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davidpm 07-07-2009 10:40 PM

COB Reality
The other COB thread got me to thinking. And no need to go postal on me here, it is just a thought.

What is wrong in a COB situation to just start the engine and go back for the Crew.
I know it is not traditional, but assuming it is not a drill, someones life is on the line and I'm really only interested in the fastest and best way.
I have heard rumors that their are even boats out there that don't even have a mainsail so any sail maneuver is out of the question but that may be only a rumor.
Even sailboats motor, what, 48.56% of the time anyway so what are you supposed to do if you have COB while motoring, stop the motor and fly the canvas.

Yes I know the dangers of chopping up a swimmer with a prop but all things being equal I'm pretty sure I could pop the tranny into neutral if I had too.

The training for sail COB rescue is OK maybe even valuable, motor may not start for example but if it is recommended to motor to protect my gel coat in a slip why not to save someones life.

I'm pretty sure I could:
Head to wind, probably heave-to
Through gear overboard
Start the engine
Blow sheets or halyard depending on conditions.
Motor back for my mate.

Faster than any multi-step sailing program.
Notice that I had the engine starting before blowing the lines so if the engine did not start you would go back to sailing back.
You would have lost 15 seconds which might be a death sentence but frankly if their is only one person on deck that has to do about 10 things in the right order I think taking a risk on the engine would be a good choice most of the time.
It is freakishly hard to sail a boat to a specific place and be stopped at that place. With an engine it is pretty easy.

Frankly I think that is what most people would do in reality but would just not admit it.

Just asking.
The flaming can now begin.:)
Do they make flame retardant foulies?:)

doubleeboy 07-07-2009 11:06 PM

My wife and I both went thru US Sail instruction thru Bareboat Cruising. Every instructor (we had a different one most every day) told us ya, you do quick stop, figure 8 as a part of the class. But all of them off the record said, luff the sails, start engine, come back , put engine in neutral, coast upwind, when several feet away from MOB, and sure of a pickup, kill engine.

I practice them all, but when the poo hits the fan, I will remember the off the record advice.


jjns 07-07-2009 11:17 PM

A COB rescue while under sail is something one practices in case the situation arises.
If there is no other option, all that training pays off in spades.
If it never happens, it was still time wasted well.

In a real rescue, making the call as to how to proceed would depend on the circumstances of the situation, but having more options is always better than having less.

KeelHaulin 07-08-2009 04:03 AM

While I don't disagree; I will point out that depending on the state of the sea and the ability to see your victim; remaining under sail might be better. If you are sailing upwind and you drop to a beam reach you are parallel to the COB. If you turn around and motor or sail directly back you might either be to the left or right of the COB or not in a position to motor directly to them without running them down.

In heavy seas a sailboat is more stable under sail; so keeping the sails up and using the wind might be safer for keeping yourself and other crew aboard if you are doing the SAR.

In calm waters or inland sailing it might be better to motor to the COB. If I had a COB situation the engine would definitely be running and ready to assist me in getting back to them.

sailingdog 07-08-2009 08:28 AM

One reason it is preferable to attempt the pickup under sail, is that the engine is not always an option. While, you can often fire up the iron genny, if that is all you practice doing, I can pretty much guarantee that the one time you have a real MOB situation, the fuel filters will be clogged. Ideally, you should practice recovering MOB under both power and sail.

The engine on most sailboats is an auxiliary and should be treated as such. The motion of the boat is often far better when the sails are up and there is less risk to the person in the water if the prop is not engaged.

peptobysmol 07-08-2009 11:32 AM

And... under sail, if the boat is (im)properly heeled you can just scoop them up. ;)

ericread 07-08-2009 11:54 AM


Originally Posted by jjns (Post 503522)
If it never happens, it was still time wasted well.

IMHO, A great quote!


RealityCheck 07-08-2009 01:49 PM

While all options are open in any emergency, speed and safety of recovery is key.

One negative factor of using engines is that frequently you may already have deployed lines overboard such as the life sling or sheet lines fall overboard and while keeping an eye out for the MOB you could foul your prop and possibly rudder by overrunning the rescue line then your dead in the water with no helm control. The other is when motoring in a MOB situation, with your sails still up you have a far greater chance of having sails and lines contributing to additional risk for crew that is concentrating on a MOB Rescue and not the boat they are on.

I've had the opportunity to view from a distance two MOB rescues and both were sail boats who used engines to return to the MOB. Both did a direct down wind run to the MOB with sails initially flapping and as they neared the MOB at least one sail partially filled giving the boat headway even when they were attempting to stop for a pick up. One drug the MOB 100's of feet before 3 large guys were able to pull the MOB in. The other did better by swinging clear of the MOB and approaching from down wind. They did almost loose it again in the process of the actual recovery as the boat naturally swung around and started to pick up way as the sails partially filled.

While doing a pick up with sails only would not have always prevented these situations it would have at least had the helmsman paying more attention to sails than only the motor controls.

Lots also depend on sea conditions and your specific boat.

Everyone should practice MOB in different situations using various methods to the point where you feel you can effect a rescue with several alternative methods depending on the specific situations.

billyruffn 07-08-2009 10:12 PM

What's this "COB" stuff? Have we all gotten totally PC at SailNet?

Call it what it is: MOB!!!!!

smackdaddy 07-08-2009 10:55 PM

78 Attachment(s)
Hear-hear BR!!!! It's like we're now all sailing braless or something.

No such thing as a freakin' PC sailor. Was Old Spice made for women??? NO!

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