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  Topic Review (Newest First)
06-12-2001 06:53 AM

Years (decades?) ago I was a novice sailor on board the Annapolis Sailing School''s O''Day 30 "Magic." The instructor asked our class what we should do if someone fell off the boat.

I answered, "honk this sucker around, drop the sails, and start the engine." She gave me a slightly patronizing smile. Silly boy. At the time I had never sailed anything larger than a Laser, what did I know?

Then, we proceeded to practice the classic MOB recovery technique, which we all know by now: Bear away, come about, luff alongside the MOB, recover.

Our boatfull of rookies repeated the manuever perfectly, nearly every time--with our instructor''s coaching, of course.

I remember thinking, "gee, this is great if you have Team Stars & Stripes on board, one man per sheet, one person at the helm, and a spotter." I always wondered how this complex series of manuevers would work if I was alone, and/or in difficult conditions. Thank goodness I''ve never had to recover anything more dear than a tennis shoe.

As I have gained more sailing experience over the years, I''ve come to the conclusion that my original idea was pretty good. "Honk that sucker around, drop the sails, and start the engine."
02-08-2001 07:08 AM

A while back my mother (newly retired and wanting an adventure)and I took the family 42 footer on a year trip to the caribbean and back. One of our greatest fears was how to get a person from the water to the boat. Especially in heavy or choppy seas. We practiced on hats then on each other in closed waters. We first found that a sailing maneuver was fine when wind was moderate and the person in the water was fresh. We have a ladder mounted to the stern which made getting back on board easy. When simmulating a unconsious or tired person things changed. Time required for the person on deck to maneuver the boat was the same but while getting a sail or line ready for hoisting wind and wave pressure on the boat imediatly moves the boat past or beyond the person in the water. After several tries of different maneuvers we basically came down to dropping the sails and starting the engine to come up along side the person in the water. We tried using sails to get people back on deck but never got it to work. If the person in the water is unconscious or even very tired from swimming they cannont hold on the the sail if they start to slide out. With only one person on deck, forget it. The only way we were able to lift somewon was to attach a line to them and winch aboard. We also found that if the person in the water was not wearing a harness or PFD, attaching a line was extremely difficult to do in any sort of time. Our boat was outfitted with all sorts of special man overboard equipment when we bought it. MOMs(man overboard modules) thowable inflatable devises and throw lines. Even with high tech stuff like this the difficulties involved in getting somewon back on board, by yourself, in any kind of sea, is very difficult. I guess what I''m really getting at is that, in my opinion, most man overboard maneuvers under sail are inadequate for anything but perfect weather situations. Especially shorthanded. During any period of time offshore we both wore PFDs with a built in harness and hooked up while on deck. By doing this we now eliminated the man overboard drill all together.

Obviously more than my 2 cents worth but I thought I''d relate my own experience.

02-08-2001 01:50 AM

I think he means approaching from downwind.

02-07-2001 09:24 PM

I''m afraid I have to differ with some on this subject, downwind sailing to a victim is the least form of controlled sailing, yes you might be able to aim at the victim better but you have a much better chance of over running them while downwind, additionally a quick stop while downwind is nearly impossible as is heaving to. IMHO, and opinions like butts, everone has one.

On using headsails for a MOB pickup, great stuff especially when shorthanded, harnesses in any moving current will drown the poor bugger for sure.
12-07-2000 08:36 PM

Subj: life sling final
I think the best way in most situations is a quick circle back to the MOB with a downwind approach. This usualy allows for more a controlled aproach. Below is a summery of MOB systems I wrote for an aol discussion board a few months ago. More discussion on different aspects of MOB systems will be valuable.

I have used the standard life sling that West Marine sells for some years now. While working on commercial dinning yachts I have drilled with these systems hundreds of times. This system has some important features and limitations that should be wholly understood prior to purchase or the feeling of security sets in once the sling is on board.

First of all it only works with a conscious person who has the strength and awareness to use it properly. A panicked, injured, or hypothermic person will not have the ability to grab, and dawn the sling.

Second, there is considerable block and tackle to rig correctly, and to work properly. A well trained crew who practices regularly can overcome this, but small mistakes foul the whole operation causing an ugly mess and an unsuccessful rescue. This is likely to happen when new crew is being used.

Third, Although it can be done, single person deployment and operation is difficult. Once again practice is key.

There are other things of concern, like how much more pulling effort it takes when the tackle gets twisted and otherwise fouled. Also, I have been swung around dangerously when being hoisted up while the boat is lying to in the trough. If the system is rigged to a halyard from the top of the mast the pendulum arm is very long! Even if the tackle is rigged down to the minimum required height above the water line (8''feet????) the potential for swinging is real. [ the swinging can be dampened by using a tricing line however it is one more thing rig and to foul the gear). There is also injury from just being lifted. I have been lifted many times, both while in a wetsuit, and wet street clothes. This lift can really hyper-extend the back. A MOB would most certainly choose a potential back injury to staying in the water, but this is a problem.

The biggest advantage a life sling may offer is an easy, safe, effective way for the MOB and the rescuers to make "first contact." I define first contact as some means of connecting the MOB to the boat, such as a ring buoy with a lanyard or simply a boathook to the MOB. In bad weather, or when other distractions make maneuvering close to the MOB dangerous and difficult, the life sling provides a simple way to make first contact. To do this you simply throw the sling out and stream the lanyard behind. You then circle the boat around the MOB until they can grab the line. At this point of first contact you can then lay to and pull the MOB to the boat with all way off and engines in neutral. At this point you lift them up.

A totally different MOB retrieval system that I really think would work well is described in the February 1999 issue of my favorite sailing rag, Latitude 38. It outlines a way retrieving the MOB by using a long handled, large mouth fish net, which is normally used for landing fish. To modify the net for MOB use, you simply add a few tricing lines in a bridle configuration attached around the rim, so when the halyard lifts it up with a lot of load it does not bend the aluminum frame. The tricing lines can be taped in place along the rim with masking tape during storage as to prevent fouling. The long handle provides for roll control as well as accurately scooping up the MOB. Also, little people (kids, pets) may be able to be pulled in directly without using the halyard as a hoist.

Although I have yet to try this method for MOB''s I have used this method for brailing fish many times. I think that this should be easy to deploy, and allow for much better control of the MOB. In addition, this method will work on unconscious and injured people who cannot help in rescuing themselves.

A complete MOB system might include a through line, and or sling, to make first contact, and the "fish net." Your procedure when seeing a MOB would be to Point Yell and Mark. ( CONTINUALLY point at the person, Yell man overboard, and mark the spot with anything that floats). Then deploy the sling, and circle MOB. Establish first contact, and pull the MOB to the boat. Then scoop''em up!

As a captain and safety officer I have given much thought into questions concerning MOB in relationship to passenger safety while aboard LARGE (180'') and smaller (60'') yachts. Some problems are unique to larger boats and some to sailboats. I am more informed and practiced with larger power boats. Regardless of what you are captaining it is very important to talk and practice because it makes us all better sailors. I would like hearing more discussion of this topic as I currently am in need of a good retrieval system for my personal sailboat. I plan to assemble the MOB system I described in September. I will let you all know how it works out.
Sorry about the run ON''s but it is late!
s/v Noctaluca
08-29-2000 08:19 PM

I remember doing the MOB drills that you talked about, and I too was confused as to why you circle (in my opinion taunt) the victim. The reason that I was given (decide for yourself)is that the backwind style MOB is designed for use with minimal crew, meaning simplicity/safety is the goal. If you simply backwind and come alongside the victim, the boat is coming downwind toward the target. If something is not quite right, or the helmsman has to be the one to get the victim, there is a possibility of the boat being "pushed" into the victim. If you complete the circle around the victim, you approach coming upwind. It this situation, if anything goes wrong, the boat will be pushed away from the victim, lessening the chance of learning what keel hulling is really like.

This is what I was told by the seminar''s instructor, and after watching some downwind-gone-wrong versions, it seemed to make sense. Not much, but some.
08-28-2000 09:28 AM

I finally got around to reading the article by John Roussmaniere [sp?] and am once again baffled by the Quick Stop method. Why, after executing a perfect backwind and spin of the vessel back to the MOB, would a skipper continue to go past him and circle around again? I have always taught students to park alongside on the first pass; its called "heave to" and works beautifully under stormy conditions. Try it yourself the next time somebodys hat blows off.

I also teach that a Type II pfd should be carried in a position to be thrown instantly and that the Type IV throwable with rope attached should be saved until the MOB is alongside and downwind. The Type II gets the person into a pfd [which they will never be wearing] and gives them a goal. I have heard that Annapolis has a special bracket for this pfd. The IV is then thrown to the person as a recovery item with maybe 20-40 ft. of polyprop rope attached.

Other subjects I would like to see discussed:
MOB recovery into the doused jib.
Use of engine.
MOB on big heavy vessels that won''t tack.

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