VHF, First Aid and Skippers Tickets
In order to fulfil the qualification criteria for the race and the Day Skippers and Coastal Skipper Courses, the team set out to do their Level 1 First Aiders and obtain their VHF Radio License. Which was done swiftly with all of the crew doing extremely well in all the tests.
The Level 1 First Aid Certificate was completed successfully by each crew member, on 18 June 2019, through the National First Aid and Safety Training (NFAST) course. Getting the VHF Radio License was rather enjoyable, the seriousness and the banter went hand in hand allowing us to bond more and see that we can enjoy ourselves even during serious business. The VHF Radio license allows the crew to legally operate the boats’ radio within international waters. Each crew member completed the VHF Short Range Certificate through the Autshumato Maritime Centre (PTY) LTD, on 21 June 2019 and was ready to take on the skippers courses.
We all arrived in Durban couple of days after the Radio license test and set up in a nice little boat, Stardust (aka The Rhino), which was the skippers course boat. We met up with our instructor Werner (The legend) and started the course on the 24th of June with a sail off the Durban coast, this was the start of an extremely fun and intense two weeks. The extensive course was specially tailored to prepare us for an ocean crossing, and I can safely say it did just that. The course covered topics such as navigation, international sailing regulations and practical tests - which included safety procedures and general operation of a yacht offshore. Throughout the course we would visit and try to work on Ciao Bella which was on stilts just across the harbour. These nice little ‘breaks’ were quite welcome despite the fact that everyone was pretty much over doing boat work at this point, but hey, we had to get it done and so we did. The entire team managed to pass the skippers courses and are now qualified Day skippers and Coastal Skippers. Big shout out to Werner from Offshore Sailing Academy who made life incredibly easy for us and for allowing us time to do Ciao Bella stuff in between the course. If you want to get your skippers ticket in a nice warm part of the coast I suggest giving Werner a call.
Emma, Hearn, Jonathan, and Tawanda qualified as Day Skippers and will be writing their Coastal skipper examinations as soon as they have attained the required offshore mileage. Our co-skippers, Michaela and Ryan, both successfully qualified as Coastal Skippers as they had enough offshore miles due to their previous Cape2Rio experience. Our skippers will write their Offshore Skipper tickets later this year, which means more studying but without the presence of studying aficionado's Emma and Hearn to give them that extra push when they’re tired. However we know they’ll be fine and they’ll do well.
Looking back at the entire course period I can say that we really had a great time, bonded and got even closer to each other, Balancing being serious, sailing and having fun together in sunny Durban was definitely something we all needed. And with this I can safely say that we are far closer to being ready for the race.
- Tawanda Chikasha