Richards Bay Crewman Jacques Kruger organised an exercise with the Offshore Sailing Academy. This is his story.
Offshore Sailing Academy has recently donated Sea Rescue 10 slots on their combo course which includes Yacht hand & Day skipper, I was fortunate to have been selected to go on this course in April.
Since then I have maintained a good friendship with the offshore sailing academy and last, whilst down in Durban I had a chat with Shane Smith the Principle of the sailing school regarding the possibility of conducting a training exercise in Richards bay as the school also offers mileage trips and one of the destinations happens to be Richards Bay , he agreed to this request as it would benefit our crew and theirs.
The Offshore boats Natasha and Pursuit came up to Richards Bay this past weekend and got delayed waiting for a weather window , as it was our duty weekend we got permission from the sailing school to do a complete exercise – going through a tow from start to finish. We asked Shane Howden Instructor/skipper of yacht Natasha to sail offshore a good 3 to 4nm , we then launched our 12m Rescue Craft Spirit of Richards Bay to go and “assist”. We got a position from the vessel which we plotted and calculated a course to steer. We headed out to the yacht and went through all the towing procedures in order to setup our 220m Towline. From there “Natasha” was towed into Richards bay and once in the safety of the harbour shortened tow to tow the boat into the Zululand Yacht Club basin where we then rafted up (which is where we tie the yacht alongside our rescue vessel so that we can manoeuvre the yacht with the rescue vessel and place her alongside the dock in a controlled manner). We then put her alongside in her mooring at the Zululand Yacht Club.
The exercise went off very well and it’s a much welcomed opportunity. It’s not often that we get the use of a yacht to be able to do a rafting exercise which gives our crew invaluable experience.
Again, thank-you Offshore Sailing Academy for your contribution into helping our crews not only in Richards bay but nationally improving on our skill levels and making us even more effective in rescues involving sailing vessels.
Pictures: Dorian Robertson