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Learning the HARD way...
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From the John Rousmaniere report; http://www.ussailing.org/wp-content/uploads/daroot/Offshore/SAS%20Studies/2005_Crew_Overboard_Symposium.pdf

John Connolly
Sailor, head instructor, Modern Sailing Academy.
6. The motor. One old lesson reared its head many times during the recent tests. Given
the vastly different skill levels of participants and the reality that these tests were
conducted without ocean waves, a very important safety tool on inboard engine cruising
sailboats is the engine. Of course, all the normal safety precautions need to be taken into
account before the engine is used around a person in the water, but there are times in
large seas when the engine is crucial.
Somewhere in my sordid past, I read a report that said that the FASTEST and MOST RELIABLE way to return to a COB is to drop or furl all sail and simply motor back to the COB.

However, this thread is about the procedures and methods that are taught to new sailors.
 

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If I went overboard, and someone tried any of the aforementioned procedures without first trying to start the engine and motoring back to me, I would politely cave their faces in should I be lucky enough to get back aboard.

The adherence to procedure, for whatever reason, should not trump saving a life.

Sorry to sound harsh, but there is no way in hell you can expect crew to follow procedure while watching someone die.
By the time I come back you will be to cold and tired for me to worry about your threats of violence:wink
 

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Back in the day when i used to teach sailing I taught the school preferred method of MOB. I came to the conclusion there are as many methods as there are instructors.
Mostly it was just a good way of getting everyone to consolidate what they had learned.

engine or no engine was always an argument, this method was better because ect.

In reality it does not matter which method you use. It will only work if you have practiced it. As an instructor i practiced it a lot.
As a bald sailor I practice Hat Over Board drills quite frequently.

One of these days I should actually try out the life-sling.

I personally like the heave to versions, with an engine started JIK.
 

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One of these days I should actually try out the life-sling.
I have a Life Sling on my little 22' boat. I have actually tried it out and practiced using a spare halyard to bring people in with it. Things don't always scale from a small boat to a large boat, but I think some of it will. If I'm on a charter and someone goes in I will feel more confident having practiced.
 

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I taught a ASA 103 class this weekend on an Oday 35 with 5 students.

To change things up we tried the Broad reach close reach COB procedure. I had never really tried it in earnest much before. I had seen it as one of my instructor evaluators was a proponent of it.

The idea is that instead of falling off to a beam reach you fall off to a broad reach then after only a short distance you tack to a close reach and do not bring over the jib, leave it backed.

Then sail at a close reach heave to directly to the COB very slowly.

I was impressed we each did it and it worked pretty well 6 times in a row. Pretty amazing.

Check it out if you are not familiar with it.
The last page of this PDF has a picture.

http://www.modernsailing.com/press/sail.pdf
So I tried the recovery procedure as described above this weekend, starting from a broad reach, and found that it would not work for me. The issue is, the boat will not heave-to when the jib is trimmed for a broad reach. So I think the "heave-to" concept in the broad reach-close reach procedure description is a mis-understanding, if you read the document that is referenced in the post, it describes releasing the jib sheet for the recovery approach as in "slow the boat on the final close-reach approach by luffing the sails" ...no heave-to involved.

If you want to heave-to, somewhere along the process you need to trim the jib to close-haul before you tack to heave-to, you can make this a step in a COB procedure if the crew is skilled enough to follow the remainder of the process.
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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I prefer these two methods for upwind and downwind MOB's



Advantages
a) It can be done easily by one person.
b) There is usually no need to adjust sails.
c) The sails are always under control. There are no flying clews or sheets.
d) The MOB is always on the same side of the vessel and kept in sight.
e) If unsuccessful, just come around again.
f) The MOB can be reached on most vessels by lying on the deck and grabbing them. I retrieved a TV antenna off Cape Scott in this manner.)
g) Works exceptionally well with a life-sling.




I have just completed the second image, and am looking to improve it. Any suggestions.
Jack, I don't know about using the term "heave to." There may not be time or crew to perform the tasks to heave to. Maybe just "boat in irons" or similar idea to indicate boat depowered and drifting toward OB person. Maybe an engine start as well to adjust while drifting, which can be difficult to predict. Then an engine off step once it becomes obvious that you're going to intersect the OB.
 

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What I see in the "downwind MOB", is essentially a figure-eight but squeezed together from the sides til it's almost a "1", then instead of shooting up into the wind at "Oscar" (my usual approach in light air, student at the helm), you tack with jib backed.

I guess it can work nicely if you gauge the "carry" and leeward set on your new tack correctly. I can't always count on new sailors to be that precise when we are approaching Oscar-the-lifejacket.

The quick-stop I call the RORC method. Also good, but it involves jibing shorthanded, which is easy in light air but not in heavy.

Sometimes I think whatever works to get you close to and just to leeward of Oscar, is good. The important thing is the position and speed of the last boatlength or two, so you head up and get alongside, and luff while stopped or almost stopped. How you got to that spot where you headed up to stop, is less important. Kind of like Jim Furyk's golf swing--goofy looking early, but very good by the time the club face hits the ball.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
sailingfool;3030129 The issue is said:
What we did is:

1. Sail close hauled, with sails trimmed properly
2. Throw over oscar
3. Fall off to broad reach, go 2-3 boat lengths. (do not change sail trim)
4. Tack (this is about a 180 degree tack, we haven't touched the sails once.
5. Aim for Oscar keeping him downwind.

Doing it this way the jib is trimmed for close hauled the whole time and never touched.

The only little cheat I do is to roll up the 130 genny to about 110 so it dosn't get beat up too bad.
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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What we did is:

1. Sail close hauled, with sails trimmed properly
2. Throw over oscar
3. Fall off to broad reach, go 2-3 boat lengths. (do not change sail trim)
4. Tack (this is about a 180 degree tack, we haven't touched the sails once.
5. Aim for Oscar keeping him downwind.

Doing it this way the jib is trimmed for close hauled the whole time and never touched.

The only little cheat I do is to roll up the 130 genny to about 110 so it dosn't get beat up too bad.
I really worry about any "wait 2-3 boat lengths" idea. If there is a big sea, any delay could cause losing sight of the MOB. If I were to lose someone in a heavy sea, my tendency would be to immediately tack and then go into irons as the boat comes back into the wind again, giving first priority to keeping an eye on the MOB. It is SO easy to lose sight that any purposeful separation of boat and MOB seems questionable to me. The "wait" idea has appeared a couple of times here and needs to be thought about. Practicing in calm, warm water in daylight is a damned sight different than reality at night or dim light in a heavy sea.
 

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Discussion Starter #30 (Edited)
sailingfool;3030129 The issue is said:
This actually brings up something I learned from my wife a month or so ago. She has been sailing with varying levels of understanding for years.

She just had an epiphany where she figured out that the points of sail, Close hauled, close reach, beam reach etc were defined by how the apparent wind was flowing over the boat and not by how the sails were set.

IOW if the wind is comming directly over the starboard beam you are on a starboard beam reach even if your sails are pulled in tight for close hauled. You are still on a beam reach just not trimmed correctly.

This works out perfectly in the exercise above because while we fall to a broad reach we leave our sails trimmed for close hauled. That does all kinds of good thing. Slows the boat down. Eliminates the need to pay attention to the sails twice and makes the whole process very simple.

This almost makes some sense because the books always show the sails trimmed properly as if that was part of the definition, which of course it is not.
In a sense she was taking the illustrations to literally and that was messing her up.

Another definition thing is the idea that a tack doesn't have to be 90 degrees, close hauled to close hauled even thought that is how we typically teach it.

A tack is still a tack if it from beam reach to to beam reach or from broad reach to close hauled which might be closer to 180 degrees.

It seems to help people to have a clearer definition of what the terms mean rather than their overly specific definition.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
I really worry about any "wait 2-3 boat lengths" idea.
In practice I suspect most of us would start the engine, drop the sails, do whatever it took.

I see the MOB recovery lessons we teach more as an excuse for boat handling drills than real world recovery technique.
 

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Let's not forget though, that a great many sailboats have outboard engines. If you're sailing, the outboard is probably tilted up and out of the water. To start it you have to turn to face it, lower the engine, play with the choke, start it and hope that it starts on the 1st attempt. If your only crew member falls overboard, ( everyone doesn't sail with 4 people and an instructor) You have to be the spotter, the sailhandler and the helmsman. I do believe it's valuable knowledge to know how to sail back to an MOB.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
Tried it again today and the close reach beam reach worked great.


One time it didn't work because the student was very slow turning the boat and went a few boat lengths on a beam reach before she finally started going downwind.

We just jibed, sort of a quick stop, then managed to pick up the pole.

We also tried a quick broad reach maybe 3 at the most boat lengths then a tack and hove too and it worked very well. We were very close to the COB and very close.

Everyone was very impressed with how easy it was.

The boat I'm using is a O'day 36 so it has quite a bit of momentum, not sure it that helps us a lot or not.
 

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Am I the first to point out that COB and MOB procedures are extraordinarily different? One require several manueuvers, the other requires sail trim. :)
 

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One of the important points made in the excellent report that eherlihy linked us to: http://www.ussailing.org/wp-content/..._Symposium.pdf , (thank you, btw) is that the maneuver that works best for your boat may be different than what works best for someone else's boat. Figuring out what works for YOU is key. We have done drills at our club where each boat is issued a watermelon prior to the start of a race, and the Race Committee calls over the radio for them to be tossed overboard at an inconvenient time during the race. Boats that fail to toss and retreive their "victim" are penalized 2 hours in corrected time. Many of the issues mentioned in the US Sailing report: keeping the victim in sight, stopping/slowing the boat, and getting the "victim" back aboard, become hot topics in post-race discussions. The right answers are what works.
 

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Would note most modern boats are main sail driven and hove to poorly most likely fore reaching at 1-2kts.
Would note most cruisers stand single handed watches. So in the water means likely dead so most effort is training crew in using harnesses, strong points and jack lines regardless of conditions or time of day.
Would note once seas are >4' likelihood of seeing mob decreases dramatically.
We've tried the various above techniques on our boat as daytime drills with varying success depending on conditions and decided.
First throw mob module.
Second blow air horn to bring people on deck.
Quick stop.
Start engine but leave in neutral.
Then decide which technique to use.
Believe appropriate technique depends on conditions at that specific time.
 

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number one rule of mob. Someone must NEVER take their eye off mob.
Sailing short handed this is nearly impossible.
If you take the time to drop sails and start the engine in rough weather, mob is gone!
Falling off and tacking to heave to is the fastest way to save a life.
Jim
 

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Would note most modern boats are main sail driven and hove to poorly most likely fore reaching at 1-2kts.
Would note most cruisers stand single handed watches. So in the water means likely dead so most effort is training crew in using harnesses, strong points and jack lines regardless of conditions or time of day.
Would note once seas are >4' likelihood of seeing mob decreases dramatically.
We've tried the various above techniques on our boat as daytime drills with varying success depending on conditions and decided.
First throw mob module.
Second blow air horn to bring people on deck.
Quick stop.
Start engine but leave in neutral.
Then decide which technique to use.
Believe appropriate technique depends on conditions at that specific time.
It's also worth remembering that people don't usually go MOB on a nice day.

We're told over here to forget about starting the engine:
1. It wastes precious time you don't have
2. A propeller (particularly an outboard propeller) can badly injure someone in the water.
3. Propellers are great at snagging loose lines in the water (usually a spinnaker or jib sheet let fly as part of the quick-stop/return) which - snatched tight suddenly at precisely the wrong moment - will be a serious distraction, could injure someone else or send them overside also and also potentially disable your boat.

If you haven't seen them, the best gadget I've come across to help with MOB recovery (and practice) is the SOSDanBuoy. If you haven't got one on board it's well worth considering.
 

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Agree with C.
Several venders now offer CO2 charged mob units which when deployed generate a very tall pylon you can see and a radar target.
Mob can swim to it and hang on. You can see it and find mob.
We did a drill with 3' beach balls. Bought them during the winter so cheap and got a few. Put a small amount of water in them so not so wind driven. Bright orange and white. Lost them doing the figure eight . Lost them doing the quick stop.
Drill was simple. Usual watch at helm with immediate access to mob button on the mfd. Other person sat in front of house. Without warning tossed a ball over the rail.
Tried it with warning ( blast on air horn) at night . Hopeless . A personal epirb or AIS is on everyone of our harnesses/life jackets. Think danger of losing locale of mob is present regardless of where you sail. Think that's the biggest issue not pick up technique given most boats are a sailing couple or short handed. Maybe on a big race boat with ten plus crew things are different. Maybe if the boat only goes out when it's 5-15 and seas are flat things are different.
 

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Discussion Starter #40 (Edited)
Last Sunday had another class with 5 people. So we did the MOB drill 6 times and were successful every time.

The wind was a little more than we had in prior classes. Not bad by any means probably 10-15.

We tried a few variations because we had students and they sometimes didn't react perfectly. We tried broad reaching a little longer, or shorter and quicker and slower.

The only thing I made sure happen was that they turned the helm hard to windward after the tack as the jib backwinded tended to blow the bow down.

The only modification I made due the increased wind was to throw off the main sheet when we were about 10 feet from the MOB to kill boat speed.


We had a spotter of course, but I was pleased to note that while I was watching the boat and helmsman after the tack the MOB was always dead ahead within about 30 degrees and only 2 to 4 boat lengths so pretty easy to find. However, I will put some reflective tape on my pole in the future just to be safe.

If anyone else wants to try this out and report back to this thread with your results and type of boat and conditions I would appreciate it.

I only know how to do this from close hauled so will do more testing from other points of sail.

Process
1. MOB
2. Fall off to broad reach for about 2 to 3 boat lengths (do not change sail trim)
3. Tack, Do not release the jib (Yes you will be tacking about 150 degrees.
4. As soon as the jib becomes back winded turn the wheel hard over to windward
5. Sail to your MOB while close-hauled

You will be going very slowly and no one has touched a sheet during the whole maneuver so far.
You have to steer upwind of your mark several yards. The bow wants to get blown down.
Keep your MOB downwind from you.

Depending on the speed of the boat you may want to throw off the mainsheet to slow down.

Once you are within about 5 to 10 feet from the MOB and about 10 to 15 feet upwind you can steer downwind to bring him alongside.


Try it please and let me know how it goes.
 
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