Some thoughts as to prevention and not going overboard in the first place, and also getting someone back on board.
1. We change down to a smaller hanked on jib
before dark. Now with roller furling
, that job is made a lot easier. But reducing sail before dark keeps from having to go up in pounding weather to reduce sail or clear a snagged roller furling
jib sheet on the foredeck. ( same for reefing....we reef down early to keep life easy...as soon as the white caps start up )
2. Again, many years back a good buddy of ours was in the paddle board race
from Two Harbors Catalina island
to Manhatten Beach on the mainland . Open and deep ocean. He had practice along the southern califonia coast line for a few months. We were is support and safety vessel.
The usual morning calm winds took a vacation
, what arrived were stronger winds and four plus foot seas that greeted the entire group of paddlers. Our friend did well for about an hour or so, and he would start veering off course....we would pull up along side ( under power ) and advise him to stay near our boat to stay on course, follow us.
Finally, after several attempts to keep him on course, he panted that he could not do it, he was feeling sick and exhausted. No swim ladders, or boarding ladders, I used a couple of extra lines with large bowline loops as we sat hove to.
He was about 5'10", fit and strong. Both Erica and I were in excellent condition and lived active lives. Were it not for those two jury rigged line ladders with the lowest below the water line, not sure we would have been able to get his 170 pounds back on board.
We called on the VHF
freq that was assigned to the race
group and told them we had our paddler on board ( as well as his board ), and were withdrawing from the race. We still sailed him to Manhatten Beach, off shore , which took a few more hours, where he paddled in to meet with friends who were there to party with the group and get him and his board back to Newport Beach
. Erica and I sailed back to our slip in Newport
bay that took a few more hours and had a good day with spirited sailing and good winds.
Most of the paddle board racers had with drawn due to the sea conditions and some getting sea sick, fatigued, and disoriented . Everyone was required to have an escort boat that stayed with them.
After all of the other very interesting posts is seems to summarize
1. Don't go over board in the first place.
2. Two short tethers
3. Center line area jack lines
Last tale. At a local hang in Alimitos Bay, I would see a large bewhiskered older gentleman siting alone at in the same bar stool, never at a table with any friends. I learned that he was a long time sailing skipper
One day, I went up to him to try and start up a conversation about sailing and maybe see if he would like to come over and join us at our table. He looked at me with total indifference, and turned his back. OK, so much for that idea.
A few weeks later I noticed a large flower arrangement and a full drink sitting at his place at the bar. I asked what that was all about. Well, he was capt. on a delivery
crew bringing back a sailing vessel from Hawaii
( a vessel that had raced over in the transpac.....race crew flew home on an airliner ). Stormy night, no harness, went up on the foredeck, and overboard. The crew could not find him in the dark rough seas. The flowers and his favorite drink were in his honor at his favorite place and barstool.
Back to one of the major ideas of not going over board in the first place. Take safety precautions .
Thanks to the original poster and the contributors for this interesting and very informative subject.