US Sailing Releases Report on Newport to Ensenada Race Tragedy

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (October 30, 2012) – US Sailing has released a report of an independent review panel on its investigation of the sailing accident that occurred on April 28 during the 2012 Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race that resulted in the deaths of four sailors. The crew were victims of an accident aboard Aegean, a 37-foot Hunter 376. The 125-mile Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race is held annually, starting from Newport Beach, Calif. and ending at Ensenada, Mexico. The Newport Ocean Sailing Association (NOSA) is the race organizer.

Synopsis of Findings and Recommendations from the Report:

The panel determined that a key element of the accident was likely an inadequate lookout*, and that it is likely that Aegean inadvertently motored beyond a waypoint set before North Coronado Island. Although the inadequate lookout was the proximal cause of the accident, there were additional safety issues that came to light during the inquiry, and improvements in these areas could prevent or reduce the severity of other accidents in the future.

The panel relied on available facts to create this report. There were no survivors and no eyewitnesses to the accident. The facts include the SPOT Connect (GPS tracking device with text capacity) position reports from which vessel course and speed were derived, times of SPOT Connect text transmissions during the race, published material, press reports including accounts of the San Diego Coroner’s report and the results of their toxicology analysis, interviews with race organizers, participants and past crew from Aegean, wreckage found at North Coronado Island and in the debris field and underwater at North Coronado Island.

The panel recommends improvements in the following areas:

1. Always maintain a lookout, with a watch of at least two people, using audible waypoint and radar alarms.
2. Racers need to be made aware of the light obscuration zones in the Coronado Islands.
3. Each watch must understand the operation of the boat’s navigation systems.
4. The use of autopilots while motoring should be reviewed by race organizers.
5. To improve communication, racers should monitor VHF 16 and race organizers should provide a 24-hour emergency contact.
6. US Sailing should create a guide to emergency signaling devices.
7. US Sailing should create a crisis management template for race organizers.

Read the entire US Sailing Report on the 2012 Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race. US Sailing will be making a presentation on the findings and recommendation at the Annual Meeting this Thursday, November 1 at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis in San Francisco, Calif. at 12:30 pm PT.

“The US Sailing Independent Review Panel members express our sorrow at the loss of four lives in this tragic accident,” said Bruce Brown, US Sailing Panel Chairman. “We offer our condolences to the family members of the victims. This accident was tragic and, we will not know what occurred during the last hours on board Aegean. The panel analyzed the facts and offers recommendations to the sailing community. My thanks go to the members of the panel for their diligent work, and to our sailing community who stepped forward to offer their insights into the events that occurred.”

The objective of this report is to reduce the chance of future similar tragedies by identifying the contributing factors leading up to this incident. This report is not intended to be used in any judicial proceedings whose purpose is to attribute or apportion liability or blame.

The members of the panel are Chairman Bruce Brown (Costa Mesa, Calif.), John Winder (Annisquam, Mass.), Alan Andrews (Corona del Mar, Calif.), Ed Adams (Middletown, R.I.), and Alan McMillan (Pensacola, Fla.). The Offshore Special Regulations Consultant on the panel is Evans Starzinger (Milford, Conn). The Safety at Sea Committee Chairman and Review Panel Liaison is Chuck Hawley (Santa Cruz, Calif.). The Medical Advisor was Dr. Steven Shea (Long Beach, Calif.). Jim Wildey (Annapolis, Md.) advised on investigation procedures and formats.

US Sailing is the national organizing body of the sport and is the overall authority for sanctioning sailboat races in the United States. US Sailing follows established policies of reviewing races involving causalities and/or fatalities. Similar reports from races include the 1979 Fastnet Race (Great Britain), 1988 Sydney Hobart Race (Australia) and the 2009 Flinders Islet Race (Cruising Yacht Club of Australia). In 2011, US Sailing independent panels reviewed three accidents beginning with a fatal incident involving a young girl in the Severn River (Severn Sailing Association); the fatal incident in the Chicago To Mackinac Race (WingNuts); and the near fatal accident in the Fastnet Race (Rambler 100). The reviews offer insight for race organizers and sailors of the facts involved in each of these events and offer suggestions to avoid and/or mitigate similar outcomes in the future.

In 2012, US Sailing was invited by the US Coast Guard to establish a panel to review the fatal accident during the Fully Crewed Farallon Island Race (Low Speed Chase) and in May of 2012, US Sailing created a panel to review this accident. In August of 2012, US Sailing released this report.

For more information regarding US Sailing Safety Reports, visit us at

*According to the International Maritime Organization, a lookout’s task is to prevent collision. The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (1972) Rule 5 says (in part): Every vessel must at all times keep a proper look-out by sight (day shape or lights by eyes or visual aids), hearing, and all available means in order to judge if risk of collision exists. According to the International Sailing Federation Case 26, all boats, whether or not holding the right of way, should keep a lookout at all times.

The Basic Keelboat Certification – The Essential Credential In Sailing Education

Learning in our “Living Classroom”

Learning to sail is part dream, part great instruction, and part hands-on experience.  Earning your US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification through a J World Annapolis sailing fundamentals course gives you a great start and confidence through a smart balance on structured learning and on the water experiential learning.

Our courses are part of a vibrant sailing education program that continues to grow and be refined in accord with the evolution sailing.  No blog post or printed material can address every potential question or program change, but you are encouraged to use this as a guide to understanding the J World Annapolis Basic Keelboat certification process.

J World Annapolis is a US Sailing Certified school and training facility.  We use the US Sailing System because it is administered by the governing body of sailing in the United States and because we believe it is the most rigorous standard for sailing education.  The US Sailing Basic Keelboat program is designed to elevate the teaching standards, enhance individual knowledge and identify sailors who have demonstrated the essential knowledge to sail small keelboats on protected waters in reasonable conditions.  Earning the “BK” is the cornerstone to becoming a well rounded sailor.  For new sailors, the Basic Keelboat is THE place to start, and even if you have extensive sailing experience, earning your Basic Keelboat is the prerequisite to earning more advanced certifications and is a great way to hone your existing skills.

Highlights of the impact of having your Basic Keelboat Certification

  • Drives personal confidence: Earning your US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification drives your personal confidence as a sailor.  The majority of J World Annapolis Basic Keelboat students – including those who come with extensive sailing experience – report the course enhances their knowledge and improves their sailing opportunities by providing access to “advanced” certifications such as Bareboat Cruising,
  • The US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification has widespread value and recognition:  Particularly among chartering organizations.  A BK certification is a quick way to demonstrate that you’ve had the necessary training to rent for a day or charter for a weekend a small keelboat.
  • Opens doors and creates connections:  By earning your US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification from J World Annapolis you receive the benefit of connecting to the sport of sailing through an existing network of J World Alumni and J World Alumni experiential activities like Thursday Night Racing and our Flotilla events.

Earning and Maintaining the Basic Keelboat Certification

Earning and maintaining your US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification is a three step process:

  1. Basic Keelboat Certification candidates must demonstrate their sailing skills through a practical, on-the-water evaluation administered by a US Sailing Basic Keelboat certified instructor.  J World Annapolis certification candidates generally develop the skills necessary to pass the “BK” by participating in either a five day sailing fundamentals course or a three weekend sailing fundamentals course.  Sailors with extensive sailing experience CAN challenge the BK.  While we do not recommend it, we do offer the option.  During the three hour evaluation, challengers will be asked to demonstrate the requisite skills.
  2. Basic Keelboat Certification candidates must also pass an 80 question written exam that tests general knowledge on seamanship, rules of the road and sailing theory questions.  The written exam is challenging for candidates that don’t read the Basic Keelboat course book.  Those candidates that read the material, generally score very well on the written exam.
  3. While there is no requirement for maintaining the Basic Keelboat certification, we strongly recommend that in order to keep your skills up and develop as a sailor you must spend time on the water.  In fact, before moving on to courses like Basic Cruising we recommend that you sail no less than 40 hours – and more is better.

Tips and Hints For Earning and Enjoying Your Basic Keelboat Certification

Earning your US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification is fun and easy to do.  It is a great way to get into the sport or expand your enjoyment of it.  Here are a few tips for earning your US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification with J World Annapolis:

  1. Get Started NOW!  – Savvy candidates begin preparing early and arrange their schedules to make the most of their J World Annapolis educational experience.  We offer the “BK” every week and weekend of our sailing season (April – Dec.) By registering now you can receive your written materials in advance and begin planning your work and family life to enable you to earn your certification quickly and without distractions.
  2. Begin with an honest self assessment – Students who have the best success at J World Annapolis arrive with a desire to be better sailors, an open mind and a willingness to learn.  Even if you have extensive sailing experience, we feel confident that we can provide you with more knowledge and confidence.  We call our instructors coaches for good reason – once we have taught you the fundamentals we work hard to develop you as an individual sailor to your individual capacity.  Heck, even Tiger Woods has a coach!
  3. Stay Sailing! – Once you have earned your “BK” make sure you use it.  We are happy to help connect you with other students and local sail boat owners so you can continue to build your skills and enjoy sailing.  Moreover, we offer a variety of low or no-cost experiential learning opportunities such as Thursday Night Racing, Bay cruises and flotillas.

What Is The Purpose and Benefits Of Certification?

The purpose of certification programs are to:

  • Establish a standardized body of knowledge that is equivalent to certain levels of experience;
  • Assess the level of knowledge and ability demonstrated by a sailor in a valid and reliable manner;
  • Encourage structured growth and development of sailors;
  • Formally recognize sailors who meet the requirements outlined by US Sailing for each certification.
The benefits of certification programs are:
  • Verification of your knowledge by an independent evaluator who has been certified in sailing education – a way to prove you know what you know;
  • Personal growth and development of your sailing skills
  • Enhanced sailing opportunities

What Do I Need To Demonstrate To Be A Basic Keelboat Certified Sailor?

Certification Requirements
Basic Keelboat Certification requires the successful completion of the following knowledge and skill requirements. These requirements are expected to be able to be performed safely with confident command of the boat in familiar waters with a wind range of 5 to 15 knots. The certified candidate will be able to skipper a tiller steered keelboat up to 27 feet in length.  For this course we use our fast and stable J/80’s.

Here are the practical skills and knowledge required:

Preparation to Sail:

  • Demonstrate ability to recognize and forecast prevailing local weather conditions.
  • Perform a presail check for the boat’s flotation integrity, safety and legally required equipment, and crew indoctrination.
  • Demonstrate the proper rigging of the sails, halyards, sheets, blocks, and winches.
  • Check all other equipment specific to your boat not indicated above.
  • Describe personal preparation such as clothing and sun protection.

Crew Operations and Skills:

  • Demonstrate how to put on a Personal Flotation Device (PFD).
  • Demonstrate tying and use of knots: stopper knot, bowline, cleat hitch and sail lashing knot.
  • Demonstrate the use of these sail controls: halyards, sheets, cunningham/downhaul and outhaul.
  • Be familiar with the nomenclature for basic parts of the boat, sails, battens and rigging.
  • Describe the proper use of Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) and throwable flotation devices.
  • Describe the use of sail controls.
  • Explain potential electrical hazards such as overhead electrical wires and lightning.

Sailing Theory:

  • Describe basic sailboat design, sail theory and boat dynamics.
  • Explain how to read the wind and determine all points of sail.
  • Understand what is meant by the term “sailing by the lee” and explain the inherent dangers involved

Leaving the Dock or Mooring:

  • Demonstrate appropriate helmsman and crew coordination and skills for departure suitable to the conditions: raising sails, line handling, casting off and boathandling.
  • Understand the effects of wind, tide and currents in relation to the boat and surrounding area while preparing to get underway.
  • Describe the differences and alternatives for leaving under sail and/or power in upwind, crosswind and downwind situations.

Boat Control in Confined Waters:

  • Demonstrate in close quarters under sail: starting, stopping, speed control, tacking, jibing, steering control, sail luffing, the No-Go Zone, getting out of irons, backing the jib, and crew coordination and communication.
  • Demonstrate sailing a predetermined closed course and maneuvering around obstacles.

Navigation (Piloting):

  • Point out Aids to Navigation in the harbor and local waters that you are sailing, and respond accordingly.
  • Be familiar with basic chart reading specific to your local waters.
  • Describe Aids to Navigation: buoys, daymarks, regulatory markers, and other markers specific to your local waters.

Navigation Rules, International-Inland:

  • Demonstrate use of Navigation Rules while sailing.
  • Describe the Navigation Rules, International-Inland, for Stand-On and Give-Way sailboats and powerboats for collision avoidance and understand your state and local boating regulations.

Boat Control in Open Water:

  • Demonstrate proper sail trim with accurate sheet adjustment of the main and headsails. Make use of the sail telltales and identify points of sail.
  • Perform a heaving-to maneuver per the prescribed method.
  • When appropriate, demonstrate sailing “by the lee” and explain the inherent dangers involved.

Heavy Weather Sailing:

  • Demonstrate how to reef and/or depower sails.
  • Describe weather warning sources

Overboard Recovery Methods:

  • Properly demonstrate one of the overboard recovery methods, which is most appropriate for: your sailing ability, boat type, crew experience, wind and sea conditions, and maintaining constant visual contact with the victim.
  • Understand the Quick-Stop and Quick-Turn overboard recovery methods to include: constant visual contact with the victim, communication, recovery plan, sequence of maneuvers, boathandling, course sailed, pickup approach and coming alongside the victim (or simulated object).
  • Describe methods of getting an overboard recovery victim back on deck after the vessel is stopped alongside.

Safety and Emergency Procedures:

  • Explain the proper procedure for using an approved distress signal.
  • Be familiar with treatment of victims of overheating, hypothermia and seasickness.
  • Describe the use and regulations for flares.
  • Be familiar with at least six different distress and emergency signals per Navigation Rule 37.
  • Be familiar with the U.S. Coast Guard requirements for safety equipment.

Anchoring Techniques:

  • Be familiar with anchoring procedures for emergency situations such as loss of boat control, sudden storms, prevention from going aground or injured crew situations.

Returning to the Dock or Mooring:

  • Demonstrate appropriate helmsman and crew coordination and skills for arrival under sail and/or power suitable to the conditions: boathandling, deploying fenders, stopping, tying up and lowering sails. Explain at least two different approach plans for other conditions.
  • Describe the differences and alternatives for arrival under sail and/or power in upwind, crosswind and downwind situations.

Securing the Boat Properly:

  • Demonstrate stowing of sails, rigging and equipment. Thoroughly clean the boat, and install any covers.
  • Check both the electrical and bilge systems for dock operation if required.
  • Check the locks on companionway, lockers and hatches. Make a final check of docklines, spring lines and fender placement.


HMS Bounty Crew Abandon Ship While Battling Hurricane Sandy


Earlier this year the staff of J World Annapolis were invited to join the crew of the HMS Bounty while she was docked in Annapolis at the City Dock.  We took a tour  of the ship, met her crew and swooned over her towering rig.  This morning we were met with terrible news that the Bounty has been battling this storm and recently alerted the US Coast Guard that they would be abandoning ship.The Coast Guard said it’s been able to rescue 14 crew members of an abandoned tall-masted ship off the North Carolina coast early Monday morning after it became distressed as Hurricane Sandy moved in. Two crew members are still missing.

Officers said 16 people were aboard the 180-foot, three-masted tall ship HMS Bounty. The ship was about 90 miles southeast of Hatteras, N.C., early Monday morning when Coast Guard officials said the crew put on cold-water survival suits and lifejackets and abandoned ship in two 25-man lifeboats with canopies.

Officers said the vessel was taking on water Sunday night and was without propulsion. Crewmen said the Bounty was about 160 miles west of the eye of Hurricane Sandy.

The Coast Guard said two MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters were sent in to rescue the crew around 6:30 a.m. The 14 rescued crew members are being flown to the closest Coast Guard base to get medical treatment.

Officials said two other aircraft are still working to find the last two missing crew members.

Officials received a distress call from the ship but lost communication with the crew late Sunday evening. An HC-130 Hercules was dispatched to the ship’s location after the rescue crews got a signal from the ship’s emergency position radio beacon.

The aircraft crew was eventually able to reestablish communication with the Bounty’s crew.

Read more:

How Will You Start Next Season – Key West Race Week 2013

Whether you are a fair weather sailor or a die hard winter warrior, it is never too late to think about next season and how to maximize your sailing enjoyment.

With the arrival of the “frankenstorm” many sailors have pulled their boats, stripped their canvas and may have had their last sail of the season.  Others, like the 16 J World Frostbite students will be suiting up to enjoy whatever mother nature can throw our way on any given Sunday.  J World Annapolis wants to help sailors create plans or campaigns to enjoy their sailing more, and for winter bound racers and cruisers we offer some outstanding programs to help keep your sailing skills sharp.

Every January we head to Key West, Florida to compete in the annual Quantum Key West Race Week.  We offer racers two unique and low stress ways to enjoy North America’s best winter racing event including racing yacht charters and coach supported racing programs.

J/80 Charter

For most teams the cost of hauling, prepping, storing their boat is an overwhelmingly daunting task that ultimately destroys the enjoyment of an already expensive away event like Key West Race Week.  For others, the draw of One Design racing is fascinating, and for international teams, the logistics of getting your boat here is simply cost prohibitive.  For those experienced teams that want to come to Key West Race Week, but want to focus on sailing and not their boat, we do offer J/80 charters.  For our charter clients, we deliver a boat and sails that is prepared and ready to compete at the highest level.  We invite our Key West Race Week charter clients to join us for two days of on the water practice prior to the event and we are on site to provide technical and coaching support throughout the week of racing.

J/80 Coached Programs

For individuals and teams that seek both the Key West Racing experience, but also the support and learning that an onboard coach can provide we offer our Key West Race Week Racing Program.  Our two days of training and five days of racing have been compared to going to driving school and then racing in the Daytona 500.  We believe deeply in the value of cross training and the understanding of the delicate choreography that is learned by rotating positions.  So between each race, clients will move from position to position.  In this program you hone your existing skills and develop new skills while racing against top competition!  We provide you with a race ready J80, onboard coach and 2 days of pre-regatta training followed by 5 days of racing.  Three participants will rotate through all positions onboard including helm, trim and bow.  Truly a turn-key program, you simply show up with your deck shoes and sunscreen.  We take care of the rest!  Plan to arrive in the evening on Friday, January 18th in Key West.  We train Saturday and Sunday.  Racing begins Monday January 2oth, 2013. Regatta ends Friday January 25th.

Applicants must have prior racing experience including tiller steering and spinnaker work.  Experience level is subject to review prior to acceptance of your application. Participants must be in excellent physical condition.  Boat delivery, setup and dockage, regatta entry, J World Racing Team wear, daily lunch, and entry to regatta parties is included in the price.  You will need to cover transportation, accommodations in Key West, meals and entertainment.

It is never too early to start planning your 2013 season.  There are only a few spots still available for Key West Race Week.  Deadline for registration is November 15, 2012 – so call to reserve  your spot TODAY!

2013 Heineken Regatta Update

The registration deadline for 2013 Heineken Regatta (Feb. 25 – March 3) registration is fast approaching.  With only a handful of spaces remaining for this “bucket list” event, we will be closing registration on Wednesday, November 1, 2012.

To learn more about the Heineken Cup Regatta download our Heineken primer, read this month’s Sailing World article and check out the official video below:


33rd St Maarten Heineken Regatta 2013 Visual Information Piece 2
33rd St Maarten Heineken Regatta 2013 Visual Information Piece 2

Flotilla is Filling Fast

Do you ever dream of sailing the British Virgin Islands?  Want to bareboat charter, but want to have the confidence to do it right?  Annually J World Annapolis and the Chesapeake Boating Club point the bow to the Caribbean for a week of fun, sun and bareboat cruising.  Our annual BVI Flotilla leaves from Tortola and takes in all the great sites generally including Virgin Gorda and The Baths, lobster dinner on the beach in AnegadaPainkillers at the Soggy Dollar and maybe even yard arm jumping at Willy T’s.

More popular than ever the 2013 BVI Flotilla is filling up fast.  We currently have one, two person cabin remaining.  Pricing for the 2013 Flotilla is $1995 per person based on double occupancy and $2495 for a single cabin.

Call today to reserve your space on this amazing trip.



End of Season Classes

Cooler temperatures and fair fall winds make Annapolis an incredible fall destination for sailing well into the fall and early winter.  J World Annapolis still has plenty of courses on the books and there are a few spots still available.

Check the calendar on our improved website or give us a call in the office to see what courses are still available in October and November:

Spaces are extremely limited, so call us today to finish your season with a bang!

2012 Annapolis Boat Show

The boat show is here!  Stop by booth A2 to learn about our exciting 2013 course offerings including new cruising courses and racing events like Key West Race Week and the Sint Maarten Heineken Cup Regatta!

For J World alumni, stop by to get your J World alumni sticker and share your latest sailing stories.  See you at the show!

Now in its 43rd year, the United States Sailboat Show, October 4 – 8, 2012, attracts more than 50,000 boating enthusiasts from around the world to the waterfront of historic Annapolis, Maryland. The Chesapeake Bay town is also home of U.S. Naval Academy. Recognized worldwide as the premier sailing showcase, this is the place to buy, sell or dream.

The Sailboat Show is followed by the United States Powerboat Show, October 11-14, 2012. Both shows are the oldest and largest, new in-water boat shows in the world.

This Year’s Features

  • Daily Seminars by Cruising World and Chesapeake Bay Magazines
  • Take the Wheel Interactive Workshops including Boat Demos
  • Smaller Boats From One Designs & Trailerables To Sailing Dinghies & Inflatables
  • Sailing Equipment, Rigging & Accessories
  • Maintenance Products & Services
  • Vacation Basin – NEW Charter & Travel Section
  • Hottest Domestic & International Racing and Cruising Boats
  • One of the Largest Collections of Multihull Sailboats on the Planet
  • Grand Prize Drawing – 7 day/ 6 night charter in the British Virgin Islands provided by The Moorings with airfare sponsored by BVI Tourism Board
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