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ccboston 04-02-2004 08:01 AM

Quickstop COB recovery
Having been taught to recover a crew overboard using the traditional "Figure 8" reach-to-reach, but also having read the strong endorsement of Quickstop by various sailing authorities, I recently spent some time practicing it singlehanded on a 40'' masthead rigged sloop, which is quite a bit bigger and heavier than what I would usually be sailing.

I was gratified by the ability of Quickstop to keep me right next to the victim, even on an unfamiliar boat in a good breeze. ... I don''t think I ever got more than one or two boatlengths away as I sailed around in a nice, slow, controlled circle. And with the sails strapped in, there sure is a lot less going on in the cockpit than with reach-reach. With an uninjured victim and a lifesling or trailng line, I am now 100% confident in the maneuver.

But I was frustrated by my inability, using quickstop, to actually stop the boat *right at* the victim. Each time, I ended up sailing around in a few circles, and then giving up on Quickstop and resorting to the traditional: reaching off, tacking, and reaching back to effect final recovery.

Thoughts? Advice?

bob_walden 04-02-2004 11:38 AM

Quickstop COB recovery
Did you do a 420 degree turn during your quickstop--ie, full circle, plus 60 degrees, to wind up hove-to? (exact degrees may vary, of course).

Also, initially I was trained that it needed to be a perfect circle, but in practice it''s more of an oval course that you follow--I usually have to come back upwind about an extra boatlength before I heave-to.

And it depends on how your rig heaves-to. Big headsails don''t heave-to too well in my experience--you might need to partially roll it up if it''s a furling rig. And don''t forget to ease the mainsheet out as you heave-to.


paulk 04-02-2004 05:12 PM

Quickstop COB recovery
We practiced quick-stop COB maneuvers in a Storm Trysail Club session for Junior Sailors. I was amazed at how quickly we were able to get back to the "victim" under any sail combination, including spinnaker reaches in 18 knots of breeze. We''d be doing 8 or more knots, "splash" , Man Overboard", and we''d be back in about 45 seconds or less. Getting the boat to come to a complete stop at the victim was difficult , however. The helmsmen, used to 420''s, were surprised by the momentum of a 10 ton keelboat. In rushing back as quickly and as close as possible to the "victim", they''d end up zipping by so fast that a person would have had his arm torn off had the crew grabbed it. It does take practice, but the quickstop method does seem to end up being faster overall. Figure out something like backing the main (not easy on a big boat, but it might work) or turning the rudder from side to side to slow her down. Turning the boat immediately in the quickstop method also helps to keep the victim closer to the boat, and easier to see --- or find. A big figure 8 sounds good in theory, and looks good on a printed page, but add a few 8 to 10 foot waves so you can''t see the victim all the time and it begins to look less and less like a winning number in my book. I''d rather practice
slowing my boat down than finding someone''s head in a mile of ocean.

ccboston 04-02-2004 05:38 PM

Quickstop COB recovery
Thanks both of you for the comments. The "oval" comment is helpful to me, as is the idea of heaving to at the top of the circle and just drifting down onto the victim. Using Quickstop the boat stopped amazingly fast, just as advertised, and I was surprised how close I could stay to the victim while circling -- again jsut as advertised, but I just couldn''t nail it and stop the boat right *at* the victim the way I can with the more familiar figure 8. Intellectually I see that Quickstop is the way to go, but I just haven''t quite got it nailed as a maneuver -- as with anything else, more practice!

gstraub 04-03-2004 02:13 AM

Quickstop COB recovery
I, too, was taught the figure 8 method. I have a question on the quick stop. If it is really windy how is the boat kept under control, by a single person left on board, as it goes from into the wind to beam on to wind aft through a jibe, etc. Isn''t there an issue of getting slammed over with the main sheeted in? I''m talking reasonable breeze here over 20 knots or so.


ccboston 04-03-2004 06:51 AM

Quickstop COB recovery
gstraub, I had the same concrn you describe. Being used to dinghies, it struck me as a sure formula for knockdown or uncontrolled broach, to try to bear off and gybe with the main strapped in.

But actually trying it in practice, experimenting was in 20 knots of breeze. Admittedly, since I was trying new stuf, I reefed to be a bit under-canvassed for the conditions, but bearing off and gybing with the main strapped right on the centerline produced remarkably little heel.

At the instant after you slam tack, when your momentum is still carryhing you forward fast and the Genoa is fully aback, there''s a slightly distressing moment of groaning rig and rail-burying heel, but that passes quickly. After that, you can bear off, gybe, head up, and keep circling, and everything seems remarkably slow and controlled. If you''re single-handing it, one huge advantage relative to figure-8 is that there''s just a lot less to do in the cockpit... you just keep your eyes on the victim and steer the boat in a circle, and you don''t need to leave the helm to deal with sheets.

Try it, you''ll like it. I''ll be out there practicing it some more, next chance I get.

bob_walden 04-11-2004 12:33 PM

Quickstop COB recovery
Re high-wind quickstop: I was taught that this is a technique that should only be used when sailing close-hauled or close-reaching if the wind is up ("up" being a relative term depending on your boat). If you''re beam- or broad-reaching in high wind, the reach-on-reach or figure-8 is safer.

In theory I can see how you''d do this starting from a deep reach: immediately head up, then cross the wind (foresail backed) at the point where you reckon the wind will push you down onto the COB. However, in high winds you might also have high seas, and if so you don''t want the piching boat to blow down onto and on top of the COB. In such conditions you''d want to have the COB to windward--easier to do via reach-and-reach.

I''d also consider dropping sail and motoring--just remember to go to neutral well before you close with the COB.


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