Skippers Newsletter 05-2012

Civil Service Sailing Association – Channel Sailing Division
SKIPPERS NEWSLETTER – Yacht Sea Essay of Hamble
Newsletter No 05/12


This is an occasional document issued by the Yacht Secretary, which will be placed on the CSD website and/or sent to all CSSA approved Skippers in CSD when there is new and/or important operational information to promulgate.  There is no intention to produce newsletters on a regular basis.  Each one is numbered in sequence every year so recipients can identify if any are missing.

Fault Reporting

There have been several recent events where inadequate fault reporting has caused unnecessary delay, frustration to members and wasted time by the (volunteer) YH and his team.  These have included:-

  • Reports on a different format to the CSD Clearance Note provided on board which has resulted in 2 ‘reports’ which differ from one another.
  • Reports by crew members received separately and later than the skippers Clearance Note and not signed by him and reporting a different fault.
  • Reports on the Clearance Note form where an additional telephone call to a CSD committee member could have avoided subsequent travel to an unserviceable boat.
  • Handwriting which is sometimes not clear
  • Fault descriptions which are not clear or do not explain the problem experienced.
  • Inadequate standard of post sail cleaning resulting in complaints by subsequent crews and wasted time on maintenance days.

The Yacht Husband Team can only maintain the boat properly if they are advised of faults in a timely manner.  All problems, faults defects etc should be reported even if it has been reported before.  If it is not reported the YH Team assume it has fixed itself or someone has fixed and not recorded the fact.  It should be routine to report time and time again ‘known problems’.

The CSD YH Team system is based on the following assumptions:-

  1. The boat is properly and fully inspected by the oncoming Skipper which includes an assessment of the Clearance Note left by his or her predecessor.
  2. That all reports are made over the signature of the Skipper.
  3. That the Skipper would, in addition, make a telephone call for any fault which put the boat in an unserviceable or restricted operational mode.
  4. That the boat is properly and fully cleaned to the satisfaction of the Skipper at the end of each charter, cruise, day sail or training event.
  5. That one day per month is sufficient to keep the boat seaworthy.
  6. That a manned handover is impractical and/or prohibitively expensive for a club operation such as ours.  (Endorsed by a Committee discussion on 23/10/12).

Recent events, however, have demonstrated that Skippers need to be reminded of the current process for reporting faults.  Accordingly a copy of the current (2001) Clearance Note instructions is reproduced as an annex below.  This text can be found printed on the inside of the front cover of the form pad and whilst these instructions were written over ten years ago there has been no real change to the system which (apart from Note 2) has generally worked well.

One thought being considered for next year is whether it would be practical (and helpful) to introduce an acetate type document with pictures of the hull, deck and interior on which skippers could mark known issues and which the YH team could remove when repaired.

It is recommended:-

  • Skippers should routinely record faults or repairs at the time they occur rather than trust to memory at the end of the event when everyone is just wanting away.
  • If the Outgoing skipper feels the defect is sufficiently important (e.g. out of gas, defective winch) to receive accelerated attention, because for example it will have a significantly adverse effect on the subsequent cruise, the Outgoing Skipper should telephone a Member of YH Team, or any Committee Member available, to discuss the situation in addition to leaving a note on the chart table for the incoming skipper.  The Incoming Skipper should also be informed preferably by phone.
  • Take phone number of the Incoming Skipper with you on the cruise.

Also, Skippers are asked to print their name next to their signature on the Clearance Note.

A copy of the boat programme and a list of Skipper’s telephone numbers and Committee contact numbers will be placed in the Chart table Folder.

New pads of Clearance Notes will soon be needed and when these are printed changes will be made to the instruction in order to cover the points outlined above.

Martin Bellamy

CSD Yacht Secretary
29 October 2012


Handover Clearance Note Instructions in current Chart Table Folder book:-


The Department for Transport Code of Practice for Small Sailing Vessels Annex 8 requires a signed and documented handover from the outgoing Skipper to the next Skipper such that:-

–          The vessel is inspected and the inventory checked
–          Damage, defects, losses or need for repair are listed.
–          The incoming Skipper signs an acceptance note with regard to the inventory, condition, amounts of fuel and other consumable items on board.

The Channel Sailing Division Handover Clearance Note is the document intended to meet this part of the Code of Practice.

As we are a club, rather than a commercial operation, the Channel Sailing Division procedure associated with the Handover Clearance Note does not include independent supervision by the ‘owner/managing agent’ as envisaged by the Code of Practice.  It is therefore most important that Skippers operate this procedure with an independent mind in the spirit of the Code of Practice.  Ideally the handover should take place person to person but in some cases this will not happen.

The forms in this book have two purposes;

  1. To record defects, and missing or defective equipment in order to aid the oncoming Skipper to decide if the yacht is in satisfactory order, and has a sufficiently complete inventory of equipment for the intended passage, or passages.
  2. To inform the CSD Yacht Husband of the defects noted, action taken and missing or defective equipment, so that he can arrange for appropriate rectification action to be taken. The top copy only of the Clearance Note should be forwarded to the Yacht Husband by post, together with any receipts for refundable expenses such as fuel, spare parts etc.


  1. The Yacht Husband will normally forward (by post or e-mail) a Defect Clearance Sheet to the Skipper who has signed the Clearance Note. This sheet will advise the rectification action that has been taken, or is proposed, in respect of the defects that he/she has recorded.
  2. So that future Skippers are aware of the action taken or proposed a copy of this Clearance Sheet will normally be posted to our marina addressed to; ‘Skipper, yacht Sea Essay’ for collection with the keys. If these copies are retained with the Clearance Notes in the Defects Log, Skippers will have details of previous defects and rectification action.
  3. There is no need to record routine use of consumables or normal ‘running repairs’, such as replacement of torch batteries, emptying of the vacuum cleaner, topping up of small quantities of engine oil etc. An entry should be made if the on board stocks of such items are low.
  4. To ensure readable copies please use the card provided under each pink copy.
  5. Urgent matters should be referred to the Yacht Husband or his deputy by telephone.
  6. CSD Oilskins, crockery, oil, and other club stores are kept in the CSD Shed – key with boat keys.
  7. Skippers should leave the boat clean, with a reasonable quantity of fuel and water.

CSD Yacht Husband, David Haward
Bourne Cottage, Prey Heath Road, Woking, Surrey, GU22 0RW.
Tel; 01483-233359
Civil Service Sailing Association, Channel Sailing Division

Channel Sailing is a division of the CSSA