After a long and eventful weekend the MBA Fastnet Team 2013 has taken one of the first hurdles to meet the crew qualification requirements for the Rolex Fastnet Race by successfully completing sea survival training. The practical elements of the course were obviously the most exciting part of the training.
In the Saturday session we first had a chance to let off different flares by the beach side, learning best techniques for handling and using flares in the event of an emergency. Then we moved on to training in and on the water. With temperatures around zero we were luckily able to fulfill this part in the Falck Nutec indoor pool, rather than in the open sea!
We went through numerous different scenarios during the pool training, such as escaping from a submerged and rolled over helicopter, or being hoisted by a helicopter rescue sling. To make the training more authentic pitch black conditions were created with lighting available only from strobe lights used to simulate lightning, while at the same time the wave, rain and wind machines were switched on, producing winds up to 8 Beaufort (34 – 40 knots). It is quite an impressive experience to try to turn a life raft and get into it with all the forces of nature fighting against you.
On the theoretical side we learned about many different kinds of safety equipment, especially life jackets and life rafts, and fire fighting techniques and equipment.
The Sunday session continued with handling of heavy weather, MOB (Man Overboard) manoeuvres, distress signalling and SAR (Search and Rescue) operations. This session was followed by an one hour exam, which all of the 9 participating crew members passed alongside Roy Heiner.
This was another great weekend for the MBA Fastnet Team 2013, bonding with amazing experiences and very valuable take aways – not just the ISAF certificate.
Now after 3 weekends of training in the cold Netherlands we are ready for the sun and very much looking forward to our first training on the Volvo 60 in Portugal!