M.O.B. Drill, followed by the real thing..
Midday lesson today, in gusty weather out of the WSW on Lake Pontchartrain. Students (parents plus 8-y.o. son) on their second lesson, and handling the boat competently reaching in 15-20, gusts to 25, with reefed main on a lightweight sportboat. Wind subsided a little, so we did an "Oscar overboard" drill with a life cushion, got really close first two "figure-8" pickup tries, and got "him" on 3rd try.
Then, reaching for home, it's windy again, when student (Mom) spots an empty jetski dead to windward, drifting. We all look (up-sun, which is tough), then spot one swimmer much farther to windward, waving hard at us. Rolled up the jib, motor on, and we motor-sail tacked up to him, stopped and muscled him aboard. He catches his breath and tells us there's 2 more! They're much farther to windward, but we hear one yelling first, then see him. Off we go, slow with outboard pitching out of the water frequently. We get the first one, and a 420 with 2 college types sailing (with trapeze), only other boat in the area, sees us and goes for the last guy. We each got one, now all accounted for and uninjured but a little shook up. We then approached the jetski like a big "Oscar", and reembarked them.
The 420 took off, but we waited to see they got restarted, settled down, and were heading back to the boat launch, after profuse thanks from all. One said we saved his life, though with lifejackets on all, and 74-degree lake, I think that's an exaggeration. But good to hear it, a good feeling for all on our boat, and I was impressed with the students--all cool cookies in a pinch, helpful, always in the right place, and I didn't have to repeat anything twice.
And we used the same approach we'd just practiced under sail. You just couldn't plan a lesson better than this. Practice it, then the real thing, with a real rescue. The 8-year-old was particularly stoked--nothing boring about this sail. Glad we were there when we were.
Last edited by nolatom; 04-26-2010 at 12:19 AM.