After the horrible keel handle collides with wrist incident, we’d like to reassure you about our safety measures on board Lady Christina.
Here you can see a restraining strap around the keel handle, so it can’t possibly cause a problem again. Thank goodness.
You wear a life-jacket, of course.
To make sure you can’t fall off the roof when going forward to sort out the sail, lines or anything else, clip your life-jacket onto this line.
There are also ‘eyes’ in the deck you can clip yourself onto when helming in bumpy weather.
If, despite this, you do fall off, the other person chucks this Danbuoy into the water to mark your position, until they come and fetch you.
We now have an ingenious rope and pulley system which means that I can get someone heavier than me out of the water, even if they are incapacitated or injured. We’ve tested it (without the incapacity or injury) and it works!
The aim is to stay on deck though and here are the life-lines which keep you in when you have to walk along the edge of the deck to put out fenders or rearrange lines.
The chains do the same job, but are removable, for when they’d just get in the way.
These fenders stop the boat from colliding with or rubbing against the mooring and can save you from getting your hand trapped between the boat and another boat or the harbour wall.
Instruments tell you how fast you’re going and more importantly, how deep the water is under the keel. Contrary to what you might think, shallow water is a problem, especially in a boat like ours with bilge keels, as you can go aground and become completely stuck.
This instrument tells you have far over you’re leaning when you’re sailing.
Although you can sense this without an instrument(!), knowing exactly how heeled over you are, does mean you feel justified in taking corrective action if it’s more than 10 degrees. That’s the limit of my comfort zone anyway.
And finally: gloves.
These are what saved my wrist from getting completely mashed by that keel handles as they are made of neoprene and therefore squashy, so they absorbed a lot of the impact. We saw a skipper who’d not had his gloves on when his engine failed and he couldn’t stop the boat, except with a rope. Unfortunately, the boat was too heavy for him, the rope ran through his hands and he got rope-burn, the skin was ripped off his palms. Not good!