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Old 08-05-2015, 06:19   #46
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Re: single handed sailing MOB self rescue

My solution for this is simple. Anytime I leave the cockpit, I have my life jacket on with my spot clipped to it. I never use the batteries, so they're fully charged. If I were to go over, self rescue would be way too much work, so I'd just press the happy button and wait for help.
Obviously the best thing is not to go over. Besides a tether to the mast, I've found vibram five finger kmds to be extremely grippy. Makes me feel like a gecko on the foredeck.


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Old 08-05-2015, 10:53   #47
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Re: single handed sailing MOB self rescue

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Originally Posted by korrigan View Post
While my level of experience doesn't compare to most people here I do solo a lot. Most of my sailing in the last 10 years has been solo.

I have to laugh at suggestions for ways to get back on the boat or to have it circle around or some such.

Maybe on some flat sea in clear weather drifting with the sails this kind of thing might work but it's unlikely you'll fall off the boat in those conditions.

When I was embroiled in a pointless and hostile discussion on another board about how useless lifejackets are someone actually had the nerve to suggest that all one needs to do is to buy some gadget (of course they suggest purchasing something expensive, that's what they always do). This gadget was supposed to put your autopilot into some mode where it goes around in circles. Then by some miracle you are to swim to your boat and climb on board.

Just suggesting such a thing leads me to believe that particular poster really doesn't get out much. Maybe that looks Ok in the flat waters out in front of Seattle but it's laughable in my experience, and I'm guessing they never actually tried it.

Even if the boat did get back to you it would likely just run over you.

I've climbed a fair amount as well and I don't ever recall a conversation about how to survive falling off the cliff. You fall off the cliff you are dead and correspondingly you fall off the boat while solo on deck and you are dead. The only thing the lifejacket will do for you then is increase the chances your family will have a body to bury.

The only times I bother with a lifejacket is when docking and undocking where I might actually need it and if someone else is on deck and I've got a bunch of work to do like prepping the spinnaker and the harness and tether become a burden.

Other than that all the man overboard equipment on the boat is simply there so I don't get fined. First thing I tell people when they step on the boat is: "don't fall off because I won't bother coming back for you".

But before you all start howling; it's not that I'm unsafe. I'm probably the most cautious sailor out there. As soon as I'm officially in the Straits the harness goes on and the hatch board goes in no matter what the weather. It's just that I know what to be afraid of. Falling off the boat is what scares me the most, well after I've survived the drive up there which is really the most dangerous part of any journey.

....

Of course here's where someone will invariable say: "I fell off in a gale in the ocean and my crew of ten was able to get me back on the boat so you are full of it etc etc etc.

Or so and so fell off and grabbed that rope he drug around for all those years and pulled himself back aboard.

There's always some story of some person who's survived such a thing. But then there's also plenty of stories of people who fall thousands of feet down a mountain and survive.

But the fact is that most people who fall off mountains don't live and the list of great sailors gone missing while alone on deck off of perfectly good boats is pretty long.

But who am I to argue. Knock yourself out with these expensive and useless gadgets but be sure to fall off the boat as you are knocking yourself out because Darwin needs to work some magic on the humans if we're to survive another century.

Me I'll continue to see the edge of the boat as if it's a 100 foot cliff. That's the mindset that's missing in these, I'm geared up so much it's Ok to fall off the boat conversations.
Well put!
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Old 10-05-2015, 12:16   #48
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Re: single handed sailing MOB self rescue

Hi everybody

I have been reading this thread with much interest. DON'T FALL OVERBOARD is the general consensus, but sh. happens.

As written above, falls overboard do not occur mostly in bad weather, nor is the boom accident with unconscious crew in water very common. I have been compiling cases from Spanish, English and French official sources, and nothing support these rather gratuitous statements.

About personal attitudes, deck equipment and EPIs, these are personal choices.

Here are mine: central lifelines, strap handles everywhere, anything covered with reflective material. Strict rules. In bad weather, at the bow and at night, life jacket and self-rescue tether. At any time, I wear a remote pilot control (won't stop the boat, but you can at least slow it down) and a knife.

These are no absolute solutions, but they give me something invaluable: peace of mind. I have a few single-handed miles (Patagonia, Drake, S and N Atlantic), and I enjoyed each of them, without apprehensions.
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Old 10-05-2015, 12:40   #49
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Re: single handed sailing MOB self rescue

If I went overboard with a short tether it would catch on a stanchion and I'd be in the water or half way in the water behind that sanction. I don't see I could possibly get back onboard from that position. Much better, it think to pull my way up a longer tether and climb aboard the walk out transom on the stern.

In white water rescue practice I've often pulled my way up a line in a strong current, back to the flow.
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Old 10-05-2015, 12:41   #50
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Re: single handed sailing MOB self rescue

If I went overboard with a short tether it would catch on a stanchion and I'd be in the water or half way in the water behind that sanction. I don't see how I could possibly get back onboard from that position. Much better, it think to pull my way up a longer tether and climb aboard the walk out transom on the stern.

In white water rescue practice I've often pulled my way up a line in a strong current, back to the flow.

It's the same with rescuing someone else. Why would I haul someone over the side and through or over the lifelines when I have a walk out transom?
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Old 10-05-2015, 12:53   #51
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Re: single handed sailing MOB self rescue

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Originally Posted by nautical62 View Post
If I went overboard with a short tether it would catch on a stanchion and I'd be in the water or half way in the water behind that sanction. I don't see how I could possibly get back onboard from that position. Much better, it think to pull my way up a longer tether and climb aboard the walk out transom on the stern.

In white water rescue practice I've often pulled my way up a line in a strong current, back to the flow.

It's the same with rescuing someone else. Why would I haul someone over the side and through or over the lifelines when I have a walk out transom?
To be crass, you have a walk up transom? We get it. Overboard on a tether solo you are dead.
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Old 10-05-2015, 23:44   #52
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Re: single handed sailing MOB self rescue

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Originally Posted by Cadence View Post
To be crass, you have a walk up transom? We get it. Overboard on a tether solo you are dead.
I don't see why one would have to accept this as a given.

I agree that you should indeed try not to fall over board in the first place. But Eric's self rescue tether looks very interesting, and at least seems to show that you don't have to accept falling overboard as inevitably leading to your demise...
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Old 10-05-2015, 23:47   #53
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Re: single handed sailing MOB self rescue

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Originally Posted by Cadence View Post
Well put!
Except for:
"don't fall off because I won't bother coming back for you". Which is basically a declaration of "I don't care about the laws and the customs of the sea".
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Old 11-05-2015, 01:27   #54
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Re: single handed sailing MOB self rescue

A simple thought experiment

Boat sailing at 6 knots is doing 10-feet per second.

You fall overboard amidships on a 40-foot boat with a 12-foot beam. When you fall over the side you are 8-feet from the centerline where you might find the line trailing.

In two seconds, after you fall in, the stern goes by and you are still trying to figure out what happened. In another five seconds 50-feet of line has gone by and you are swimming like crazy trying to get to the centerline behind the boat. In another five seconds you will have to have found the line and gotten hold of it because, now 100-feet of line has gone by.

Seems unlikely to me, but I guess it is better to try than give up.

At night it seems very unlikely that one would find a 10mm line being dragged in the dark.
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