Day 14: Don’t Fall In: and 100 more useful sailing tips

No, we haven’t had a man (or woman or child) overboard yet *touches wood* this is just the name of a book I’m working on – it’ll be about risk and prevention. As we are past the point where it is easier to continue foreword than to turn back it seems like a good time to talk about our risks and what we do the mitigate them.

BUT, first I want to mention the risk that sent me out here in the first place: the most common death bed regret is “I wish I had spent more time with my kids”.

As Mia and I now spend 36 intense, infuriating, delightful, beautiful hours a day in the company of Teo (and each other) we’re definitely doing something to mitigate that life risk. Yes, there are other ways to be together as a family, but this is the one we picked for now.

Sailing around the coast and quiet little islands is full of risks: falling in the sea, running aground, getting hit by the boom, gas fires, sinking, etc. Thankfully with excellent emergency services the impact of those risks is somewhat reduced. The risks broadly fall into three types: man-overboard, medical and abandoning ship.

Sailing in the open ocean has many of the same risks and also, due to the distance from emergency services, a few more on-top. For example our distance to a hospital can currently be measured in days (about 3 days: one for the container ship to get to us and two more for it to get to within helicopter distance from the shore). A sobering thought.

For medical emergencies and to help mitigate the impact of being so far away from help we carry a very well equipped first aid kit which, our retired pharmacist crew member, Kevin helped stock. Also, before we left Oslo, we took several visits to our GPs and came away armed with over 15 different forms of antibiotics, several prescribed painkillers, anti-psychotics, adrenaline pens and more besides. In addition to the above we also have a satellite phone and access to expert advice on how best to use the above.

For non-medical emergencies, both man-overboard and abandoning ship, we are currently lucky enough to have three other yachts within fifteen minutes of us. This is not something I ever expected to happen crossing the Atlantic, but when we found out that the two Danish kids boats were planning on staying within VHF range (about 20 miles) of each other we decided to tag along. So far it has been surprising easy to keep so close and I know I’m not the only one who finds it reassuring to see three glowing masthead lights around us during the night watches. In the very unlikely event we need to abandon ship we know that others will be there to take us in.

Is the above good enough? I believe so, but I hope we don’t need to find out.

In other news….. Onwards to Barbados, another 150 miles under the keel today.

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