Safety Reminder

One of Grafham’s youngest sailors knows the meaning of each flag flown by the Coxswain’s jetty. Do you? Because there have been some problems recently about what the Red/White flag means, here’s a reminder.
This is the official line from the Club’s website about the Red/White flag: ‘Experienced sailors only−restricted to Area 1. For guidance, you are considered “experienced” if, in the prevailing conditions, you can (unaided) right your boat and return to the club’s shore.’ Oh, you are not sure where Area 1 is? That young Grafham sailor does. To be like that sailor, you can find the map showing Area 1 on the link above. And you can get a map to stick on your boat from the Office. The Red/White flag is hoisted on the judgment of the Coxswain but generally in winds of 13-27 knots (and/or in wind chill of zero degrees or colder).
And here’s some other top tips that young sailor would pass on to you. First, if you see the Red/White flag flying but are unsure about going sailing, why not chat to the Coxswain? He can advise you about weather conditions, talk with you about your experience level, perhaps advise you to keep close to shore, and remind you where Area 1 is. More importantly, the Coxswain will know you are going on the water and in what type of boat. If you helm a double hander, the Red/White flag also means that you need to think about your crew’s safety too. Second, the prevailing wind at Grafham is often from the south west, so the water on the clubhouse side looks sailable. But get out to Club buoy and beyond and you will find out why that Red/White flag is flying.
The Club now has handheld VHF sets that are waterproof and buoyant. You can ask to borrow one if you are worried about getting into difficulties and not being seen from the shore.
David McNamee, Safety Co-Ordinator