When Commodores get a bright idea, run for the hills. This is difficult near Houston where there are no hills, so the work fell to Storm Trysail members Chris and Karen Lewis of Houston – owners of the faster-than-Vamp J/44 Kenai – and highly (hardly) paid SAS moderator Rich du Moulin. Weak humor aside, this event was a terrific concept. When Commodores get a bright idea, run for the hills. This is difficult near Houston where there are no hills, so the work fell to Storm Trysail members Chris and Karen Lewis of Houston – owners of the faster-than-Vamp J/44 Kenai – and highly (hardly) paid SAS moderator Rich du Moulin. Weak humor aside, this event was a terrific concept.
On behalf of all the members of Lakewood YC and the regional clubs, I sincerely thank STC and the STC Foundation with Rich as the lead in pulling off this remarkable day of learning. We could not have done it without y’all.”
Chris and Karen pulled together a huge volunteer effort and extensive sponsorship for this, the first SAS seminar in the region. Working together with Rich the team came up with a novel program: to simultaneously run a full World Sailing Offshore (Hands On) program in parallel with a conventional U.S. Sailing Offshore (in-person) program. The former would utilize the U.S. Sailing On-line SAS ten-chapter course, whose original funding came from Storm Trysail and CCA. Betsy Alison, U.S. Sailing’s Director of Adult Sailing, flew in from Newport for the Seminar. Her presence was well received.
There were 54 World Sailing attendees, plus 60 “in-person”. One driver of this concept was the capacity limit of the swimming pool – two shifts of 27 sailors each. However, the in-person sailors had the benefit of observing the survival swimming training, fire fighting, and pyrotechnics. Otherwise the combined 114 attended all other presentations together. This worked well, as the in-person sailors were very appreciative of the extra learning even if they couldn’t be hands on. If you have ever attended a Dan O’Connor class you know.
The Lakewood Yacht Club is a magnificent facility located in Seabrook, on a channel leading to Galveston Bay. Commodore Ash Walker, the management and staff, and many volunteer members made the event both successful and a joy to attend. Any Storm Trysail member who visits the Houston area should visit and sail from this great Club. There is a large fleet of sailboats, and members provided two J/46s, a First 42.7, J/130, J/120 and J/40 for the on-the-water hands-on activities. This was challenging because of an approaching strong cold front. Our visiting coaches included Buttons Padin (who organized the printed program), Doug Lynn, Dan O’Connor, Rich du Moulin and Kings Point Director of Marine Operations Jonathan Kabak. The coaches took out half the hands-on folks on Friday in heavy air before the front hit. On Saturday the fresh northwester blew enough water out of Galveston Bay to only enable the smaller boats to go out. Interesting challenge to overcome!
The U.S. Coast Guard and Auxiliary were there in force. The Search and Rescue team landed their helicopter in the Club parking lot, while the surface crew arrived on their RIB. The Auxiliary arrived by car. A total of 8 Coasties shared an hour of remarks and presentations to the crowd, and then lifted off in a cloud of dust. Strong! Thank you LTJG Bradley Harbert and Liaison Cran Fazer.
Not to be outdone, the Seabrook Volunteer Fire Department lead by Chief Nicole Laster arrived with their hook and ladder and conducted hands-on fire fighting in the parking lot using burning diesel in steel tubs. Meantime their fireboat was sitting a few yards away in its slip at the Club. There is no shortage of SAS hardware in Texas!
The schedule also included Offshore Crew Health, Damage Control, Heavy Weather Sailing, and the Moderator’s opening presentation that focused on Leadership, Responsibility, Seamanship and Situational Awareness. This was in keeping with the Storm Trysail theme of “Don’t Give Up The Ship!” Perhaps the most unexpected event came during the one hour MOB presentation by the moderator, who after showing the Storm Trysail video produced by Gary Jobson, called on two sailors in the audience who had experienced real MOB events.
Peter Pattullo, skipper of a Corsair 32 foot trimaran, described his thorough preparations for an offshore passage. During heavy weather his son went overboard. A difficult but successful MOB recovery was made. While relating the story to the audience, Peter was challenged to control his emotions. The audience gave him a rousing ovation as a complement to his seamanship and willingness to share. The video will soon be posted on the Storm Trysail website. Watch it! It is a showstopper. Thank you videographer Stuart Lindow.
David Christiansen then described the near loss of the son of one of his regular crew on a day race in the Bay. David called it a textbook case of everything going wrong, and barely saving a life. The sound recording of this video is not as clear, but we will post it also.
Thank you everyone who made this a memorable seminar!
Rich du Moulin, Moderator
Participating Flag Officers:
Mike Downs, Lakewood YC Fleet CaptainJune Shaw, Houston YC Fleet CaptainScott Tuna, Galveston Bay Cruising Assn. Fleet CaptainCran Frazer, USCG and Gulf Yachting Assn. Liaison
Triad Marine – rafts and flares
Shaken not Stirred, J/40 – Walter & Beverly Caldwell
Joyride, First 42.7- Greg Casamayor
Hamburg II, J/46 – Al and Kathy Goethe
Sodalis, J/46- Jim Demarest
Aeolus, J/120 – James Liston
Second Wind, J/130- Chris Waters