I prefer a throw-able seat cushion to the horseshoe thingy. It is easier to throw and more accurate to land on the intended spot. Life sling is a must to retrieve the victim, especially in the short handed situation.
Whatever your preferences, a routine practice is a must to minimize the unpredictables. Safety must come first.
We do two MOB drills every year and even deploy our Lifesling. Our SOP is to throw everything floatable ( sans human) in the cockpit. First the floatable cushions with straps as they are all aorund and they can juyst be dropped overboard. The the MOB pole, Has anyone tried to throw those blue squares with a 12 knot breeze. They go nowhere, so the next thing thrown is the big yellow horseshoe which has enough weight to the cut through the brreze and goes a long distance. Compare the two sometime. By the time you throw this you are some distance away usually too.
The lifesling doesnt throw well at all, its too light, but it is the retrival system. If you have never practiced with it you should. These are not for display purposes. You dont want to have to figure this out uder the gun in real life.
What has worked best for us is to have the sling under the person arms and use the jib winches to plull them close to the boat. At this point we have three options on our boat. 1- If the dinghy is not in the davits, we can use the 6:1 tackle there ( our davits can easily handle 250 lbs a piece as they are 11/4 inch tubes). Second if the dinghy is in the davits, we have a Garhauer radar pole with 6:1 detachable engine hoist ( stored in the lazzarette folded) which take 1 minute to hook onto the radar pole and deploy. Radar pole can handle 800 lbs. The third option is to bring the MOB to the strarboard quarter of the boat right under the jib winch using the winch. Take the lifesling line, over the boom ( under our sail it is a loose footed one) and put it around the port jib winch. Swing the boom easing the mainsheet over the starboard side and crank the winch raising the victim above the toerail. This actually heels the boat making the distance shorter to use the winch the swing the boom back into the boat. If the person is heavy like me it may be necessary to run a line. or tackle boom vang from the port side around the boom to pull back to amidships, but so far we have been able to no use that method.
I suggest those with slings try and practice at least once with an object during each season. YOoud be suprised how difficult to get the person on deck with the freeboard the boats have.
As Rockdawg said
Whatever your preferences, a routine practice is a must to minimize the unpredictables. Safety must come first