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Re: Man Overboard equipment and procedures
OK, I certainly don't expect any naysayers in this thread to publicly admit the error in their MOB procedures.
For any possible lurkers, I hope you take something away from all of this.
Please note the number of posters who described dousing sails and motoring upwind to pick up the MOB.
I absolutely concur that this may work in fairweather conditions if the water is warm and the MOB is in a swimsuit, or there is sufficient crew aboard that know how to haul the MOB back aboard.
However, on a short-handed boat, in moderate to heavy conditions, cold water, injured MOB, or wearing cold weather clothing and foulies, this MOB plan is doomed for failure.
Note how many of these posters confirmed this, predicting in advance that in anything worse than fairweather, the MOB is likely to be a goner.
When asked the very simple question, "How will you keep the boat from drifting away to leave the helm to assist MOB recovery?", not one had a valid answer.
How can I know the answer to this and others not?
I can only communicate what I know, what we do on our boat, and what I recommend others do.
The answer is simple.
1. Leave the sails up.
2. Loop around the MOB with the life sling to assure they can reach it.
3. Heave to, to stop the boat, make it stable, and enable the helmsperson to assist with MOB recovery.
There is absolutely no point having some "captain" on a short-handed vessel, standing at the helm playing the wheel and throttle to hold the boat beside the MOB in moderate to heavy conditions, barking orders to hoist the MOB aboard, if there is nobody else aboard capable of doing so.
The captain may have to assist or solely perform the MOB recovery, away from the helm, and the only way to do it short-handed, safely, in moderate to heavy conditions is to heave to.
Based on our various MOB drills, attempting to pick up a MOB in moderate to heavy conditions short-handed, by dousing sails and motoring up, is not likely to work, as the others have already accurately predicted.
I believe our MOB procedure "heaving to" will work in any conditions likely to be encountered. As mentioned, we have executed the procedure with real people in conditions up to 12 knots and 1 metre waves. We have simulated it with MOB drills in much worse. It works.
Remember you heard it here from Boat Surgeon.
Try it out for yourself.
When you see how well it works, practice it.
Your crew's life may count on it.