and beach access. We had about a dozen boats attend with some rafting up on the ABCC mooring. All in all this was a most pleasant social event for all boats in attendance.

Around the time of these events a group of Members undertook the Yachting Australia Survival at Sea course and I provided a detailed report on the website at the end of the course. I would like you to review the full report but I repeat some of these comments here as follow because I believe the ABCC is as much about pursuing safe and orderly boating as enjoying social camaraderie with our fellow members and friends.

Yachting Australia Safety and Survival at Sea
2 day course held on September 26 and October 11, 2009

As you are aware, your Committee has an ongoing commitment to not only provide an active social calendar but also improve our knowledge on seamanship and boating safety. This course was offered to members as part of this program and 8 of us participated eagerly and gained great insights in terms of planning for and dealing with emergency situations at sea.

The course results in a "Certificate of Competency" from Yachting Australia valid for 5 years. We met a number of yachties who engage mainly in offshore racing and some were renewing this compulsory training. They asked why so many power boat skippers were doing the training (only 1 yachtie amongst our group)! Really the relevance to us all became very obvious when we consider how many of us do some offshore coastal cruising and the emergency situations that may arise, even in the safety of the marina or Refuge Bay. Also many of us aspire to do some long haul cruising to warmer climates such as Hamilton Island.

Some Takeouts
Without attempting to be comprehensive, the following thoughts summarise some of our learnings:

" Familiarise yourself with your own vessel, its safety equipment and their deployment eg lifejackets, rafts, radios, EPIRBs, etc.
" Reliability of equipment cannot be assumed despite regular service - do your own inspection of equipment on a regular basis. One of our PFD's stitching gave way during usage and others proved to be defective in design. Also your fire extinguishers should be routinely checked - as most are Powder types this tends to compact over time and needs dislodging.
" Put in place plans for your vessel about your equipment, shut off valves etc.
" Put emergency procedures in place for various situations, such as Man Overboard, sea anchoring, emergency steering, bar crossings.
" Planning for offshore trips is key with respect to likely weather and sea conditions.

To encourage safety awareness we will be arranging some practical sessions at the Marina, such as a Man Overboard drill. Also we hope to have a Training Expert do a short presentation to Members one Friday evening.

I encourage you to be more aware of the available training scheduled by your Committee in addition to the usual fun that the Club is renowned for. Thank you to Past-Commodore Stephen Smith for arranging the above course.

Happy and Safe Boating

Jeff Sheehan "Cool Change"