Sailing Report

Man Overboard — How much to write down?

As part of the move up to Scotland for cruises, mile building and training out to the Hebrides in summer 2018 I was reviewing the training material we are required to keep on board for MCA Coding purposes. In doing so I also recalled the detailed ‘manuals’ I had looked at on other yachts I have sailed this year.
For Man Overboard (MOB) it is tempting to write a lot, including how to turn the yacht round, drop sails, turn on engine, Mayday calls etc. But thinking back to the first MOB I experienced; whilst we had practised and started to follow our procedure, we had to modify it considerably. Then, after the casualty had been hauled close to the yacht with a throwing line, we had to stop a keen crew member using a boathook to harpoon him.
Thinking about subsequent MOBs they included 2 in Marinas where turning the boat round was definitely not a good idea. Another was for one over the side but clipped on, turning the boat hard into the wind did the trick, up he came and the team member next to him hauled him over the rail. Turn the wrong way and he would have been dragged under at 10 knots. The whole thing happened so quickly that I was then able to turn the helm back without going dead in the water. We continued to race finishing 5th out of 16 in our Sydney to Hobart class.
So tempting it may be to produce lots of words and try and cover all eventualities, recovery of a MOB really relies on a skilled operator who is familiar with the resources available and effectively uses them. Practising MOB recovery is part of RYA courses but getting a Fender out is a lot different from an unconscious person.
For a conscious one I suggest is rather better than a boathook!

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