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Old 02-08-2011, 03:37   #1
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Coastal Catamaran MOB for Tropics

I have been reading the MOB threads and I have read the SF MOB trial accounts several times. I have a catamaran which is about 20 feet wide and the transoms are relatively low to the water with steps. I will mainly be sailing in the central Philippines during the day and typically within sight of land - but still further than one is likely to want to swim. It seems to me that crew recovery should be somewhat easier than is described by the offshore monohull guys. I am thinking that it might be useful to trail a short bridle with a loop or a 'rope ladder / cargo net' thing from both the bow and stern between the hulls in the water for the crew to grab onto. I would expect the technique would be to drop the sails and motor back to the crew, then position the boat so that the engine can be shut down and the boat will drift over the crew in the water giving them two chanches to grab either the front or stern line, with a person standing by on one or both transoms to assist. If I am the one in the water, this is the best I can hope for as no other crew members are likely to be able to sail well.

Because of the heat in the troics, and the stability of the catamaran, I expect that PFDs will likely only be worn (eventually) during bad weather. I am going to try and insist that all crew wear a small 'fanny' pack which contains some basic survival gear, including an inflatable floatation item (likely a surface marker buoy used by divers), a large orange or yellow trash bag, plastic whistle, DVD signal mirror, and a waterproof light among other items.

Is this at least plausible? What do other catamaran sailors do in warm coastal waters?
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:09   #2
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Re: Coastal Catamaran MOB for Tropics

We use belt pack type PFD's if on deck always ( well 98% of the time ) and In an emergy it might save our lives. We have not done a MOB practice but soon we'll try , the water is getting warmer. 180 lbs is hard to drag up the aft steps so we'll try a 6 to 1 with a hook to help. We've tryed putting a rope from one hull to another to help catch folks if we anchor in a current but it catches too much weeds and stuff.
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Old 06-08-2011, 20:08   #3
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Re: Coastal Catamaran MOB for Tropics

I think that MOB pick-up is easier in a catamaran than a monohull. I have owned and or sailed several of both. I have always found that the monohull does best with a figure of 8 maneuver to come back and pick up the MOB. Of course this requires that you come about and you spend a significant time away from the MOB. With a catamaran if you immediately turn hard into the wind and allow the jib to backwind, the boat just sits there until you can throw the MOB a flotation device, during which time the boat drifts slowly towards the MOB. The key to an easy MOB recovery is practice, practice, practice. Whenever I have someone new aboard for a long sail the first thing I do is demonstrate a MOB drill. It then becomes easy to do one, even when your teenagers refuse to don a waist float or jacket.
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Old 06-08-2011, 21:06   #4
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Re: Coastal Catamaran MOB for Tropics

A few thoughts:
  • The crew will need to know how to drop sail and start the engines, while not loosing sight of the MOB. This will require practice for a green crew to do in less than 5 minutes. The trouble is, the boat might travel 15 ft/sec for 5 minutes = 0.85 miles. This can't work. So, some sort of quick stop is required.
  • Better assume relatively rough water.
  • Better to rely on prevention unless the crew is sharp. Jacklines. Relying on crew that cannot sail in rough conditions in an emergency is folly.
  • Drift over the MOB in rough water? And drop a 20,000-pound boat on them. No.
  • Try a Lifesling or equivalent.
  • Practice. Everything else is just talk. Toss a type-4 in the water and then just sit down. See if they can go get it.
One brief practice session, with the kids.
Sail Delmarva: MOB Drills, Lifesling, and Climbing Equipment


Also consider that you may fall without being seen. They won't find you.


Yeah, it's easier in a cat, but not easy with a short crew.
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