Among other purposes, the Shannon Boat Rally aims to improve boat handling skills and safety on the water. During the rally, competitions are organised for participants. The Premier Award requires boats to compete in all the ‘starred’ competitions mentioned below. These competitions are geared to evaluate and educate the standard of seamanship, with an emphasis on safety. Outside of these major competitions are numerous other events both land and water-based e.g. swimming, sailing, field sports, etc. The events will vary from year to year and while every effort will be made to ensure the competitions run each year, particularly the ‘starred’ competitions, the yearly schedule of events will be determined by the time, location and weather. Events, particularly entertainment events, may not be replicated each year. It is hoped as many as possible will enter the competitions.
Inspection or Boat
The two judges will come aboard your boat and, with the crew, inspect the items that a well found, safe boat should have. A great emphasis will be put on safety and all crew members will be expected to be wearing appropriate life jackets or other personal floatation devices. Other safety items will be checked including fire equipment and first aid. One of the vice commodores will check the engine area and assess the crew’s knowledge of basic maintenance and availability of spare parts while the other vice commodore will check on deck equipment -warps, fenders, emergency equipment, anchors, and chain. They will also look at internal equipment such as gas installations, fuel storage, communication equipment, and navigation equipment while assessing the crews’ knowledge of emergency and first aid procedures and environmental awareness. The competition is designed to help improve the overall safety of your crew and the vice commodores will be happy to make suggestions if invited to do so.
This competition will be divided into two parts (a) mooring and (b) anchoring. Part (a) will be an active exercise probably using the barge Samson as the quay wall on which to moor your boat. Competitors’ will be marking on the following aspects of the mooring exercise, planning and preparation, communication, execution and after care. Part (b) is a desktop exercise, Q & A and discussion with all the crew about anchoring, the equipment on board, anchor site selection, anchoring, influences and retrieving the anchor. The purpose of the competition is to increase boatmanship skills and situational awareness, safety, also to be thought provoking and to have some fun. Good luck to all who compete.
Everybody should really participate in this competition, as man overboard could happen to anybody at any time. The ability to carry out a ‘man overboard’ procedure correctly is very important. As with all competitions the importance of wearing a life jacket will be important. The competition will focus on the crew’s reaction, coordination communication and team work. The ability to diagnose injuries and to administer first aid as required may also be an element of the competition.
The Navigation Competition is an opportunity for all boaters to improve their navigation knowledge. Only basic techniques will be required and so every rallier should give this competition a go. Competitors may be asked to plot a simple navigation task on a supplied paper or chart and may be asked questions on general navigation aspects. Knowledge and confidence alike will build up with a little practice.
The competitor will estimate the time taken to navigate a given passage and submit it to the judge on the morning of the competition. At the bottom of this submission form (Part 1), they will fill in their estimated time and speed and this must be submitted to the judge BEFORE starting the competition. Each boat will nominate an observer who will be aged 18 years or over to travel with them during the completion journey. It is up to each participating boat to find a suitable observer prior to the competition; it is advised to find someone the day before the competition or early that morning. The observer on board will ensure that watches, clocks, mobile phones, GPS, logs and any other instruments that could aid the competitor are covered or switched off for the duration of the passage. Throttles will be set before the starting point and will not be adjusted during the passage except in an emergency situation. If the throttle is adjusted (other than in an emergency) the competitor will be eliminated from the competition. The observer must record the start and finish time to the nearest second on the remaining slip of paper (Part 2) on the competition sheet and must submit the result to the Judge on their return. Failure to return the competition slip by 8pm that evening will result in elimination from the competition.
Rescue of Cruiser
The main object of the competition is to assess the ability to rescue another craft and crew or their own from a set of given circumstances. Covering aspects from mechanical difficulties, injured crew appropriate first aid and rescue plan, communicating with the crew at all times. The Judge would urge all families not to remove children or pets from the craft for the competition, common sense will prevail. Competition scenario; travelling along on an afternoon cruise, you notice a cruiser drifting on the lake with distress flag flying. There is crew on board and floating nearby is a dingy and life ring nearby.
The First Mate will be asked to perform an ‘on the water’ exercise at the direction of the Judge. The First Mate will also be asked some basic questions on the engine, first aid and fire drill. The purpose of this competition is to inspire confidence in the First Mate to take control of the Craft in an emergency. The Judge would urge all families not to remove children or pets from the Craft for the competition, common sense will prevail.