I have had to pull someone back on board in earnest twice. Once I was the only one on the boat and my wife had gone overboard in suddenly less than ideal conditions. It certainly informed my approach to boating form then on.
The toher time was on a 30 footer heading down wind on spinnaker in about 15 knots in a harbour. one of the idiot crew decided to celebrate the race win by grabbing the tethered life ring and leaping over the back rail to "tube surf"...
When he used to do this in the teams previous boat, it had been a 24 and basically reduced speed to 4 knots from having the drag....The 30 footer just did not care.
The water was much much colder than suspected, and was a hell of a shock after the very hot day's racing.
...And finally he screwed up the balance point on the rescue ring (likely as a response to the previous two points) and turned himself into a diving lure, even when in the rescue floatie. He literally justgot hauled under.
Fortunately we still had six competent folks on board and we were able to douse the kite, turn up into the wind and have him bob back up. We could then gorilla-handle him back on board. It took the guy about 120 seconds to go from hyper-fit 19year old to sodden rag doll with barely the strength to assist in his own retreival.
very educational, that.
I have also done a couple of real recoveries onto the coast guard boat, but that is another kettle of fish...Though one is worth mentioning. I got to be the bunny that very gently had to haul an injured seal on board the rescue boat without further damaging or traumatising it (no one had told it to not damage or traumatise me!). It was at this point that I found out that injured and distressed seals become aggressive, bitey and incontinnent...pretty much all at the same time.