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Old 21-12-2020, 12:26   #1
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Suddenly Singlehanded

Hi,


After re-entering the sailing world with our humble 30 footer, the wife and I have been talking about some trips further afield up to our Channel Islands or down to Dana Point and harbor hopping our way back up to Marina del Rey.



In general she is a willing and game sailor but isn't fascinated by the process. Since I am afflicted as such, she enjoys being sailed places and then being pleasant company on the mooring. We talk a lot about her being prepared to keep a night watch without having to wake me for little things. Among them:


Having a reasonable number of knots ready to hand.
Being comfortable with the basics of running the chart plotter and using the radar for collision avoidance( along with understanding the arrangements of their nav-lights).
Getting more comfortable at the helm both under sail and motor.



While we're having crappy (little wind) weather and our friends can't join us on the boat, I've been pushing for heading out for some man overboard drills. And that brings me to open another can of worms about tactics if one of us goes overboard when only two of us are on the boat.


When took ASA 101 about 25 years ago, the lifesling wasn't a thing yet and we were taught to come up or down to a beam reach, sail away just long enough to sort yourself out, tack to the reciprocal course and at the right moment shoot up into the wind to stop the boat close enough to throw a heaving line. We now have a lifesling and we've watched the videos about the quick-stop method but I'm left with some questions.


With one person on board you lose the luxury of a dedicated spotter and I think time becomes even more of the essence. It only takes a moment to hit the MOB button on the CP but what about the sails? A flogging jib can present a real hazard to the second person going in the water. Take the time for furl it? How about turning on the motor with or without the main/jib being furled? Is having the boat placement control worth taking the time to check for lines and run the starting sequence and or the prop danger to the swimmer?


Just to try to keep on track remember these are near shore coastal trips, not passage making. We're reasonable fit but are in our 50-60s.



TIA for your replies,


Kurt
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Old 21-12-2020, 12:54   #2
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Re: Suddenly Singlehanded

Just heave to, as quickly as possible, and stop the boat.
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Old 21-12-2020, 12:56   #3
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Re: Suddenly Singlehanded

Since you're staying coastal the best thing would be for both of you to have VHF with DSC on your PFDs and someone should press the DSC button as soon as a MOB occurs. The person on board should also press the MOB button on the chartploter. To me, all that is Step One. For step Two, I might tell a newbie to drop the main (especially if your boat has lazy jacks or a stack pack), but that's only if you think they can handle that and and can maybe work the jib alone or get the engine going. If they can maneuver, then Step Three is to deploy the MOB line (you have checked that it's tied off at the end and that the tackle is available, correct?) and try to make a big sweep around the MOB. That's assuming the person on board can even still see the MOB by that point. I never assume anyone on my boat will even be able to get to Step Two unless they are experienced. The MOB should be able to hail CG. They have great coverage in most places nearshore. But make sure to shake the VHF handheld free of water to help with reception, otherwise it won't work.

Given there's not a high degree of confidence that a MOB can be recovered, it would be much better to get tethered in while on deck and stay on the boat.
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Old 21-12-2020, 12:58   #4
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Re: Suddenly Singlehanded

I think it's far more important to focus on "how do I ensure that no one will fall overboard" instead of "how to I retrieve someone who has fallen overboard". Making sure that you have all the equipment and practices in place to nearly guarantee that no one will fall overboard, and also that everyone is wearing a properly sized and functional floatation device, will relieve some of the stress caused by worrying how to get an overboard person back into the boat.

That said, starting the engine, checking for overboard lines before shifting into gear, then motoring up to the person from downwind then shifting into neutral should be a safe means of approach. But the harder step will be getting the person back aboard.
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Old 21-12-2020, 13:03   #5
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Re: Suddenly Singlehanded

Very good responses. The only thing I would add is after step one(mob button) throw any life ring, mob pole, floating cushion in after the crewmate.
It allows the mob to cling to something, and adds visual mass and color for searching.
Also in addition to plb(I'm partial to the ais units) a waterproof light on each life vest makes locating the mob much easier in the dark.
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Originally Posted by gamayun View Post
Since you're staying coastal the best thing would be for both of you to have VHF with DSC on your PFDs and someone should press the DSC button as soon as a MOB occurs. The person on board should also press the MOB button on the chartploter. To me, all that is Step One. For step Two, I might tell a newbie to drop the main (especially if your boat has lazy jacks or a stack pack), but that's only if you think they can handle that and and can maybe work the jib alone or get the engine going. If they can maneuver, then Step Three is to deploy the MOB line (you have checked that it's tied off at the end and that the tackle is available, correct?) and try to make a big sweep around the MOB. That's assuming the person on board can even still see the MOB by that point. I never assume anyone on my boat will even be able to get to Step Two unless they are experienced. The MOB should be able to hail CG. They have great coverage in most places nearshore. But make sure to shake the VHF handheld free of water to help with reception, otherwise it won't work.

Given there's not a high degree of confidence that a MOB can be recovered, it would be much better to get tethered in while on deck and stay on the boat.
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Old 21-12-2020, 13:20   #6
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Re: Suddenly Singlehanded

There's an item i have seen down here on race boats, that would take some figuring out how to set up for single handed use, for your good lady to get you back aboard. It is a large fabric rectangle that you haul up the corners on with the "victim" in it, and it rolls him back, to the lifelines and under them back onto the boat. He needs to be conscious, and uninjured, to swim to it..

I honestly think work aimed at prevention is way more important, including tethering, as mentioned above. If you go overboard, you're dead, some places. Might as well accept the challenge at that level. Unless you can get them into something it is safe for them to be lifted in, you can do the victim grievous damage trying to rescue them. For couples, I think the victim has to be really functional to get rescued. Imo, getting knocked overboard in an accidental gybe is one of the more likely scenarios, and you are likely to be unconscious in that event, and not rescuable by someone not your size or strength. Anyhow, our boom has permanently rigged double preventers, and when we sail downwind, that boom is prevented. Jim started doing that when he was singlehand racing, long before he met me.

Tethering, and preventing, the two most important ideas. And, for the OP, we used to throw a cushion overboard for the sailing part of the MOB drills. Always rescued it. It is still good practice, as you learn the timing for the boat. Gives you the skills to rescue the abandoned fenders you occasionally find floating around, too.

Ann
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Old 21-12-2020, 14:16   #7
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Re: Suddenly Singlehanded

Silently, I vowed to take a drink every time someone patronized me by stating it was better to stay on board. Thanks. It's only 13:00 and I'm already blotto.


Rhetorically, do you tether up on your day sailing racer cruiser when out in your local bay in a nice breeze not over 17 knots. No, I didn't think so.



Our boat rules are PFD's after dark or when the first reef goes in. First reef AND at night we use the jack line if someone HAS to go forward. I'm talking about that odd accident when you think you couldn't go OB but an odd lurch or mis-step and the missus realizes I'm in the water. What do I tell her to do and practice so she knows how and what to do. Like I said, Furl sails, motor or no? Etc.



Getting sorted on DSC is still on the to-do list. Do I need an MMSI for that or is that only for AIS?



Kurt
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Old 21-12-2020, 14:59   #8
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Re: Suddenly Singlehanded

The MOB maneuver you describe that is taught in ASA101 is great if you are on a sailboat with no motor, of if getting the motor started is very difficult. But you wind up sailing fairly far away to leave room for the maneuver.

First push the MOB button, and throw whatever you have handy. I wouldn't toss the life sling or anything tied to the boat at this point. The point is to both give the MOB something to grab onto, and also to create a debris field that will be easy to find if you can't get the boat stopped and turned around quickly.

You should be able to turn into the wind and luff the sails and stop the boat. Depending on how far you have sailed in that time, the MOB might swim to the boat while you get the sails down. If not, motor back, and then toss the lifesling, circle the MOB and stop so the line to the lifesling is near them.

You also really need to practice re-boarding someone. You can practice by lifting someone from the dock unto the boat. If you haven't done it, on most boats without a boarding ladder it can be difficult until you do it. I have a 4-1 tackle I lift up on a halyard, that I can then work while I am at the side of the boat.

I have also learned how to board myself (If I am not injured) by climbing the windvane, although most of my guests are not able to.
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Old 21-12-2020, 16:03   #9
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Re: Suddenly Singlehanded

Quote:
someone patronized me by stating it was better to stay on board.
Quote:
What do I tell her to do and practice so she knows how and what to do. Like I said, Furl sails, motor or no? Etc.
Hello again, KayZee,

I certainly did not mean to patronize you by what I wrote, and I don't think the others did either. However, the OP did not contain much information about what you actually have to work with, which makes specific input to you difficult to formulate, and that may have affected the responses you had. I understand your disappointment, but as someone who makes an effort with her posts to respond sensibly and knowledgeably, I don't appreciate a sarcastic reply, either.

The big problem is that if she takes her eyes off of you to furl the sail, and drop the main, she is not looking at you, and your head gets almost invisible really soon, because "stopping" is not instantaneous. Another problem is what kind of man overboard gear you have, if you have one of those rigs with a flag along with a horseshoe buoy, the flag is pretty visible with binoculars, for a while. I'd say her best option is to heave to, then and there. If you are uninjured you can swim to the boat. You can holler, it will help her find you visually. If she will need to motor to you, she can drop the sails from where she hove to, headsail first; and the boat shall have slowed considerably. Her next step would be to make sure there are no lines in the water, again not seeing where you are, then start the engine and motor to you.

Heaving to keeps her close by, and if you are uninjured, you should be able to board via the same boarding procedure you use from your dinghy....a ladder needs to go far enough down for you to get a foot from your stronger leg on the bottom rung. You need a stationary ladder, on rope ladders. The bottom rung has a tendency to go under the boat. [Ned X has an interesting thread going about sailing fitness.]

If you have some kind of stack pack, then the main will be tidily stowed; but if you do not, then it will cut off her vision of much of the area she will want to scan, and she'll have to put a line or gasket around it to get it up out of the way. It is something you could consider, just like the double preventers, because there are sailing advantages, as well. You don't have to tie in all the reef points when the bunt of the sail is safely down in the bag. If your night- time on deck gear includes a strobe light, and a loud whistle, night time rescue will be easier. If you have a diesel engine, she won't have to go below and run blower before starting a gasoline engine. [When she's below, she sure as heck hasn't got her eyes on you.] If you have an AIS based PLB, then, if you also have an AIS receiver, the MOB can be located at night, and a track followed to the vicinity.

Actually, I think if you start trying to practice, you'll find some holes in your first practice plan, that you will correct, and by successive approximations, work your way to procedures that will help you. Try some different approaches, and start with the one your wife is most comfortable with first, so long as she understands it is only the first of many practices. Jim used to throw one of the cushions over when I wasn't expecting it, and holler "man overboard" but just keep pointing at it. You don't have to fall in till after you have, as a team, taught her to sail to the cushion. She should get a chance, too, to have a cushion represent her as the MOB. [People learn by doing and also by copying what is modeled for them.] If you have a hank on headsail, of course, dropping it is very much quicker than furling.

Jim and I early came to the conclusion that for doublehanded sailing, if you're overboard, you're dead, most likely. With all there is to accomplish, the one on board has to take their eyes off you for so long you're hard--if not impossible--to find in time.

It's a different story if there are more people aboard: one for a pointer, and others to help drop sails, etc.

Ann
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Old 21-12-2020, 16:40   #10
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Re: Suddenly Singlehanded

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Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
Hello again, KayZee,

I certainly did not mean to patronize you by what I wrote, and I don't think the others did either.
I don't know how to multi-quote on this board so let me just hit some salient points. No one means to patronize, consciously anyway. it's a disease of all forums that if someone asks a simple question many assume you're a simpleton and answer accordingly. It was just good natured snark on my part. It's not necessary to take it very personally; it was meant for all who posted such obvious advice. My question is and was what to do if and when that fails. That's why I mentioned "another can of worms. It's clear you take a great effort to communicate well and you bring a very balanced viewpoint. Others, not so much but I appreciate all replies. In person you would have seen my impish smile. I'm sorry if I rankled.



I did miss adding there is always a lifesling tied to a stern cleat and I sit on a throwable cushion to add to seeing over the cabin top when I am sitting so it is always available. We have an always ready stern ladder that I should be able to climb if i'm not gravely injured thought it doesn't go all that deep. Another rung would be ideal.



Our inflatable PFD's are "coastal" and don't have attachment points for beacons, whistles or lights, yet. We'll either upgrade or figure out how to add those items when we get further from aid. I take comfort that at present we sail where there is normally a lot of traffic both commercial and pleasure and are normally within VHF range of two coast guard stations and at least two "baywatch" boats.



Your most recent post was very helpful and on topic to what I'm digging for. I'm sorry my wryness came off as overly sarcastic.



regards,


Kurt
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Old 21-12-2020, 16:47   #11
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Re: Suddenly Singlehanded

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Originally Posted by contrail View Post
Just heave to, as quickly as possible, and stop the boat.
Ditto.
Crash tack the boat.
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Old 21-12-2020, 16:48   #12
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Re: Suddenly Singlehanded

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Originally Posted by richard_wb View Post
I think it's far more important to focus on "how do I ensure that no one will fall overboard" instead of "how to I retrieve someone who has fallen overboard". Making sure that you have all the equipment and practices in place to nearly guarantee that no one will fall overboard, and also that everyone is wearing a properly sized and functional floatation device, will relieve some of the stress caused by worrying how to get an overboard person back into the boat.

That said, starting the engine, checking for overboard lines before shifting into gear, then motoring up to the person from downwind then shifting into neutral should be a safe means of approach. But the harder step will be getting the person back aboard.

Of course you're right and I knew it before but this but that "nearly guarantee" is always going to be at the back of my mind. My request for input is and was more about practicing MOB drills than it was about how dire going OB can be.



I have a fair amount of sailing experience but a lot of it is 25 years ago a lot of it, I was not the skipper in charge. Now I am and I greatly feel the weight of being responsible for both of our's safety. So I come here to explore the merits of that which I can't settle in my own mind or can't find in Chapman's or Rousmanier.






Thank you for your input.


Kurt
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Old 21-12-2020, 17:21   #13
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Re: Suddenly Singlehanded

I think Ann said it well. I first practice: 1. ring/cushions and MOB pole, if you have one, over, 2. heave-to, 3. engine on, and see how fast you can do that. Then add in release the jib sheet, round up, douse both main and jib, pull in sails and sheets so nothing is in the water, and motor around to round up on the MOB and have throw-line ready, throw, engine to idle and ladder ready. To be ready for an injured but conscious MOB then you'll need a life sling with a block and tackle that can be quickly attached and deployed from the boom.
Now to practice without the engine, sailing around and up to a MOB, after heaving-to, there will be a gybe, or jibe, so the mainsheet has got to come in all the way and fast and that needs to be practiced to do it safely or there could be more injuries or boat damage. Then tacking back up to a target and hitting it without drifting off too soon takes practice too. It can actually be a fun afternoon thing to do, and good to do on a really windy day.

I do that thing about throwing a cushion over and seeing how fast we can sail back to it. It is amazing how fast you can lose sight of something if there are any waves so I think considering what you are saying, a MOB pole should be at the ready. When I practice with my kids I have them add pushing the DSC distress button right away if they have any doubts (step 4), just in case they cannot get back to me or lose sight of me. When the wind pipes up at all, I just assume I am going to fall off so I keep my PFD on and tether ready, and same with the kids. But with a boat like yours and mine, once the wind is up to or over 25 knots, and/or steep chop, you may not be able to make it back up to an MOB at all, or in the sailing, or motor sailing under main only, and tacking required to do so you'll lose sight of them. The flag helps a lot with that of course.

A few years back I got a chance to practice on what I thought was a real body on a windy day with a lot of steep chop! The kids noticed it first and they were a little freaked out! It turned out to be a set of weather gear">foul weather gear the Coast Guard Auxilliary had stuffed with fenders and thrown out there to practice with or check currents and it had gotten away from them. We did sail up on to it, and since I have a low freeboard, I was able to wrestle it up onto the stern but it was not easy! We sailed back into the harbor with that body draped over the pushpit!

YOu have a fun, stout little boat there. You'll have a lot of fun exploring Catalina! And if you make it up this way send me a PM, I'll meet you and bring the libations!
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Old 21-12-2020, 17:35   #14
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Re: Suddenly Singlehanded

As a solo sailor I not only clip ALL the time, I double clip in. Mustang inflatable with harness attachment and 2 clip in lines. Never ever too safe. I get laughed at, but I'm alive to be laughed at..... So there's that. I applaud that you have the foresight to ask. Most don't and just pretend.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by KayZee View Post
Silently, I vowed to take a drink every time someone patronized me by stating it was better to stay on board. Thanks. It's only 13:00 and I'm already blotto.


Rhetorically, do you tether up on your day sailing racer cruiser when out in your local bay in a nice breeze not over 17 knots. No, I didn't think so.



Our boat rules are PFD's after dark or when the first reef goes in. First reef AND at night we use the jack line if someone HAS to go forward. I'm talking about that odd accident when you think you couldn't go OB but an odd lurch or mis-step and the missus realizes I'm in the water. What do I tell her to do and practice so she knows how and what to do. Like I said, Furl sails, motor or no? Etc.



Getting sorted on DSC is still on the to-do list. Do I need an MMSI for that or is that only for AIS?



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Old 21-12-2020, 17:49   #15
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Re: Suddenly Singlehanded

Quote:
I'm sorry my wryness came off as overly sarcastic.
Thank you for the apologies. Accepted.

Snark can be pretty biting at times, and no one can see the twinkle in your eyes, unfortunately.

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