I don't really understand the obsession with "holding station", not that heaving to WILL hold station, you are still drifting!
I don't believe there has been any "obsession" posted.
If you mean that you don't understand why some believe holding station is important during MOB recovery, my answer is so that it makes it faster and easier to retrieve the MOB with less risk of injury or death. Pretty important stuff.
Heaving to does "hold station" to a far far greater degree than leaving the helm not hove to.
I don't believe anyone suggested the boat does not drift while hove to. On the contrary, I and others have indicated so numerous times.
Drifting slightly when holding station is not detrimental to MOB recovery, especially when one considers all of the other benefits of being hove to versus not.
In my mind, the most important thing is to be maneuverable enough to get a line to the victim.
I believe all of the elements of the MOB procedure are critically important.
Failing to successfully execute any one, could result in total failure, MOB loss, loss of life, or injury, that could have been avoided.
The first and very important element is to yell "Man Overboard" so that everyone aboard is alerted and the procedure can be executed from the rote memory gained by practice.
Once the victim is attached to the boat, who cares if you are drifting, since the boat and victim are drifting together!
Most sailors with experience in open water rough conditions know this could not be further from the truth.
The boat and anything near it can be completely out of sync with respect to wave action.
This is why one cannot go near the stern.
The transom can come down, while the MOB is coming up, and split their head open like a water melon.
Also drift due to wind or water, can vary between boat and MOB depending on hydrodynamic drag related to each.
If you are the MOB, you will definitely care if the vessel is not held on station / hove to, and you suddenly find yourself drifting down wind at any speed. You will have to make the choice of letting go of the life sling, or wriggling out of it if you can, so as not to drown.
At that point 100% of your effort can be focused on getting the mob out of the water.
If the boat is not hove to, someone has to remain at the helm to avoid drowning the MOB by dragging them through the water.
If there is only one other person aboard or who is not incapacitated, 0% of the crew is available to assist the MOB, if that person must hold the boat on station to avoid killing the MOB.
If that person does leave the helm and the boat is pitching and rolling because it is not hove to, now some (perhaps most) of their effort has to be expended to keep balance and stay on the boat themselves.
If the boat is drifting rapidly (because it is not hove to), now a lot of their effort has to be expended to drag the MOB to the gate and hoisting gear, or just hold them to the boat.
Do they have enough balance and strength left to retrieve the MOB successfully?
If the boat was hove to, they would have to expend less effort to fight these elements, and could expend more effort on MOB recovery.
If you are fortunate, it is a simple matter of getting them to the boarding ladder.
As I stated previously. However the chances of being this fortunate in anything but warm fair weather, can be slim, and diminishing with conditions.
Do you base your procedure on retrieving MOBs in fair weather only, or any conditions likely to be encountered?
We do the latter.
We do not practice a fairweather MOB only procedure, but rather a procedure likely to be successful in any condition we may find ourselves in.
I don't want to lose my crew because the wind is over X knots or waves are over Y height. I believe it is good to be able to return all crew to port every time, regardless of conditions. I never want to face a grieving family because a member of my crew was lost needlessly. Please learn to heave to and practice it.
If the victim is hypothermic and unable to climb out on their own, things get more difficult, and that's where lifting systems come into play.
It is not necessary that the MOB be hypothermic before they cannot affectively assist their own recovery.
It could just be that they are cold, and their extremity motor ability is lost. This happens long, long before hypothermia set in. Other reasons they may not be able to assist effectively is due to injury, or clothing filled with water, as previously stated.
This obsession with heaving-to has me baffled.
Understanding the importance of heaving to is not an "obsession". If you understood the importance, you would not be baffled.
As a coastal sailor I have NEVER had occasion to do such a thing in the 30+ years I have sailing.
What can I say?
Most learn the importance and benefits of heaving to very early in the development of their most basic sailing knowledge and skill development.
Perhaps you need a basic sailing refresher course?
I suggest using the internet to look up information about heaving to. Some will talk about its importance (Skip Novac for example) as a heavy weather survival tactic. Others will talk about it's importance to make a cup of tea, go take a nap, or await better weather to enter a port or reef cut.
Yes I understand the concept, but I have always viewed it as a survival technique you would use if you were caught out in a storm in the open ocean, and you just need to ride it out. I cant think of any other use for heaving-to in my world.
This is what causes me to disbelieve you have the sailing experience claimed.
Every experienced sailor should be able to think of lots of reasons for heaving to.
Those who actually do understand the concept know that heaving to is very effective to slow and calm the boat to make any of the following common procedures aboard easier and more successful:
1. Execute a MOB recovery.
2. Prepare a meal.
3. Fetch a beverage.
4. Use the head.
5. Effect repairs.
6. Put in a reef.
7. Attend to any vessel needs requiring or more easily executed in calm.
8. Take a rest.
9. Render first aid.
10. Avoid entering a poor weather system.
11. Avoid entering an unknown port or anchorage in darkness.
12. Wait for the start of the next race.
13. etc. etc. etc.
I cant think of any other use for heaving-to in my world.
This is why I find it very difficult to believe you actually do understand the concept or have the degree of sailing experience you claim.
Every sailor should understand the benefits of, and conditions where, heaving to is useful.
It is a basic skill like tacking and gybing, that every sailor should be able to execute instantly, when ever to do so would serve them.
That's not an option when you are near land or reefs.
Any sailing maneuver that cannot be executed safely without running aground is not an option if they will run aground, unless the maneuver is to intentionally run aground (which can be a valid tactic in very unusual circumstances, such as to save a vessel from certain sinking).
Fortunately, I have never had to do this, but based on my knowledge, skill, and experience, I can think of where even this tactic could be useful.
Actually one can heave to near land or reefs, and possibly should, if the leeward drift will be away.