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Old 17-12-2008, 19:37   #1
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Catamaran MOB

How do people conduct a reliable MOB (Man OverBoard) drill on catamarans? The way I have taught MOBs on monohulls is the "figure-8" or "quick turn" method. We have found it effective no matter how strong the wind, and no matter the point of sail, and for monohulls, it works on every boat I have ever sailed.

What we do find is that it is very unreliable on our cruising cat (Mahe 36) because trying to get a tack complete when starting from a beam reach is not possible a significant fraction of the time.

Here are the requirements:
The procedure must be useable in winds up to at least 30-35 knots.
It must be usable from any point of sail.
It should not require use of the engines.

Have the experienced cat sailors here developed and practiced such a procedure? Or in such an emergancy must we rely on the engines?
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Old 18-12-2008, 03:33   #2
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The boat won't come about from a beam reach?
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Old 18-12-2008, 11:49   #3
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It will sometimes complete a tack from a beam reach, but not reliably in strong winds. Remember this is on San Francisco bay, where afternoon winds of 20 to 30 knots are normal.

I guess I should add another requirement to the list, the procedure has to be able to be done by one person. There is no way that one person can trim main, work the jib and man the helm all at once on a Mahe during a MOB.

The Figure 8 procedure (starting from close hauled) is like this: Fall off to a beam reach; then tack through 270 degrees (allowing the jib to back); sail downwind; release the jib; then head up to a close reach back to the MOB.

Without a second crew member first easing the mainsheet as the boat falls off, and then triming as the tack starts, the boat just can't be counted on to complete the tack.

Everybody says the Mahe "sails really good--for a cat", but it is starting to look to me like if one of a two man crew goes in the water they better be prepared for a LONG swim.
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Old 18-12-2008, 12:46   #4
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There is only one senseful manoever. Pull down the sails (if necessary cast/cut off the sheets), and start the engines. With two engines you can go very careful to the MOB to pick him up. All methods of the sailing schoolbook are nice to read in the armchair. But in the case of emergency you have to save a life.
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Old 18-12-2008, 13:01   #5
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Originally Posted by GreatKetch View Post
It will sometimes complete a tack from a beam reach, but not reliably in strong winds. Remember this is on San Francisco bay, where afternoon winds of 20 to 30 knots are normal.

I guess I should add another requirement to the list, the procedure has to be able to be done by one person. There is no way that one person can trim main, work the jib and man the helm all at once on a Mahe during a MOB.

The Figure 8 procedure (starting from close hauled) is like this: Fall off to a beam reach; then tack through 270 degrees (allowing the jib to back); sail downwind; release the jib; then head up to a close reach back to the MOB.
If you're starting from close hauled, why would you fall off before tacking? Just go straight into the tack.

When I was taught the quickstop maneouver that's what I was shown.
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Old 18-12-2008, 13:53   #6
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There is only one senseful manoever. Pull down the sails (if necessary cast/cut off the sheets), and start the engines. With two engines you can go very careful to the MOB to pick him up. All methods of the sailing schoolbook are nice to read in the armchair. But in the case of emergency you have to save a life.
I am coming to the conclusion that engines are a much more important part of a catamaran than for a monohull. The average crusing catamaran seem to be operated more as a motorsailor than a true sailboat.
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Old 18-12-2008, 14:03   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by multihuller View Post
There is only one senseful manoever. Pull down the sails (if necessary cast/cut off the sheets), and start the engines. With two engines you can go very careful to the MOB to pick him up. All methods of the sailing schoolbook are nice to read in the armchair. But in the case of emergency you have to save a life.
Absolutely agree with multihuller, the other thing in our MOB procedure is to cut the dingy loose from the davits with a knife
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Old 18-12-2008, 14:04   #8
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If you're starting from close hauled, why would you fall off before tacking? Just go straight into the tack.

When I was taught the quickstop maneouver that's what I was shown.
The "quickstop" has it's place, but it has a lot of problems too.

It is useless from anything EXCEPT a closehauled course. People do fall of boats going downwind.

It is rare that a shorthanded cruising boat really is ready to execute a quickstop. We aren't talking about racingboats with an experienced helmsman who is alert and paying attention, rather a boat that might be on autopilot with the only person left on board down below.

And have you REALLY practiced the quickstop with your boat in very strong winds???? Not a lot of boats take well to it. Especially catamarans. That turning across the wind with the sail sheeted in tight can be an "upsetting" experience.

If you don't regularly practice the procedure you are recommending, then your comments are strictly "armchair sailing".

On our (leadmine) ketch my wife and I regularly practice our MOB system. We both know the other one can get back to whoever was clumsy enough to fall off--without requiring the engine. We do START the engine in case some part of the sailing system goes haywire, but anytime we need to use it we consider that try a failure.
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Old 18-12-2008, 14:26   #9
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The quickstop does only work from closehauled, but then you did say you were starting from a closehauled course.

Turning across the wind with sails sheeted in tight is what you do every time you tack. It isn't an "upsetting experience" at all.

If someone falls overboard with the boat on autopilot, while the only other crew is down below, then they are likely to be in a great deal of trouble. The first principle of MOB recovery is - never take your eyes off the MOB. If the only other crew is down below that principle is immediately lost.

Good thing then that an MOB is far less likely from a cat.
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Old 18-12-2008, 15:20   #10
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The quickstop does only work from closehauled, but then you did say you were starting from a closehauled course.
Errr... that was the EXAMPLE for people who didn't know what a Figure 8 method was. Replace "close hauled" with "close reach" or Broad Reach" or "run"

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Turning across the wind with sails sheeted in tight is what you do every time you tack. It isn't an "upsetting experience" at all.
Ahhh, come on, really now. Do you think that is what I meant? I didn't say INTO the wind I said ACROSS it.

If you know the quick stop method you know that after you tack, you keep turning WITH THE SAILS SHEETED IN until you come all the way about and jibe. Is this really a smart trick in a catamaran in strong winds? to sail on a beam reach with the sails flat in?

The conclusion I am coming to is that even experienced catamaran sailors can't SAIL their boats quickly back to a MOB. So engines it is! In fact we have developed a fairly simple method that uses just one engine and seems to allow good control of the boat under all conditions.

There are plenty of threads where you can argue the various merits of MOB procedures, this is specific to CATS and if there is a sail-only approach that works.
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Old 18-12-2008, 15:43   #11
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If you have an appropriate amount of sail up, (ie you're not racing) there won't be a problem. However releasing the jib sheet after completing the tack might be a good idea.

In reality getting back QUICKLY is likely to involve the use of the engine(s) on any boat, if the MOB happens on a dead run. To sail back you'd at least need to trim sails, which isn't going to help keep your eyes on the MOB.
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Old 19-12-2008, 04:19   #12
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If you have an appropriate amount of sail up, (ie you're not racing) there won't be a problem. However releasing the jib sheet after completing the tack might be a good idea.

In reality getting back QUICKLY is likely to involve the use of the engine(s) on any boat, if the MOB happens on a dead run. To sail back you'd at least need to trim sails, which isn't going to help keep your eyes on the MOB.
Mmmmm 44c, you really need to finish your boat and go sailing so you may speak from a position of experience.

If the conspiracy theorists accept the reality that the Kaz II crew fell overboard, then I would suspect that catamarans don't have such a good record for not losing crew.

If by chance you fell overboard ,I suspect you would be in more trouble than Ned Kelly, as the physical grunt required to sheet or lower sails, lower twin outboards and start, plus navigate back to yourself ,would be beyond most sailing partners in open ocean and trade wind conditions especially if coming off a deep reach or run with a 40+ foot boat. ( turn Key diesels certainly have advantages in this regard)
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Old 19-12-2008, 10:05   #13
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.... ( turn Key diesels certainly have advantages in this regard)
I know there are lots of places in the modern world where we depend on a mechanical system to save our lives. Just think about the brake system in your automobile. But still.... I really, really, REALLY dislike being in a position that my crew's life (or mine!) depends on my ability to get an engine started, no matter what type of engine we are talking about! But maybe that is just me...

And the idea of doing an emergancy sail drop, and THEN starting an engine, strikes me as a recipie for disaster. It's a nice theory, but if you wrap an errant sheet around a prop, you now can't sail and can't motor either. You drift helplessly away while your crew drowns. [Shudder!]

But, no matter what procedure you decide is best for you and your boat, PLEASE practice it! All the noodling on the planet is no replacement for actually knowing exactly what to do in what order and having a good idea how long it will take.
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Old 19-12-2008, 13:25   #14
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I practiced MOB so many times on S.F. Bay I became an expert. I was tired of dressing the fish with lovely looking ballcaps, so I started buying clips.

Thanks GK,

I had never considered it being any different on the cat. Never once gave it a thought. I will have to give this some thought, and practice......i2f
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Old 19-12-2008, 13:38   #15
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Mmmmm 44c, you really need to finish your boat and go sailing so you may speak from a position of experience.

If the conspiracy theorists accept the reality that the Kaz II crew fell overboard, then I would suspect that catamarans don't have such a good record for not losing crew.

If by chance you fell overboard ,I suspect you would be in more trouble than Ned Kelly, as the physical grunt required to sheet or lower sails, lower twin outboards and start, plus navigate back to yourself ,would be beyond most sailing partners in open ocean and trade wind conditions especially if coming off a deep reach or run with a 40+ foot boat. ( turn Key diesels certainly have advantages in this regard)
No physical grunt needed with power tilt. Turning the keys to start outboards is pretty much the same as with diesels. Within most people's capabilities, even if beyond yours.

And the possibility that 3 people fell off a boat proves that cats have a bad record? To you maybe.

If one of a two person crew falls overboard from a deep reach or run, they are likely to be in trouble no matter how many hulls the boat has.

There is no way you can SAIL back to them without sail handling, which means taking your eyes off the MOB.
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