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  #1  
Old 09-28-2010
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Man Overboard!

I had a bit of a surprise this weekend, as did the boat I was on - the dreaded MOB. The weather was bad, water was just as bad, all were properly equipped with PFD's & we were headed up to the start line when the foredeckie suddenly disappeared from view. Neither he or any of us knows exactly what happened, but then, who does? One second he's there, & just as suddenly he's not.

Fortunately, as he flipped, fell or otherwise went off the boat, he grabbed for the lifelines & got a tight grip. The rest of the crew was able to pull him up & back onto the boat within a minute or two, so we didn't need to have someone point or toss any devices in his general direction. Had he not held on for dear life & the others not gotten to him within seconds, it could have been disastrous, given the conditions.

What shocked me was my own mind going blank. As often as we've reviewed MOB procedures, I figured I'd know what to do. Right now, I could go over the steps, but at the moment I needed to think, I couldn't. Now I know I need to work more on knowing what to do so as to make that more automatic. It sure wasn't at that point.

Nobody ever plans to go overboard - it's an accident, or it would never happen. We still don't know how it happened, but I'm willing to bet he wasn't holding onto anything, as per boat rule: one hand holding on at all times. But I don't know that for sure. He had no reason to not hold on at that time. Would that have helped right then? I don't know & neither does anyone else.

So how often do you & your crewmates review these procedures? How well do you think you could react if you had to? Have you had any experience with MOB? How did things go?
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Old 09-28-2010
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We did a Sunday of live drills this year just before the Around Long Island Race with 5 real MOB

Glad we did as we went from the illusion of using the block and tackle on the boom to lift someone back on wearing a life sling to using a halyard for the needed extra lift
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If a dirty bottom slows you down what do you think it does to your boat
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Old 09-28-2010
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When sea conditions are awful it doesn't help practicing or remembering/following the COB procedure. Prevention is what matters and that means having safety lines installed along the boat to which somebody is firmly attached while moving to the foredeck!
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Old 09-28-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftJazz View Post
boat rule: one hand holding on at all times
This "boat rule" is a great idea, but impossible to follow when doing foredeck work on a sailboat- which usually requires the use of both hands.

Jacklines and harnesses are the best solution in my opinion, for foredeck work in rough conditions.
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Old 09-28-2010
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Actually, he wasn't doing foredeck work at the time, he was just up there next to the mast. It was before the start & we had no plans at that point to put up the chute on the downwind leg, due to the winds. I don't think he was forward of the mast. He was standing at midship, for whatever reason. He could have sat down. I don't think he'll do that again. At least, I'd like to hope not.
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Old 09-28-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftJazz View Post
The weather was bad, water was just as bad
In this situation, the captain must order everyone tethered to jack line. I am a chicken. I tether whenever I sail solo. And i keep reminding myself no matter how ridiculous to other boaters is.
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Old 09-28-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftJazz View Post
So how often do you & your crewmates review these procedures? How well do you think you could react if you had to? Have you had any experience with MOB? How did things go?
We make it a habit to treat any "hat overboard" a MOB practice.. and we lose (and recover) a lot of hats..

I've been the foredeck guy that fell of the deck and grabbed the shrouds for dear life.. our local race fleet has had incidents where a boat capsized and 3 people were in the water, in winter, but thankfully all recovered by various racing boats nearby.

This past Easter there was a spectacular man overboard incident in 50 knot winds and large sea conditions - two persons were swept away from the boat, both recovered by another crew on a J30 - each recovery took over 20 minutes and persons afloat probably spent a good half hour or more in the water.. Again, all survived but it was a close thing - incredible seamanship and courage by the recovering crew - who had their own issues aboard, never mind the conditions.

I guess you really never know how you'll deal with such events until they happen....
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Old 09-28-2010
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I do not know how to link to a previous post that I made, sorry. (somebody please PM me and tell me how for next time).

OK - here is my post:

Hi all - this is a long post - sorry!

I have to share this because I agree 100% with the posts so far. I
use this when I teach the Boating Class.

Rik & Linda Hall (we wear or Mustang inflatables!)


============================

Does Crew Overboard equal dead crew?

I sent out this email to one of my sailing listservs. Included are some of the replies.

(1) Greetings. I been messing about on boats since 1950. I have
taken Basic Boating, Piloting, Advanced Piloting, Off-shore Cruising,
Seamanship Sail and some others. I teach Basic Boating and tomorrow
night's class is on "Emergencies"

OK - I know the theory, I have read Sail, Cruising World, Tanzer
Talk, Practical Boat Owner, Chapman Piloting, Annapolis Seamanship, etc.

Have any of you actually, really, retrieved an unconscious person
from the water? Or a even a simulated live person - one where the
"victim" really does not help one bit? I don't want second person
stories here - I want to hear from someone who actually did it!

We have good friends who cruise (seven years doing it - across the
BIG POND and all). They have the rule that a "man overboard" is a
dead person.

I await your replies!

(2) Some years ago I was cruising with a friends who had a 28-foot
wooden Nova Scotia sloop. I was sailing my Tanzer 22. Off Wolfe
Island we spotted a fishing boat overturned and in the water were
momma, poppa and two kids, one about six and the other about four.

Momma and poppa were obese -- REALLY obese. Papa weighed at least 300
pounds and momma weighed more than 250 pounds. Judging by skin colour
(I used to chase ambulances as a police reporter) the two adults were
in shock and close to death.

My friend in the 28-footer hoisted the kids out of the water, then
jumped in and roped them in mountaineering style (he had coast guard
training in the UK). Then he climbed aboard and winched them up on
his main halyard, a wire cable heavy duty halyard with a mast winch.

Certainly I could not have managed this on Galadriel. I would have
had to put down a ladder and pray that they were not too comatose to
climb it. The kids I could have handled. (The family dog was trapped
in the bow of the fishing boat and went down with it.)

I used to conduct regular man-overboard drills. This involved
throwing something in the water, stepping into the cabin and
announced that I'd had a heart attack or something and they must
rescue the item -- a cushion, a bumper.

Then one day just out of Picton I tried this with my kids and one of
them, reaching for the cushion, lost his balance and went overboard.

I was pretty fit and about mid-forties then. My son was super fit, an
athletic teenage. We had one hell of a time getting him aboard. In a
serious chop on Lake Ontario we could have lost him.

I realized that my smug little rituals were entirely irrelevant.
Getting anybody aboard a Tanzer 22, with its fairly high freeboard,
is difficult and dangerous.

From then on I have concentrated on preventing people from falling
overboard, and from ensuring they have proper flotation devices on in
all but the most benign conditions.

My wife understands the "heaving to" process and can retrieve
something from the water. She could not hoist me aboard if I were
unable to help, and would have difficulty even then. She'd have to
stop the boat, install the swim ladder and help me up.

There was a case in Toronto some years ago when a woman fell off a
charter sailboat and went straight down -- they never found her. Why
she wasn't wearing a PFD I do not know -- the skipper was a pretty
responsible guy from all I heard.

JAG -- T22 #559

(3) I have been messing about in boats since 1963, mostly in small
keel boats. In June, 1997, I was sailing my Tanzer 22 Riki (#407)
with two friends who knew nothing about sailing and a wife who was
definitely a neophyte. We had just left the Suttons Bay, MI, marina
and were perhaps 200 feet off in 30-40 feet of water. No one was
wearing a PFD. The weather was calm with a light breeze and sun;
temperature maybe 70 or so. It was a perfect day. The outboard was
running at medium speed and I went forward to get the jib up. I
slipped and fell into the water and came very close to drowning.

a. First, there was the shock of the VERY cold water. Traverse Bay
water is still very cold in the early summer and although I am
usually a fairly strong swimmer, I felt a kind of creeping paralysis.

b. My first action was to push AWAY from the boat, because I had
fallen off on the side with the outboard and I was in danger from the
propeller.

c. No one left on board had a clue about what to do. Although we had
a horseshoe buoy readily available, it took a few long moments before
anyone thought to toss it to me and then it was not tied to the boat.
I had to swim to it; fortunately, they did make a good toss. I was
able to get onto the horseshoe and wait.

d. When they did get the boat turned around and came next to me, the
assumption was that I could climb back on. By that time, the cold
water shock, the exhaustion of being in the water etc. made it
impossible for me to get on board on my own even after I was
maneuvered to the stern of the boat and the ladder. Fortunately, one
of the passengers was a large strong man who more or less picked me
up and pulled me back aboard.

I won't bore you with all the things we learned or changed after this
experience. I hope it will help you teach others. I know it's not
precisely what you asked for, still...hoping it helps.

Jim - Riki T22#407


(4) Two years ago I bought the "Rescue Collar" (Canadian version of
the Life Sling. Instead of 50 feet of line, you get 16.7 meters.) and
during a drifter my buddy and I decided to have a man overboard drill.
He jumped in, I deployed the "Rescue Collar", attached the block and
tackle to the boom and because I'm a hero, proceeded to hoist him to safety.

Well, that was the idea....it didn't work, I couldn't get him into the boat.
First of all, the Tanzer has a high free board, you can't connect the
block and tackle close enough to the victim. If you do get it
attached (without falling in yourself) don't bother using the boom
for the other end of the block and tackle because it wouldn't go high
enough to allow the victim to clear the free board. The best I could
do was use the main sheet halyard and even then had I to bring him
around to the transom and only half way up the swim ladder.

I can not imagine trying to rescue someone in rough weather. I
couldn't do it in flat weather. We tried for almost an hour.

===========

Again - I encourage your FIRST HAND experiences.
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  #9  
Old 09-28-2010
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sorta funny

My wife and I normally cruise by ourselves and one bright sunny afternoon while sailing down wind in British Columbia, my wife had the helm and I was sitting back just enjoying the sun and wind. I had the bright idea that it would be a good time to practice man overboard so I grabbed a deck cushion and threw it overboard and told my wife that I had just fallen overboard. What are you going to do?

She told me to let go the genoa sheet and I said I wasn't there, I couldn't. Well she let go the sheets, started the engine, and went back and picked up the cushion. Pretty good I thought! Then I took over the helm and started to get things back in order. Hmmm, the helm was frozen. Wouldn't turn at all. What had happened? Apparently one of the sheets had gotten overboard and lodged between the rudder and hull. So I went below and changed into my swim trunks and was just about to go into the water when the wife finally had pulled together all the sheets and they were all there. Now what? Well after quite a bit of head scratching and hem-hawing I finally found that in all of the ruckus the autopilot had been engaged and had the helm locked. Boy did I feel rediculous! But it was a great day for a sail anyway!

:l augher
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Hey, can one of you guys pass me a crab?


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  #10  
Old 09-28-2010
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....

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