‘In­suf­fi­cient plan­ning’ led to CV24 ground­ing

Yachting Monthly - - NEWS -

Lessons learned from pre­vi­ous in­ci­dents could have pre­vented the ground­ing of the Clip­per Race CV24 yacht Green­ings, says the Ma­rine Ac­ci­dent In­ves­ti­ga­tion Branch (MAIB).

The ves­sel ran aground off South Africa on 31 Oc­to­ber 2017 dur­ing Leg 3 of the round-the-world race.

In its re­port, the MAIB said there was ‘in­suf­fi­cient plan­ning for the coastal pas­sage: no crew mem­ber had been as­signed to the nav­i­ga­tion sta­tion, depth in­for­ma­tion was not be­ing dis­played at the helm and there were no safe cross-track dis­tances or safety depths plot­ted on pa­per or elec­tronic charts.’

At the time of the in­ci­dent, the skip­per, the only pro­fes­sional sailor aboard, was re­spon­si­ble for nav­i­ga­tion. Changes in wind speed and di­rec­tion and an in­abil­ity to main­tain course in 20-25-knot north-north­west­erly winds led him to order a gybe, which he su­per­vised. This distraction, said the MAIB, along with no depth in­for­ma­tion be­ing dis­played at the helm and the hazy, dark con­di­tions meant no one fore­saw the ground­ing risk. The Clip­per Race ad­vi­sory warn­ing for all yachts was to re­main at least 10 miles off­shore at night. It has since in­tro­duced com­pul­sory manda­tory ex­clu­sion zones around all nav­i­ga­tional haz­ards, and no Clip­per ves­sel can roam into less than 20m. Seven of the 11 other race yachts fol­lowed cour­ses sim­i­lar to CV24’S to­wards the shore and CV31 al­most cer­tainly also grounded, al­though man­aged to gybe to al­ter course.

The MAIB also high­lighted the lack of an ex­pe­ri­enced nav­i­ga­tor aboard CV24. Pro­vi­sion of this role had been rec­om­mended to Clip­per in 2010 by the Mar­itime

Claims and

Ser­vices Ltd, which in­ves­ti­gated the ground­ing of CV4 on a reef in Java.

The ab­sence of a sec­ond pro­fes­sional sailor, which was rec­om­mended to

Clip­per in 2017 by the MAIB af­ter the deaths of Andrew Ship­man and Sarah Young dur­ing the 2015-16 race, was also raised. ‘With only one pro­fes­sional, em­ployed sea­farer on board, the Clip­per yachts were not safely manned for the roundthe-world race,’ stated the MAIB in its CV24 ground­ing re­port.

De­spite the 2017 rec­om­men­da­tions, Clip­per in­tro­duced its Clip­per coxswains for each yacht – cho­sen crew who un­der­went a Mar­itime and Coast­guard Agency-ap­proved train­ing course. It felt they would be able to raise con­cerns rather than a com­pany-em­ployed qual­i­fied mate.

The Clip­per coxswain was off watch at the time of CV24’S ground­ing.

Fol­low­ing the ground­ing, Clip­per im­me­di­ately placed qual­i­fied mates on board ev­ery yacht, cre­ated an in­ter­nal Safety Au­dit Depart­ment led by the chief oper­at­ing of­fi­cer and in­tro­duced pro­ce­dure so all pas­sage plans are checked by com­pany staff be­fore each leg.

Chair­man and founder of Clip­per, Sir Robin Knox-john­ston, said it was com­mit­ted ‘to main­tain­ing the high­est pos­si­ble safety stan­dard across its train­ing and rac­ing.

‘Clip­per Ven­tures runs a safety man­age­ment sys­tem which ex­ceeds all reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments and rec­om­men­da­tions,’ he stressed, adding it had been at the fore­front of im­ple­ment­ing safety ini­tia­tives to ocean rac­ing such as AIS bea­cons in life­jack­ets and dou­ble teth­ers on har­nesses.

‘The lessons for our in­dus­try at large are sig­nif­i­cant and a re­view of reg­u­la­tion, and the speed of re­port­ing of key learn­ings, is ur­gently re­quired.’

The skip­per was the only nav­i­ga­tor aboard CV24 at the time of the ground­ing

None of the CV24 crew were in­jured

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