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Salt Lines 70ft expedition yacht

Salt Lines 70ft expedition yacht

1,516.0025,515.00

Salt Lines is a 70ft, steel-hulled, 30-ton, ketch-rigged sailing vessel. Built to Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) unlimited survey requirements, she was the second of the Laurent Giles Shipwright 70 class built on Tyneside by AMARC (TES) Ltd in 1990 for the Ocean Youth Trust (OYT). She was launched and named the John Laing by Lady Laing in Poole, UK.

Departing the UK in October 2019, TravelEdge made it to Tahiti in French Polynesia by March 2020 when the effects of COVID-19 border closures brought the voyage to an unexpected and abrupt halt. She was partially decommissioned and kept in a marina in Papeete where she was discovered and purchased by Matt Harvey, renamed Salt Lines and brought to Australia to join the Ocean Sailing Expeditions fleet.

The Ocean Sailing Expeditions calendar is a combination of racing regattas and ocean passages up and down the East Coast of Australia with the highlights including Hamilton Island Race Week, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race and unique ocean adventure passages to Middleton Reef, Elizabeth Reef, Lord Howe Island, a circumnavigation of Tasmania and some Trans-Tasman crossings.

  • Secure your place on the crew for a once in a lifetime adventure with just a 20% deposit. (There might be exceptions to this for specific events)
  • If you book an event and then cancel (at least 30 days) before departure, because you are affected by the changing border control/quarantine restrictions due to COVID-19 (when travelling internationally to our port of departure and/or at the port of arrival) your registration fees will be 100% refunded in full or transferred to another event.

Our mission while you are aboard is to share our knowledge and experience to ensure you get to play an active role as a crew member on our team. On a passage, you will be an equal part of the crew and responsible for all aspects of boat navigation, handling and trimming. If you join us for an ocean race or regatta you will be assigned a racing role as an active part of our race team and experience all of the highs, lows and highlights that come with offshore racing in some spectacular locations. This is not a yacht charter or luxury cruise, you will be hands-on from the “get-go” and your experience can be described as an ocean racing adventure or passage sailing expedition. This is ocean sailing, it’s the real thing. Join us for an adventure now, it will be challenging, you will have to deal with whatever mother nature serves up, you will see some spectacular sights and the memories will last you a lifetime…

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Thank you for looking to book with us through these difficult times. As you will understand we cannot definitely confirm that the events will happen. Our process is as follows: Register interest in the event by adding the event to the chart and pay the deposit amount if that is provided. After the confirmation of the event, we sort out the payment of the balance.
SKU: SL-70 Category:

Product Description

Salt Lines

 

Why consider sailing with us on Silver Fern?

Experience

If you want to become a capable and confident offshore sailor, the best thing you can do is go to sea with experienced skippers on well-prepared yachts. It does not matter how much you have read or how much inshore sailing you have done, going offshore on an ocean-going yacht is a whole new experience and a key step to preparing the offshore sailor. David as your skipper, has completed more than 25,000 nautical miles of coastal and offshore passages, competed in more than 400 yacht races and skippered multiple blue water ocean crossings during the past decade.

Great leadership

Imagine combining your best school camp experience, with a capable well-organised sailing team and the natural ability for creating team morale, regular humour and highly personalised experience. Having led teams from 7 to 700 in size on the water, in community organisations and in business, David has the ability to take a bunch of strangers and form a cohesive, friendly, functioning team, in no time at all. To have an exceptional experience on the ocean, you need to be part of a great team.

Safety first

David found that the more sea miles he has under his belt from all sorts of conditions, the more his focus on ‘safety first’ has developed. On Silver Fern, we have never spared any expense when it comes to safety equipment, use of technology and boat preparation. You can be confident our safety standards will give you peace of mind when heading offshore on Silver Fern.

There are countless examples of delivery skippers in the news and on social media who went to sea on a tight schedule, on ill-prepared vessels they were unfamiliar with, that they sailed short-handed with one or two “free” delivery crew, then ended up in trouble. These boats often have stressful, poorly prepared voyages, with equipment failure and crews arriving exhausted, swearing never to step aboard a yacht ever again. Choose your skipper and vessel wisely, your life depends upon it.

Experienced team

Silver Fern has an experienced team in excess of 20 sailors to draw upon. This group includes experienced sailors, helmsmen, skippers,  industry craftsmen and professionals; all of who regularly race onboard Silver Fern and also complete ocean passages. At any time we have a team of 8-10 onboard depending on the style of race, regatta or passage we are doing. In the past 12 months, our team have collectively sailed more than 10,000nm, including to north to Hamilton Island, east to Lord Howe Island and south to Sydney and to Hobart within Australia and across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand and back.

Real-time, hands-on training

You will learn more onboard Silver Fern in just a few days than you will learn from reading a bunch of sailing books. Our hands-on, fast-track learning environment, immerses you straight into offshore sailing. You’ll become confident within hours of getting started and relish the opportunity to learn from the extensive knowledge of those around you. From navigation to sail management and trimming, plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems, watch planning, heavy weather preparation, making landfall and weather analysis; we’ll teach it all in plain, everyday English. Every race, regatta and ocean passage is different and we always have to adapt to the challenges, conditions and weather we face. You’ll become part of the team and the decision-making process, the moment you step aboard.

Small personalised crew

We include 4 – 8 paying crew on each ocean passage, expedition or regatta (plus 2 experienced Ocean Sailing Expeditions crew members, for a maximum ocean passage crew of 10. We’ve got bunks for 10+ and plenty of room for our crew in the pilot house, cockpit, cabin top and in cabins. With a modest passage crew, we can easily meet each person’s specific needs, whether it be more time at the helm, learning navigation or practicing sail trimming. On ocean races and regattas, we’ll have a larger crew of 10 – 12  (including 6 experienced race crew) to meet the demands of competitive round-the-clock racing. We’ll hot-bunk on ocean races (50% in bunks / 50% on watch) and work together on a two-team watch system, to maintain boat speed 24/7.

Gold Coast Dolphin Watching

Checklists and resources

We have a range of checklists and resources here to help you prepare for your adventure with us.

Salt Lines Crew Gear List

Space is a premium onboard and its surprisingly easier to sail with less rather than more gear. The following is a list of required gear that will ensure you can stay warm, cool and dry in the conditions we sail in. Remember its a lot cooler at night especially in strong winds so you need to be able to layer up and down to manage body temperature. Download checklist as PDF.

 

Crew Year List

Sea Safety & Survival Training

The Sea Safety and Survival / Advanced Sea Safety training course* is generally completed over a 2-day period and is essential crew training for those sailors completing offshore category 1 races and ocean passages. Whether you are racing or cruising, the survival skills this course teaches you and the knowledge and confidence you will gain in operating essential safety equipment under difficult conditions makes the essential for all long-distance sailors. Whether you are 50nm or 500nm off the coast, emergencies can happy quickly and rescue can be hours and even days away.

For any sailors joining for category 1 races and passages e.g. Trans-Tasman crossings, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, the Tasmania Circumnavigation, New Zealand’s North Island and South Island Circumnavigation’s and Southern Islands expeditions, completion of this course is a mandatory requirement.

Here are a range of training providers. The courses don’t run every month, so don’t leave it until the last minute to book and complete one;

Australia

ORCV – VIC

Marine Training – NSW & QLD

Southern Cross Yachting – QLD

Flying Fish Sailing – NSW

Fremantle Sailing Club – WA

Sailing Australia – Nationwide

New Zealand

Coastguard – Nationwide

World wide

World Sailing – Worldwide

*This course has a number of different names around the world. The World Sailing website has details of all equivalent courses.

 

David takes safety seriously and it’s impossible to have high safety standards without also having high training standards. Most skippers talk about how important safety is to them, but very few actually do a thorough job of training their crew and ensuring that the vessel can continue to operate safely even if they are incapacitated.

It’s one thing to have the knowledge in your head, but it takes a different level of safety management to ensure that accurate, safety and vessel operations information is at everyone’s fingertips when it’s required, especially in an emergency situation. It’s often 2 or 3 poor decisions or minor operational mistakes that can set off a chain of escalating problems and cause injury, gear failure and in extreme cases, loss of life or the vessel.

Although we perform several hours of safety training and vessel familiarisation prior to departure, it’s not always easy to remember every detail. What we also carry onboard and make available to every crew member prior to and during every passage is our; 47-page SILVER FERN YACHT OPERATIONS MANUAL-2 written especially by David and tailored to Silver Fern’s crew, yacht design, systems and safety equipment. Feel free to download a copy.

Offshore sailing: what to expect and what’s expected of you

Welcome to offshore sailing, if you enjoy sailing offshore, then ocean passages and big regattas add a whole new dimension. Here are some thoughts on how to make it a great experience for you and your team.

1. Attitude Crew Resources Ocean GemYour attitude has a major impact on your enjoyment and those around you. Having a positive and proactive approach to your fellow team members is really important. You will be working and living in a confined space that can get uncomfortable, but a positive atmosphere has a major impact on everyone on board. If you are not feeling great mentally, try and diagnose what you need; is it time out, asleep, food, hydration, time out of the sun etc. If you deteriorate physically, your mental state will follow.

2. Personal responsibility – As part of the crew on a racing yacht, you have the responsibility to fulfil your role to the best of your ability and manage your own personal safety, health and well being, so you can enjoy the race and avoid putting yourself and your team at risk.

On a racing yacht, you will experience all sorts of extreme weather and sea conditions and these can have an impact on our ability to sail safely. You are working on a slippery, moving surface with equipment such as halyards, sheets, winches, booms and spinnaker poles that are under heavy load and can cause injury or death if you end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Crew Resources Ocean GemTo stay mentally sharp, you need to stay in peak physical condition. This requires managing food intake, energy levels, hydration, sleep, body temperature, sun protection and seasickness. There are lots of variables and the environment changes constantly. Managing these things requires ongoing diligence. It’s also good to keep an eye on your team members around you and check they are staying on track too. Accidents, injuries and damage to the yacht are usually caused by losing mental focus and making poor decisions and these are often triggered by fatigue and declining energy levels.

3. Teamwork/support/communication – One of the most enjoyable parts of ocean racing is the friendship, support and camaraderie of being part of a great team. To make a great contribution to our team spirit there are some things you can do that will make a big difference;

  • Be positive and enthusiastic. Have a sense of humour.
  • Avoid being negative, sarcastic, overly critical or losing your cool.
  • Respect our shared spaces by storing your gear tidily and keeping kitchen and bathroom areas clean.
  • Don’t sulk or give people the silent treatment. If you are happy – say so. If you are not happy, chat to someone about what’s bothering you and work out a plan to deal with it proactively.
  • Be enthusiastic about the tasks you need to do to keep the yacht and the crew in good shape. If you want a hot drink, offer to make one for everyone else. If you are grabbing a snack, check who else wants one. When we all take care of each other, everything is easier.
  • Crew Resources Ocean GemCheck your crewmates are OK. Often crew will get hungry, dehydrated, cold or seasick and start to go downhill rapidly. When you don’t feel great, it’s easy to drop your head, not feel like moving and think; “if I just sit here, things will eventually improve”. They rarely do, but the mind can start making poor decisions under stress or fatigue. Check on your teammates regularly on a long passage. Managing health and well-being is an ongoing focus and we all have times when we feel great and not so great – and that’s when we count on our teammates to help us get back on track.
  • Communicate – if you are worried about something, see a potential issue with the yacht, see a crew member who does not look well, have an issue with someone else over something that has happened earlier or has been said. Its always better to speak up and communicate in a pleasant, respectful and constructive manner. The best teams communicate regularly regardless of whether things are going right or wrong.
  • Be proactive and take ownership – good sailors think ahead and stay proactive. When you are responsible for specific functions on the yacht; plan ahead, communicate, check to fine-tune and plan ahead. If something does not feel right or you think we can make some changes to improve boat operations, teamwork, systems or speed, always speak up and share your thoughts. Continuous improvement is how we get better and better as a team.
  • Sometimes you will carry your team and sometimes they will carry you. There are always ups and downs, so just do your best and expect that things won’t always go smoothly.

4. Personal comfort Crew Resources Ocean GemOn a racing yacht you are going to face extreme heat and cold, you will get wet, suffer from wind chill, hurt yourself and find it hard to get comfortable. It’s really important to manage your comfort levels, so you balance staying warm, cool and dry to maintain optimum comfort. Sometimes it’s easy to put off going below to change your clothing and the end result is usually increased discomfort and wishing you had done it sooner. Being comfortable makes it easier to maintain focus and your contribution to the yacht’s performance.

5. Hydration – Your body is about 60% water. A 5% loss in hydration reduces brain function by 25% and leads to a loss of energy, loss of focus, headaches, sleepiness and seasickness. The most classic example is to avoid drinking water regularly so that you don’t need to go to the toilet in rough weather, which can be time-consuming when taking wet weather/safety gear off and there is the worry that ‘if I am in the toilet too long, I might get seasick as well’. You have to maintain your hydration, which usually means 2 litres of fluids a day (more in hot weather) including water, hot drinks and other cold drinks. Dehydration impacts decision making and can lead to accidents that put both crew and the yacht at risk. If your lips/mouth are dry or you are yawning, they are all symptoms of dehydration.

6. Seasickness – Everyone has different tolerance levels for seasickness and everyone will be sick at some point if the contributing factors line up.

  • Do’s – Stay warm, stay hydrated, maintain sleep levels, stay up on deck, keep your eyes on the horizon and avoiding reading your phone or books or looking down. If you are not feeling great, get others to bring up food, drinks and clothing for you.
  • Don’ts – Avoid alcohol, caffeine, fatty foods and late nights in the 24 hours before going offshore.
  • Be proactive – Crew Resources Ocean GemCheck the forecast and take seasickness pills in advance of rough weather. Its like insurance, it does not work if you wait until you feel sick, to take it.
  • Watch out for your mates – If you see other crewmembers going downhill, do your best to make sure they are warm, dry, fed and hydrated. Discuss any concerns with the skipper, as it’s always best to take precautions before someone’s condition deteriorates.
  • Sailing through rough weather has a big impact on your stomach muscles, as you use them to brace your body constantly to stay upright. Stretched stomach muscles can often cause discomfort and can be confused with the onset of seasickness, when in fact it’s just strained stomach muscles. Doing sit-ups for 4-6 weeks prior to a big passage race can help prevent this.

7. Sleep – Managing your sleep can be difficult on passages of 3-5 days in length, but it is really important for your wellbeing and ability to contribute to boat management, to manage your sleep proactively. Sleeping below can be hot, noisy and rocky depending on temperature and weather and it’s tempting to live on less sleep than you need, but that can cause headaches, seasickness and an inability to concentrate on your tasks on deck.

With overnight races, we will have a watch system in place that will see you on watch with others for between 2-4 hours, once or twice between 8 pm and 6 am. Broken sleep will cause you to feel tired (and grumpy) during the day following, so take advantage of the opportunity to head below and grab a couple of hours sleep, when the opportunity arises during the day. Think of it as topping up your batteries regularly instead of running them completely flat.

8. Your focus and boat performance – Part of the challenge of offshore passage racing is the ability to maintain a high level of focus and boat performance 100% of the time. As a team, it’s important to rotate each trimming and helming role regularly to keep people fresh and focused. We should all feel happy to take a break when we start to lose concentration and also ask a crew member if they want a break if we start to see them losing focus and affecting sail trim or boat performance.

Crew Resources Ocean GemLong passages and races can have sections that are uncomfortable, boring, hot, cold and difficult. Rotating regularly helps break up roles and keep our crew fresh and in good shape.

9. Hero’s and risk-takers –There are only 3 priorities when it comes to offshore passage racing;

  • Keeping our crew safe.
  • Keeping our yacht safe.
  • Working together as a team and giving it 100%.

Offshore racing is very different to bay/day racing. Managing the yacht conservatively to avoid damage and minimise over stressing of sails, hardware and the hull is very important. Great crewmembers are assets, but poor crewmembers can become liabilities that can put the welfare of the yacht and team at risk. When we are sailing offshore, we have to be self-sufficient. Help is usually several hours away and getting rescued can be dangerous in itself, so its better not to put yourself in that position.

With round-the-cans racing, there is often stress and urgency to execute in seconds, as every metre counts. With offshore sailing, what becomes more important is planning ahead, preparing well, minimising risk and making sure safety is our number one priority. With stronger breezes, bigger seas, night sailing and the risk of losing someone overboard; taking time to execute methodically and safely becomes the overriding priority. Taking risks and heroic behaviour is a last resort if all else fails. Getting our yacht and team to our destination without injury or damage is always our biggest achievement. Results come second.

10. Boat management Crew Resources Ocean GemWith offshore passages, changes in wind, weather and sea state create all sorts of challenges. Another risk is damage or loss of equipment due to things working themselves loose and coming undone or chafe causing lines, sails and sheets to wear through and fail. Good management requires us to constantly check that all fittings and shackles are tight and to look for areas at risk of chafe that we can adjust and fine-tune.

Keeping updated with weather forecasts and adjusting sails proactively also helps minimise damage. Leaving it too late to reef or reduce sail only puts the yacht and crew at risk. As you walk around the yacht above and below deck, keep your eyes, ears and nose open. If you smell something strange (smoke or toilets), see something that’s out of place (chafing), hear water sloshing in the bilge or a knocking noise then check it out. If something does not seem right – it probably isn’t, so don’t ignore it.

11. Training – Offshore passages are a great opportunity for training. There is a chance to spend time learning each of the crew/helm/navigator roles and also to better understand many of the yacht’s systems e.g. water, refrigeration, engine, electronics, communication, emergency management etc. Look for opportunities to learn and to teach. It helps make the most of the time on the water and can make some of the monotonous sections of the race pass faster.

12. Safety – Your personal safety and that of the crew and the yacht is a collective responsibility. Offshore racing has numerous risks that include; cuts, broken bones, fire, hypothermia, drowning, sinking, concussion and being lost at sea. With every step you take and every move you make, its important to consider the impact and risks involved. Its always better to take the time to plan, communicate, assess how difficult a task is and err on the side of caution by getting extra help if you need it.

There is a lot of safety equipment that we invest in and carry on board to maximise safety and eliminate as many risks as possible. You are responsible for your own safety and need to take it seriously. You will be equipped with PFD’s, whistles, lights, PLB’s (personal locator beacons), knives, safety tethers and wet weather gear. They take time to put on and take off when going to bed or the bathroom. The entire process of undressing and/or getting dressed again can take 20-30 minutes, especially if the boat is heeling and going to windward over a lumpy sea. Be patient and enjoy the process, most people would kill to go ocean racing instead of sitting at a desk in an office.

Crew Resources Ocean GemFalling overboard can be traumatic for you and for the crew. Losing someone overboard is our biggest fear and there is no guarantee you will be found and recovered alive despite all the safety equipment and personal locator beacons. Hypothermia sets in quickly in southern waters and in big seas you are at risk of being injured by the hull of the yacht in the recovery process. You will have a safety tether that you can use to attach yourself to the yacht – use it.

Most man overboard situations occur with a knockdown, freak wave, sail change or unexpected gybe and therefore will happen before you have time to respond. Use your safety tether after sunset, in rough weather, when leaving the cockpit, when the spinnaker is up and any other time we are not sailing on a millpond or close to outside assistance.

Some tips; if in doubt use your safety tether, when going forward of the cockpit hold on to rails and safety lines, keep your body weight low by crouching when moving in a swell, take your time and use your shorter safety tether when working at the mast or near the bow. Sailors have drowned when using their 2-metre safety tether while working up at the bow and then getting washed overboard and dragged along underwater on the end of their safety tether.

The best thing you can do is stay on-board. If you see another crew member taking short cuts or unnecessary risks – speak up; safety is everyone’s responsibility. We never want to have to meet with the police or your loved ones and explain how we lost you overboard.

13. Physical fitness/workload managementCrew Resources Ocean GemWe are in the unique position of being amateur club sailors and competing at a state or national level in events that often include professional racing teams. We have a crew that range in age from 16 to 60 something and that brings all sorts of challenges and opportunities. As a racing crew, there are many roles to be performed on-board and many ways to make a contribution. From helming to sail trimming, foredeck management, preparing meals, making hot drinks and grabbing snacks, they are important roles with vastly different requirements in both experience and physicality that we can all play.

It’s important to play to your strengths in whatever roles you enjoy and manage your physical workload to avoid injury through overload/tiredness. Having a racing crew of 7-10 means we have the ability to rotate roles and allow for rest and recovery time as well. The is no benefit in overexerting yourself to the point where you bend or break something, that then limits your ability to contribute as an effective crew member.

A lot of the at-risk areas with sailing are; arms, shoulders, stomach muscles and lower back. Helming, winching, trimming sheets, pulling halyards and bracing yourself when going to windward in a lumpy sea and a strong breeze is where most of the physical impact takes place. Anything you do increase your strength in these areas is a benefit in offshore racing.

Always assess how strong and fit you are and manage your workload accordingly. It’s smarter to ask for help or take a break than to push yourself to the point where you suffer an injury. I have the view that a champion team is made up of people with a variety of strengths and experience to draw upon. We are not professional athletes and our goal is to succeed as a team, make a meaningful contribution individually and take satisfaction out of “punching above our weight”.

Crew Resources Ocean GemSuccess to me is measured by ‘how we go about our work and how we take care of each other’, not how many trophies we win. If we take care of each other, work effectively together, enjoy learning new skills, always give 100% and have some fun along the way, then the results will come.

14. Sun protection – Sun is one of the biggest threats with long periods of time on the water. Excess sun will cause overheating, sunburn, dehydration, fatigue and seasickness. It’s important to manage your exposure to the sun each day. Wear clothing that reduces exposure, such as hats, sunglasses and long-sleeved shirts. Manage your time in direct sun, by using shade created by the sails or sleeping below to reduce excess exposure. Increased time in the sun and hotter temperatures will increase your water intake requirements. Excess sun combined with dehydration will cause headaches, tiredness and even seasickness. Even on cloudy days, 70% of the suns UV gets through. If you get burnt, its sunburn and not windburn. Use sun-cream proactively, if you get burnt you will have an unpleasant trip and find sleeping difficult as well.

15. Summary – enjoy your sailing, you will never wish you spent less time on the ocean!

Safety flare training

Sea Safety & Survival Training Courses

The Sea Safety and Survival / Advanced Sea Safety / Certificate of Safety Training / STCW PST training course* is generally completed over a 1-2 day period and is essential crew training for those sailors completing offshore category 1 races and ocean passages. Whether you are racing or cruising, the survival skills this course teaches you and the knowledge and confidence you will gain in operating essential safety equipment under difficult conditions make the essential for all long-distance sailors. Whether you are 50nm or 500nm off the coast, emergencies can happy quickly and rescue can be hours and even days away.

For any sailors joining me for offshore passages or races, completion of this 2-day course is a mandatory requirement. It’s valid for 5 years once issued and then requires a 1-day refresher course to renew every 5 years. The skills you learn could save your life.

Here are a range of training providers. The courses don’t run every month in each location, but some run them weekly, so don’t leave it until the last minute to book and complete one. You can also search Google for other maritime training providers. We do a full practical safety equipment training session onboard before departure, so if there are no classroom course options available before you depart, the Above & Beyond Boating – Online Only a course is an option you can choose.

World wide

*This course has a number of different names around the world. The World Sailing website has details of all equivalent courses.

Safety Onboard

We take safety seriously and it’s impossible to have high safety standards without also having high training standards. Most skippers talk about how important safety is to them, but very few actually do a thorough job of training their crew and ensuring that the vessel can continue to operate safely even if they are incapacitated.

It’s one thing to have the knowledge in your head, but it takes a different level of safety management to ensure that accurate, safety and vessel operations information is at everyone’s fingertips when it’s required, especially in an emergency situation. It’s often 2 or 3 poor decisions or minor operational mistakes that can set off a chain of escalating problems and cause injury, gear failure and in extreme cases, loss of life or the vessel.

Although we perform several hours of safety training and vessel familiarisation prior to departure, it’s not always easy to remember every detail. What we also carry onboard and make available to every crew member during every passage is our; 151-page Yacht Operations Manual written especially by us, and tailored to each yacht’s crew, yacht design, systems and safety equipment.

Read more on safety equipment and systems.

SAFETY

Practice with emergency flares

Practice with emergency flares

Salt Lines is in Unlimited’ survey under the MCA (UK). Both yachts are approved to operate internationally as commercial charter yacht.

Salt Lines is managed to a strict maintenance plan, that includes regular inspections and maintenance of the yachts and all of their safety systems and equipment.

In addition to 1-2 yearly survey inspections, Silver Fern and Salt Lines are also regularly audited by registered Australian Sailing National Equipment Safety Auditors to ensure we are compliant with the safety standards required for offshore racing. These safety audits are performed at least once annually and we are usually audited to Category 1 (Trans-Tasman / Sydney to Hobart) or Category 2 (Coastal Ocean Passage) standards each year depending on the events we have planned.

These rigid safety standards ensure that Silver Fern, Salt Lines and their crews, are well prepared and trained to handle extreme conditions confidently. Our professionally trained crew are required to complete Sea Safety and Survival, Marine First Aid, Radar, Master of Yachts <24m, Yachtmaster Offshore, Yachtmaster Ocean, Radio Communications and Diesel Engine Maintenance training courses as part of our crew training requirements.

SAFETY, BOAT MANAGEMENT CHECKLISTS AND MANUALS

Safety brief checklist – Download

Operations manual contents list – Download

Abandon ship checklist – Download

Sail management guide – Download

Hoisting the carbon heavy weather staysail

Hoisting the carbon heavy weather staysail

Monitoring changes in wind direction and strength

Monitoring changes in wind direction and strength

SAFETY & EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT AND SYSTEMS

We carry an extensive list of safety equipment on board Salt Lines and are trained to use it in all conditions. The following equipment is an example of the type of gear carried on both yachts.

Dan-Buoy / Jon Buoy

  • On the stern, there is a Jon buoy mounted on the pushpit that includes a light, whistle, sea drogue and inflatable lifebuoy and a 2-metre flagpole.
  • Before operating the Jon buoy, the training familiarisation video should be watched and on-location training must be given by an approved crew member.

Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB)

Two EPIRBs are stored adjacent to the desk at the Nav Station. They are;

  • 1 x GME 406 manually activated EPIRB GPS
  • 1 x ACR 406 manually activated EPIRB GPS
  • These must be tested on a regular basis as per the maintenance schedule and serviced every 5 years.
  • The EPIRB only works successfully when in clear view of the sky. It does not work underwater or inside of a vessel or life raft.
  • Before departing on a passage, the EPIRB training familiarisation video should be watched by all-new passengers and crew and on-location training must be given by an approved crew member.
Fire fighting training using multiple types of fires

Fire fighting training using multiple types of fires

Fire fighting training drills inside mocked up ships

Fire fighting training drills inside mocked up ships

Fire Extinguishers

  • 4 Fire Extinguishers are carried on the vessel.
  • One extinguisher is located in the aft cabin below the desk, one is located at the base of the steps on the starboard side of the pilothouse and two extinguishers are located in the mid-cabin wardrobe. See the Safety Equipment Plan for a detailed map of the location.
  • Before operating a fire extinguisher, the training familiarisation video should be watched and on-location training must be given by an approved crew member.

Fire Blanket

  • Two fire blankets are located in the clearly labelled cupboard on the wall opposite the galley sinks.
  • Before using the fire blanket, the training familiarisation video should be watched and on-location training must be given by an approved crew member.

Flares

  • The flare storage containers are yellow with red screw-top lids.
  • They are located in a storage cupboard underneath the Nav Station desk on the starboard side of pilothouse.
  • A range of flares are stored in these two containers and the list of flares includes;
    • Six Rockets – Use for out of sight signal up to 8nm range in daylight and 25nm at night.
    • Four red hand – Use at night-time within sight and 8nm range in daylight.
    • Two orange cans – Use during daytime and within site.
    • Two white hand – Use as a warning signal
2 life rafts and 4 life buoys on board on Silver Fern

2 life rafts and 4 life buoys on board on Silver Fern

600 litres per minute for fire fighting and emergency pumping

600 litres per minute for fire fighting and emergency pumping

Grab Bags

  • There are two grab bags located in the corner seat storage locker on the port side in the aft cabin.
  • When prepared for abandoning ship it contains spare flares, a handheld GPS, spare medications, first aid kits, a waterproof handheld VHF radio, emergency personal gear, a second V sheet with a signalling mirror, a dolphin torch, a knife, a handheld satellite phone, emergency food and water, a cup, life raft instructions, life raft patches and glow sticks. See Abandon Ship Checklist for details of what to pack in the grab bag.
  • 2 x 10-litre emergency water containers are also stored under the floor in the galley. These should be moved to the liferafts if deployed.
  • See Abandon Ship Procedure for details of the emergency process.

Heaving Lines

  • A lightweight orange poly heaving line is attached in a bag on the aft rail of the yacht.
  • 1 x 250 rocket-propelled throw line is stored under the pilothouse.
  • See the Man Overboard Procedure (MOB) for details throw line use.
  • The heaving line training familiarisation video should be watched by all-new passengers and crew and on-location training must be given by an approved crew member.

Jack Lines & Strong Points

  • Safety webbing jack-lines are fitted to strong points fore and aft on each side of the cabin top and run all the way from the stern to the bow.
  • There is also a cockpit jack-lines that’s fitted when offshore or on passages that include night sailing. The cockpit jack-lines can be accessed from inside the pilothouse, so that crew can clip on before leaving the safety of the pilothouse to enter the cockpit.
  • The safety tether training familiarisation video should be watched by all-new passengers and crew and on-location training must be given by an approved crew member.
PFD and safety tether in use offshore

PFD and safety tether in use offshore

Lifebuoys with emergency lights, whistles and drogues

Lifebuoys with emergency lights, whistles and drogues

Lifebuoys

  • Two horseshoe lifebuoys are located on the port side of the pushpit and two on the starboard side. They are attached to a self-starting light, drogue and a whistle.
  • See the Man Overboard Procedure (MOB) for details of lifebuoy use.
  • The lifebuoy training familiarisation video should be watched by all-new passengers and crew and on-location training must be given by an approved crew member.

Life Raft

  • There are two 8-man life rafts on the aft cabin top.
  • There are instructions for deployment on the raft cases and in the nav station.
  • The attachment line is secured to a D fitting on the cabin top. If it is intended to be deployed from an alternative part of the yacht, it should be untied and retied at a suitable location.
  • The raft contains water, food and a number of other emergency items as listed in the contents and instruction pack stored in the grab bag.
  • See the Abandon Ship Procedure for details of deploying the life raft.
  • The life raft line training familiarisation video should be watched by all-new passengers and crew and on-location training must be given by an approved crew member.

Medical Kit

  • The ships medical kit is provided by Oceania Medical and is made up of several parts.
  • These are stored in the wall cupboard opposite the galley and in the forward cabin wardrobes.
  • They include a full range of dressings, drugs and medications and many can only be administered by trained first aid crew under instructions from a doctor (via radio or sat phone).
  • A stocktake record is kept inside each medical kit and this must be filled in when anything is consumed from the kit.
  • The vessel usually carries at least two marine qualified first aiders onboard who have specialised training in administering medications.
  • The medical log must be filled in and witnessed after any injury or illness is sustained by anyone with details of the medication given.
  • The Accident & Incident Register must also be completed as soon as possible after the incident.
  • The phone number for both the Australian (+61 2 6230 6811) and the New Zealand (+64 4 577 8030) Rescue Coordination Centres are stored in both Sat phones and the RCC’s can be called to get medical advice from a doctor prior to administration of medication.
  • A summary of crew/passenger medical conditions should be entered into the ISM Management System prior to departure.
The Class 3 Ships Oceania Medical Kit

The Class 3 Ships Oceania Medical Kit

3.5m RIB and 20hp outboard on foredeck

3.5m RIB and 20hp outboard on foredeck

Navigation, Weather & Electronics

  • 2 x B&G Zues 3S 12 inch Chartplotter’s
  • 2 x external monitors to display Chartplotter display in pilothouse and aft cabin
  • AIS – Automatic Vessel Identification System
  • B&G Helo Dual Radar with 40nm range with collision avoidance tracking
  • 4 x Triton vessel data and wind instruments
  • B&G Autopilot
  • 3 x GPS units
  • Iridium Go Satellite Data
  • PredictWind weather forecasting and routing system
  • CZone integrated digital switching and circuit control system

Personal Floatation Devices (PFD’s)

  •  12 x 150n – 180n PFD jackets, fitted with crotch straps, lights and whistles are stored in the PFD cupboard on the starboard side of the pilothouse port.
  • These are manually inflated with gas by pulling on the toggle on the bottom right side of the front of the jacket when worn.
  • These are all numbered from 1-12 and when you are allocated your PFD, adjust the waist and crotch strap so your PFD fits you firmly. You will use the same PFD for the entire passage/race.
  • They are designed for adults weighing more than 60 kg.
  • Whistles and lights are attached to each and there is a mouthpiece you can use on the left shoulder to add more air for greater buoyancy.
  • Refer to the Safety Harness and PFD Policy for details on when PFD’s must be used.
  • The PFD training familiarisation video should be watched by all new passengers and crew and on location training must be given by an approved crew member.
Using radar to monitor rain front and AIS vessels

Using radar to monitor rain front and AIS vessels

Night navigation through shallow channels using radar and GPS

Night navigation through shallow channels using radar and GPS

Personal Locator Beacon’s (PLB’s)

  • Personal locator beacons (PLB’s) are carried onboard for all crew and passengers.
  • The brands used are Kannad Safe Solo and ACR ResQLink.
  • The instructions for operating these are contained on the top of each device and should be reviewed when fitting them to your PFD. When activated, a PLB transmits your GPS location to the rescue coordination centres in Australia and New Zealand which they will pass to Search and Rescue organisations.
  • To operate effectively the need to be activated and have the aerial in a direct line of sight to sky (e.g. not below sea surface).
  • A PLB will transmit for at least 24 hours before the battery goes flat. If you are in the water or in a life raft in a group, only activate one PLB at a time, to maximise days of battery length and transmission time.
  • All PLB’s and race/passage plans, routes and dates are logged with AMSA in advance of each race/passage, so they know when we are expected to be at sea.
  • Refer to the Safety Harness and PFD Policy for details on when PLB’s must be used. The PLB training familiarisation video should be watched by all-new passengers and crew and on location training must be given by an approved crew member.

RIB Inflatable Tenders

  • 1 x 3.5m RIB + 20hp outboard motor
  • 1 x 3.0m RIB + 6hp outboard motor
  • 1 x emergency RIB kit

Safety Tethers

  •  There are 12 safety tethers carried onboard.
  • Some are single 2-metre only and some are doubles with 1-metre and 2-metre tether options.
  • You should leave your tether attached to your PFD when stored below so that if you need to get up on deck quickly, your tether is at hand.
  • Refer to the Safety Harness and PFD Policy for details on when safety tethers must be used.
  • The safety tether training familiarisation video should be watched by all new passengers and crew and on location training must be given by an approved crew member.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT STORAGE

Each yacht carries the following safety equipment onboard. Refer to Appendix 12 of the operating manual for a floor layout plan and a wall chart is displayed at the Nav Station.

Cockpit / Helm

  • 2 x emergency knives
  • 1 x B&G Zues 3S 12 inch Chartplotter’s
  • AIS – Automatic Vessel Identification System
  • B&G Helo Dual Radar with 40nm range with collision avoidance tracking
  • 4 x Triton vessel data and wind instruments
  • B&G Autopilot
  • 13 x GPS units
  • CZone integrated digital switching and circuit control system
Trimming the mainsail on a Tasman Sea passage

Trimming the mainsail on a Tasman Sea passage

Enclosed cockpit for safety and protection from weather

Enclosed cockpit for safety and protection from weather

Lazarette

  • 1 x Emergency tiller
  • 1 x Storm Jib
  • Storm boards for windows and hatches

Aft Cabin top

  • 1 x Ocean Safety Jonbuoy Danbuoy
  • 4 x Horseshoe Lifebuoys with whistles, lights & drogues
  • 1 x 15m throwline
  • 1 x Rescue sling
  • 2 x SeaAir SOLAS A 8-man liferafts
  • 1 x back up stern light
  • 1 x deck flood down light

Forward cabin top

  • 1 x 3.5m RIB with SOLAS emergency equipment kit and 20hp outboard
  • 1 x Series Storm Drogue
  • 1 x back up port / starboard bow lights
Regular maintenance checks and upgrades in progress

Regular maintenance checks and upgrades in progress

10 Immersion suits onboard keep you alive in 5 degree water temps

10 Immersion suits onboard keep you alive in 5 degree water temps

Personal Safety

  • 10 x MED certified immersion suits
  • 10 x 180n inflatable PFDs with strobe lights & whistles
  • 2 x 150n inflatable PFDs
  • 27 x life jackets
  • 11 x safety tethers
  • 10 x personal locator GPS beacons

Under Pilothouse

  • 1 x Honda 600 litres p/min petrol pump
  • 1 x 50-ton towing line 100m in length
  • 1 x 250 rocket-propelled throw line
  • 1 x submersible portable 24v bilge pump
  • 1 x SSB emergency aerial
  • 1 x VHF emergency aerial
  • 1 x Whale manual bilge pump
Spacious weather proof pilot house on Silver Fern

Spacious weather proof pilot house on Silver Fern

Red lighting throughout for night watch vision

Red lighting throughout for night watch vision

Nav Station

  • 1 x GME 406 manual activated EPIRB GPS
  • 1 x ACR 406 manual activated EPIRB GPS
  • 1 x B&G fixed VHF radio
  • 1 x B&G portable VHF radio
  • 1 x Icom handheld VHF radio
  • 1 x Icom SSB radio
  • 1 x Garmin handheld GPS
  • 1 x Iridium Go Satellite Data unit – integrated with Iridium Go Sat phone and PredictWind weather
  • 1 x Flamefighter 9.0 Litre Foam Extinguisher
  • 1 x B&G Zues 3S 12 inch Chartplotter’s
  • 1 x external monitors to display Chartplotter display in pilot house and aft cabin
  • AIS – Automatic Vessel Identification System
  • B&G Helo Dual Radar with 40nm range with collision avoidance tracking
  • B&G Autopilot
  • 23 x GPS units
  • Iridium Go Satellite Data
  • PredictWind weather forecasting and routing system
  • CZone integrated digital switching system

Cabins

  • 12 x EvacuLife Emergency Fire Smoke Mask & Escape Hood
  • 2 x red fire buckets
  • 2 x buoyant orange smoke flares
  • 6 x red hand flare
  • 6 x parachute distress rocket
  • 2 x handheld orange smoke
  • 3 x handheld torches
  • 2 x Flamefighter 4.5kg ABE Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers
  • 2 x Grab bags
  • 1 x Escape ladder
  • 1 x 25 litre oil spill kit
  • First Aid kits
Yachts required regular work to maintain water tight integrity

Yachts required regular work to maintain water tight integrity

Rack for hanging wet weather gear makes it easy to find at night

Rack for hanging wet weather gear makes it easy to find at night

Engine room

  • 1 x Firepro FP 1200 fire extinguisher system to automatically extinguish and engine room fire in ‘0 seconds’

Mast

  • 1 x B&G Helo Radar
  • 3 x deck flood down lights
  • Fog Horn / PA

Safety Categories for Offshore Sailing

Category 0 – More than 200nm offshore

Major trans-ocean races, where yachts must be completely self-sufficient for very extended periods of time, capable of withstanding heavy storms and prepared to meet serious emergencies without the expectation of outside assistance. Will pass through areas in which air or sea temperatures are likely to be less than 5 degrees Celsius other than temporarily.

Category 1 – 50nm to 200nm offshore

Passage or races of long distances and well offshore, where yachts must be completely self-sufficient for extended periods of time, capable of withstanding storms and prepared to meet serious emergencies without the expectation of outside assistance.

Category 2 – up to 50nm offshore

Race of extended duration along or not far removed from shorelines or in large unprotected bays or lakes, where a high degree of self-sufficiency is required of the yachts but with the reasonable probability that outside assistance could be called upon for aid in the event of serious emergencies.

Category 3

Races across open water, most of which is relatively protected or close to shorelines and not rounding major capes.

Category 4

Short races, close to shore in relatively warm or protected waters.

Category 5

Short races, inside harbour limits or within fully protected waters to Category 4 or 5 are in general, “round the buoys” type or short course, harbour and inshore racing.

Salt Lines owner and skipper Matt Harvey

My father was a marine Engineer, used to build dinghies for a hobby and provided me with my first sailing experience at six weeks old without telling my mother. He wrapped me in a lifejacket, stowed me in the bow and off we went. Obviously, I don’t remember it, but I don’t think that my mother ever forgave him and that’s where the bug began.

I grew up sailing a variety of dinghies on the south coast of England. My abiding memory of which is of having to use my teeth to hold the mainsheet because my hands were too cold to grip anything! Despite this I spent most of my spare time at the local sailing club, joined the sea scouts and charged around in Mirror’s, Topper’s, Laser’s and OK’s. As adulthood arrived and professional obligations took hold, I took a hiatus from sailing until moving to QLD in 1996 where I realised that you didn’t always need to wear a dry suit in order to get in the water.

My transition to Yachting did not evolve until much later in life in the not quite as warm water of Pittwater in Sydney. After a 10-day charter with the family aboard a catamaran, I was hooked yet again. I started working my way through the RYA sailing syllabus and building my experience on a variety of yachts.

Our first yacht was a share in a syndicated Hanse 415 to test the family’s commitment to spending time aboard. We had a good couple of years with that yacht sailing around Sydney and the East coast. Eventually we wanted more flexibility in our access to the yacht, so we exited the syndicate and purchased a Sun Odyssey 37 with family.

Whilst she was a smaller yacht it did mean that we had access to her pretty much whenever we needed it which allowed us to explore more widely. After some inshore racing, short ocean point score and a couple of blue water races I really started to enjoy the offshore passages and the opportunities they provided to explore new locations only accessible by water.

In conjunction with some chartering, I slowly built up the required skills, experience, mileage, sea days and ancillary qualifications to be successfully examined for my RYA Yachtmaster offshore. Whilst my wife and family are keen sailors, they are not so keen on the longer distances much preferring shorter trips and more time at anchor with the sundowners! So, I started to search for another way to fulfil my offshore ambitions and discovered David and Ocean Sailing Expeditions. Coincidently, David has just put out his call for Chief mates to help him manage his new acquisition Silver Fern.

After several chats and some additional exams, I joined David on his Southport to Hamilton Island trip on June 21. It was a fabulous trip and served up everything you could wish for in an offshore expedition. We had a crew of awesome people, solved several unexpected problems including a 12-hour grounding inside Fraser Island (you can hear about that one on David’s podcast!) and continued up the coast to the Percy Island group. Whilst taking a stroll to the Percy Island Yacht Club (you have to check that out) and around the island with David conversation turned to whether we could make the business work with an additional yacht. After some further consideration and an excellent barbecue at the yacht club, we decided it would. So, as soon as we had mobile coverage again my search began for a suitable vessel.

Almost immediately I discovered the UK flagged, 70ft steel ketch which was currently for sale in Tahiti. It was perfect for Ocean Sailing Expeditions having been built as a go-anywhere sail training vessel. It had completed a two-year expedition to the Antarctic with the British Army, spent twenty-five years as a sail training vessel with the Ocean Youth Trust in the UK and completed 2.5 circumnavigations. All I needed to do was strike a deal and get it back to Australia. The deal is now done, my new yacht was purchased and Salt Lines is in Australia since November 2021.

This is not a yacht charter, boat hire, training course or luxury cruise. You are joining a working ocean passage or racing crew, paying your share of the trip/event costs including a donation towards the general running, maintenance and upgrade costs of the vessel and you will have an active, hands-on role to play as a crew member. Most importantly, you’ll be welcomed into our team and made to feel at home, as an important part of the Ocean Sailing Expeditions crew.

NOTE: If you book an event and then cancel (at least 30 days) before departure, because you are affected by the changing border control / quarantine restrictions due to COVID-19 (when traveling internationally to our port of departure and/or at the port of arrival) your registration fees will be 100% refunded in full or transferred to another event.

Your role onboard

You’ll land on your feet quickly and we will give you all the training and support to need to be able fulfil your crew role. There is no previous offshore experience necessary, although prior sailing experience is required. Your tasks may include some or all of the following;

  • Hoisting and trimming sails
  • Standing watch
  • Reefing the mainsail
  • Navigating
  • Standing watch
  • Cooking, cleaning & washing up

Do’s and Don’ts

This is an ocean-going yacht and safety is our highest priority at all times. As a crew member you must also agree to the following;

  • Observe all safety procedures, training and instruction provided
  • Only use safety equipment as instructed and when requested
  • Wear a PDF (Personal Flotation Device), PLB (Personal Locator Beacon), Safety tether (clipped to the boat when directed) and any other clothing and equipment, whenever directed, to ensure you remain safe in all conditions
  • To take responsibility for managing clothing, hydration, sleep and nutrition to maintain your health and well being aboard
  • No alcohol consumption or smoking while at we are racing or at sea. No illegal drugs are to be bought on board. Any prescription or allergy medication must be stored in the ships medical cabinet while aboard
  • To treat everyone aboard with respect regardless of their gender, age or prior experience. No yelling, abusive language, socially offensive or threatening behaviour will be tolerated
  • To follow all reasonable and lawful requests and directions given to you by David Hows and his nominated employees/crew

Your physical ability

  • Please tell us upfront if you have any physical limitations including prior injuries, back problems, health issues and anything that will prevent you from playing your part on board. We can work around most things, but its important we know so we don’t put you at risk or in a role you are unlikely to be able to fulfil safely and enjoyably. It’s important that you have a great experience while you are part of our crew and good teamwork is about playing to everyone’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Can you swim? Can you swim 100 metres or tread water confidently? Understanding your swimming ability is important for ensuring we assess the conditions that you will be required to wear a PDF (Personal Flotation Device) for your own safety.

While onboard

  • Each person will be assigned a single (twin-share) berth while on passage to use for the entire passage except for extreme weather conditions, where we may change where people sleep
  • No eating food in cabins
  • Each person will get their own gear bags (1 x 20 litre, 1 x small) to store their personal gear in while aboard. These are usually hung in the main saloon area to keep the cabins uncluttered and easy to get in and out of. No gear can be stored on the floor, it must be secure and put where it belongs at all times. There is a separate shared space for storing boots and wet weather gear.

Meals & diet

  • All meals are supplied while aboard. You are welcome to bring snacks that you prefer to eat while at sea. Avoiding excessive sugar and caffeine at sea is recommended
  • All food should be consumed while in the saloon, galley or cockpit. No liquids or food at the nav station and no food to be consumed in cabins
  • Please confirm if you have any dietary limitations or allergies.

Weather & comfort

  • We set our schedule based on various special events and seasonal weather. We use the latest in Predict Wind weather forecasting technology and commercial weather routing services, to plan for safe passages at all times. We download updated weather forecasts 2-3 times a day while at sea, to ensure we monitor and adapt to any changes in the forecast, that may affect our comfort or passage time.
  • Reality does not always match the forecast and we have to adapt to the weather we get and manage the yacht to optimise for performance, comfort and safety in all conditions.
  • We are Category 1 equipped to handle the most extreme weather safely and confidently, but will always choose to avoid it where possible.
  • Sometimes you may get cold, wet, tired, hungry, sea sick and scared. There is a lot you can do to prevent this, but those are the challenges that we have to deal with ocean sailing. Sometimes there is no wind and endless days of sunshine.
  • We will support you through the challenges you encounter and have strategies that can help you maximise your comfort and wellbeing.

Pre & post passage

  • Before we get started, we will complete a full training and safety induction to ensure your start off confident and comfortable and feel right at home onboard. Whether racing or on passage, we have a friendly crew that will do their utmost to share their knowledge to ensure you can play your part from day one, so you get the maximum enjoyment.
  • Once we are done sailing, we may need your help to clean up and pack up. Many hands make light work and it’s always a great time for reflecting on trip highlights and celebrating the completion with the crew.

Other stuff

  • Joining us for an adventure does not provide you with a formal qualification and we are not a sailing school. You will have an opportunity to learn and participate almost any level in the management of the boat, especially on ocean passages.
  • If you join us for an ocean race or regatta you will be given roles that suit your physical ability, experience and desire to learn.
  • In the event the yacht is unable to depart within seven days of the scheduled departure date on any passage, we will refund all monies received to date for that specific leg or transfer them to a future trip.
  • You agree by registering, that you will be available to participate from the start to the end each passage/race/regatta. As we are offshore and away from major airports most to the time, there is no ability to arrive late or leave the crew earlier than the dates set down in the calendar in most cases.
  • The itinerary is subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control. These may include weather, sea conditions, national holidays and natural disasters. The safety of the vessel and crew is always our priority.
  • You agree that any photos or video recorded that include you can be used at our discretion in any marketing material with our requiring approval from you or making payment to you.
  • You won’t have much privacy onboard and will be living in close quarters in challenging conditions. You will require to work as part of a team, be flexible and get along with others who have different experience and personalities. What’s guaranteed is if you give it 100%, you’ll have the time of your life.
  • There are no refunds if you decide to arrive late, leave early or depart during any stopover.
  • All expedition members will be signed on as crew, not passengers and will be processed as crew, in each country visited where customs is concerned.
  • If you act in a socially unacceptable manner or display offensive or threatening behaviour or are uncooperative to the point where it is affecting the enjoyment of others aboard, we have the right to ask that you leave the crew and head home at your own expense. You agree that any costs or inconvenience caused is at your expense and you will not seek compensation for costs or damages.

Booking and payment policies

Late payment policy – You agree to make payments on or before dates specified on this website and by email. You also agree to a $200 late payment fee for any payments received seven days or more past the payment due date. Continued non-payment of pre-agreed weekly payments under payment option 2 for more than 4 weeks, without other payment arrangements being agreed to, will be considered a cancellation and the same cancellation policy terms apply as detailed below.

Deposit and decline policy – Once your crew application has been reviewed and approved, you’ll receive an invoice for your deposit (and the details of your weekly payment by automatic payment if you have selected option 2). Your deposit is due for payment immediately in order to officially reserve your crew spot and is non-refundable. Your weekly payment plan is required to start within 7 days of paying your deposit if you have chosen option 2. If your application is declined, you will be notified and there are no fees to pay.

Cancellation policy – If you give or receive written notice of your cancellation at least 60 days before departure, you will not be billed for any final 50% balance if you selected payment option 1, or the balance remaining if you selected payment option 2. You understand that within 60 days of departure, no refund or credit will be given for any reason including illness. You understand that there are no exceptions to this policy. You understand the importance of travel cancellation insurance, which is your own responsibility to obtain.

COVID-19 Policy – If you book and cancel any event up to 60 days before departure, because you are affected by the changing border control / quarantine restrictions due to COVID-19 (when traveling internationally to our port of departure and/or at the port of arrival) your registration fees will be 100% refunded in full or transferred to another event.

Assumption of Risk

Each person participating in a sailing passage, race or regatta with Ocean Sailing Expeditions waives all claims against David Hows and Ocean Sailing Expeditions Pty Limited for injury, accident, illness or death during or by reason of their joining a sailing passage, race or regatta with Ocean Sailing Expeditions. “I acknowledge that I am aware that during sailing passage, race or regatta on the yacht in which I will be participating, certain risks and dangers may arise, including but not limited to, the hazards of traveling on the open sea, falling overboard, storms, high winds, collision of vessels, shipwreck, travel ashore in remote terrain, the forces of nature, and accident or illness in remote regions without means of rapid evacuation or medical facilities.

I am also aware and clearly understand that David Hows and Ocean Sailing Expeditions Pty Limited will have no liability regarding provision of medical care or the adequacy of any care that may be rendered. I have read the expectations supplied to me by David Hows and agree to abide by the rules on board or ashore, for the duration of the sailing passage, race or regatta on the yacht. I understand that although David Hows and Ocean Sailing Expeditions Pty Limited may make suggestions as to airlines and travel agents, they assume no liability for injury, damage, delay, irregularity or loss of baggage relating to airline travel.

In consideration of the Agreement with David Hows and Ocean Sailing Expeditions Pty Limited to participate in this sailing passage, race or regatta on the yacht, I hereby agree that I will assume all risk of this trip and I will not make any claims against David Hows and Ocean Sailing Expeditions Pty Limited or sue for bodily injury, emotional trauma, death and/or property damage resulting from negligence or unseaworthiness of the vessel, or other acts, however caused, as a result of my participation in this expedition. I, therefore, release, indemnify and discharge David Hows and Ocean Sailing Expeditions Pty Limited and its booking agents and employees from all claims, actions and demands that I may have for bodily injury, death or property damage arising from my participation in the expedition.

This release of liability, agreement to hold harmless and indemnify, and assumption of risk Agreement is entered into on behalf of all members of my family, including any minors accompanying me. If any person who accompanies me on this trip as part of my family makes claim, or if a claim is made on their behalf, my estate or I will indemnify and hold harmless David Hows and Ocean Sailing Expeditions Pty Limited from any loss, including reasonable legal fees incurred in the defence of such claim. This Agreement is binding upon my heirs, legal representative and assigns. If any portion of this Agreement is unenforceable, the remaining portions shall remain in full force and effect. All applicants are subject to acceptance by David Hows and Ocean Sailing Expeditions Pty Limited. This Agreement shall be deemed to have been entered into in the State of Queensland, Australia and shall be construed and interpreted according to the laws of the State of Queensland, Australia. In the unlikely event a legal dispute should arise, I agree the dispute shall exclusively be brought before the appropriate court in the Gold Coast Region, in the State of Queensland, Australia. I have carefully read this and understand its terms. I execute it voluntarily and with full knowledge of its significance.

By checking ‘Yes I accept’ the Ocean Sailing Expeditions Crew Terms And Conditions on the Crew Registration page when registering for a sailing passage, race or regatta on the yacht, you accept and are bound by the Ocean Sailing Expeditions Crew Terms And Conditions and any subsequent updates to these terms as set out above.

You also accept and are bound by Sail Race Crew Terms & Conditions and any subsequent updates to these terms as set out above.

Info

Salt Lines

 

Why consider sailing with us on Silver Fern?

Experience

If you want to become a capable and confident offshore sailor, the best thing you can do is go to sea with experienced skippers on well-prepared yachts. It does not matter how much you have read or how much inshore sailing you have done, going offshore on an ocean-going yacht is a whole new experience and a key step to preparing the offshore sailor. David as your skipper, has completed more than 25,000 nautical miles of coastal and offshore passages, competed in more than 400 yacht races and skippered multiple blue water ocean crossings during the past decade.

Great leadership

Imagine combining your best school camp experience, with a capable well-organised sailing team and the natural ability for creating team morale, regular humour and highly personalised experience. Having led teams from 7 to 700 in size on the water, in community organisations and in business, David has the ability to take a bunch of strangers and form a cohesive, friendly, functioning team, in no time at all. To have an exceptional experience on the ocean, you need to be part of a great team.

Safety first

David found that the more sea miles he has under his belt from all sorts of conditions, the more his focus on ‘safety first’ has developed. On Silver Fern, we have never spared any expense when it comes to safety equipment, use of technology and boat preparation. You can be confident our safety standards will give you peace of mind when heading offshore on Silver Fern.

There are countless examples of delivery skippers in the news and on social media who went to sea on a tight schedule, on ill-prepared vessels they were unfamiliar with, that they sailed short-handed with one or two “free” delivery crew, then ended up in trouble. These boats often have stressful, poorly prepared voyages, with equipment failure and crews arriving exhausted, swearing never to step aboard a yacht ever again. Choose your skipper and vessel wisely, your life depends upon it.

Experienced team

Silver Fern has an experienced team in excess of 20 sailors to draw upon. This group includes experienced sailors, helmsmen, skippers,  industry craftsmen and professionals; all of who regularly race onboard Silver Fern and also complete ocean passages. At any time we have a team of 8-10 onboard depending on the style of race, regatta or passage we are doing. In the past 12 months, our team have collectively sailed more than 10,000nm, including to north to Hamilton Island, east to Lord Howe Island and south to Sydney and to Hobart within Australia and across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand and back.

Real-time, hands-on training

You will learn more onboard Silver Fern in just a few days than you will learn from reading a bunch of sailing books. Our hands-on, fast-track learning environment, immerses you straight into offshore sailing. You’ll become confident within hours of getting started and relish the opportunity to learn from the extensive knowledge of those around you. From navigation to sail management and trimming, plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems, watch planning, heavy weather preparation, making landfall and weather analysis; we’ll teach it all in plain, everyday English. Every race, regatta and ocean passage is different and we always have to adapt to the challenges, conditions and weather we face. You’ll become part of the team and the decision-making process, the moment you step aboard.

Small personalised crew

We include 4 – 8 paying crew on each ocean passage, expedition or regatta (plus 2 experienced Ocean Sailing Expeditions crew members, for a maximum ocean passage crew of 10. We’ve got bunks for 10+ and plenty of room for our crew in the pilot house, cockpit, cabin top and in cabins. With a modest passage crew, we can easily meet each person’s specific needs, whether it be more time at the helm, learning navigation or practicing sail trimming. On ocean races and regattas, we’ll have a larger crew of 10 – 12  (including 6 experienced race crew) to meet the demands of competitive round-the-clock racing. We’ll hot-bunk on ocean races (50% in bunks / 50% on watch) and work together on a two-team watch system, to maintain boat speed 24/7.

Gold Coast Dolphin Watching

Crew Resources

Checklists and resources

We have a range of checklists and resources here to help you prepare for your adventure with us.

Salt Lines Crew Gear List

Space is a premium onboard and its surprisingly easier to sail with less rather than more gear. The following is a list of required gear that will ensure you can stay warm, cool and dry in the conditions we sail in. Remember its a lot cooler at night especially in strong winds so you need to be able to layer up and down to manage body temperature. Download checklist as PDF.

 

Crew Year List

Sea Safety & Survival Training

The Sea Safety and Survival / Advanced Sea Safety training course* is generally completed over a 2-day period and is essential crew training for those sailors completing offshore category 1 races and ocean passages. Whether you are racing or cruising, the survival skills this course teaches you and the knowledge and confidence you will gain in operating essential safety equipment under difficult conditions makes the essential for all long-distance sailors. Whether you are 50nm or 500nm off the coast, emergencies can happy quickly and rescue can be hours and even days away.

For any sailors joining for category 1 races and passages e.g. Trans-Tasman crossings, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, the Tasmania Circumnavigation, New Zealand’s North Island and South Island Circumnavigation’s and Southern Islands expeditions, completion of this course is a mandatory requirement.

Here are a range of training providers. The courses don’t run every month, so don’t leave it until the last minute to book and complete one;

Australia

ORCV – VIC

Marine Training – NSW & QLD

Southern Cross Yachting – QLD

Flying Fish Sailing – NSW

Fremantle Sailing Club – WA

Sailing Australia – Nationwide

New Zealand

Coastguard – Nationwide

World wide

World Sailing – Worldwide

*This course has a number of different names around the world. The World Sailing website has details of all equivalent courses.

 

David takes safety seriously and it’s impossible to have high safety standards without also having high training standards. Most skippers talk about how important safety is to them, but very few actually do a thorough job of training their crew and ensuring that the vessel can continue to operate safely even if they are incapacitated.

It’s one thing to have the knowledge in your head, but it takes a different level of safety management to ensure that accurate, safety and vessel operations information is at everyone’s fingertips when it’s required, especially in an emergency situation. It’s often 2 or 3 poor decisions or minor operational mistakes that can set off a chain of escalating problems and cause injury, gear failure and in extreme cases, loss of life or the vessel.

Although we perform several hours of safety training and vessel familiarisation prior to departure, it’s not always easy to remember every detail. What we also carry onboard and make available to every crew member prior to and during every passage is our; 47-page SILVER FERN YACHT OPERATIONS MANUAL-2 written especially by David and tailored to Silver Fern’s crew, yacht design, systems and safety equipment. Feel free to download a copy.

Offshore sailing: what to expect and what’s expected of you

Welcome to offshore sailing, if you enjoy sailing offshore, then ocean passages and big regattas add a whole new dimension. Here are some thoughts on how to make it a great experience for you and your team.

1. Attitude Crew Resources Ocean GemYour attitude has a major impact on your enjoyment and those around you. Having a positive and proactive approach to your fellow team members is really important. You will be working and living in a confined space that can get uncomfortable, but a positive atmosphere has a major impact on everyone on board. If you are not feeling great mentally, try and diagnose what you need; is it time out, asleep, food, hydration, time out of the sun etc. If you deteriorate physically, your mental state will follow.

2. Personal responsibility – As part of the crew on a racing yacht, you have the responsibility to fulfil your role to the best of your ability and manage your own personal safety, health and well being, so you can enjoy the race and avoid putting yourself and your team at risk.

On a racing yacht, you will experience all sorts of extreme weather and sea conditions and these can have an impact on our ability to sail safely. You are working on a slippery, moving surface with equipment such as halyards, sheets, winches, booms and spinnaker poles that are under heavy load and can cause injury or death if you end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Crew Resources Ocean GemTo stay mentally sharp, you need to stay in peak physical condition. This requires managing food intake, energy levels, hydration, sleep, body temperature, sun protection and seasickness. There are lots of variables and the environment changes constantly. Managing these things requires ongoing diligence. It’s also good to keep an eye on your team members around you and check they are staying on track too. Accidents, injuries and damage to the yacht are usually caused by losing mental focus and making poor decisions and these are often triggered by fatigue and declining energy levels.

3. Teamwork/support/communication – One of the most enjoyable parts of ocean racing is the friendship, support and camaraderie of being part of a great team. To make a great contribution to our team spirit there are some things you can do that will make a big difference;

  • Be positive and enthusiastic. Have a sense of humour.
  • Avoid being negative, sarcastic, overly critical or losing your cool.
  • Respect our shared spaces by storing your gear tidily and keeping kitchen and bathroom areas clean.
  • Don’t sulk or give people the silent treatment. If you are happy – say so. If you are not happy, chat to someone about what’s bothering you and work out a plan to deal with it proactively.
  • Be enthusiastic about the tasks you need to do to keep the yacht and the crew in good shape. If you want a hot drink, offer to make one for everyone else. If you are grabbing a snack, check who else wants one. When we all take care of each other, everything is easier.
  • Crew Resources Ocean GemCheck your crewmates are OK. Often crew will get hungry, dehydrated, cold or seasick and start to go downhill rapidly. When you don’t feel great, it’s easy to drop your head, not feel like moving and think; “if I just sit here, things will eventually improve”. They rarely do, but the mind can start making poor decisions under stress or fatigue. Check on your teammates regularly on a long passage. Managing health and well-being is an ongoing focus and we all have times when we feel great and not so great – and that’s when we count on our teammates to help us get back on track.
  • Communicate – if you are worried about something, see a potential issue with the yacht, see a crew member who does not look well, have an issue with someone else over something that has happened earlier or has been said. Its always better to speak up and communicate in a pleasant, respectful and constructive manner. The best teams communicate regularly regardless of whether things are going right or wrong.
  • Be proactive and take ownership – good sailors think ahead and stay proactive. When you are responsible for specific functions on the yacht; plan ahead, communicate, check to fine-tune and plan ahead. If something does not feel right or you think we can make some changes to improve boat operations, teamwork, systems or speed, always speak up and share your thoughts. Continuous improvement is how we get better and better as a team.
  • Sometimes you will carry your team and sometimes they will carry you. There are always ups and downs, so just do your best and expect that things won’t always go smoothly.

4. Personal comfort Crew Resources Ocean GemOn a racing yacht you are going to face extreme heat and cold, you will get wet, suffer from wind chill, hurt yourself and find it hard to get comfortable. It’s really important to manage your comfort levels, so you balance staying warm, cool and dry to maintain optimum comfort. Sometimes it’s easy to put off going below to change your clothing and the end result is usually increased discomfort and wishing you had done it sooner. Being comfortable makes it easier to maintain focus and your contribution to the yacht’s performance.

5. Hydration – Your body is about 60% water. A 5% loss in hydration reduces brain function by 25% and leads to a loss of energy, loss of focus, headaches, sleepiness and seasickness. The most classic example is to avoid drinking water regularly so that you don’t need to go to the toilet in rough weather, which can be time-consuming when taking wet weather/safety gear off and there is the worry that ‘if I am in the toilet too long, I might get seasick as well’. You have to maintain your hydration, which usually means 2 litres of fluids a day (more in hot weather) including water, hot drinks and other cold drinks. Dehydration impacts decision making and can lead to accidents that put both crew and the yacht at risk. If your lips/mouth are dry or you are yawning, they are all symptoms of dehydration.

6. Seasickness – Everyone has different tolerance levels for seasickness and everyone will be sick at some point if the contributing factors line up.

  • Do’s – Stay warm, stay hydrated, maintain sleep levels, stay up on deck, keep your eyes on the horizon and avoiding reading your phone or books or looking down. If you are not feeling great, get others to bring up food, drinks and clothing for you.
  • Don’ts – Avoid alcohol, caffeine, fatty foods and late nights in the 24 hours before going offshore.
  • Be proactive – Crew Resources Ocean GemCheck the forecast and take seasickness pills in advance of rough weather. Its like insurance, it does not work if you wait until you feel sick, to take it.
  • Watch out for your mates – If you see other crewmembers going downhill, do your best to make sure they are warm, dry, fed and hydrated. Discuss any concerns with the skipper, as it’s always best to take precautions before someone’s condition deteriorates.
  • Sailing through rough weather has a big impact on your stomach muscles, as you use them to brace your body constantly to stay upright. Stretched stomach muscles can often cause discomfort and can be confused with the onset of seasickness, when in fact it’s just strained stomach muscles. Doing sit-ups for 4-6 weeks prior to a big passage race can help prevent this.

7. Sleep – Managing your sleep can be difficult on passages of 3-5 days in length, but it is really important for your wellbeing and ability to contribute to boat management, to manage your sleep proactively. Sleeping below can be hot, noisy and rocky depending on temperature and weather and it’s tempting to live on less sleep than you need, but that can cause headaches, seasickness and an inability to concentrate on your tasks on deck.

With overnight races, we will have a watch system in place that will see you on watch with others for between 2-4 hours, once or twice between 8 pm and 6 am. Broken sleep will cause you to feel tired (and grumpy) during the day following, so take advantage of the opportunity to head below and grab a couple of hours sleep, when the opportunity arises during the day. Think of it as topping up your batteries regularly instead of running them completely flat.

8. Your focus and boat performance – Part of the challenge of offshore passage racing is the ability to maintain a high level of focus and boat performance 100% of the time. As a team, it’s important to rotate each trimming and helming role regularly to keep people fresh and focused. We should all feel happy to take a break when we start to lose concentration and also ask a crew member if they want a break if we start to see them losing focus and affecting sail trim or boat performance.

Crew Resources Ocean GemLong passages and races can have sections that are uncomfortable, boring, hot, cold and difficult. Rotating regularly helps break up roles and keep our crew fresh and in good shape.

9. Hero’s and risk-takers –There are only 3 priorities when it comes to offshore passage racing;

  • Keeping our crew safe.
  • Keeping our yacht safe.
  • Working together as a team and giving it 100%.

Offshore racing is very different to bay/day racing. Managing the yacht conservatively to avoid damage and minimise over stressing of sails, hardware and the hull is very important. Great crewmembers are assets, but poor crewmembers can become liabilities that can put the welfare of the yacht and team at risk. When we are sailing offshore, we have to be self-sufficient. Help is usually several hours away and getting rescued can be dangerous in itself, so its better not to put yourself in that position.

With round-the-cans racing, there is often stress and urgency to execute in seconds, as every metre counts. With offshore sailing, what becomes more important is planning ahead, preparing well, minimising risk and making sure safety is our number one priority. With stronger breezes, bigger seas, night sailing and the risk of losing someone overboard; taking time to execute methodically and safely becomes the overriding priority. Taking risks and heroic behaviour is a last resort if all else fails. Getting our yacht and team to our destination without injury or damage is always our biggest achievement. Results come second.

10. Boat management Crew Resources Ocean GemWith offshore passages, changes in wind, weather and sea state create all sorts of challenges. Another risk is damage or loss of equipment due to things working themselves loose and coming undone or chafe causing lines, sails and sheets to wear through and fail. Good management requires us to constantly check that all fittings and shackles are tight and to look for areas at risk of chafe that we can adjust and fine-tune.

Keeping updated with weather forecasts and adjusting sails proactively also helps minimise damage. Leaving it too late to reef or reduce sail only puts the yacht and crew at risk. As you walk around the yacht above and below deck, keep your eyes, ears and nose open. If you smell something strange (smoke or toilets), see something that’s out of place (chafing), hear water sloshing in the bilge or a knocking noise then check it out. If something does not seem right – it probably isn’t, so don’t ignore it.

11. Training – Offshore passages are a great opportunity for training. There is a chance to spend time learning each of the crew/helm/navigator roles and also to better understand many of the yacht’s systems e.g. water, refrigeration, engine, electronics, communication, emergency management etc. Look for opportunities to learn and to teach. It helps make the most of the time on the water and can make some of the monotonous sections of the race pass faster.

12. Safety – Your personal safety and that of the crew and the yacht is a collective responsibility. Offshore racing has numerous risks that include; cuts, broken bones, fire, hypothermia, drowning, sinking, concussion and being lost at sea. With every step you take and every move you make, its important to consider the impact and risks involved. Its always better to take the time to plan, communicate, assess how difficult a task is and err on the side of caution by getting extra help if you need it.

There is a lot of safety equipment that we invest in and carry on board to maximise safety and eliminate as many risks as possible. You are responsible for your own safety and need to take it seriously. You will be equipped with PFD’s, whistles, lights, PLB’s (personal locator beacons), knives, safety tethers and wet weather gear. They take time to put on and take off when going to bed or the bathroom. The entire process of undressing and/or getting dressed again can take 20-30 minutes, especially if the boat is heeling and going to windward over a lumpy sea. Be patient and enjoy the process, most people would kill to go ocean racing instead of sitting at a desk in an office.

Crew Resources Ocean GemFalling overboard can be traumatic for you and for the crew. Losing someone overboard is our biggest fear and there is no guarantee you will be found and recovered alive despite all the safety equipment and personal locator beacons. Hypothermia sets in quickly in southern waters and in big seas you are at risk of being injured by the hull of the yacht in the recovery process. You will have a safety tether that you can use to attach yourself to the yacht – use it.

Most man overboard situations occur with a knockdown, freak wave, sail change or unexpected gybe and therefore will happen before you have time to respond. Use your safety tether after sunset, in rough weather, when leaving the cockpit, when the spinnaker is up and any other time we are not sailing on a millpond or close to outside assistance.

Some tips; if in doubt use your safety tether, when going forward of the cockpit hold on to rails and safety lines, keep your body weight low by crouching when moving in a swell, take your time and use your shorter safety tether when working at the mast or near the bow. Sailors have drowned when using their 2-metre safety tether while working up at the bow and then getting washed overboard and dragged along underwater on the end of their safety tether.

The best thing you can do is stay on-board. If you see another crew member taking short cuts or unnecessary risks – speak up; safety is everyone’s responsibility. We never want to have to meet with the police or your loved ones and explain how we lost you overboard.

13. Physical fitness/workload managementCrew Resources Ocean GemWe are in the unique position of being amateur club sailors and competing at a state or national level in events that often include professional racing teams. We have a crew that range in age from 16 to 60 something and that brings all sorts of challenges and opportunities. As a racing crew, there are many roles to be performed on-board and many ways to make a contribution. From helming to sail trimming, foredeck management, preparing meals, making hot drinks and grabbing snacks, they are important roles with vastly different requirements in both experience and physicality that we can all play.

It’s important to play to your strengths in whatever roles you enjoy and manage your physical workload to avoid injury through overload/tiredness. Having a racing crew of 7-10 means we have the ability to rotate roles and allow for rest and recovery time as well. The is no benefit in overexerting yourself to the point where you bend or break something, that then limits your ability to contribute as an effective crew member.

A lot of the at-risk areas with sailing are; arms, shoulders, stomach muscles and lower back. Helming, winching, trimming sheets, pulling halyards and bracing yourself when going to windward in a lumpy sea and a strong breeze is where most of the physical impact takes place. Anything you do increase your strength in these areas is a benefit in offshore racing.

Always assess how strong and fit you are and manage your workload accordingly. It’s smarter to ask for help or take a break than to push yourself to the point where you suffer an injury. I have the view that a champion team is made up of people with a variety of strengths and experience to draw upon. We are not professional athletes and our goal is to succeed as a team, make a meaningful contribution individually and take satisfaction out of “punching above our weight”.

Crew Resources Ocean GemSuccess to me is measured by ‘how we go about our work and how we take care of each other’, not how many trophies we win. If we take care of each other, work effectively together, enjoy learning new skills, always give 100% and have some fun along the way, then the results will come.

14. Sun protection – Sun is one of the biggest threats with long periods of time on the water. Excess sun will cause overheating, sunburn, dehydration, fatigue and seasickness. It’s important to manage your exposure to the sun each day. Wear clothing that reduces exposure, such as hats, sunglasses and long-sleeved shirts. Manage your time in direct sun, by using shade created by the sails or sleeping below to reduce excess exposure. Increased time in the sun and hotter temperatures will increase your water intake requirements. Excess sun combined with dehydration will cause headaches, tiredness and even seasickness. Even on cloudy days, 70% of the suns UV gets through. If you get burnt, its sunburn and not windburn. Use sun-cream proactively, if you get burnt you will have an unpleasant trip and find sleeping difficult as well.

15. Summary – enjoy your sailing, you will never wish you spent less time on the ocean!

Safety Courses

Safety flare training

Sea Safety & Survival Training Courses

The Sea Safety and Survival / Advanced Sea Safety / Certificate of Safety Training / STCW PST training course* is generally completed over a 1-2 day period and is essential crew training for those sailors completing offshore category 1 races and ocean passages. Whether you are racing or cruising, the survival skills this course teaches you and the knowledge and confidence you will gain in operating essential safety equipment under difficult conditions make the essential for all long-distance sailors. Whether you are 50nm or 500nm off the coast, emergencies can happy quickly and rescue can be hours and even days away.

For any sailors joining me for offshore passages or races, completion of this 2-day course is a mandatory requirement. It’s valid for 5 years once issued and then requires a 1-day refresher course to renew every 5 years. The skills you learn could save your life.

Here are a range of training providers. The courses don’t run every month in each location, but some run them weekly, so don’t leave it until the last minute to book and complete one. You can also search Google for other maritime training providers. We do a full practical safety equipment training session onboard before departure, so if there are no classroom course options available before you depart, the Above & Beyond Boating – Online Only a course is an option you can choose.

World wide

*This course has a number of different names around the world. The World Sailing website has details of all equivalent courses.

Safety Onboard

Safety Onboard

We take safety seriously and it’s impossible to have high safety standards without also having high training standards. Most skippers talk about how important safety is to them, but very few actually do a thorough job of training their crew and ensuring that the vessel can continue to operate safely even if they are incapacitated.

It’s one thing to have the knowledge in your head, but it takes a different level of safety management to ensure that accurate, safety and vessel operations information is at everyone’s fingertips when it’s required, especially in an emergency situation. It’s often 2 or 3 poor decisions or minor operational mistakes that can set off a chain of escalating problems and cause injury, gear failure and in extreme cases, loss of life or the vessel.

Although we perform several hours of safety training and vessel familiarisation prior to departure, it’s not always easy to remember every detail. What we also carry onboard and make available to every crew member during every passage is our; 151-page Yacht Operations Manual written especially by us, and tailored to each yacht’s crew, yacht design, systems and safety equipment.

Read more on safety equipment and systems.

SAFETY

Practice with emergency flares

Practice with emergency flares

Salt Lines is in Unlimited’ survey under the MCA (UK). Both yachts are approved to operate internationally as commercial charter yacht.

Salt Lines is managed to a strict maintenance plan, that includes regular inspections and maintenance of the yachts and all of their safety systems and equipment.

In addition to 1-2 yearly survey inspections, Silver Fern and Salt Lines are also regularly audited by registered Australian Sailing National Equipment Safety Auditors to ensure we are compliant with the safety standards required for offshore racing. These safety audits are performed at least once annually and we are usually audited to Category 1 (Trans-Tasman / Sydney to Hobart) or Category 2 (Coastal Ocean Passage) standards each year depending on the events we have planned.

These rigid safety standards ensure that Silver Fern, Salt Lines and their crews, are well prepared and trained to handle extreme conditions confidently. Our professionally trained crew are required to complete Sea Safety and Survival, Marine First Aid, Radar, Master of Yachts <24m, Yachtmaster Offshore, Yachtmaster Ocean, Radio Communications and Diesel Engine Maintenance training courses as part of our crew training requirements.

SAFETY, BOAT MANAGEMENT CHECKLISTS AND MANUALS

Safety brief checklist – Download

Operations manual contents list – Download

Abandon ship checklist – Download

Sail management guide – Download

Hoisting the carbon heavy weather staysail

Hoisting the carbon heavy weather staysail

Monitoring changes in wind direction and strength

Monitoring changes in wind direction and strength

SAFETY & EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT AND SYSTEMS

We carry an extensive list of safety equipment on board Salt Lines and are trained to use it in all conditions. The following equipment is an example of the type of gear carried on both yachts.

Dan-Buoy / Jon Buoy

  • On the stern, there is a Jon buoy mounted on the pushpit that includes a light, whistle, sea drogue and inflatable lifebuoy and a 2-metre flagpole.
  • Before operating the Jon buoy, the training familiarisation video should be watched and on-location training must be given by an approved crew member.

Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB)

Two EPIRBs are stored adjacent to the desk at the Nav Station. They are;

  • 1 x GME 406 manually activated EPIRB GPS
  • 1 x ACR 406 manually activated EPIRB GPS
  • These must be tested on a regular basis as per the maintenance schedule and serviced every 5 years.
  • The EPIRB only works successfully when in clear view of the sky. It does not work underwater or inside of a vessel or life raft.
  • Before departing on a passage, the EPIRB training familiarisation video should be watched by all-new passengers and crew and on-location training must be given by an approved crew member.
Fire fighting training using multiple types of fires

Fire fighting training using multiple types of fires

Fire fighting training drills inside mocked up ships

Fire fighting training drills inside mocked up ships

Fire Extinguishers

  • 4 Fire Extinguishers are carried on the vessel.
  • One extinguisher is located in the aft cabin below the desk, one is located at the base of the steps on the starboard side of the pilothouse and two extinguishers are located in the mid-cabin wardrobe. See the Safety Equipment Plan for a detailed map of the location.
  • Before operating a fire extinguisher, the training familiarisation video should be watched and on-location training must be given by an approved crew member.

Fire Blanket

  • Two fire blankets are located in the clearly labelled cupboard on the wall opposite the galley sinks.
  • Before using the fire blanket, the training familiarisation video should be watched and on-location training must be given by an approved crew member.

Flares

  • The flare storage containers are yellow with red screw-top lids.
  • They are located in a storage cupboard underneath the Nav Station desk on the starboard side of pilothouse.
  • A range of flares are stored in these two containers and the list of flares includes;
    • Six Rockets – Use for out of sight signal up to 8nm range in daylight and 25nm at night.
    • Four red hand – Use at night-time within sight and 8nm range in daylight.
    • Two orange cans – Use during daytime and within site.
    • Two white hand – Use as a warning signal
2 life rafts and 4 life buoys on board on Silver Fern

2 life rafts and 4 life buoys on board on Silver Fern

600 litres per minute for fire fighting and emergency pumping

600 litres per minute for fire fighting and emergency pumping

Grab Bags

  • There are two grab bags located in the corner seat storage locker on the port side in the aft cabin.
  • When prepared for abandoning ship it contains spare flares, a handheld GPS, spare medications, first aid kits, a waterproof handheld VHF radio, emergency personal gear, a second V sheet with a signalling mirror, a dolphin torch, a knife, a handheld satellite phone, emergency food and water, a cup, life raft instructions, life raft patches and glow sticks. See Abandon Ship Checklist for details of what to pack in the grab bag.
  • 2 x 10-litre emergency water containers are also stored under the floor in the galley. These should be moved to the liferafts if deployed.
  • See Abandon Ship Procedure for details of the emergency process.

Heaving Lines

  • A lightweight orange poly heaving line is attached in a bag on the aft rail of the yacht.
  • 1 x 250 rocket-propelled throw line is stored under the pilothouse.
  • See the Man Overboard Procedure (MOB) for details throw line use.
  • The heaving line training familiarisation video should be watched by all-new passengers and crew and on-location training must be given by an approved crew member.

Jack Lines & Strong Points

  • Safety webbing jack-lines are fitted to strong points fore and aft on each side of the cabin top and run all the way from the stern to the bow.
  • There is also a cockpit jack-lines that’s fitted when offshore or on passages that include night sailing. The cockpit jack-lines can be accessed from inside the pilothouse, so that crew can clip on before leaving the safety of the pilothouse to enter the cockpit.
  • The safety tether training familiarisation video should be watched by all-new passengers and crew and on-location training must be given by an approved crew member.
PFD and safety tether in use offshore

PFD and safety tether in use offshore

Lifebuoys with emergency lights, whistles and drogues

Lifebuoys with emergency lights, whistles and drogues

Lifebuoys

  • Two horseshoe lifebuoys are located on the port side of the pushpit and two on the starboard side. They are attached to a self-starting light, drogue and a whistle.
  • See the Man Overboard Procedure (MOB) for details of lifebuoy use.
  • The lifebuoy training familiarisation video should be watched by all-new passengers and crew and on-location training must be given by an approved crew member.

Life Raft

  • There are two 8-man life rafts on the aft cabin top.
  • There are instructions for deployment on the raft cases and in the nav station.
  • The attachment line is secured to a D fitting on the cabin top. If it is intended to be deployed from an alternative part of the yacht, it should be untied and retied at a suitable location.
  • The raft contains water, food and a number of other emergency items as listed in the contents and instruction pack stored in the grab bag.
  • See the Abandon Ship Procedure for details of deploying the life raft.
  • The life raft line training familiarisation video should be watched by all-new passengers and crew and on-location training must be given by an approved crew member.

Medical Kit

  • The ships medical kit is provided by Oceania Medical and is made up of several parts.
  • These are stored in the wall cupboard opposite the galley and in the forward cabin wardrobes.
  • They include a full range of dressings, drugs and medications and many can only be administered by trained first aid crew under instructions from a doctor (via radio or sat phone).
  • A stocktake record is kept inside each medical kit and this must be filled in when anything is consumed from the kit.
  • The vessel usually carries at least two marine qualified first aiders onboard who have specialised training in administering medications.
  • The medical log must be filled in and witnessed after any injury or illness is sustained by anyone with details of the medication given.
  • The Accident & Incident Register must also be completed as soon as possible after the incident.
  • The phone number for both the Australian (+61 2 6230 6811) and the New Zealand (+64 4 577 8030) Rescue Coordination Centres are stored in both Sat phones and the RCC’s can be called to get medical advice from a doctor prior to administration of medication.
  • A summary of crew/passenger medical conditions should be entered into the ISM Management System prior to departure.
The Class 3 Ships Oceania Medical Kit

The Class 3 Ships Oceania Medical Kit

3.5m RIB and 20hp outboard on foredeck

3.5m RIB and 20hp outboard on foredeck

Navigation, Weather & Electronics

  • 2 x B&G Zues 3S 12 inch Chartplotter’s
  • 2 x external monitors to display Chartplotter display in pilothouse and aft cabin
  • AIS – Automatic Vessel Identification System
  • B&G Helo Dual Radar with 40nm range with collision avoidance tracking
  • 4 x Triton vessel data and wind instruments
  • B&G Autopilot
  • 3 x GPS units
  • Iridium Go Satellite Data
  • PredictWind weather forecasting and routing system
  • CZone integrated digital switching and circuit control system

Personal Floatation Devices (PFD’s)

  •  12 x 150n – 180n PFD jackets, fitted with crotch straps, lights and whistles are stored in the PFD cupboard on the starboard side of the pilothouse port.
  • These are manually inflated with gas by pulling on the toggle on the bottom right side of the front of the jacket when worn.
  • These are all numbered from 1-12 and when you are allocated your PFD, adjust the waist and crotch strap so your PFD fits you firmly. You will use the same PFD for the entire passage/race.
  • They are designed for adults weighing more than 60 kg.
  • Whistles and lights are attached to each and there is a mouthpiece you can use on the left shoulder to add more air for greater buoyancy.
  • Refer to the Safety Harness and PFD Policy for details on when PFD’s must be used.
  • The PFD training familiarisation video should be watched by all new passengers and crew and on location training must be given by an approved crew member.
Using radar to monitor rain front and AIS vessels

Using radar to monitor rain front and AIS vessels

Night navigation through shallow channels using radar and GPS

Night navigation through shallow channels using radar and GPS

Personal Locator Beacon’s (PLB’s)

  • Personal locator beacons (PLB’s) are carried onboard for all crew and passengers.
  • The brands used are Kannad Safe Solo and ACR ResQLink.
  • The instructions for operating these are contained on the top of each device and should be reviewed when fitting them to your PFD. When activated, a PLB transmits your GPS location to the rescue coordination centres in Australia and New Zealand which they will pass to Search and Rescue organisations.
  • To operate effectively the need to be activated and have the aerial in a direct line of sight to sky (e.g. not below sea surface).
  • A PLB will transmit for at least 24 hours before the battery goes flat. If you are in the water or in a life raft in a group, only activate one PLB at a time, to maximise days of battery length and transmission time.
  • All PLB’s and race/passage plans, routes and dates are logged with AMSA in advance of each race/passage, so they know when we are expected to be at sea.
  • Refer to the Safety Harness and PFD Policy for details on when PLB’s must be used. The PLB training familiarisation video should be watched by all-new passengers and crew and on location training must be given by an approved crew member.

RIB Inflatable Tenders

  • 1 x 3.5m RIB + 20hp outboard motor
  • 1 x 3.0m RIB + 6hp outboard motor
  • 1 x emergency RIB kit

Safety Tethers

  •  There are 12 safety tethers carried onboard.
  • Some are single 2-metre only and some are doubles with 1-metre and 2-metre tether options.
  • You should leave your tether attached to your PFD when stored below so that if you need to get up on deck quickly, your tether is at hand.
  • Refer to the Safety Harness and PFD Policy for details on when safety tethers must be used.
  • The safety tether training familiarisation video should be watched by all new passengers and crew and on location training must be given by an approved crew member.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT STORAGE

Each yacht carries the following safety equipment onboard. Refer to Appendix 12 of the operating manual for a floor layout plan and a wall chart is displayed at the Nav Station.

Cockpit / Helm

  • 2 x emergency knives
  • 1 x B&G Zues 3S 12 inch Chartplotter’s
  • AIS – Automatic Vessel Identification System
  • B&G Helo Dual Radar with 40nm range with collision avoidance tracking
  • 4 x Triton vessel data and wind instruments
  • B&G Autopilot
  • 13 x GPS units
  • CZone integrated digital switching and circuit control system
Trimming the mainsail on a Tasman Sea passage

Trimming the mainsail on a Tasman Sea passage

Enclosed cockpit for safety and protection from weather

Enclosed cockpit for safety and protection from weather

Lazarette

  • 1 x Emergency tiller
  • 1 x Storm Jib
  • Storm boards for windows and hatches

Aft Cabin top

  • 1 x Ocean Safety Jonbuoy Danbuoy
  • 4 x Horseshoe Lifebuoys with whistles, lights & drogues
  • 1 x 15m throwline
  • 1 x Rescue sling
  • 2 x SeaAir SOLAS A 8-man liferafts
  • 1 x back up stern light
  • 1 x deck flood down light

Forward cabin top

  • 1 x 3.5m RIB with SOLAS emergency equipment kit and 20hp outboard
  • 1 x Series Storm Drogue
  • 1 x back up port / starboard bow lights
Regular maintenance checks and upgrades in progress

Regular maintenance checks and upgrades in progress

10 Immersion suits onboard keep you alive in 5 degree water temps

10 Immersion suits onboard keep you alive in 5 degree water temps

Personal Safety

  • 10 x MED certified immersion suits
  • 10 x 180n inflatable PFDs with strobe lights & whistles
  • 2 x 150n inflatable PFDs
  • 27 x life jackets
  • 11 x safety tethers
  • 10 x personal locator GPS beacons

Under Pilothouse

  • 1 x Honda 600 litres p/min petrol pump
  • 1 x 50-ton towing line 100m in length
  • 1 x 250 rocket-propelled throw line
  • 1 x submersible portable 24v bilge pump
  • 1 x SSB emergency aerial
  • 1 x VHF emergency aerial
  • 1 x Whale manual bilge pump
Spacious weather proof pilot house on Silver Fern

Spacious weather proof pilot house on Silver Fern

Red lighting throughout for night watch vision

Red lighting throughout for night watch vision

Nav Station

  • 1 x GME 406 manual activated EPIRB GPS
  • 1 x ACR 406 manual activated EPIRB GPS
  • 1 x B&G fixed VHF radio
  • 1 x B&G portable VHF radio
  • 1 x Icom handheld VHF radio
  • 1 x Icom SSB radio
  • 1 x Garmin handheld GPS
  • 1 x Iridium Go Satellite Data unit – integrated with Iridium Go Sat phone and PredictWind weather
  • 1 x Flamefighter 9.0 Litre Foam Extinguisher
  • 1 x B&G Zues 3S 12 inch Chartplotter’s
  • 1 x external monitors to display Chartplotter display in pilot house and aft cabin
  • AIS – Automatic Vessel Identification System
  • B&G Helo Dual Radar with 40nm range with collision avoidance tracking
  • B&G Autopilot
  • 23 x GPS units
  • Iridium Go Satellite Data
  • PredictWind weather forecasting and routing system
  • CZone integrated digital switching system

Cabins

  • 12 x EvacuLife Emergency Fire Smoke Mask & Escape Hood
  • 2 x red fire buckets
  • 2 x buoyant orange smoke flares
  • 6 x red hand flare
  • 6 x parachute distress rocket
  • 2 x handheld orange smoke
  • 3 x handheld torches
  • 2 x Flamefighter 4.5kg ABE Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers
  • 2 x Grab bags
  • 1 x Escape ladder
  • 1 x 25 litre oil spill kit
  • First Aid kits
Yachts required regular work to maintain water tight integrity

Yachts required regular work to maintain water tight integrity

Rack for hanging wet weather gear makes it easy to find at night

Rack for hanging wet weather gear makes it easy to find at night

Engine room

  • 1 x Firepro FP 1200 fire extinguisher system to automatically extinguish and engine room fire in ‘0 seconds’

Mast

  • 1 x B&G Helo Radar
  • 3 x deck flood down lights
  • Fog Horn / PA
Safety Categories

Safety Categories for Offshore Sailing

Category 0 – More than 200nm offshore

Major trans-ocean races, where yachts must be completely self-sufficient for very extended periods of time, capable of withstanding heavy storms and prepared to meet serious emergencies without the expectation of outside assistance. Will pass through areas in which air or sea temperatures are likely to be less than 5 degrees Celsius other than temporarily.

Category 1 – 50nm to 200nm offshore

Passage or races of long distances and well offshore, where yachts must be completely self-sufficient for extended periods of time, capable of withstanding storms and prepared to meet serious emergencies without the expectation of outside assistance.

Category 2 – up to 50nm offshore

Race of extended duration along or not far removed from shorelines or in large unprotected bays or lakes, where a high degree of self-sufficiency is required of the yachts but with the reasonable probability that outside assistance could be called upon for aid in the event of serious emergencies.

Category 3

Races across open water, most of which is relatively protected or close to shorelines and not rounding major capes.

Category 4

Short races, close to shore in relatively warm or protected waters.

Category 5

Short races, inside harbour limits or within fully protected waters to Category 4 or 5 are in general, “round the buoys” type or short course, harbour and inshore racing.

About your Skipper

Salt Lines owner and skipper Matt Harvey

My father was a marine Engineer, used to build dinghies for a hobby and provided me with my first sailing experience at six weeks old without telling my mother. He wrapped me in a lifejacket, stowed me in the bow and off we went. Obviously, I don’t remember it, but I don’t think that my mother ever forgave him and that’s where the bug began.

I grew up sailing a variety of dinghies on the south coast of England. My abiding memory of which is of having to use my teeth to hold the mainsheet because my hands were too cold to grip anything! Despite this I spent most of my spare time at the local sailing club, joined the sea scouts and charged around in Mirror’s, Topper’s, Laser’s and OK’s. As adulthood arrived and professional obligations took hold, I took a hiatus from sailing until moving to QLD in 1996 where I realised that you didn’t always need to wear a dry suit in order to get in the water.

My transition to Yachting did not evolve until much later in life in the not quite as warm water of Pittwater in Sydney. After a 10-day charter with the family aboard a catamaran, I was hooked yet again. I started working my way through the RYA sailing syllabus and building my experience on a variety of yachts.

Our first yacht was a share in a syndicated Hanse 415 to test the family’s commitment to spending time aboard. We had a good couple of years with that yacht sailing around Sydney and the East coast. Eventually we wanted more flexibility in our access to the yacht, so we exited the syndicate and purchased a Sun Odyssey 37 with family.

Whilst she was a smaller yacht it did mean that we had access to her pretty much whenever we needed it which allowed us to explore more widely. After some inshore racing, short ocean point score and a couple of blue water races I really started to enjoy the offshore passages and the opportunities they provided to explore new locations only accessible by water.

In conjunction with some chartering, I slowly built up the required skills, experience, mileage, sea days and ancillary qualifications to be successfully examined for my RYA Yachtmaster offshore. Whilst my wife and family are keen sailors, they are not so keen on the longer distances much preferring shorter trips and more time at anchor with the sundowners! So, I started to search for another way to fulfil my offshore ambitions and discovered David and Ocean Sailing Expeditions. Coincidently, David has just put out his call for Chief mates to help him manage his new acquisition Silver Fern.

After several chats and some additional exams, I joined David on his Southport to Hamilton Island trip on June 21. It was a fabulous trip and served up everything you could wish for in an offshore expedition. We had a crew of awesome people, solved several unexpected problems including a 12-hour grounding inside Fraser Island (you can hear about that one on David’s podcast!) and continued up the coast to the Percy Island group. Whilst taking a stroll to the Percy Island Yacht Club (you have to check that out) and around the island with David conversation turned to whether we could make the business work with an additional yacht. After some further consideration and an excellent barbecue at the yacht club, we decided it would. So, as soon as we had mobile coverage again my search began for a suitable vessel.

Almost immediately I discovered the UK flagged, 70ft steel ketch which was currently for sale in Tahiti. It was perfect for Ocean Sailing Expeditions having been built as a go-anywhere sail training vessel. It had completed a two-year expedition to the Antarctic with the British Army, spent twenty-five years as a sail training vessel with the Ocean Youth Trust in the UK and completed 2.5 circumnavigations. All I needed to do was strike a deal and get it back to Australia. The deal is now done, my new yacht was purchased and Salt Lines is in Australia since November 2021.

Terms & Conditions

This is not a yacht charter, boat hire, training course or luxury cruise. You are joining a working ocean passage or racing crew, paying your share of the trip/event costs including a donation towards the general running, maintenance and upgrade costs of the vessel and you will have an active, hands-on role to play as a crew member. Most importantly, you’ll be welcomed into our team and made to feel at home, as an important part of the Ocean Sailing Expeditions crew.

NOTE: If you book an event and then cancel (at least 30 days) before departure, because you are affected by the changing border control / quarantine restrictions due to COVID-19 (when traveling internationally to our port of departure and/or at the port of arrival) your registration fees will be 100% refunded in full or transferred to another event.

Your role onboard

You’ll land on your feet quickly and we will give you all the training and support to need to be able fulfil your crew role. There is no previous offshore experience necessary, although prior sailing experience is required. Your tasks may include some or all of the following;

  • Hoisting and trimming sails
  • Standing watch
  • Reefing the mainsail
  • Navigating
  • Standing watch
  • Cooking, cleaning & washing up

Do’s and Don’ts

This is an ocean-going yacht and safety is our highest priority at all times. As a crew member you must also agree to the following;

  • Observe all safety procedures, training and instruction provided
  • Only use safety equipment as instructed and when requested
  • Wear a PDF (Personal Flotation Device), PLB (Personal Locator Beacon), Safety tether (clipped to the boat when directed) and any other clothing and equipment, whenever directed, to ensure you remain safe in all conditions
  • To take responsibility for managing clothing, hydration, sleep and nutrition to maintain your health and well being aboard
  • No alcohol consumption or smoking while at we are racing or at sea. No illegal drugs are to be bought on board. Any prescription or allergy medication must be stored in the ships medical cabinet while aboard
  • To treat everyone aboard with respect regardless of their gender, age or prior experience. No yelling, abusive language, socially offensive or threatening behaviour will be tolerated
  • To follow all reasonable and lawful requests and directions given to you by David Hows and his nominated employees/crew

Your physical ability

  • Please tell us upfront if you have any physical limitations including prior injuries, back problems, health issues and anything that will prevent you from playing your part on board. We can work around most things, but its important we know so we don’t put you at risk or in a role you are unlikely to be able to fulfil safely and enjoyably. It’s important that you have a great experience while you are part of our crew and good teamwork is about playing to everyone’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Can you swim? Can you swim 100 metres or tread water confidently? Understanding your swimming ability is important for ensuring we assess the conditions that you will be required to wear a PDF (Personal Flotation Device) for your own safety.

While onboard

  • Each person will be assigned a single (twin-share) berth while on passage to use for the entire passage except for extreme weather conditions, where we may change where people sleep
  • No eating food in cabins
  • Each person will get their own gear bags (1 x 20 litre, 1 x small) to store their personal gear in while aboard. These are usually hung in the main saloon area to keep the cabins uncluttered and easy to get in and out of. No gear can be stored on the floor, it must be secure and put where it belongs at all times. There is a separate shared space for storing boots and wet weather gear.

Meals & diet

  • All meals are supplied while aboard. You are welcome to bring snacks that you prefer to eat while at sea. Avoiding excessive sugar and caffeine at sea is recommended
  • All food should be consumed while in the saloon, galley or cockpit. No liquids or food at the nav station and no food to be consumed in cabins
  • Please confirm if you have any dietary limitations or allergies.

Weather & comfort

  • We set our schedule based on various special events and seasonal weather. We use the latest in Predict Wind weather forecasting technology and commercial weather routing services, to plan for safe passages at all times. We download updated weather forecasts 2-3 times a day while at sea, to ensure we monitor and adapt to any changes in the forecast, that may affect our comfort or passage time.
  • Reality does not always match the forecast and we have to adapt to the weather we get and manage the yacht to optimise for performance, comfort and safety in all conditions.
  • We are Category 1 equipped to handle the most extreme weather safely and confidently, but will always choose to avoid it where possible.
  • Sometimes you may get cold, wet, tired, hungry, sea sick and scared. There is a lot you can do to prevent this, but those are the challenges that we have to deal with ocean sailing. Sometimes there is no wind and endless days of sunshine.
  • We will support you through the challenges you encounter and have strategies that can help you maximise your comfort and wellbeing.

Pre & post passage

  • Before we get started, we will complete a full training and safety induction to ensure your start off confident and comfortable and feel right at home onboard. Whether racing or on passage, we have a friendly crew that will do their utmost to share their knowledge to ensure you can play your part from day one, so you get the maximum enjoyment.
  • Once we are done sailing, we may need your help to clean up and pack up. Many hands make light work and it’s always a great time for reflecting on trip highlights and celebrating the completion with the crew.

Other stuff

  • Joining us for an adventure does not provide you with a formal qualification and we are not a sailing school. You will have an opportunity to learn and participate almost any level in the management of the boat, especially on ocean passages.
  • If you join us for an ocean race or regatta you will be given roles that suit your physical ability, experience and desire to learn.
  • In the event the yacht is unable to depart within seven days of the scheduled departure date on any passage, we will refund all monies received to date for that specific leg or transfer them to a future trip.
  • You agree by registering, that you will be available to participate from the start to the end each passage/race/regatta. As we are offshore and away from major airports most to the time, there is no ability to arrive late or leave the crew earlier than the dates set down in the calendar in most cases.
  • The itinerary is subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control. These may include weather, sea conditions, national holidays and natural disasters. The safety of the vessel and crew is always our priority.
  • You agree that any photos or video recorded that include you can be used at our discretion in any marketing material with our requiring approval from you or making payment to you.
  • You won’t have much privacy onboard and will be living in close quarters in challenging conditions. You will require to work as part of a team, be flexible and get along with others who have different experience and personalities. What’s guaranteed is if you give it 100%, you’ll have the time of your life.
  • There are no refunds if you decide to arrive late, leave early or depart during any stopover.
  • All expedition members will be signed on as crew, not passengers and will be processed as crew, in each country visited where customs is concerned.
  • If you act in a socially unacceptable manner or display offensive or threatening behaviour or are uncooperative to the point where it is affecting the enjoyment of others aboard, we have the right to ask that you leave the crew and head home at your own expense. You agree that any costs or inconvenience caused is at your expense and you will not seek compensation for costs or damages.

Booking and payment policies

Late payment policy – You agree to make payments on or before dates specified on this website and by email. You also agree to a $200 late payment fee for any payments received seven days or more past the payment due date. Continued non-payment of pre-agreed weekly payments under payment option 2 for more than 4 weeks, without other payment arrangements being agreed to, will be considered a cancellation and the same cancellation policy terms apply as detailed below.

Deposit and decline policy – Once your crew application has been reviewed and approved, you’ll receive an invoice for your deposit (and the details of your weekly payment by automatic payment if you have selected option 2). Your deposit is due for payment immediately in order to officially reserve your crew spot and is non-refundable. Your weekly payment plan is required to start within 7 days of paying your deposit if you have chosen option 2. If your application is declined, you will be notified and there are no fees to pay.

Cancellation policy – If you give or receive written notice of your cancellation at least 60 days before departure, you will not be billed for any final 50% balance if you selected payment option 1, or the balance remaining if you selected payment option 2. You understand that within 60 days of departure, no refund or credit will be given for any reason including illness. You understand that there are no exceptions to this policy. You understand the importance of travel cancellation insurance, which is your own responsibility to obtain.

COVID-19 Policy – If you book and cancel any event up to 60 days before departure, because you are affected by the changing border control / quarantine restrictions due to COVID-19 (when traveling internationally to our port of departure and/or at the port of arrival) your registration fees will be 100% refunded in full or transferred to another event.

Assumption of Risk

Each person participating in a sailing passage, race or regatta with Ocean Sailing Expeditions waives all claims against David Hows and Ocean Sailing Expeditions Pty Limited for injury, accident, illness or death during or by reason of their joining a sailing passage, race or regatta with Ocean Sailing Expeditions. “I acknowledge that I am aware that during sailing passage, race or regatta on the yacht in which I will be participating, certain risks and dangers may arise, including but not limited to, the hazards of traveling on the open sea, falling overboard, storms, high winds, collision of vessels, shipwreck, travel ashore in remote terrain, the forces of nature, and accident or illness in remote regions without means of rapid evacuation or medical facilities.

I am also aware and clearly understand that David Hows and Ocean Sailing Expeditions Pty Limited will have no liability regarding provision of medical care or the adequacy of any care that may be rendered. I have read the expectations supplied to me by David Hows and agree to abide by the rules on board or ashore, for the duration of the sailing passage, race or regatta on the yacht. I understand that although David Hows and Ocean Sailing Expeditions Pty Limited may make suggestions as to airlines and travel agents, they assume no liability for injury, damage, delay, irregularity or loss of baggage relating to airline travel.

In consideration of the Agreement with David Hows and Ocean Sailing Expeditions Pty Limited to participate in this sailing passage, race or regatta on the yacht, I hereby agree that I will assume all risk of this trip and I will not make any claims against David Hows and Ocean Sailing Expeditions Pty Limited or sue for bodily injury, emotional trauma, death and/or property damage resulting from negligence or unseaworthiness of the vessel, or other acts, however caused, as a result of my participation in this expedition. I, therefore, release, indemnify and discharge David Hows and Ocean Sailing Expeditions Pty Limited and its booking agents and employees from all claims, actions and demands that I may have for bodily injury, death or property damage arising from my participation in the expedition.

This release of liability, agreement to hold harmless and indemnify, and assumption of risk Agreement is entered into on behalf of all members of my family, including any minors accompanying me. If any person who accompanies me on this trip as part of my family makes claim, or if a claim is made on their behalf, my estate or I will indemnify and hold harmless David Hows and Ocean Sailing Expeditions Pty Limited from any loss, including reasonable legal fees incurred in the defence of such claim. This Agreement is binding upon my heirs, legal representative and assigns. If any portion of this Agreement is unenforceable, the remaining portions shall remain in full force and effect. All applicants are subject to acceptance by David Hows and Ocean Sailing Expeditions Pty Limited. This Agreement shall be deemed to have been entered into in the State of Queensland, Australia and shall be construed and interpreted according to the laws of the State of Queensland, Australia. In the unlikely event a legal dispute should arise, I agree the dispute shall exclusively be brought before the appropriate court in the Gold Coast Region, in the State of Queensland, Australia. I have carefully read this and understand its terms. I execute it voluntarily and with full knowledge of its significance.

By checking ‘Yes I accept’ the Ocean Sailing Expeditions Crew Terms And Conditions on the Crew Registration page when registering for a sailing passage, race or regatta on the yacht, you accept and are bound by the Ocean Sailing Expeditions Crew Terms And Conditions and any subsequent updates to these terms as set out above.

You also accept and are bound by Sail Race Crew Terms & Conditions and any subsequent updates to these terms as set out above.

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