this thread schould come up. I teach sailing as a weekend hobby and a way to sail on the cheap
(hence my boat - OPB - "other people's boat"). My favorite class is the MOB(COB) class, because for me, that's where it all comes together. The sail handling, the close-quarters manuevering, communication under stress, etc. And I always encourage my students to practice at least once every time they go out; and at our school
we keep a few made-up bouys just for that purpose.
Recently in Sail and Cruising World there have been articles on MOB
procedure testing - both about the same excercise. Sail did a terrible job - a two page spread with nary a photo
or diagram. They give more space to a papaya recipe. CW was better, although they focused mostly on one method.
The details were somewhat sketchy, but I was concerned about a few things. Number one was the full complement of crew aboard each boat. Other than beer-can racing
, most people I know go sailing in couples or with non-sailors. So when I teach, I teach them to do it single-handedly, worse case scenario. If you've got extra crew, you can always find a use for them. But if you train for 5 crew and it's just you when your wife/husband/mistress/etc goes over, you're screwed.
There were lots of other things that got my goat, but I don't want my post to take up the whole page.
The thing that I've been thinking about is that most people practice with a pole, a fender
, etc - something you basically have to run over in order to pick back up. I used to do the same thing. Then one day we were out, 20 knots, and I realized I forgot to grab both the bouy and the boathook. So we tied two fenders together and connected one to the empty blender (we are sailors, after all). Then we took a dockline and rolling-hitched it to the hammer in tool kit. Now we had to treat it like the real thing - pull the boat up 10 feet away so you don't nail him on the head
, coil the dock
line, and toss it between the fenders to catch the line, haul it to the boat. Best excercise we ever ran.
So that got me thinking about making the excercise more realistic. I needed to come up with a way where you not only had to stop the boat, but also go forward and toss the line to the victim and bring them to the boat. I tried finding a mannican; no luck (at least not for free). Blow-up dolls have the right expression (picture the open mouth saying 'oh s**t!!!), but too much windage, and hard to be discreet about a blow-up doll on your boat.
This week I think I've come up with an easily and cheaply made contraption that uses a 5-gallon bucket as a sea anchor
(and also to simulate the resistance of pulling someone through the water), and the whole thing disassembles to store inside the bucket. Easy to keep on board, easy to bring out and practice. I tried it out to day and was very happy with the results. I caught a few people on the dock
and had them try it out there, with good results. I've got a guy this weekend who's testing out of his singlehanding
class on a 35-footer; I'm going to try it with him and see how it goes.