As Junior Race Week drew to a close, junior big boat sailors and instructors came to Larchmont Yacht Club on Friday July 19 for the annual Junior Safety at Sea seminar, hosted by the Storm Trysail Foundation. Over 210 people attended this year’s event.
The seminar is a day-long safety skills workshop that incorporates mini classes in the morning with a practical component on large yachts in the afternoon, during which participants practice the skills they learned in the morning.
Most participants came to the seminar hoping to boost their knowledge of sailing safety and learn how to be prepared on the water. For some, this was their first year sailing big boats, and they were still unfamiliar with many of the differences between big boats and dinghies.
“I’m looking forward to learning how to be safe on the water,” explained Tommy Glover, a sailor from Riverside Yacht Club in Greenwich, CT.
“I came hoping to learn some skills I can use on the Beach Point Overnight Race,” shared Michaela O’Donnell, a sailor from Black Rock Yacht Club in Bridgeport, CT.
Four classes were given in the morning. One that many sailors found exciting was the fire prevention and fighting class, taught by members of the Larchmont Fire Department. During the class, firefighters lit a diesel fuel fire and demonstrated how to use a fire extinguisher to put it out.
“Fire prevention was fun because we put out actual fires,” recalled O’Donnell. “But we also learned some valuable lessons.”
Another class that had high reviews was about man overboard recovery. Teacher Adam Loory showed sailors and instructors numerous videos demonstrating different recovery techniques and when to use them.
“The video about the man overboard was informative,” described Max Lipkin, a sailor from Stamford Yacht Club in Stamford, CT. “I liked the presenter.”
Another class that morning was about weather and storm preparation, presented by Bob Behringer. There was also a class given by Kelly Robinson and Ann Myer about practical sailboat equipment, including winches, storm jibs, tethers, and jacklines.
After the morning classes, Henry Marx demonstrated to all of the sailors and instructors how to properly use a flare and smoke signal for on-water distress.
Once that was done, sailors and their instructors boarded 21 sailing yachts and set out to practice the skills they had learned in the morning. The afternoon’s agenda included man overboard drills, sail reefing, and checking the boats for general safety.
“I think going out on the boats was really helpful,” explained Hanna Pierce, a sailor from Indian Harbor Yacht Club. “Since we get talked at a lot in the morning, we get to go out and try those skills in the afternoon.”
“The setup is perfectly designed for us to learn in the morning before we go out and practice in the afternoon,” shared Glover.
The day concluded when the sailors returned from the water with a pizza party for everyone involved.
The day could not have been possible without the support of many volunteers and other sponsorships.
“Sponsorships like West Marine and Landfall Navigation make this possible,” explained Rich du Moulin, the seminar’s moderator. We have huge volunteer support,” du Moulin added. “People have loaned 21 boats and their own time today, and not a single person gets paid a dollar.”