Ensuring safety on water starts with the condition of the vessel, and that’s no different when racing.
World Sailing and its Member National Authorities (MNA’s) – this principle members of World Sailing and national governing bodies for the sport of sailing around the world – have put in place safety standards and auditing systems to ensure a yacht and its equipment is suitable for the category of racing in which it participates.
Following these regulations, as well as those set-out by local Maritime Regulatory bodies, is not only required in order to enter recognised sailing events, but also provides a good framework to ensure your yacht is safely prepared to race.
Here, we cover an overview of the equipment safety requirements that apply to yacht racing in Australia and New Zealand.
Australian Sailing – Special Regulations & Equipment Audits
In Australia, equipment auditing is regulated by Australian Sailing’s Special Regulations.
According to Australian Sailing, “the purpose of the Special Regulations is to establish uniform minimum equipment, accommodation and training standards for racing boats. Special Regulations do not replace, but rather supplement the requirements of government authorities, the Racing Rules of Sailing and the rules of class associations and rating systems.”
To ensure compliance with the minimum safety equipment requirements for each category of event, trained Equipment Auditors are appointed by clubs and carry out inspections on the club’s behalf. These are done on an annual basis, with audits varying depending on the category of racing the yacht intends to do.
We spoke to Phil Darling, Chief Safety Auditor at Middle Harbour Yacht Club about the how to successfully complete an equipment audit, and how to become an accredited Australian Sailing Equipment Auditor.
Yachting New Zealand – Safety Regulations of Sailing
If you’re racing in New Zealand, you will need to comply with the Yachting New Zealand Safety Regulations of Sailing 2017-2020.
For some categories of racing such as ‘round the buoys’ events, these are self-regulated, requiring only that the skipper submit a declaration that their yacht and equipment complies.
Yachting New Zealand also has an established a nationwide network of safety inspectors to provide advice and assistance with any aspects of your yacht’s safety, including conducting your boat’s safety equipment.