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post #6 of Old 02-08-2001
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A while back my mother (newly retired and wanting an adventure)and I took the family 42 footer on a year trip to the caribbean and back. One of our greatest fears was how to get a person from the water to the boat. Especially in heavy or choppy seas. We practiced on hats then on each other in closed waters. We first found that a sailing maneuver was fine when wind was moderate and the person in the water was fresh. We have a ladder mounted to the stern which made getting back on board easy. When simmulating a unconsious or tired person things changed. Time required for the person on deck to maneuver the boat was the same but while getting a sail or line ready for hoisting wind and wave pressure on the boat imediatly moves the boat past or beyond the person in the water. After several tries of different maneuvers we basically came down to dropping the sails and starting the engine to come up along side the person in the water. We tried using sails to get people back on deck but never got it to work. If the person in the water is unconscious or even very tired from swimming they cannont hold on the the sail if they start to slide out. With only one person on deck, forget it. The only way we were able to lift somewon was to attach a line to them and winch aboard. We also found that if the person in the water was not wearing a harness or PFD, attaching a line was extremely difficult to do in any sort of time. Our boat was outfitted with all sorts of special man overboard equipment when we bought it. MOMs(man overboard modules) thowable inflatable devises and throw lines. Even with high tech stuff like this the difficulties involved in getting somewon back on board, by yourself, in any kind of sea, is very difficult. I guess what I''m really getting at is that, in my opinion, most man overboard maneuvers under sail are inadequate for anything but perfect weather situations. Especially shorthanded. During any period of time offshore we both wore PFDs with a built in harness and hooked up while on deck. By doing this we now eliminated the man overboard drill all together.

Obviously more than my 2 cents worth but I thought I''d relate my own experience.

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