Safety of the yacht and crew is the foremost question that is asked when sailing a yacht. As with any form of transport one can only enjoy the thrill if one has confidence that the vessel, vehicle, aircraft, etc, can handle what you want to put it through. There are minimum safety requirements and specification that most yachts are built to. However even with these minimum requirements there are various situations where you question “is it safe?”
If one has to compare the safety features and systems in a vehicle today to those of yesteryear then one realizes how we have gained confidence in our driving skills and the vehicles we drive in a variety of conditions. Before we had anti-skid or traction control we became very wary if the conditions weren’t perfect. With the new safety features of today we don’t necessarily drive faster but we do drive with more confidence and less stress.
The same applies to sailing a high performance yacht. Even with the correct engineering and the confidence that the structure will perform as expected, one risks pushing it too far. Most yachts do not have safety warning systems or automatic release systems, which ensure you stay within the set limits. Further to this even fewer have the ability to adjust the safety system parameters according to the conditions. Typically one has different comfort limits in various conditions. For example when on passage one would prefer a bigger safety margin than when day sailing around the bay in perfect conditions. Night sailing is another example where the captain would prefer a bigger safety margin to give the off watch crew a more comfortable rest.
These features may be new to a lot of you so lets explain how we have incorporated them into the TAG60. Our design brief was to create a system, which gives ample warning before a limit is reached with an audible and visual alarm. The safety system reads the loads in the rigging, pressures in the hydraulic system and also the angle of heel to give feedback to the central computer. If any of the parameters are reached then the alarm system will give a warning and then if there is no response or adjustment from the user then the mainsheet, main traveller and jib sheet will be released. This completely depowers the yacht. The system also functions as an early reefing warning. If the alarm and auto release system are constantly being activated then one needs to consider reefing the sails, changing down to a smaller combination or adjusting the settings. Even with a computer error the system will automatically realease.
This system not only greatly improves the safety of sailing but also ones comfort zone. We are currently developing even more advanced features which will continue to make sailing the TAG60 safer and more comfortable.
The TAG60 designed and engineered to be fast and fun with the confidence of being safe.