Twietz and Adam,
I respectfully disagree. There are a few immediate goals in a COB situation:
1st is to keep eyes on the COB...second is to throw everything that floats toward the hopefully conscience swimmer to provide them something to keep them afloat. Third is to get the vessel back to the COB for retrieval.
If you miss with the throws, it's unfortunate...But The idea of a type IV is to provide floatation for the COB. While you maneuver for the pick up...it's not meant to be method of reeling them in...thus the floating line...the idea is that they can swim toward the nearest floating device, if possible.
third is to get the boat back for retrieval.
Let's say I'm sailing with one other person on board...they go over: I would throw everything I could reach that floats..toward them, and then work to get the vessel back alongside. Time spend retrieving a mis-thrown horseshoe is time that I'm not maneuvering my vessel...to get back to the COB....
Trailing the horseshoe behind me while I circle the COB sounds reasonable, but the goal is to get quickly downwind of the COB and work back to get alongside and stop the boat...alongside with no way on. If you're circling the COB that implies that you're at some point upwind..?
Of course, if you're on a motorvessel...it's another story.
we can always..agree to disagree..