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Old 04-02-2004   #3
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Quickstop COB recovery

We practiced quick-stop COB maneuvers in a Storm Trysail Club session for Junior Sailors. I was amazed at how quickly we were able to get back to the "victim" under any sail combination, including spinnaker reaches in 18 knots of breeze. We''d be doing 8 or more knots, "splash" , Man Overboard", and we''d be back in about 45 seconds or less. Getting the boat to come to a complete stop at the victim was difficult , however. The helmsmen, used to 420''s, were surprised by the momentum of a 10 ton keelboat. In rushing back as quickly and as close as possible to the "victim", they''d end up zipping by so fast that a person would have had his arm torn off had the crew grabbed it. It does take practice, but the quickstop method does seem to end up being faster overall. Figure out something like backing the main (not easy on a big boat, but it might work) or turning the rudder from side to side to slow her down. Turning the boat immediately in the quickstop method also helps to keep the victim closer to the boat, and easier to see --- or find. A big figure 8 sounds good in theory, and looks good on a printed page, but add a few 8 to 10 foot waves so you can''t see the victim all the time and it begins to look less and less like a winning number in my book. I''d rather practice
slowing my boat down than finding someone''s head in a mile of ocean.
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