The NOR states you need a minimum of 4 crew aboard. I'm interested in double-handing, what do I need to do to compete?  Although the Notice of Race ("NOR") requires a minimum of four persons on board to compete, (NOR 5.4), if you have at least three boats to compete in your own class, you can apply to the Organizing Authority for a waiver of the eligibility rules (NOR 3.4) in order to organize your own class.  This would apply to double-handers and those wishing to organize a Mini-Transat Class.  You'll just need to decide what rating system you will use which will determine the division in which you'll be racing.

Do you have a Cruising Class? A cruising class is being organized and will race under one of the divisions set forth in the NOR.  Stay tuned!

I’m a sailor with a lot of miles, why do I need to conform to safety rules?  Although you may be an accomplished and experienced sailor, this is a race. Races between other boats require that there be some modicum of uniformity so that it is the skippers competing and not the boats. Similarly, these safety requirements are here to ensure that the boats conform to the same base-line safety standard.  These rules are only the minimum requirement but have been debated and discussed at great length by ISAF, US Sailing, and the A2B race committee.

Do you have to be a lawyer to understand the rules?
No. We’ve tried to make them as simple and easy to understand as possible, while making them as comprehensive as possible. That said, just like where you have a race when two sailboats are going in the same direction, similarly, when you have the same language that can be interpreted two different ways, you will have a lawyer.

How much is this going to cost me?
As much or as little as you want. Much of the equipment you buy and install for this race will serve to conform to other off-shore races. Certainly if you buy all new sails for this race, you will have those sails to use for one or two other races or for some extended cruising.

Why do I need two manual bilge pumps?  Where will I put the second one?
If you find yourself depending on your main manual pump, then a second pump will only help, especially when you find yourself out of range of search and rescue (“SAR”) assets from the US or Bermuda. One pump located outside and one below, plumbed independently, will allow you more options for dewatering the boat in heavy weather.

Valise or Canister mount life-raft?
Canisters are mounted on deck and are generally required for boats built after 1/06/2001. Valise are easier to rent. If you buy, consider a canister mount since the certification will be good for three years. Certification for a life-raft in a valise is usually good for only one year. Make sure you have considered a proper mounting solution for your boat before you buy.

What is a MOM and why should I consider it?
MOM = Man Overboard Module. It is an inflatable man-overboard kit that must be inspected periodically. It satisfies Rule 3.7.2 that requires the following items: a man overboard pole and flag, with a lifebuoy, a self-igniting light, a whistle, and a drogue attached.

What is a stability rating and why doesn’t the A2B require one?
A stability rating is derived from a boat’s righting moment and generally represents the angle of vanishing stability. Thus, if your boat has a stability rating of 120, your boat can be rolled to 120 degrees and still theoretically return to an upright position without continuing through a 180 degree (upside-down) roll.

While a stability rating can be an important predictor in how a boat will handle adverse weather conditions, there may be other factors (e.g. proven offshore design, skills of the captain and crew, etc.) that may not be taken into account by a simple rating.

Therefore, the A2B rules require that the person in charge be aware of the boat’s stability rating and understand that, regardless of the rating, the person in charge assumes all risk of participation.  That said, if the Race Committee or Safety Committee feel a particular boat is inherently unsafe, they may not allow a particular boat to compete.

Do I need to install AIS?
No. While recommended, the 2016 do not require AIS.

How can I secure and open my entry hatch from both inside and outside? If you have a padlock tang that projects through the top hatch board for the padlock, use a quick-connect to secure it outside and replace the tang screw with a quick-connect pin for the inside.

What are the best options for emergency steering? Many have pre-drilled holes on a plywood interior locker cover (e.g., under settee) that fit u-bolts for attachment to the spinnaker pole as an emergency rudder, along with a secure mounting point on the transom. Other options include rigging drogue lines, possibly with a bucket off a corner of the transom to induce drag to port or starboard.

What is a simple way to rig backup nav lights? Most boats already have deck mounted nav lights, and a battery switch for engine and house batteries. Consider adding a LED tri-color masthead nav light (with or without anchor light), which can run by either battery to meet the redundant nav light requirements. LED’s save power, and masthead nav lights are more visible to distant ships, while deck nav lights are better for close-in traffic.  Never run both sets of nav lights simultaneously.

I have a crew of 8. Do you require 2 or 3 crew to have attended a Safety at Sea Seminar? Please round up to 3 crew. Our objective is to encourage more crew to have this certification rather than the bare minimum.

When is the next Safety at Sea Seminar?    April 2 & 3, 2016 at the USNA. http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07ebv70voe8fa74d2b&llr=f ab89lcab

What if I miss the seminar or cannot attend? What would you accept in lieu of attendance? US Sailing offers a few seminars in the spring. Please check their web page. Please note that you must attend a seminar addressing OFFSHORE safety at sea issues. Other seminars or STCW95 classes may be acceptable on a waiver basis. Please contact the Safety Committee if you have any questions.

Will the Safety Committee come and perform an inspection before the required inspection to tell me what I need? No. As volunteers, the members of the Safety Committee have lives and other commitments. A safety inspection is a 3 hour process and we don’t have the resources to tell you what you need. Please try and comply with the rules and figure out your own situation before you ask the Safety Committee for instruction. That said, feel free to ask the Committee and necessary questions for clarification if you need it.

How do I get a waiver?
Waivers are not granted routinely.  Per the NOR Section 11.5:
The race committee may waive specific provisions of these requirements upon written request from an owner or captain provided it meets the following requirements:

a.    The request for waiver will be considered where it would not unfairly disadvantage other competitors, and:
       i.    The underlying purpose of the rule(s) would not be served or would be frustrated by application of the rule, or
      ii.    In view of unique or unusual circumstances, application of the rule would be unfair, and there exists no reasonable alternative , or;
     iii.    The Committee deems exemption of the rule for all competitors appropriate
b.    Any waivers of the Safety Rules must be submitted for consideration by May 15.