Guidance Notes


February 2015


Cruiser Guidance Notes


SWOG Rally




1.   Safety and Responsibility

1.1 Sailing can be dangerous. A yacht is solely responsible for deciding whether or not to start or to continue sailing. The safety of a yacht and her crew is the sole and inescapable responsibility of the owner or owner's representative who must do their best to ensure that the yacht is fully found, thoroughly seaworthy and manned by an experienced crew who are physically fit to face bad weather. They must be satisfied as to the soundness of the hull, spars, rigging, sails and all gear. They must ensure that the safety equipment is properly maintained and stowed and that the crew know where it is kept and how it is to be used.

1.2 Cardiff Bay Yacht Club accept no responsibility or liability for loss of life or injury to members or others, or for the loss of, or damage to, any vessel or property.

1.3 The owner and crew will be held jointly responsible for the conduct of the yacht's crew before, during and after a rally. Misconduct may result in both owner and crew being excluded from future rallies.

1.4 Yachts must hold a valid and current boat insurance which covers them for third party claims for the entire period of the series.

1.5 All boats must comply with the safety requirements as detailed in Appendix I

1.6 The Ports of Cardiff, Swansea, Sharpness and Bristol and the Cardiff Harbour Authority regulations and Notices to Mariners will apply.


1.7 This event is a 'cruise in company' organised by Cardiff Bay Yacht Club (CBYC). A 'cruise in company' is essentially a group of individual boats all of which have a common destination. As such the responsibility for the safety of each boat and its crew remains that of the skipper at all times, and it is the skipper who is responsible for the decision to take to sea. No guarantees are given by the CBYC for the suitability of or the safe passage of any vessel. As is established maritime practice and a requirement of Solas V each skipper should prepare their own passage plan, which should include contingency planning. The skipper is also responsible for ensuring the sea worthiness of their vessel and that adequate navigational equipment is carried. There are a number of hazards which are exaggerated due to the extreme tides in the Severn Estuary. CBYC recommends that each boat should have existing experience of a passage between Cardiff and the destination port (and vice versa) so that they are more able to prepare their plan.



Due to the nature of the Severn Estuary the weather has a marked effect on the sea conditions. These notes are given in good faith to help direct you in the preparation of your passage plan. No guarantee is made that the information herein is accurate, or safe to act upon.  Nothing in these notes absolves the skipper from any of his/her responsibility.



Cruising in company

Although the participants generally will follow the anticipated passage, there will be times when that is not the case. When in company, the close proximity of other boats requires a good lookout at all times and that the helm is prepared to respond quickly.



Anchoring in a fast flowing tide is hazardous. An anchor warp over the side of a boat can heel or roll the boat when the anchor bites, even with the anchor warp in the bow roller, the bow will be pulled downwards. The dangers of deploying an anchor in strong currents/tides is dangerous ensure that the speed over the ground is  nil when deploying the anchor and that the anchor when it bites can cause boats to oscillate about the anchor or even be pulled under the water, remember Safety First.


First Aid

It is highly recommended that all boats have someone on board who has a First Aid qualification, and carries a first aid kit.


Man Overboard

With the fast flowing tides a 'Man Overboard' may be difficult to locate. In addition sudden choppy conditions can increase the risk of falling. Please instruct your crew of the additional risk and be prepared for such an incident. In the hours of darkness all persons shall wear life lines when on deck and in the cockpit.


Life Jackets

Where appropriate life jackets must be worn at all times.


Poor Visibility

The Severn estuary closely bounded by land, experiences mist and fog more frequently than other locations in the Bristol Channel. Please consider this when making your passage plan.


Electrical Shock

Where shore power is made available, only suitably protected electrical appliances should be used, and any shore lead should be fit for purpose.



In close proximity with other boats fire can spread. If you discover a fire at any time raise the alarm, especially to any neighbouring boats. You are advised to carry a least one fire extinguisher and raft out to the maximum of three boats.



It's the skippers responsibility to be aware of the weather reports and what actions to take should the weather deteriorate from that forecast, be prepared to take action deviating from the passage planned safely.



Alcoholic drinks will be made available at the reception on arrival party. It is also to be expected that alcohol might be consumed at the destination port. Please be especially vigilant and assist any participant to this event who may have been drinking alcohol. Non alcoholic drinks are also available.


Emergency Plan


All boats should make their own plan of action in cases of emergency


Passage Plan


Although the main social activity of the weekends is expected to take place on the Saturday afternoon/evening on each weeklend, there are no set times for departure or arrival for either the outbound or return passages. Skippers should take into account the expected conditions at harbour entrances at expected departure and arrival tmes.



2. Rules


2.1 Only one entry from each yacht will be accepted


2.2 All yachts are required to display any sponsor’s stickers or flag as provided








David Cairncross                




Appendix 1


Safety regulations

1. Application

These regulations apply to all boats cruising in the SWOG Series.

 2. General

All safety equipment shall be of a suitable size and type for the boat and all equipment and fittings (including outboard engines if carried) shall be securely fastened.

3. Buoyancy

Each boat shall either be self-draining or be equipped with a suitable means for bailing or pumping.

4. Personal buoyancy

Adequate personal buoyancy shall be carried for each member of the crew (wetsuits do not count as personal buoyancy).

5. Radio

Each boat shall carry a suitable marine band VHF transceiver for use in an emergency.

6. Flares

Each boat shall carry at least two in-date red hand flares in a waterproof pack.

7. Anchor

Each boat shall carry a suitable anchor and sufficient chain/warp to hold the boat in 15m depth of water in the expected racing conditions.

8. Fire extinguisher

Boats carrying fuel shall carry a fire extinguisher.

9. First aid

Each boat shall carry a waterproof first aid pack with instructions.

10. Man overboard

Each boat shall carry a rescue quoit or throw-bag with at least 15m of floating line.

11. Each boat shall have a suitable working engine and sufficient fuel to propel the boat to a safe haven from any point of any expected course.

12. Each boat shall carry suitable charts of the likely sailing area together with a compass and GPS.