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Old 09-09-2010, 08:41   #1
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MOB and Motors Question

I am curious to hear from the group, if you have a MOB (man/crew/person overboard), do you turn on your motor, or try to recover under sail without the motor?

Lets assume you are on board a boat with an inboard motor.
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:03   #2
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I would not engage the engine in most circumstances, with the possible exception of sailing in light air on an overpowering current.
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:08   #3
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Immediatly start the engine........the more options for good control the better. You can always shut it down when the MOB is back along side, if there is a concern about injury from the propeller.
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:22   #4
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It depends on the dozens of sets of circumstances under which the MOB took place.
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Old 09-09-2010, 10:22   #5
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As said it depends on the circumstances and local conditions. But it would be necessary to act quickly in most cases. Get a flotation device over the side fast, Luff to take way off the boat, or heave to. Get the engine started in case its needed, get the boarding ladder over the side. If conditions permit and a spare crewperson, launch the dingy or a life raft to go get the person in the water. If you haven't anyone else aboard for the task, manouver the boat near the person in the water and prepare to help them aboard.
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Old 09-09-2010, 11:02   #6
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Any sea state and a spotter is key if available.

In engineless boats we always taught to bear off, gybe, and round up approaching so as not to be windward of the victum and drift over him/her (if unconcious-or not) but shoot hime her like a picking up a mooring. Not the most intuitive but it ussually brings you right there and rather quickly. Definately keeps your hands full, but I could see the bennefit of starting the engine as you are rounding up. the idea is to be heading into the wind or slightly off, sails luffing with no drive when you get there otherwise you'll be doing another attempt. With the engine your work wouldn't have to be so precise however you still need to have no drive from the sails when you reach them and don't want to be windward and have the boat's leway drive them under it.
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Old 09-09-2010, 11:22   #7
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Get the engine started - you can leave it in neutral if you want, but my procedure is to drop/furl the sails and proceed under engine if possible: Just more control. We do practice with engine-out recoveries too.
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Old 09-09-2010, 11:40   #8
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I did a lot of experimenting with MOB techniques over teh years , inckluding training in MOB in a F6-7 , and Ive come to the following conclusions

(a) The key is not to let teh boat get away from the MOB. above all things

(b) Crash stop the boat, either tack and hove too or anything that stops it. Crash dropsails etc. Get the engine on , in any sort of sea you need the control.

(c) Rarely do you have the man power for the nonsense that is trotted out, like spotters and people on the VHF. The Quick stopmethod works, but the figure of 8 is a joke.

(d) Again stop the boat at all costs , the most difficult being dead downwind with either twin headsails or spinaker, you may have to risk the rig

My experiences are based on cold water MOBs, Where life is measured in minutes.

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Old 09-09-2010, 11:40   #9
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On most boats just letting out the main will bear her right off. Leave the helm free. When time yank her across the wind, cut loose the jib (leave the foresail alone on a schooner), and play the main in to head her up. You'll be heading right back to where you came from. All faster than trying to drop the sails, start an engine, and turn around. Then start the engine as you now have a moment and are taking way off and shooting the victum. Try it. It quickly gets you correctly oriented into the wind, or just off it and where you want to be.

And even with a spotter, if you have a gps running, hit the mob button or create a waypoint as soon as you notice there's someone missing!
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Old 09-09-2010, 11:50   #10
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I would not engage the engine in most circumstances, with the possible exception of sailing in light air on an overpowering current.

Bash, explain, why not?

I would have trouble stopping and holding the boat right next to the MOB with just sails in any sort of wind/waves.

I also think using the motor would vastly simplify the whole process. It eliminates about half the steps of the 'quick stop' including the gybe which could create its own additional problems.
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Old 09-09-2010, 13:09   #11
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The judgment on sails/motor for us depends on the conditions. Can't really motor our boat in the conditions that people typically fall overboard in, so we sail, and heave to near the individual.

I say prevention is more important than the actual tactic. DON'T FALL OFF. IN any water that is deeper than you can stand in, you will drown. Think of your boat like an airplane, and the depth of the water is your altitude above groundlevel. Now picture all that water not being there to support you if you fall. Changed our perspective when we started to think like that.

Whenever we have someone visit us on our boat, we are very specific to tell them that if they fall it might be a while till we get back to them, and for that reason we require lifejackets to be worn at all times.

We also are wimps and always wear harnesses and use jacklines often.
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Old 09-09-2010, 13:15   #12
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make a habit to drop your least favorite hat overboard in varied conditions, and try and go back and get it.

We do this anytime we have been away from the boat in a while (we use the sacrificial fender - on number four now, the first three drowned), to make sure that our skills are up to par.

Also when was the last time you tried to heave to with your boat? Answer that honestly IMO before you think about starting the engine, because the time you are going to need your engine to work, it will not start.
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Old 09-09-2010, 14:27   #13
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We plan/train on sailing back and don't spend a lot of time being "fancy" and feel while not panicking is important, that recovery speed is key.

But if a real MOB my wife plans on starting the engine. I don't discourage her because I feel whatever she feels most comfortable doing is the best for her. I on the other would probably sail back as first choice if sea conditions are not bad.
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Old 09-09-2010, 15:22   #14
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Heaving-to doesn't really help if the victim falls overboard while you are sailing to windward. By the time you heave-to you're upwind of the MOB and sailing at about 1-2 knots away..on avg.

Sailing downwind, MOB falls over, you have to head up to heave-to now you're potentially downwind of the MOB.

The quickstop is probably the fastest method...the figure 8 works and doesn't require a jibe...if you can start the engine and keep your eyes on the MOB I'd do so..

People like the figure 8 because you can fall off to a beam reach, quickly tack and return on a reciprocol course. In order to get down wind though you'd have to get to a broad reach before heading up to the MOB.

I like falling off to a broad reach immediately and then tacking back on a close reach.

I would start the engine...it's one more tool in the arsenal...
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Old 09-09-2010, 15:39   #15
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Quote:
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make a habit to drop your least favorite hat overboard in varied conditions, and try and go back and get it.

We often go back for hats - just for the practice. We always go back for a beer - Losing a beer coozie is critical!

When racing the crew is told to not fall off cuz we don't go back for anything - LOL...

Almost always we tack use a direct return and stop abeam upwind.

I've read the argument to be downwind but if you don't plan it right the boat drifts away from the target and you have to start over.

Being upwind puts the MOB in the wind shadow and if we miss judged the lateral distance we will be slowly drifting down on the target.
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