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smackdaddy 12-01-2009 10:44 AM

MOB Video
78 Attachment(s)
I posted this link in another thread a few days ago, but thought it deserved one here. Watch the's amazing how quickly it happens.

Overboard in South Atlantic Storm

Anybody been there? What do you think they did wrong/right?

meuritt 12-01-2009 04:58 PM

Interesting link, it is amazing how quickly it happened.

MOB concerns me, I sail in SF Bay and the cold waters don't give a person in the water much time, as a kayaker, wearing the immersion gear, we probably have about 45 minutes, but we are rather psyched for emmersion anyway, being inches off the water. The club regularly hold rescue practices so we know what to do when we do find ourselves under the boat. I think a person going in from a sailboat deck as the video shows would have it worse. Probably chilled to start with and totally unexpected because of the ever present attitude of it can't happen to me, the shock of hitting the cold water, which can cause the gasp reflex, and you can be toast instantly. Google cold water boot camp for details.

That said, I have a motor sailor with a deep cockpit with high steel railings for controlling running lines, but still need to go forward for reef or jib changes. Most of the time we never need to leave the enclosed pilothouse.

I've seen a video of a female getting a male MOB aboard using life sling. I was surprised at how slow it appeared to be and how long it took her. With our high free board, it is going to be even harder for us.

We have plans to test all this life sling and related gear at the mooring buoy, then go out and practice, maybe even with a wetsuited live volunteer, and kayak safety nearby. This video gives that plan a bit of urgency... Even though it can't happen to us.

San Rafael, CA

paulk 12-01-2009 06:22 PM

Seventeen minutes sounds like a LONG time - especially if they've practiced the maneuver before. The announcer said they were in 8m (24') seas, which seems unlikely from what we saw in the video. We don't know what sails they had up, or what their drill is supposed to be. It would be good to know more before turning into Monday morning quarterbacks.
Being unhitched while going on and off watch IS dangerous. A member of our club was knocked overboard one night by the main boom in a surprise gybe while he came up the main hatchway. They never found him.

painkiller 12-01-2009 07:19 PM


Originally Posted by paulk (Post 547169)
Seventeen minutes sounds like a LONG time - especially if they've practiced the maneuver before.

Have you seen the movie Morning Light? They showed an expected MOB drill and it took them about as long (18 minutes, I think). It's not easy.

davidpm 12-01-2009 09:01 PM

This is a good read:

It really does take longer than one would think and is hard to do to.

Bene505 12-01-2009 10:47 PM

Nice link David. Thanks.

ste27 12-02-2009 06:22 AM

17 minutes actually isn't that bad... I know, it sounds nuts and like you should be able to do it in 2 but things just never work out that way in the real world

Putting a 2nd person in the water is generally frowned upon but is apparently clipper SOP. I don't really have a problem with it myself provided that potential victim #2 only goes over once the boat is pretty much stopped alongside victim #1 - I'm sure that's what they did and to do it otherwise would be extremely stupid.

The main problem is that everybody practices these things on nice sunny days in calm seas and 10kt breeze. I'm no expert so I'm not going to start spouting tips and tricks, but 17 is unfortunately pretty reasonable. Technically I'm qualified for ISAF Cat 0 racing (Newport Bermuda is a Cat 1, I believe Fastnet is a Cat 2, our nearshore 'round the cans is Cat 5, etc). The #1 take-away from the whole cert process?? STAY ON THE BOAT!

paulk 12-02-2009 11:13 PM

We've practiced MOB drills flying the 'chute in 20 knots of breeze and have been back at the "victim" (a cushion in this case) within a minute. We weren't going 20 knots in the South Atlantic, so perhaps didn't travel as far away from the drop zone as they may have, but by doing a Quickstop (tack immediately, all standing) we repeated this result several times with a variety of sail combinations in the midst of doing different maneuvers. Slowing the boat down to pick someone or something up is not easy. It often takes several passes. Getting someone back on board is difficult - we've worked with live practice victims as well. 17 minutes is simply too long for people to expect good survival rates, especially if the water is cold. I am talking to my sailmaker about making a triangular retrieval canvas, about 8 or 10 feet on a side, that we could attach between two stanchion bases and then slip under the MOB, with it's third point outboard. We'd then use it as a parbuckle to hoist the MOB back aboard using our running backstay tackle. This might help avoid the need to send someone else over the side to assist, even if the victim is unconscious.

smackdaddy 12-03-2009 11:12 AM

78 Attachment(s)
At least it was day time. And it turned out well in this case.

After reading about the Fastnet and Hobart disasters - the idea of losing someone overboard at night, then hearing them call out while you drift away from them would be seriously devastating.

I suspect that part of the extra time was due to the fact that the COB was not able to help much due to the cold (also maybe the reason for the second person in the water...which I've heard is standard Clipper race procedure).

BTW - in addition to remaining clipped in, should he have been on the low side as well?

ste27 12-03-2009 12:10 PM


Originally Posted by smackdaddy (Post 547692)
BTW - in addition to remaining clipped in, should he have been on the low side as well?

Why would one want to be to leeward?

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