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Old 29-05-2011, 18:22   #1

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Question Have You Ever Been a Person Overboard ?

Curious how many people have been in the dire situation of falling overboard and needing rescuing while cruising. Secondarily, how many people have ever been in the situation of being the rescuer?


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Old 29-05-2011, 18:36   #2
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Re: Have you ever been a "Person Overboard"?

No, but I have been the "human gangplank" between the boat & the dock.

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Old 29-05-2011, 18:42   #3
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Re: Have you ever been a "Person Overboard"?

While single-handing the Baja coastline sailing south. I was thrown over the lifelines,but the boat fell off the wave, and yanked me back aboard.....OH MY ACHING BACK......still hurts today........i2f
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Old 29-05-2011, 18:50   #4
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Re: Have you ever been a "Person Overboard"?

In the late 1960's I had the experiene of getting knocked off the foredeck of my college roommate's father's yacht while making a sail change during a race in the middle of the night a good 40 miles off of Oceanside, SoCal. Luckily for me, it had been a fairly light-air race and another yacht happened by within an hour or so and picked me up--damned near ran me over--tho' by then I was damned near frozen and needed 3 people to help me aboard. My own boat didn't notice I was missing for 15 or 20 minutes (I learned later). It was several years before I could face going off-shore again. One does not want to go overboard. The odds are against you. I was VERy LUCKY. One must prctice safety first all the time.

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Old 29-05-2011, 19:10   #5

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Re: Have you ever been a "Person Overboard"?

wow harrowing stories here! I feel the aches and pains that I didn't imagine existed.

svHyLyte - EXTREMELY lucky!
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Old 29-05-2011, 19:33   #6
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Re: Have you ever been a "Person Overboard"?

If you sail without a PLB, you better hang on real tight. The chances of being rescued are extremely slim especially in waters as cold as the California Coast. You are a tiny speck out there nearly impossible to see from the deck of a boat. Add in any seas over a couple of feet and forget it. Rescue will be pure luck and probably a body search after an hour.
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Old 29-05-2011, 20:17   #7
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Re: Have you ever been a "Person Overboard"?

While rounding Lopez Island 2 years ago in the San Juan Islands, my wife asked "what is that?" "That" turned out to be a 70 year old man who had gone forward to bring in a fender on the chartered power boat his son, an emergency room doctor, was powering along at 25 knots and fell overboard. No one noticed. The water temperature is about 55 degrees, and this gentleman had about 15 minutes to live. He had no PFD, but was barely hanging onto the fender, too weak to wave or do anything much to assist in his rescue. Fortunately, Delfin has a deck entry that is only about 10 inches off the water, so I and my son were able to pull him aboard. He weighed about 210 pounds and without my son there I would not have been able to get him out of the water. This was one lucky dude (who had recently had triple by pass surgery), who was spotted by my wife who was on a boat that didn't require hoisting him aboard that happened to have a strapping youngster around to do what heavy lifting was required.

The man's family didn't notice that grandpa was gone for 90 minutes, and only found out when another boater who had been listening to the radio drama between us and the Coasties saw the boat at anchor, went over and asked if they were missing anything. No alcohol was involved, just cluelessness that endangered life.
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Old 29-05-2011, 20:32   #8

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Re: Have you ever been a "Person Overboard"?

unbelievable ignorance! Thats twice in the space of 7 posts that no one aboard noticed anything.

Truly remarkable rescue Delfin
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Old 29-05-2011, 21:07   #9
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Re: Have you ever been a "Person Overboard"?

well long ago back in the late 70's I was sailing with my brother on his little 15 foot racer . He was steering and the hiking /foot strap holding him up/in came loose. Over he went. Lucky I was looking his way when it happened and was able to grab the tiller and did a 180 return. He was back on board in about a minute. Lucky it was summer down near Savannah. Would hate to see that happen on the SF bay.

OK not the same as on a bigger boat. So far I've been lucky and no one else has ever gone overboard. I was just talking to my friends today, that we need to practice MOB. I know what I would do, but worry if I'm the one that went overboard. Oh I singlehand half the time anyway, so thats a larger problem.
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Old 29-05-2011, 21:20   #10
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Re: Have you ever been a "Person Overboard"?

I carry seven plastic jerry jugs, four for diesel, two for water and one of gasoline. They’re tied to boards on each side of the deck which are tied to the bottom of the shrouds just above the toe rail. Eighteen inches of the board protrudes beyond the front jerry can (first mistake).
Picture doing a tack by yourself while the wave height is almost as high as the boat is long! To get the bow to swing through the tack I’d back-wing the jib to help the bow move a crossed the center of the wind. Then there’s a bit of confusion while you get the autopilot set so that you can then get the jib sheet tied off on the self tailing winch. On one of my less that spectacular tacks, the flapping jib sheet wrapped around the afore-mentioned board, sticking out in fromt of the jerry can. The only way to free it was to go forward and unwrap it.
It’s still doing gale force winds so once again I strapped on the safety harness and tethered it to a jack line I have running fore and aft on the deck. I crawled on my hands and knees up the low side (second mistake). When I unwrapped the jib sheet from the board it began to flap wildly about, and quicker than I can type, looped around my neck and yanked me to the limit of the tether, six or eight feet in the air, and then tried to choke me to death. Failing that it threw me to the deck where I did a face plant. Before I did the second trip into the air I hooked the fingers of both hands between the line and my neck so that when I was slapped into the deck again I could free the line from around my neck. The downside of this maneuver was that when I hit the deck the second time my hands were occupied so I couldn’t break my fall. I pressed my cheek to the deck so the line couldn’t snare me again and slithered on my belly back past the primary winch while the jib sheet beat me to death on the back. If I’d not had the safety harness clipped on, I’d have been tossed into the sea. But if I’d gone down the high side and crossed over I might not have had to experience the whole thing. Lesson learned, but my next task was to crawl forward with a saw and remove the excess board.
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Old 29-05-2011, 21:37   #11
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Re: Have you ever been a "Person Overboard"?

In the early 80's we decided to practice a man overboard. Our volunteer was equiped w/ a pfd and strobe, was a very experenced swimmer. The sea's where a little pissy for So. Calif waters. It took almost 3 hour's to get him back on board. Swimmer in the water, deployed life ring w/man overboard pole. trying to get the boat back around for pickup was unbelivable without loosing sight of the swimmer. This was very difficult, But it's nice to know what to do in this case. The boat was a 45' cutter.
.. Michael..
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Old 29-05-2011, 22:01   #12
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Re: Have you ever been a "Person Overboard"?

I was sailing fast on my Nacra cat, it was blowing about 20 kts. My crew didn't have any cat experience and not a lot of sailing experience. I was on the tiller and mainsheet and he had the jib sheets and we were both trapezed out. We were tacking upwind and right after we tacked we fell off a bit for speed and a wave hit us from the side and washed my feet away from the side of the boat. My harness released from the trapeze line and I was in the cold water. Of course I had a PFD and a wet suit on so I would be OK for awhile but the water was about 53 degrees. I saw the knotted bitter end of the mainsheet spitting towards me and since I knew that my crew probably couldn't sail the boat back to me I grabbed the rope and held on. As the boat sailed away I hung on and the main sheeted in and finally the wind pressure on the side of the sail capsized the cat. I was able to swim back to the boat, help right it and we sailed away.
I guess I rescued myself.
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Old 29-05-2011, 22:37   #13
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Re: Have you ever been a "Person Overboard"?

1989 working longline out of Ulladulla [New South Wales, Aus] with a very silly Skipper returning to harbour in a black Nor Easter when we should have stayed out wide and rode out the storm.
Our 45 foot boat was rolled by a massive wave at around 2130 on a moonless night about one nautical mile from the outer harbour while I was on the foredeck [under instruction] getting mooring lines and springs ready for berthing.
I was washed under the upturned deck and into the sea with Bib and Brace, sea boots, and no Jacket.
Spent a terrifying couple of hours in breaking seas before being washed over every barnacle and sharp rock on the outer harbour rock platform and into the cliff face before clambering up on to a rock shelf with a broken arm, one broken rib and multiple cuts and abrasions.
Winched up the cliff on a search parties four wheel drive winch and straight into the Ambulance and off to hospital.
The most frightening thing about the whole ordeal was that when you are tumbled down deep in the water at night and completely disoriented you can not tell if you are swimming towards the surface or sideways and there comes a point where you must breath out with nothing but salt water to breath in!
There is a lot more to the story but it is to long for this forum but I have to say that this event changed my life. Now every day when I wake up in the morning it is a bonus.
I must also stress that this is not a tale of heroic survival at sea. In these conditions you are not able to "swim" but just try and keep your head above water and try to control the unimagineable panic.
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Old 30-05-2011, 01:13   #14
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Re: Have You Ever Been a Person Overboard ?

Harrowing stories, especially the last one! My God!

My own adventure overboard was much less dramatic. I was at anchor in the bay of St. Vaast in Normandy getting ready for a Channel crossing back to the UK. I was standing on the up-ended transom platform securing the dinghy in its davits. My one crew was below. The platform shifted unexpectedly, and I went in.

The tides in Normandy are huge, and a strong current was running. As my head came up above water, I could see the boat receding fast as I was being swept out to sea. I understood in a flash that I would die if I didn't swim like hell, and that's what I did. I swam harder than I ever swam in my life, and inch by inch overcame the current and got back to the boat. I grabbed onto the transom with the last bit of strength I had left. I just hung on there for a long time gasping, not even able to shout to my crew. Finally he came out, lowered the transom platform, and rolled me back on board. Fortunately, the weather was calm. If there had been a sea running, on top of everything else, I suppose I would be dead.

Since then, needless to say, I no longer stand on the up-ended transom platform.
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Old 30-05-2011, 07:57   #15
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Re: Have You Ever Been a Person Overboard ?

In my case practice paid off. Whenever a hat or cushion goes overboard is an immediate MOB drill. Wife and I are sailing our 27ft tri in Hawk Channel off the Fl Keys, calm day when we notice a bag of trash floating nearby which we alter course to intercept. Here I am walking down the stbd ama with a boat hook to grab the trash when I walked right off the back of the boat, should have skipped the joint. As I looked up I saw Kim tack over and then tack again to come right up and toss me a line. There was never any danger but the drill went just as practiced so many times. Dave

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overboard, safety

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