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Old 17-04-2010, 20:29   #1
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Man Overboard Recovery Systems

The first time we sailed to New Zealand, there was a husband and wife team sailing to New Zealand from the South Pacific, and the husband went overboard while wearing his safety harness. The tether was long enough for him to be dragged in the water beside the yacht, but there was too much freeboard for him to pull himself back on board. The wife was not strong enough to pull him back on board, and he drowned as he dragged in the water beside the yacht. The New Zealand Air Sea Rescue had to lower someone down to the yacht to help the wife get the boat safely into port, and to recover the body of the husband. The cruising couple were in their late sixties. I suspected that if they had been in a yacht with a sugar scoop on their stern, the outcome would have been different. It was obvious that their man overboard recovery system was inadequate on their yacht.

We carried three types of man overboard recovery systems on board Exit Only.

One of the systems was conventional, and two of the systems were unconventional.

The conventional system was the well-known Life Sling. As long as the individual could get in the Life Sling, we could winch him on board.

The unconventional systems consisted of a Mast Mate - a device used by people to climb their mast, and a Gale Rider Drogue.

Before I installed folding steps on my mast, I used the Mast Mate to climb the mast and inspect the rigging. Once I installed the folding steps, I no longer needed the Mast Mate to go to the top of the mast. I decided to keep the Mast Mate on board as a man overboard recovery tool. If there was a malfunction in the Life Sling system, I planned to toss the Mast Mate into the water with one end attached to a halyard. The man over board would then pass his arms and legs through the loops of the mast mate, and we would winch him out of the water and back on board.

The third unconventional man overboard recovery system was our large Gale Rider Drogue. This drogue has a large stainless steel hoop at the mouth of the drogue, and when you take the drogue out of the bag, the stiff stainless steel hoop opens up like a large hoola hoop, and the webbing deploys that is attached to the stainless steel hoop. This creates a very large cargo net configuration, and in an emergency, an injured crew member could be lifted out of the water inside our large Gale Rider Drogue that is attached to a halyard.

I am not advocating any of these methods for getting people back on board the yacht, but in an emergency, you do what you have to do. My kids and my wife all knew that they had these options available in the event of someone going overboard.

In a storm north of New Zealand, we ended up with a three foot gaping hole in our port side trampoline. If someone had stepped on the trampoline in the dark, we would have lost someone overboard. Fortunately, we discovered the blown tramp in the daytime rather than having someone go through the trampoline at night during a storm.

What is your plan for recovery of a person who goes overboard on your yacht? How will you get them out of the water? Do you have any unconventional methods of recovering a member of your crew?
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Old 18-04-2010, 00:08   #2
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We probably need a revise on our MOB proceedure.
With a sugar scoop its good, but only if the MOB can at least themselves back up the ladder.
The main halyard is our friend here. Just clip the halyard onto the safety harness and haul the damp dope up.
But haul up and release the halyard quickly as there is some instance of chest constriction from the harness.

The first and most important thing with a MOB, in my view, is to STOP the boat!

Do you remember the crap taught about gybing or tacking or the worst the figure 8 recovery?

Its still being taught!!!!

Get a load of this complicated manouver:



I'm stuffed if I could do it on a good day, let alone when otherwise occupied!!

My method. STOP.
Get rid of the sails. get the motor on. Power straight back to MOB, or if close go in asternm to MOB.




I dont want to have to try it for real! But it works in practice

Mark
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Old 18-04-2010, 00:37   #3
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Mark, your suggestions would have problems also, try getting in the water one day and ask the crew to reverse towards you.

But you are correct when you apply what you said to the original episode described. Why couldn't she have stopped the boat and winched him a board - might have brokena rib or two but I'm guessing he wouldn't have objected.

Next question - do you keep your tether short enough that you can't go past the liflelines?

MO - like this?
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Old 18-04-2010, 03:28   #4
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We tried our MOB procedure last year, the first attempt took 56 minutes, it was a good job our 'victim' was wearing an immersion suit. Practice got it down to 14 minutes and that was with a crew who were expecting the 'accident' We used the 'Life Sling' which worked as it said on the tin, once the MOB managed to get into it. The manoeuvring of the boat definitely takes practice and that is in a boat with the engine running, in daylight with someone pointing at the 'casualty' all the time. Like the mainstream thoughts on this, we decided that more effort into preventing it happening in the first place is the way to go. We've shortened our tethers, added more jack-line anchor points and taken all the slack out of the jack-lines. No one, even in calm weather, goes on the foredeck without a harness when we're under way or recovering the anchor.

P.

P.S. we had the RIB in the water and we were in a protected bay with very little wave or wind action. God help us if it's really rough, dark and unexpected.
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Old 18-04-2010, 04:45   #5
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Plan A is not fall overboard .

Plan B is .............use an inflatable dinghy. MOB gets in himself or spare crew can help him in. Can be either tied alongside or first towed / drifted down to the MOB therefore avoiding the need to run him over

My thinking is that once MOB out of the water everyone has more time to get him back onboard. Plus him starting from above water (even if on a bouncy dink) is a million percent easier for the MOB to self rescue by simply climbing a ladder.

As am intending to get a very small occassional near shore use inflatable anyway am mulling over the idea of fitting it with a quick inflation device / bottle for MOB use...............I will call it the "MOB Survival Raft"
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Old 18-04-2010, 05:49   #6
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We practice the following 4X a year and with all new crews before passages.

1) Heave-to; unless you are sailing down wind this will get you slowed and moving slowly towards the lost man. If sailing down wind do not carry more sail than you can carry close hauled so that you are not over canvassed if you have to sail back to the man. Down wind stop the boat as quickly as possible and get rid of jib or spinnaker. If running with a jib and pole always rig the pole with topping lift, down haul and after-guy so that the pole is independant of the jib sheet this allows you to de-rig the jib without touching the pole.

2) Start the engine and press the MOB button on the GPS to fix the location.

3) Get rid of the jib but keep the main in case the engine quits or a line wraps your prop.

4) Get 5 boat lengths down wind of the MOB and then approach under engine into the wind at a controlled speed.

5) Point what will be the lee shrouds at him and not the bow. This keeps the MOB in sight and brings him to the side of the boat at the shrouds; being to windward means that the boat will blow down to the man instead of being blown away from him. The to windward position is achieved by turning the boat down to leeward just before you get the man along side.

6) Stop the boat and drop the main if not done during the approach which is probably beter and put the main sheet on hard so you do not have to contend with a loose boom. Remember to put the engine in neutral.

7) Get the man attached to the boat so that he does not float off

8) If the MOB is able have him climb a prepared ladder or the swim platform. If not use a lifting system you have practiced with. We use our dinghy engine lift. Never practice lifting with a man in the water...practice with the man in the dinghy or on a low floating dock with the boat tied up.

8) Practice...practice...practice. We do MOB drills 4 times a year minimum!

We had guests for a PR to Bonaire trip last month. We did 3 hours of MOB drills and got it to the point where a 120# female recovered a 220# male from the dingy with ease. Even a non-sailor could get the boat back to the MOB at the end of the drill.

All lifting systems must be practiced with and fine tuned.

We had a female on board who had sailed for 30 years and had 10,000 plus sea miles, including Bermuda to NY and Miami to Jamaca and it was the first time she had done MOB drills!

MOB under sail, short-handed requires great skill and lots of practice. Use the engine but practice under sail because what will you do if the engine fails to start?

Beware any method that involves a gybe!
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Old 21-04-2010, 17:10   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
We probably need a revise on our MOB proceedure.
With a sugar scoop its good, but only if the MOB can at least themselves back up the ladder.
The main halyard is our friend here. Just clip the halyard onto the safety harness and haul the damp dope up.
But haul up and release the halyard quickly as there is some instance of chest constriction from the harness.

The first and most important thing with a MOB, in my view, is to STOP the boat!

Do you remember the crap taught about gybing or tacking or the worst the figure 8 recovery?

Its still being taught!!!!

Get a load of this complicated manouver:



I'm stuffed if I could do it on a good day, let alone when otherwise occupied!!

My method. STOP.
Get rid of the sails. get the motor on. Power straight back to MOB, or if close go in asternm to MOB.




I dont want to have to try it for real! But it works in practice

Mark
Whats complex about that... its no different to picking up a mooring under sail... if you cant do that you've got problems... the only hard bit is getting em back on board... doubly so if they're out cold.
As for reversing to the MOB under power... no way I want to crew for you mate... we've crossed b4...LMAO
you'd probably shove ME over the side for practice......
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Old 21-04-2010, 17:24   #8
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Reverse to the MOB Under power ???...with all the MOB stuff off the back of the boat...you've got to be kidding....
Our technique isupwind, backwind the jib..ie heave to...downwind...round up, get rid of the genoa / spinnaker....then get back to the MOB posn already marked on the GPS.....we too have a drogue that will lift an MOB, and a lifesling that can be hoisted by a halyard.
Never thought abought the mast climber 'tho..sounds like a good idea.
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Old 21-04-2010, 18:18   #9
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I doubt Mark meant to go backwards, he just meant turn around and get back.
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Old 21-04-2010, 21:19   #10
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There are a number options for sailing the boat back to the man over board. The ISAF has one in the back of their Special Regs, the RYA taught me one similar to Albro359 and there are others. They all need practice before you and the crew will get them right and they are all handy to know.

The best approach is the one which is most appropriate for the situation in hand.

For the vast majority of situations this will be, as Mark advises.

Stop the boat (by crash tack if under headsail)
Drop / furl the headsail
Turn on the engine and motor to the MOB.

But I don't think the OP was about how to get the boat back to the MOB, but more about how you get the MOB back on board once you are along side.
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Old 21-04-2010, 23:57   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palarran View Post
I doubt Mark meant to go backwards, he just meant turn around and get back.
No, I meant go backwards, as in astern.
When close to the MOB the idea is to go slow astern. We have a swim platform with ladder and the main halyard winch is near the wheel, plus the halyard has the length. Person on board can be harnessed to 1 inch ss not life line and can remain clipped on through out most of proceedure.
All out safety geer etc is in lazarettes in the cockpit, or already in the cockpit, as well as the boats controlls and easiest way of getting a person aboard. We also swim to that platform all the time so we know it and are comfortable with it.

If the risk is chopping someone up with the prop then that risk must be similar if alongside the MOB. However alongside the MOB the wheel is unmanned, as is the throttle. Backslap problem is same as roll problem..

In our boat we can have the wheel and throttle manned whilst getting the halyard to the MOB's harness (or the harness on first if they were not wearing one).

The the halyard winch can assist the MOB up the ladder , or just pull them up.

I haven't tried it with a live one. Nic refuses to volunteer!


Anyone tried it like that? any storng reasons against it?


Mark
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Old 22-04-2010, 00:26   #12
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Scary stuff.

Obviously preparation is the key. I'm thinking I'm one step ahead with PFD/integral harness. If I have failed to rehearse the whole thing sufficiently (and I don't think you really can- I mean, who knows all that can be thrown at you) I would sure like to be able to verbalize what needs to be done from the water. No guarantees I know.

In a case where the MOB is already tethered to the boat I would hope the boat could simply be stopped ASAP. What am I missing?

Obviously being under full sail you have to de-power. Is this more panic related than the inability to stop the boat?
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Old 22-04-2010, 05:02   #13
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Whilst preparing for our trip to NZ from Fiji, we practiced both the manoevering AND the getting the casualty out of the water. We practiced the getting the casualty out while at anchor, it was very interesting. The conclusions we drew were as follows:

1. If the casualty is in a life jacket and conscious, manoevre the boat to within 10 feet of them and throw them a line they can attach themselves to, then haul them next to the boat, drop a ladder for them.

2. If the casualty is in a life jacket and un-conscious, manaoevre the boat to within 10 feet of them, get someone in a harness, attached to the boat down the ladder and into the water, clip the line onto them, drag them back to the boat and use a halyard & winch and lifesling to haul them aboard.

3. If the casualty is un-conscious without a life-jacket, there's almost no point in bothering, they'll likely have drowned by the time you can get a man to swim out to them, but you would try the stuff in (2) anyway.


Most of the postings above have been about how people manoevre back to the MOB. All of which is valid, useful stuff. I failed my RYA Yachtmaster practical exam for an accidental gybe, however, during the same exam, I did manage to do an MOB drill under sail, in the dark, which I am very proud of. This is the level to which I would expect offshore cruisers to be able to do a drill (although I know that most can't).

HOWEVER all of this aside, if you read the OP, the victim wasn't an MOB that could be helped by all boat manoevres discussed above - he was already attached to the boat. What killed him was being dragged along because the boat was still making way. If his crew had known how to heave-to he could have been hauled back on board at their leisure. What this highlights is the danger to the skipper if he doesn't teach his crew the basics of what to do in an emergency. If that couple had done even one MOB drill, she would have known how to heave-to.

Everyone on your boat should know how to stop the boat. YOUR life may depend on it.
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Old 22-04-2010, 05:06   #14
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I would sure like to be able to verbalize what needs to be done from the water. No guarantees I know.
Wow, you're relying a lot on them being able to hear you - over the sound of an engine or a 20kt blow? Also, why do you think you'll be overboard? Can you guarantee you'll be conscious? If you go overboard in UK waters, they say that you have about 15 mins before you're more than likely dead from hypothermia or some related problem.

Quote:
In a case where the MOB is already tethered to the boat I would hope the boat could simply be stopped ASAP. What am I missing?

Obviously being under full sail you have to de-power. Is this more panic related than the inability to stop the boat?
Not de-power, HEAVE-TO!! Teach everyone on board how to do this in the blink of an eye, THEN head off-shore. I've met RTW sailors who don't know how to stop the boat.
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Old 22-04-2010, 05:24   #15
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No, I meant go backwards, as in astern.
When close to the MOB the idea is to go slow astern. We have a swim platform with ladder and the main halyard winch is near the wheel, plus the halyard has the length. Person on board can be harnessed to 1 inch ss not life line and can remain clipped on through out most of proceedure.
All out safety geer etc is in lazarettes in the cockpit, or already in the cockpit, as well as the boats controlls and easiest way of getting a person aboard. We also swim to that platform all the time so we know it and are comfortable with it.

If the risk is chopping someone up with the prop then that risk must be similar if alongside the MOB. However alongside the MOB the wheel is unmanned, as is the throttle. Backslap problem is same as roll problem..

In our boat we can have the wheel and throttle manned whilst getting the halyard to the MOB's harness (or the harness on first if they were not wearing one).

The the halyard winch can assist the MOB up the ladder , or just pull them up.

I haven't tried it with a live one. Nic refuses to volunteer!


Anyone tried it like that? any storng reasons against it?


Mark
No objection to using the halyard winch etc... as that's what we ended up incorporating into our drill. The idea of reversing at a casualty though is sheer madness. The risk of chopping someone up is massively reduced by being alongside them instead of reversing towards them as they're much further from the prop. At the point that you would leave the wheel and throttle to go forward and attach them, you'd have the engine in neutral anyway, so no danger. Far better IMHO to come alongside them, put into neutral, go forward to attach them to the boat then walk them around to the stern so they can climb the swim ladder with your help.
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