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01-15-2003 05:58 AM
What''''s wrong with the MOB Poll?


Sounds like this discussion has prompted you to rethink a few things. That''s what''s great about these forums. We can all learn from each other.

Here''s wishing you both excellent MOB proficiency that you never need to use for real!

01-15-2003 02:52 AM
What''''s wrong with the MOB Poll?

Last year was my first season with my boat, and I''ll do some things differently this year. The boat came with a lifesling aboard, but I took it out because I figured if it was just tossed in the lazzurette you couldn''t get to it in time to be of any use. After considering the MOB question more I can see the problems the wife will have if she has to come back for me. I think I am going to leave the cockpit back cushions ashore this season and rig several throwable life preserver/cushions, and the lifesling to be attached to the rails with velcro.

I made her practice going back to an object a few times last year and she did pretty well the Mac handles easy compared to bluewater boats, her instructions were to throw cushions at me as quickly as possible, go back, throw the end of one of the halyards overboard, and put the ladder down. I didn''t think hard enough about her slowing down or stopping. With the lifesling out, I think I would have a pretty good chance of getting aboard. We are pond sailors, so going overboard is not quite as serious as the middle of the Atlantic, most often there is a shoreline a reasonable distance away. If the weather gets nasty, we go back to camp and sit around the fire rather than putting on raingear. Some sailors huh.
01-14-2003 05:29 AM
What''''s wrong with the MOB Poll?

Yes, Stede, if was funny (albeit embarrassing) at the time considering no one was at risk. I sure hope neither of us repeats that mistake if we ever have a person in the water. I guess that''s why we have things called training and practice.

Fair winds, all.

01-14-2003 05:06 AM
What''''s wrong with the MOB Poll?

Great story Duane! ha!ha!ha!
01-14-2003 03:56 AM
What''''s wrong with the MOB Poll?

An example of how an unexpected MOB event can be different from practice drills occured during a weeklong training class in Feb 02. For the final 2 days, there were just 2 students aboard the 38 foot sloop and no instructor.

We had the engine on and had just secured the main halyard after hoisting when my hat blew off (I always use clips after that). The other student was skipper for that day, and was at the helm as he shouted MOB. We immediately went into the figure eight drill we had practiced quite a bit during the previous days and were doing very well up until we tried to stop alongside the hat. For some reason we just kept moving by.

Turns out that the blowing wind, and our exuberance at conducting the procedure had masked the very quiet sound of - the engine still chugging along in gear!
01-14-2003 03:31 AM
What''''s wrong with the MOB Poll?

Billmac, I don''t think the MOB drills are any great mystery. The key is to pick one type of MOB practice,and make it second nature to you. The sailing schools I attended stressed what is called a "figure eight" method.I can sail this pattern and avoid using my engine,and the chance of running over my victim.I''ve come to rely on it and feel confident I can use it effectively if ever needed. The scenario you gave of the winch handle is an interesting one. Last year while sailing single-handed in the Florida Keys,I had a depth sounder cover go overboard.I immediately put the boat on a beam reach and started my figure eight approach.I was trying to watch the cover.The wind was ~18,and the seas rolling.It wasn''t long before I lost sight of the cover, but by the time I was finishing the figure 8 pattern, I spotted my cover on the leeward side of the boat where it should''ve been. The exercise emphasized two things to me.1) It was very hard to see a white plastic cover in rolling seas,and I could imagine how much harder it would be to spot a bobbing head with perhaps a flash of color every now and then 2)By using the figure eight method,it gave me a good chance of finding my target while keeping it on the leeward (protected)side of the boat. Now I have a GPS chartplotter on my boat that has a MOB feature on it. If I loose that darn cover again, I''ll push the little button on it, start my figure eight,and let the two technologies merge. Well, at least that''s the way I hope it works ;^)
01-14-2003 02:52 AM
What''''s wrong with the MOB Poll?

The reason that there is so much discussion about rescuing a MOB is that it really is not all that easy to do. While you can often pick up a dropped object on a pass or two while on the fly. To bring a person aboard you need to end up stopped, close to the person and with control enough to stay there a matter of minutes sometimes. MOB incidents often occur in high winds and rough seas and so just turning and going back is not going to work. A violent jibe or a back winded jib can prevent you from returning and stopping accurately near the MOB.

In cold weather, when people wear more clothes and even worse foul weather gear, you have a surprisingly short time to make a rescue sometimes. I have told the story here of ending up in the water in late fall in foul weather gear in a short chop. Even with a life jacket on, I had trouble getting my head above water and out of the spray long enough to catch a breath. By the time the rescue boat got to me, I was so out of breath and so cold, that I hardly had the strength to get myself out of the water. It took three attempts to get back on board even after I had a grip on the rescue boat, each with me running out of strength and falling back into the water, before I made it on board. The third time, I pulled my body part way out of the water and let the water drain from my foul weather gear for a few seconds, then several times more pulled myself up a little higher, and let more out until most of my torso was out of the water. Finally using whatever strength I had left was able to climb aboard.

I am actually pretty fit for a 52 year old although not extremely so. I don''t beleive that a non-physically fit person would have gotten out of the water that day and if the boat still had foward motion they would have lost me. The lesson for me is to get back quickly and get stopped.

Lastly if you think this is so easy, really practice an unexpected rescue. I have a MOB practice device that I use on board that consists of a bright yellow antifreeze bottle, with a spare drougue from a horseshoe flotation device and a polypropelene loop of rope to make retrieval easier. Several times a season, my wife or I will go below to use the head or grab something from the galley. While we''re below we will grab the MOB practice device and from down below throw it out the hatch and into the water, shouting ''Man Over Board''. It is stunning how hard it is to get back to the MOB and get stopped when this happens unexpectedly. I am always surprised at how far the boat travels in the time it takes to swing the wheel and start back. We have actually lost sight of the bottle on several occasions ding gusty/choppy conditions. Usually it takes two or three passes the first time this occurs during a season.

(By the way on your ''steer into the skid'' comment. Most people who are not experienced drivers intuitively try to turn into the turn because the feel like the car is failing to turn when it starts to skid. Steering into the skid is actually counter-intuitive for most new drivers. It is only after you have driven for a while that ''steer into the skid'' becomes second nature.)


01-14-2003 02:03 AM
What''''s wrong with the MOB Poll?


Regarding MOB techniques, I believe you are correct that the sails don''t have to be perfectly trimmed at all times while returning to the MOB, but just ignoring them is a recipe for disaster on may boats in many conditions.

Accidentally jibing a large main can damage the rig, not to mention hurting those left aboard. And since the sails provide the power, you need to have your boat''s heading relative to the wind and sail trim in coordination. You may need to add a little power when you need to make way toward the MOB and then luff the sails so you can glide to the proper stopping point.

In practicing aboard a 38 foot sloop with several other students, I witnessed quite a few early attempts where the boat sailed on by the MOB because the sail suddenly powered up when the helm was turned toward the victim. It wasn''t possible to luff the sails because the they weren''t trimmed properly for the course we were on.


01-14-2003 12:38 AM
What''''s wrong with the MOB Poll?

I''m kind of new to this game but, I don''t understand why it takes so long and is such an elaborate proceedure to go back. Last summer I dropped a floating winch handle overboard. I was by myself on a Mac 26d the wind was maybe 15. I was able to go around and around trying to pick it up with no problems. I can''t remember if the jib was up or not, but I just pretty much ignored the sails, I steered and they took care of themselves. Of coarse they weren''t trimmed right on all of the different courses I steered, but they kept me moving. I must have made 20 passes on the handle before it drifted into too shallow water to follow. I don''t understand why folks make it so complicated?

Could it be something like the old defensive driving courses that when you go into a skid, told you to "steer in the direction of the skid" or something like that which you could never remember, especially while you were sliding down the highway. The instinctive thing to do when you start to slide also happens to be the right thing and so the course only confused people and caused them to freeze up instead of reacting.
12-11-2002 06:14 AM
What''''s wrong with the MOB Poll?


Good idea. Have a couple of hot toddies and THEN go back for Denr. Works for me.

To answer your original post, this poll question is not one of Sam''s best efforts. But it does give us something to think about on an icy day.
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