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Notes from the Mac #4: Post-Race Inspections

July 2, 2018 05:24 PM

AAAARGH!  You finished the race.  You, crew, and boat are exhausted and thirsty, and you cannot wait to tie up. You called for docking instructions, and docking told you that you have been selected for inspection.

The CYC inspections team (part of the Race Committee) has the discretion to inspect any boat after the finish of the race. The inspections team assigns a boat to be inspected after the vessel calls for docking instructions.  You will either be sent to an inspection slip, or be directed to your docking location but told that everyone must remain aboard until the inspection is completed. "Touch and go" boats will be directed to an inspection slip if selected for post-finish inspection.  If you are selected for inspection, no one may board or leave the boat until after the inspection is completed. A boat that fails post-finish inspection is subject to protest by the Race Committee.

Post-finish inspections almost always involve inspection of safety equipment personal to the crew, but the inspector may also ask to see any other safety equipment required by the Chicago Mac Safety Regulations (CMSRs). The biggest problem encountered during post-race inspection is that skipper and crew do not know where the equipment is located!

You can prepare for post-race inspection before the race starts by being sure all of your crew knows where everything is. After the finish, as you take your sails down and call for docking instructions, you can prepare by having someone be sure everything is still where it belongs.  If you’re getting inspected, it’s a good idea to make sure that all your crew are wearing all of their personal equipment required under the CMSRs (PFD, light, tether, knife, etc) when you get to the dock; it makes it easy and fast for the inspector to check all of that out and ensure that the quantities are correct.

Remember, the inspector can inspect for compliance with any aspect of the CMSRs, so you should ensure that the boat is in full compliance.


Some of the most common failures we see at post-race inspections and things to watch out for:

  • Engines not starting. A functioning engine is not only important for docking purposes, but it’s also a critical safety item during the race.  If a fellow competitor is in trouble and you are called on to render aid, you need to have a functioning motor.
  • Inappropriate PFDs. Please read the CMSRs carefully before you start the race and make sure all the PFDs of your crew comply.  "Dinghy vests" (type III) are never acceptable at any time during the Mac.  PFDs must be inflatable or, if not inflatable, have at least 22 lbs of buoyancy which means a USCG Type I.  
  • Make sure your paperwork is complete and correct. Do you have your completed Crew Overboard Drill form? Do you have your PLB/EPIRB registration certificate? Is all your state registration and (if applicable) USCG documentation paperwork in order?
  • Other items frequently missing, expired or not functioning include EPIRB/PLBs, flares, handheld radios with DSC/GPS, man overboard equipment, and Lifeslings® with a light attached.

It’s a good idea for crews to go through the CMSRs together before the race so everyone knows where all the safety equipment is and so you can be sure that it’s all on board when you depart. Remember – if you’re penalized or protested as a result of the post-race inspection, the whole crew pays the price.

If everything is as organized as can reasonably be expected after a 333 mile race, you and your crew will soon be able to tie up and crack open your favorite adult beverages!


As always, if you have any questions, reach out to the Regatta Manager.



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