Always having a halyard flaked is irresponsible on a sailboat. The halyard should be neatly coiled and easily released so sails can be lowered, but leaving the halyard flaked is a tripping hazard and the line can easily tangle as the boat heels from side to side and the crew moves about the boat. I hope you can understand why I say this.
Jumping into the water to help effect a MOB rescue is generally unwise at best. Often it results in having to rescue multiple people, instead of just the one to begin with. In the case of an unconscious individual, it is generally unavoidable though. Jumping in and not wearing a PFD is just foolish IMHO.
The LifeSling is an excellent tool, but it, like any other tool, needs to be practiced with in order to become proficient with it. The block and tackle suggested by LifeSling is a two-to-one and completely insufficient IMHO. A four-to-one or six-to-one block makes it much more reasonable when trying to haul a 200+ lb. person, who may be wearing clothes that add another 30+ lbs. of weight due to water absorption.
Whenever I go out sailing, I tend to sail as if I am sailing singlehanded, at least with respect to the safety measures I take, if I know that the people sailing with me are not capable of doing a proper MOB recovery. Many crew, while excellent as crew, are not capable of doing a MOB recovery without instruction.
Practice helps, but nothing beats experience boat handling and sailing in the end. Most MOB drills are not done under the panicked circumstances, and bad conditions of the usual MOB accident. When was the last time you did a MOB drill...and what conditions was it under?
Also, most MOB drills do not simulate the difficulty of spotting a man in the water. To get an idea of how hard a man in the water, not wearing a brightly colored-PFD or foul weather gear is to spot, try tossing a coconut overboard. A coconut is about the size of a man's head, and floats about as high. Look to see how quickly you lose sight of it in even a small amount of chop. You'll be rudely surprised.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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