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Old 17-07-2019, 11:44   #1
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Couples--Recovering a Tethered MOB

Another thread started discussing the "you should never go over the railing if you are properly tethered." Yup, that would be nice, but let's assume something went wrong and the person is over the side, out of reach.


There are two problems


First, they may be drowning in the bow wave. Probably the first thing to do is throw the wheel over and heave to (discuss). This will stop the boat and get them out of the water.


Second, they are out of reach or nearly, so pulling won't help. How do you get them on deck? I've seen all manner of efforts, including lowering a man on a halyard. Obviously, most of these have zero chance for a couples boat, with one one person available. How would you do it, specifically if you are the only one on the boat? (Discuss--I am NOT hinting at preference or practicality, just listing some possibilities)
  • Have them release (if they can--the clip can stick or can be hidden under the PFD) and then pick them up.
  • Attach a halyard to the tether and hoist. May have to cut the jackline, maybe not.
  • Try to attach a halyard to the harness directly. Good luck reaching it. Good luck working a spin shackle with one hand while hanging. The swimmer will face the same problem.
  • Attach a spare line to the tether and cut the jackline. They will drift free, but attached, and can be recovered elsewhere.
All of the ideas I have seen recommended or put into practice required a full crew and some strong men. In other words, they probably won't work for couples.
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Old 17-07-2019, 12:35   #2
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Re: Couples--Recovering a Tethered MOB

One more wrinkle. In the Reflex Lion tether MOB fatality (MAIB report) the leg loops were found to fail at 25kg each. It was not clear whether he was wearing them when he went in, but they may have come loose.



MAIB also pointed out that without the leg loops, you can slip out of the PFD if pulled by the tether. The rated lifting loop is behind your head. The difference is in how your shoulders move. With an inflated PFD this can be hard to reach.


The bladder was over his face, indicating it was... flimsy. It was a Spinlock (Deckvest 150 Pro).
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Old 17-07-2019, 12:43   #3
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Re: Couples--Recovering a Tethered MOB

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First, they may be drowning in the bow wave.
...
Have them release (if they can--the clip can stick or can be hidden under the PFD) and then pick them up.
If they are trapped in the bow-wave it's not your decision whether they realease or not ... As soon as the MOB feels that they are trapped, if this option is available to them, they will be reaching for the release ... if they are thinking clearly (unlikely) they may wait with their hand on the release for a few seconds to give you a chance to heave-to before pulling, but most likely they will just try to release asap ... so if it is possible for them to unclip, your available time to heave-to is just a few seconds as they first try to haul their head above water, and on realising that they can't, panic and fumble for the tether release or knife ... if they fail that ... then either you save them or they drown.

If they release the tether, you are now in the same position as if the MOB were untethered.

Alternatively, if you can stop the boat with them still attached (either because they weren't drowning or because you stopped quick enough) you are also in basically the same position as if the MOB were untethered ... except you can now jump directly to the part after you have reached them and just have to try to get them back on board ... so a much better scenario.

It may be different if running under a spinnaker, but heaving-to asap seems like the best bet. Even if they are not drowning, boat speed is your enemy in the recovery process ... it is also often touted as a good plan for an untethered MOB too ... so developing it as a reflex action for any MOB (sails permitting) seems like a good idea.

Of course if they drown first without being able to release the tether, that is a worse result than searching for a free-floating MOB ... so cutting the tether/jack-line may be prudent if you suspect them to be drowning and you can't heave-to within a few seconds.

So I don't see it as a very different scenario to an untethered MOB as far as skills needed to practise ... you still need a plan to return to a free-floating MOB (in the case the tether is released or cut) and secure them to the boat ... and a plan to get a MOB back on-board the boat who is in the water but secured to the boat.
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Old 17-07-2019, 12:46   #4
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Re: Couples--Recovering a Tethered MOB

seems in many cases that if you fall off the boat you may be dead. if you can climb back onboard then OK. if your 120 lb. wife needs to drop sails and lift you out of the water? that would require some practice
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Old 17-07-2019, 13:02   #5
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Re: Couples--Recovering a Tethered MOB

Come on folks, let's try harder.


Heave to ASAP. You shouldn't need to think about it for 2 seconds. Just throw the wheel over. No more drowning. That was one of the MAIB's findings, but typically no one thinks to do it for 10 minutes or more. Seems obvious.



Do you really want to release at night or in a storm? With a pro crew the odds are bad. With just two of you... nil.


The Clipper race has had 19 tethered MOBs. Only one resulted in a fatality, and that because the tether failed and it became a non-tethered MOB. So actually, no tethered MOB deaths. You do NOT want to release unless there is no choice. And in the case of the Lion, it was not an option, because his release was out of his reach. As for a knife, I'm not sure anyone has ever managed that while being drown. I doubt you could do it if you had your knife in your hand when you went over.



Why would the wife necessarily need to drop sails or lift? In most weather the sails can probably stay up. (maneuver in to hove to position) The lifting should be by winch, which I've had my daughter do.


Yes staying on the boat is better. But that is not a good excuse for not having a plan. Perhaps your wife fell off. Or perhaps you are just shorthanded, but the guests can't sail. Perhaps a guest fell off in moderate weather.


So what is your plan?
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Old 17-07-2019, 15:49   #6
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Re: Couples--Recovering a Tethered MOB

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Come on folks, let's try harder.
OK, I am trying ...

Personally I would rather be alive and swimming in a storm at night than drowned and not swimming ... If I'm being dragged with my head below water I'm going to do whatever it takes to get a breath of air, even if it means separating from the boat ... In a panic (and I expect I will be panicking) those 2 seconds it takes you to turn the wheel, will seem like ages, and I'm sure I will be fumbling for the release long before it is logical to do so ... look how quickly novice whitewater paddlers panic when they first go upside down in a real-life environment, and hence fail to execute a roll well practised in the pool ... and we are all novice MOBs ... if you're the one left on the boat, don't expect your MOB to do what's most sensible.

you say that it is obvious that you should just throw the wheel over and heave-to ... but panicking people (and I expect the crew left on the boat to be panicking too) don't always do the obvious thing, it sometimes takes training, and from downwind it could take many seconds for the boat to actually come about, and in some conditions the boat may have a hard time coming about without adjusting the sails (but at least it should have slowed) ... And this is a genuine question since I don't know the answer, but from a down-wind run with genoa poled out and main prevented, what happens if you just throw the wheel over? Presumably you turn away from the main to prevent a gybe? Will the boat heave-to with the genoa still poled out or do you have to release it from the pole? Do you have to release thge main and sheet it in to get the boat to heave-to? Or can you turn the other way and heave-to with the main backwinded and the genoa remaining poled out? And If running with a spinnaker, can you just turn and let it flog, or will that do something dramatic like a knock-down?


once you are hove-to the MOB is either:

a) no longer attached to the boat, ... then you have to perform an MOB recovery the same as if they were never tethered to start with.
b) still attached and alive ... then you haul them aboard the same as if you had recovered an untethered MOB.
c) still attached but drowned.

The plan should be the same as an untethered MOB, but with any luck you can avoid the part where you need to sail back to the victim and get a line attached ... so there is a much greater chance of success.
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Old 17-07-2019, 16:15   #7
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Re: Couples--Recovering a Tethered MOB

First put the wheel over to increase freeboard and reduce speed to zero ASAP.

At one time I had an idea for a somewhat longer line with a free loop about a foot back from the jack line end. This “spare” line runs in parallel with the tether to the harness clip. Clip or tie a spinnaker halyard to the free loop end and crank the winch. If that “spare” line (strap) is lightly sewn to the tether it could rip away from the tether and lift the MOB. Once load is off the tether it could be unclipped from the jack line or hard point if necessary. Keep cranking until the MOB is at the rail.
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Old 17-07-2019, 17:23   #8
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Re: Couples--Recovering a Tethered MOB

Everyone has his or her favorite way to somehow get the victim alongside. You can all discuss that. To get a victim back aboard we just had a sailmaker make a MOB retrieval tarp. It's a triangle of sailcloth 6' on each side with clips on two corners and a line on the third. The clips attach to our stanchion bases around the lifeline gate, making the cloth tight against the gunwale. The victim is brought to where the tarp is and the line passed under him and up to a winch on the cabin top. Cranking on the winch will lift whatever is in the bight of the tarp up and dump it onto the deck. Haven't had to use it other than for practice sessions yet, but it seems to work.
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Old 17-07-2019, 18:07   #9
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Re: Couples--Recovering a Tethered MOB

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Everyone has his or her favorite way to somehow get the victim alongside. You can all discuss that. To get a victim back aboard we just had a sailmaker make a MOB retrieval tarp. It's a triangle of sailcloth 6' on each side with clips on two corners and a line on the third. The clips attach to our stanchion bases around the lifeline gate, making the cloth tight against the gunwale. The victim is brought to where the tarp is and the line passed under him and up to a winch on the cabin top. Cranking on the winch will lift whatever is in the bight of the tarp up and dump it onto the deck. Haven't had to use it other than for practice sessions yet, but it seems to work.

How do you maneuver them into the tarp, assuming rough conditions? They may be either floating or still attached by tether. (I'm not nitpicking about keeping the tarp open--just getting them to it.)
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Old 17-07-2019, 18:11   #10
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Re: Couples--Recovering a Tethered MOB

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Heave to ASAP. You shouldn't need to think about it for 2 seconds. Just throw the wheel over.

It's that easy if you're sailing to windward. Not so easy if you're running.


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Old 17-07-2019, 18:54   #11
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Re: Couples--Recovering a Tethered MOB

On every vessel we have owned, the first thing I did was to teach my spouse how to handle the boat. We spent many hours picking up life jackets and fenders in both the open ocean and protected waters.
The reason for getting her confidence up and raising her comfort level in boat handling was to ensure she could return to fetch me out of the drink if
I went overboard. I felt it was time very well spent!
I never went over the side but she became as good at handling our DeFever 54 as I did... and it was a great lift to my confidence level!
Even though I hold a Masters license, her ability really put my mind at ease.
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Old 17-07-2019, 20:35   #12
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Re: Couples--Recovering a Tethered MOB

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It's that easy if you're sailing to windward. Not so easy if you're running.


Fabbian

So give a positive suggestion.

For example, Yacht World has suggested leaving all of the lines (guy/tack, sheet, halyard) without knots so the chute can be abandoned in seconds.

Another suggestion might be to lay the wheel over anyway. There will be a mess, but the boat will stop and your wife won't drown.

If it is a code zero, let it flog.

You need a plan, and it needs to be simple and fast. You know your boat. But remember, if the person is still tethered, you won't need to maneuver, only to stop, and if the plant is to lower the chute in the normal manner, to remove the wisker pole, and so forth, you will probably recover a corpse.

But all of this is minority case, from what I gather. Most tethered MOBs are from being on the bow going up wind. We can't solve everything. Maybe we should just focus on up wind or reaching. As for your Gemini, since you set a cruising chute and don't have a wisker pole, just tell us how your down wind drill would be different. I'm pretty sure you can just spin the wheel. The worst that will happen is that the chute will be plastered against the rigging. And you don't have a bow wave anyway (cat hulls are too narrow).
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Old 17-07-2019, 21:06   #13
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Re: Couples--Recovering a Tethered MOB

How much effort your wife expends in getting you out of the water probably is inversely related to how big your life insurance policy is.


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Old 17-07-2019, 22:58   #14
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Re: Couples--Recovering a Tethered MOB

A quick question about heaving to with a tethered MOB.

I assume it is more likely that the MOB will be on the lee side, If you heave to the MOB will be on the windward side with the bigger sea state.

Would you not be better to just let the main halyard and the sheets go to stop/slow the boat ?
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Old 17-07-2019, 23:39   #15
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Re: Couples--Recovering a Tethered MOB

I am surprised to hear that Clipper has had so many successful recoveries of tethered MOB's. I guess that must be down to large crews able to heave the MOB right back up. On ordinary cruising boats my guess is that a tethered MOB is not really survivable without INSTANT action, heaving to and/or cutting free. If you are alone on deck and go over tethered, I guess you are simply dead.



I would like to see some real data and maybe real testing on this, because all my thinking on this is theoretical and something might be incorrect.



Nevertheless, FWIW: My boat's safety manual says the helmsman INSTANTLY comes about into a hove-to posture, without regard to breaking gear, or if motoring, makes an INSTANT crash stop. It says that if you are the victim, and you are capable of cutting yourself free, you do that. On my boat, if you are tethered, you have an AIS beacon, so finding an untethered MOB has high chances of success.


As far as I can tell from reading actual cases, if you go over at speed and tethered, water is being forced down your throat and you drown in seconds. I doubt that anyone could even reach his safety knife and cut himself free and I've never read of such a case (nevertheless, I DO keep a safety knife in my life jacket).


There is a company in Cowes which makes a lifejacket which allows you to pull a pin and flip yourself over to be pulled from behind. Might be a good idea.
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