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Safety gear aboard Ithaka

By The Ithaka - Published July 15, 2006 - Viewed 2180 times

1. Safety Gear Aboard Ithaka

We're outfitting our Westerly 42 for extended cruising. How did you decide what kind of safety gear to carry aboard your boat?

- Mark Meyers, London, England

From Bernadette: Having read enough horror stories about sailors who decided to lie ahull in heavy weather, we wanted to make sure that, despite conditions (and our own limitations), the boat could carry a shortened amount of sail. In addition to our storm jib, we purchased a storm trysail, and then installed on the mast a separate and parallel track for it, which starts almost two feet lower. The boat's previous owner already had three reefs installed on the mainsail, and we highly recommend this to everyone who sets offshore. We purchased a Northern Airborne Technologies "Smart" 406 GPIRB. We purchased a Gail Rider Storm Drogue, and 350 feet of line for it. We have a 6-person Avon life raft (that came with the boat). We installed Inmarsat C, which gives us more communications capabilities. We've assembling a ditch kit. We also have harnesses and jack lines (our policy is to wear harnesses after six and in any foul weather). We have personal strobe lights, a man-overboard module, three throwable horseshoes, a Lifesling, and lights and whistles on our foul weather gear. The rudder is easily fitted with an emergency wood tiller, which lives below. All this is great, but the biggest piece of safety gear is the boat itself. Ithaka was extremely strongly built (some might say overbuilt) to take a beating out there.

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