With the regatta season getting well underway, and regatta hosts sending out scrutineers to ensure that skiffs are compliant with racing requirements, it is a sensible time to remind all clubs and crews of the equipment that must be carried when racing under the SCRA rules of racing. The rules are drafted to cover any class that is racing, not just St Ayles skiffs. They are sensible things that most good seafarers would consider essential in any case, and including them in the rule ensures that no one pays a penalty in weight for behaving in a seaman like manner. Rule 2 requires that every craft carries the following:
(a) A waterproofed means of communicating with the shore (preferably a working hand held VHF radio, which failing a mobile phone with list of essential numbers for the event).
(b) At least two means of efficiently bailing the boat.
(c) Personal Flotation Devices for each crew member. These must be worn by all crew members at all times.
(d) A length of rope of at least 14mm diameter and at least 8 meters in length, securely attached to a strong point in the bow of the boat and capable of being used to tow boat with crew.
(e) An Anchor, together with a suitable chain and line of minimum 30 metres, giving a combined minimum weight of anchor, chain and line of 7kg, all as suitable for use in the conditions and area of use.
(f) In addition it is recommended that boats carry a throwing rope; flares; space blanket for hypothermia, first aid kit, smoke signals, and spare wooly hat.
If you do not carry these items you may be refused entry into a race, or disqualified following a race, (at the discretion of the umpires or referee or race organiser) and we really don’t want that to happen.
The SCRA is only in a position to regulate what is carried when racing. In training and leisure use it is for the owners of the boat and the skipper on the day to regulate what must be on board before the crew takes to the water. However good practice would suggest that the kit above, required for racing in any event, would be a sensible starting point.
While on rule 2, remember that if required to do so by race organisers, crews shall display a number in their bow reflecting the register number allocated by SCRA. Please note it is the number in the SCRA Register of Craft that is your skiff number, not the kit number issued by your kit manufacturer (which some skiffs will have on an oval plaque). It is only once built, launched and named that a kit becomes a St Ayles skiff. Before that it is only a pile of plywood, all be it with wonderful potential.
The numerals displayed should be at least 20cm in height and displayed on a background of contrasting colour. However the exact method of display is left to the discretion of the club. Displaying the number is particularly appreciated by umpires at large events, or where more than one boat has a similar colour scheme.