SailNet Community banner
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

980 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I''m looking around for a forum for this very important topic; please give me feedback.

I finally got around to reading the article by John Roussmaniere [sp?] and am once again baffled by the Quick Stop method. Why, after executing a perfect backwind and spin of the vessel back to the MOB, would a skipper continue to go past him and circle around again? I have always taught students to park alongside on the first pass; its called "heave to" and works beautifully under stormy conditions. Try it yourself the next time somebodys hat blows off.

I also teach that a Type II pfd should be carried in a position to be thrown instantly and that the Type IV throwable with rope attached should be saved until the MOB is alongside and downwind. The Type II gets the person into a pfd [which they will never be wearing] and gives them a goal. I have heard that Annapolis has a special bracket for this pfd. The IV is then thrown to the person as a recovery item with maybe 20-40 ft. of polyprop rope attached.

Other subjects I would like to see discussed:
MOB recovery into the doused jib.
Use of engine.
MOB on big heavy vessels that won''t tack.

980 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
te: Sep. 03 2000 9:43 PM
Author: somatics
Subject: Re:Man Overboard
Hi Mark Howe, Jim French here, nice note on MOB. Sounds to me like you are
right or have the
right ideas.So much depends on conditions and experience. I am just throwing this in
conversation. I always do a quick review of procedure and assignments, in the existing conditions. ON EVERY VOYAGE
There is the "Call of MOB and the POINT" usually the person that does the Call does the POINT the job of putting Eye and a Finger pointing on the mob person and keeping
the person in sight, no matter what the boat may do. Pointer may call the location in
degrees or quadrants relative to the boat but "never" takes eyes off the victim so location is not lost. the initial course and point of sail is noted by the skipper
"The Ring Toss" I think that is right toss one right on
them with a flag
and pole and strobe hopefully.Use a tethered one if you can''t come close aboard with the boat. Can I ask why are they with out a Life jacket? or float coat at the
least. Very darn important because how that overboard happened usually involves
a knock in the
head, at any rate Toss and don''t waste it,be accurate, be sure.

Boat handlilng now is the time to sail your very best. Depending on the "point of sail" You must know your sailing circle... I would recommend a standard be practiced. In all conditions you want to finish by reaching toward the victim so you can come up or fall off and so you can ease all sheets and stop next to the victim.
one wants the recovery to be safe for all and quick for several reasons.
The Classic is the figure 8., a tack, is safer than a jibe, remember watch out for all jibes, *easing all sheets, completely* as the victim is to leeward... And there one can use the "heave too" by backing the jib and easing the main (how are you going to use the jib for winching in the victim if it is backed?)
*The real caution is not to have an uncontrolled jibe on the return...when all crew standing up looking back pointing then get whacked off the boat by that wild jibe...

Recovery into the doused jib,
what are you doing? slacking a a genoa into the water and having a person climb in and
wincing them up 6 feet of freeboard? maybe, there is the problem of freeboard. But sounds like a looser to me a good way to ruin a jib and get sheets in the water where a moving prop could get
segway into several real reasons not to use a motor. As a sailing instructor I have
cut the motor off for safety reasons when flesh is outside the boat. Try several large loops in a large lilne one foot and 2 foot apart and 6 foot so both feet and one hand can grab into the line and winch in a chest line and a cusheon on the rail to avoid the broken rib on the toe rail :eek:)
Control is the issue and in those moments skills in sailing beat reliance on motors.

Be aware of lines overboard and they do get fouled around a moving prop causing a bigger problem.

By the way everyone should try to swim with clothes on and a life jacket on, or with a ring on. Swimming does''nt happen .... mob now is the time to keep
sharp and not get
panicked aboard or if you are the mob yourself.. Victim ... .. wave those arms,
don''t swallow
water and don''t panic or get wildly fearful, grab that floating thing, get out of heavy
clothing, but keep the clothing near you, did you ever hear about the navy fellow
that blew off a
carrier in the gulf of iran he tied knots into his pants and kept scooping air into them
to get some
floatation, 24 hour survivor... remember BE a SURVIVOR Bodies Float...
get a lot of air in
and keep it there.

Stories? I think it would be good discussion to hear them. I have bunch but ... one
involved my
teaching in Newport Beach California mid 1960''s in sabots one evening a great gal
up,OCC Crew base, in an all leather Gucci out fit, beautiful... I ask her "you ''re not sailing tonight?'' "you are, you can''t"
"I am " "not in that out fit, even a splash will ruin it?" "it looks unsafe " "OH yes I am I insist I
insist, "I am"
sailing tonight. JIm don''t worry about my my outfit"
my co-instructor Tracey gave an ok so out voted... so it
was ...... regardless of ones wealth or fashion sense there are clothes that are
dangerous aboard a
capsizing boat or aboard any boat... skip the leather. I was young she was insistent
she capsized...
the only rescue boat I had then ,was a sabot I raced out to her... she was hanging
on by beautiful
long fingernails, with only her nose above the water, breathing real fast and shallow,
and the sabot
turtled, had those fingernails slipped... I reached over and pulled her up on the
bottom of the boat
only to find her bare bottom her leather pants were down around her leather boots. I
said "OH!" and
asked about the pants I lowered her in half way and retrieved the pants. I''ll never be
that young
again, I will win that argument with the beautiful older than me female or male for
dangerous outfits aboard. She lived, I''m a Red Cross Certified tower trained guard
and then Red
Cross Certified sailing instructor... going down into the Bay on a deep dive for an
person that can''t tread water pants wrapped around last on my list of.. just
suffice to say,
be really wise about clothing. I have several other really choice overboard stories.
You will never be
sorry you practiced Man over board drills.


980 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Jim French; I teach in Dana Point.
You brought up some interesting points, like why aren''t crew wearing pfd s when they fall overboard. Probably the ones that are are rescued and not newsworthy but the ones we hear about are not; they should have but didn''t. You mention the skipper making assignments of crew and executing sailing maneuvers, but imagine the skipper''s overboard and the crew is only one or two and inexperienced. That''s why we simply aim the boat at the person; the skipper can yell from the water "turn right", "turn left" but this only works if the driver is quick to respond. We call it "knee jerk reaction" and must be practiced. The return should be within 30 sec. which is pretty hard using the old standard techniques. We used to use the crash gybe [with heads down of course] but the heave to is quicker.

The recovery into the jib must be done with the sheet tight and sail dumped into the water making a sling. We''ve tried the elevator with the loop of line alongside the boat cranked up with the winch and found it takes a pretty agile person to balance there. The jib sling seems like the best to use with an injured MOB, even if you have to wait for rescue.

Great stories Jim!!

537 Posts
The point about wearing appropriate clothing is a good one, can make the difference between a harmless splash, and a tragedy. The point of making clothing float is a good one too. I was once dropped into ice cold water for survival training wearing street clothes, long heavy jeans make a good life jacket, so does a good long sleeve shirt, (tee shirt just make a ball and deflates quickly); holding breath, untie shoes, tie laces together, and tie to belt loop, You'll need them when you walk onto a rocky shore.

MOB takes practice. I've tried it several times and still tend to overshoot under sail. trailing a line is a bad Idea, but how about a line on a buoy?? An overshoot just about brings that buoy to the MOB.

bell ringer
6,114 Posts
does anyone other than me think too much time/talk is spent on the techqinue to follow over just knowing how to handle your boat, so that you therefore sail back to the person

and why don't any sailing books/lessons ever remind you that "hey you have an engine"

40 Posts
does anyone other than me think too much time/talk is spent on the techqinue to follow over just knowing how to handle your boat, so that you therefore sail back to the person

and why don't any sailing books/lessons ever remind you that "hey you have an engine"
I think the best preparation is to practice often and in each condition one might actually face (wind speed, waves, and currents).

1977 Morgan OI 30
438 Posts
Good pointers here! I appreciate the MOB and POINT directive. I always do a safety review before heading out but missed the 'point' suggestion. I hate life jackets...air bags and seat belts. BUT they save lives! I was tuna fishing last October with two good friends and none of us were wearing lifejackets. Well, the boat quickly took on water and rolled [in one minutes time!] Three of us were floating near the upturned hull and hanging on to our life jackets. I was the first one to get the lifejacket on and want the world to know, its really hard to get on once you are in the water! We had 3' choppy seas and it took me two serious tries to get it on. I recently bought several more 'auto inflatable' jackets and will insist on people wearing them. A good friend didn't survive our ordeal and I never want to deal with that again.

Super Moderator
4,448 Posts
We have an annual MOB drill at our club during a race, using watermelons as victims. The Race Committee says when the melons go overboard, and everyone finds out how hard it is to get back to them and get them aboard (no boathooks as spears!). We had our first practice of the Quickstop method with a skipper and crew of junior sailors who had had a "chalktalk" about it an hour previously. With a spinnaker up, reaching in fifteen knots of wind, we were back at the "victim" within 45 seconds. Stopping the boat at the right place was the hardest part. The crew were used to dinghies with minimal momentum which stop on a dime. It took three passes for us to pass the cushion (in this case) slowly enough to grab hold of it. Results (both time and and stopping) improved with practice.

320 Posts
Mark (OP), Jim, and all others who have made contributions to this thread:

Thank You!

If I never read another post on this forum, you have made it all worth while. This type of thread can and will save lives. As a relatively new sailor, but old pilot, I understand that the time to learn how to deal with emergencies--is NOT when they're happening. Even the best of anything lose a modicum of control when the poop hits the fan, but the prepared professional will have training and experinece to rely on, and will act appropriately almost by reflex.

You all have inspired me to dig out an old hat, and spend a day or two or three or four on the lake practicing MOB maneuvers. And also rig even my dinghy with a throwable PFD.

In my years of flying, I've come the the conclusion that the BIGGEST obstacle to proper preparation for emergencies is the "it won't happen to me" attitude. That's not to imply snobbery or superiority....we ALL suffer from that to a degree. Those who have been doing it long enough have had themselves proven wrong enough times and have a different attitude towards safety. I really stress to my flight students that we're not practicing for what happens to others....its for when it happens to YOU. That often gets funny looks.

Again, thanks guys and gals. I'm sure I am not the only one inspired to take stock of my own preparedness. You may have saved a life that you'll never realize!

Crazy Woman Boat Driver
840 Posts
Good points on MOB. Practice Practice Practice and knowing how to handle your boat as well as your guest. Most of us practice in becalm weather. I strongly urge everyone of you to do a MOB drill with winds over 20kts and 4' plus sea state.
I believe 4 things have to be considered when recovering a person. Unconscious/conscious, sea state,wind velocity and whether a boat has a swim platform or not.
I once went out sailing in gale force winds off Long Island a few years ago. We went out to practice heavy weather sailing. It was so nasty the Coast Guard launched a few vessels to watch over us. We were out there for 6 hours. One hour of that was doing MOB drills. It was the hardest thing I have ever done sailing. We launch a large boat fender dressed like a person.
We found it impossible to bring the fender on board the boat using any method that requires bring the victim along the side of the boat. In fact it was dangerous to the victim. Here is why.
With the high wind and waves it was impossible to judge the vectoring of the boat to bring the victim along side. For boats with high freeboard it made the task even more difficult. Second, there is a great danger of running over the MOB as the boat rocks back and forth crushing the victim. If the victim is unconscious and the boat does not have a swim platform, without someone jumping in to sling the person, I don't think it can be done.
So what did I learn.
Conscious MOB in high sea state and winds I would use the figure 8 while towing a life sling in tow or quick stop.
Unconscious person - Found the quick stop method works best, drop the sails and use the motor to back up to to victim with the bow into the wind. The swim platform is a must here. Can grab the person and get him/her on the platform. Since most sailors, especially cruisers have only two persons on the boat, this is the only way I can figure out how to get the person back on the boat safely.
With high winds and sea state the boat gets tossed a lot. Maneuvering to an exact spot is next to impossible under sail alone. Every time we tried to bring the person along side one of two things happened; the person floated away from the boat due to waves or wind affecting the high freeboard or the person got SLAM under the boat.
Swim platform is a must for me for any cruising boat with only 2 persons. Since almost no ones wears a PFD, grabbing a person with the boat hook is impossible since there is nothing to grab. Even when a person does, the spot to grab that person is very small. In any kind of sea state this will be next to impossible to grab that small spot.
Mark has it right on Heave-To. The leeward side of the boat is becalm to help bring the person on the boat. This is a hard maneuver to do to bring the person exactly alongside. If the person is conscious a throw able lifesaving device with attached rope will work the easiest.
Safety on a boat is only a word unless ones knows how to use the equipment and practices all safety aspects of boating. With the season beginning for most of you, get out there and practice. Your life might depend on it.

152 Posts
does anyone other than me think too much time/talk is spent on the techqinue to follow over just knowing how to handle your boat, so that you therefore sail back to the person
No, not at all. It is a specialized maneuver and the time to learn it is NOT when there is someone overboard.

and why don't any sailing books/lessons ever remind you that "hey you have an engine"
I suppose it's because the idea is to get back to the MOB as quickly as possible. On a hot summer day on the lake with moderate wind and seas you may have plenty of time to douse your sails and start the engine. In more challenging conditions however you'd be surprised how quickly you can lose sight of someone in the water especially if your attention is on the sail/engine switchover. Also, if the person in the water cannot swim or is injured and isn't wearing a pfd or if the water is particularly cold, seconds count.
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.