Offshore prep (BAMA)

This guide is a work in progress for the purpose of aiding in the preparation of Moores for nearshore races that follow BAMA guidelines, namely Doublehanded Farallones and Doublehanded Lightship. Bob Naber worked tirelessly to negotiate accommodations with the USCG for small boats to mitigate the more stringent requirements of NCORC, which were drafted in response to the Low Speed Chase incident. Races such as Half Moon Bay, Drake’s Bay, Spinnaker Cup, and California Offshore Race Week (Monterey Race + Coastal Cup) follow regular NCORC guidelines.

Lifelines

Lifelines are not required for BAMA compliance! A number of Moores were built without stanchion pockets, making compliance expensive. A few options exist for compliance otherwise.

Boats with original design or class approved lifelines are allowed. Boats without lifelines installed are permitted to race. However, on such boats, each crew member must carry one of these three options:

i. Handheld VHF radio and a GPS-equipped Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)
ii. Class D Handheld VHF with built-in GPS and DSC
iii. On boats equipped with a fixed mount VHF radio and chart plotter with AIS receive capability to display AIS MOB position: Handheld VHF radio and an AIS MOB locator device with internal GPS

Recommendation:

BAMA wants to see DSC’s with MMSI numbers tied to the boat. In the event of a distress call, the USCS will go to jibeset to look up a picture of the boat and will know who is on board. Because at least one handheld VHF with DSC is required by NCORC, and having multiple handhelds permanently associated with the boat seems excessive on a Moore, the second person could carry a regular VHF and the mandatory PLB. VHF w/DSC should be Class D (not H!). The Standard Horizon HX870 is a good, affordable option ($200)

Fixed-mount VHF

Required. USCG wants boats out there to be able to communicate with real power (25W), not the handheld 5W. BAMA offers options as to antenna location.

Trailerable boats 33ft LOD or less are permitted to race with a rail mount antenna (3db) of at least 30” length or deck mount at least 48” in lieu of a masthead antenna. ULDB boats (Moore 24 as example) may use an outboard motor mount as an antenna foundation as long as installation and operation of outboard is not inhibited and the resulting height is comparable to rail and deck antenna heights listed above.

The fixed mount VHF DSC radio must be operable from the helm by installation, or via remote microphone with DSC. If a fixed mount VHF is not operable from cockpit, then one of these conditions need to be met: i: A handheld VHF radio with DSC and built-in GPS needs to be attached to the boat and operable from the helm. ii: Each crew must carry one of these three options:

- Handheld VHF radio and a GPS-equipped PLB
- Class D Handheld VHF with GPS/DSC.
- Handheld VHF radio and an AIS MOB locator device with internal GPS, if the boat is equipped with a fixed mount VHF radio and chart plotter with AIS receive capability to display AIS MOB position.

Recommendation:

Your Fixed VHF must have DSC capability. Most these days offer internal GPS’s, which means they have location information when sending a distress call without the need for a networked GPS. Some offer AIS receiver capability and a display that can show AIS targets on the display, with heading, speed, boat name, etc. In the event of sailing in Bay Area fog this seems highly valuable. The Standard Horizon GX2200 does all this ($325). If you don’t care about AIS, consider the less expensive GX1700 ($200).

For antennas, the best option by far is masthead 15” antenna mounted to the crane or spar (depending on where your windex is located). If you have an interest in preparing your boat for lots of offshore, run the coax inside your mast, and a deck gland next to the mast. If temporary just for nearshore events, strong recommendation is running down the backstay (zip ties) and entering the deck vent on the transom. Purchase a spare deck vent if you want a sacrificial plate. Eric Steinberg @ Farallon Electronics in San Rafael can fab a coax in lightweight LMR-200 coax with the appropriate connectors on each end (~$200 including antenna).

Option B: if you want a 3’ stern pullpit-mounted antenna, the come with integral RG8 coax, terminated to plug right into your VHF (<$100)
Option C: if you have no pullpit, you will need to fabricate a mounting adapter (G10?) to secure to some existing holes in your deck.

The recommendation made in satisfying the lifelines requirements also satisfy the VHF operable from the cockpit requirements. Just have a VHF w/DSC on each person.

Electrical System

The Fixed VHF is the only device that truly needs to be powered off of a household battery.

Recommendation:

If no electrical system exists in your boat, it will suffice to wire your VHF directly to the battery - just add ANCOR terminals to the wiring that comes on your VHF. Most come with an inline fuse - just pack a spare fuse or two. An 18Ah 12V battery ($40) should easily suffice to run a VHF all day. Be careful with lithium batteries rating themselves in terms of ‘equivalent Ah’ - always take Watt-hours and divide by 12.8V if you suspect spec games.

PLB

A PLB or EPRIB is required.

A boat shall carry either a 406MHz EPIRB which is properly registered to the boat, or a floating 406MHz Personal Locator Beacon, registered to the owner with a notation in the registration that it is aboard the boat. This device shall be equipped with an internal GPS.

Recommendation:

Borrow an EPIRB if you have a friend who owns one! Re-registering online is a matter of minutes.

A PLB is way more versatile, portable. ACR ResqLink + ($290). Carry in your smock, tethered to yourself. One required per boat.

PFDs

This is another topic of debate. NCORC states

Each crewmember shall have a life jacket that provides at least 33.7lbs (150N) of buoyancy, intended to be worn over the shoulders (no belt pack), meeting either U.S. Coast Guard or ISO specifications. Alternatively, each crewmember shall have an inherently buoyant off-shore life jacket that provides at least 22lbs (100N) of buoyancy meeting either U.S. Coast Guard or ISO specifications.

Life jackets shall be equipped with crotch or leg straps, a whistle, a waterproof light, be fitted with marine-grade retro-reflective material, and be clearly marked with the boat’s or wearer’s name, and be compatible with the wearer’s safety harness. If the life jacket is inflatable, it shall be regularly checked for air retention.

BAMA states

Hybrid USCG approved off-shore life jackets that provide a combination of at least 10 lbs. inherent and 22 lbs. inflatable buoyancy are allowed.

Recommendation:

The latter has an extremely limited offering, although they might be ideal. The gold standard is the Spinlock Deckvest 5D ($370), now superseded by the Spinlock Deckvest Vito ($400). The ProSensor is the common dissolving pill-based trigger mechanism. The Hammar sensor requires longer submersion, but I have seen cases where the mechanism never triggered. Caveat emptor. When re-packing vest, follow guidelines (youtube) carefully or you will be more likely to have accidental deployments from spray.

If you don’t already have a tether, do yourself a favor and get a Kong ISAF (single) tether ($80). These have very easy to operate carabiners, which comes in handy.

Depth Sounder

Not required.

Boats without depth sounders are permitted to race if the boat carries a second marinized GPS electronic device showing depth, useable in the cockpit.

Recommendation:

iPhoneX or similar waterproof phone or phone/GPS-enabled iPad in a waterproof case running iNavX ($50) or equivalent chartplotting software. I have used iNavX for years and love it. Download your (included) charts in advance of course. Have a (tested!) way to charge your phone or a spare phone powered off until needed.

Man Overboard Module

A boat shall carry a Lifesling or equivalent man overboard rescue device equipped with a self igniting light stored on deck and ready for immediate use.

Recommendation:

If you have an original Moore man overboard pole, you should be set. If you can borrow a MOM, which many offshore boats have, you’re set. If not, the closest legit solution appears to be the SOS Danbuoy ($325). This is heavy, as it contains rocks to aid in keeping the inflatable mast upright in breeze, and should be secured on deck for easy deployment. It can be ordered with an optional bag and mounted to pullpits. In exceptional conditions (cockpit pooped) it is possible for it to accidentally deploy, in which case it will inflate to its intended pressure inside the bag and vent off the excess CO2. Try to mount it in the dryest location possible.

Lights

DHL is unlikely to finish in the dark, DHF is likely to finish in the dark. Regardless, you should have USCG approved lighting.

Recommendation:

Option A: mount an LED bow light and LED stern light to the bow and transom deck vents. Buy replacement deck vents for a few bucks so you can revert to your standard ones the rest of the time. Run wire back to battery installing an inline plug.

Option B: mount a Lunasea masthead tricolor ($220). Install an inline switch or plug to activate. Required custom extension cabling to run alongside VHF coax (2x22AWG sufficient).

For more info, read, and see notes added in the NCORC requirements doc.

These recommendations are based on best judgment and are not official guidelines.