If the captain falls overboard?

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Valerie
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Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2008 3:29 am
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: "Waterbago" Laverton, Melbourne, Australia

If the captain falls overboard?

Post by Valerie » Wed Nov 19, 2008 4:22 am

Ladies,
I know this subject is probably one of horror - What to do?
I am confident I could retrieve said Captain- Has anyone been faced with this or even thought about it?

In Australia we need to have a boat license to operate a power boat - I am thinking very seriously about getting my license. Does the US have such a requirment?

Valerie

Kelly Hanson East
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Re: If the captain falls overboard?

Post by Kelly Hanson East » Wed Nov 19, 2008 5:54 am

(stephen here, Im a gent of course)

POB (Person Overboard) comments

- there are two scenarios to consider for person overboard, under motor and under sail

Under motor its quite a bit easier - basically circle and go back near the person and make sure the engine is shut down! People and props dont mix well in water... :cry:

When I take my young ladies (11 years old) out in our 17 footer, I am always tethered to the motor with a 'kill lanyard" - If I fall overboard it automatically turns the motor off. You can put this on any outboard by the way. Everyone on board my boat knows how to shut the engine off - usually a small red switch on the console that immediately kills the motor.

If you motor on lakes, you can address most POB situations by simply killing the motor

Under sail is a lot more complicated, and an excellent reason for Captains and Admirals alike to learn how to handle the boat regardless of who is 'more into sailing' than the other.

I will add a couple of points though.

- You should always wear your PFDs when sailing. Somehow Ive noticed that women seem to have less of an issue with this than men, probably because God hands out more brains to women when it comes to self-preservation. When someone wearing a PFD goes overboard, it is a relatively simple recovery operation, as opposed to a rescue of a potentially drowning person.

- When someone goes overboard, the person who notices it has one job - they point to the person overboard and never take their eyes from her/him. Its quite easy to lose sight of a person in relatively small waves.

- Getting a cold, wet, exhausted person back on board is quite difficult and usually they cannot get themselves back on. On a Mac, you can winch someone up the transom or swim ladder pretty easily.

We have a Lifesling II on our boat - this a throwable PFD with a 75 foot floating tether. You throw it out, and then circle the person overboard so that they can grab the tether. They can then don the PFD under their shoulders, and you haul them in , then winch them on board.

In the States, licensing is handled State-by-State and most states dont require any courses or certification, although there is a trend to start requiring these. My young Admirals will take NY course this summer so they can sail/motor solo as minors.

Valerie
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2008 3:29 am
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: "Waterbago" Laverton, Melbourne, Australia

Re: If the captain falls overboard?

Post by Valerie » Thu Nov 20, 2008 3:36 am

Thanks for that Stephen,

What you outlined is pretty much what we do here is OZ..
Although I will say that if my Captain did go overboard he would have to have been doing something pretty dumb and I'm more inclined, That is if I stop laughing! ;
To point to wind, start the motor, furl the jib, open the hatch all the way, dump the main into the cabin, GRAB THE CAMERA :wink: then retrieve the Captain.

Your point regarding Captains AND Admirals knowing what to do is exactly what I would like to get across. Although my above example is light hearted there can be serious and amusing scenarios that can easily happen.

1/ Just imagine the Mac beached stern into the bank. Admiral is standing up the front so less weight on the back, while nimble Captain pushes off with the intent of climbing aboard- you know what happens next :D . Mac floating away, panic look on the Admiral and the Captain left stranded on dry land. Although this sounds silly Admirals should at least know how to drop the motor, turn it on, put it in gear and come back to shore.

2/ More serious- An accident occurs or Captain passes out or ? Parties on board need to know how to at least work the radio / down sail/ motor home. Also seeing that most accidents or injuries occur to the Captain, the Admiral having some basic first aid knowledge is sensible.

Admirals has your Captain at least given you basic instructions. I know I feel alot more confident knowing that I can perform these tasks.

The Mac is the first boat I have sailed that has a motor starting with a key and I have had to start. I was skippering- no problems- when it came time to down the sails I pointed to wind as normal and the Captain was getting ready on the foredeck to drop sail and told me to start the motor :? It was then we realised I had no idea how to start it never mind how to put it in gear. Needless to say this is now rectified.

Does anyone else have any amusing or similar tales to share????

Valerie

Kelly Hanson East
Admiral
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Re: If the captain falls overboard?

Post by Kelly Hanson East » Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:45 am

I once docked up against a wind and tide, with Grandma and my two girls on board (age 6 at the time).

I came to a stop at the dock, hopped off and went to secure a dock line, and realised I had come to stop due to a gust of wind, and had the left the boat in gear and motor on at idle.

The wind dropped of course, and I was being pulled down the dock desperately trying to hold the boat or get back on board.

Grandma panicked, but luckily I had drilled the girls on how to kill the engine with the red switch, and Caitlin quickly hit the switch and turned it off...whew..

Sea Dreamer
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Re: If the captain falls overboard?

Post by Sea Dreamer » Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:50 pm

Valerie: I'd probably be like you if the Capt fell overboard- laughing my butt off - once I knew he wasn't injured that is. I took a 2 day basic sailing class in Annapolis last spring, and man overboard was one of the major topics the instructor demonstrated. And it is one of those things we've talked about frequently, so I don't think I'd have any problems, though I would like to do an actual drill next spring when we start going back out again. Steve, wasn't it you who mentioned having drills with your family fairly often just in case you did fall overboard? I think that's a great idea, and one everyone on a boat - sail or power - should be doing.

If confronted with the Capt going overboard, I would definitely have no issues as far as motoring back - I grew up on power boats so that's the easy part for me. What would be a bigger issue would be if the sails were up - I can roll the jib just fine (thank you furler!) but the main is kind of obnoxious and even the Capt sometimes has issues with it. We'll need to invest in a new mail sail for next year anyway, as this one is the original and it's blown. Hopefully a new sail will make a big difference raising and lowering.

For you ladies on the US east coast - I highly recommend "Womanship" for sailing instruction. You wouldn't think a 2 day class would be much, but since it's on a sailboat - and completely hands on - I walked out of the class with a lot of knowledge and a feeling a whole lot more confident! The Capt was even impressed with how much I got out of the class. It's sailing instruction for women, taught by women, and their motto is "Nobody yells!". I didn't feel at all intimidated like I have in other classes with and taught by men. There is a basic curriculum, but the instructor has the freedom to modify it to suit the needs of the class. And the part I probably liked the best? We were encouraged to look at alternative ways of doing things rather than worrying about having the muscular strength to accomplish tasks such as man overboard incidents. (Why tug on a rope, when you've got pullies and winches to do it for you?).

Valerie
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2008 3:29 am
Sailboat: MacGregor 26M
Location: "Waterbago" Laverton, Melbourne, Australia

Re: If the captain falls overboard?

Post by Valerie » Fri Nov 21, 2008 11:10 pm

Clarissa,

Great to hear from you.

In an emergency, especially if you are on you own because Captain has managed to become incapacitated :wink:.
You can always open the hatch, unhook the Main halyard and just 'dump' the main into the cabin. Not pretty but it's down and you have control!! Oh- and don't forget to grab the camera :D

Val

Kelly Hanson East
Admiral
Posts: 1786
Joined: Sat Apr 19, 2008 4:35 pm
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Location: Kelly Hanson Marine........Mac 26M Dealer......Freedom Boat Works

Re: If the captain falls overboard?

Post by Kelly Hanson East » Thu Dec 11, 2008 2:40 pm

We do live POB (person overboard) drills (we all take turns being the dummy) every season. On top of that, when I take the kids to Cape Cod, their sailing school (Cuttyhunk YC) actually swamps a sailing dinghy at sea with all the kids aboard, and teaches the full recovery. Last fall, we swamped our small tender (10 foot plastic boat) accidentally under power and the kids barely broke a sweat... :D :D

Start out with a relatively calm days wave-wise, but enough wind so that you can move the boat of course.

First thing to master is picking a POB up and getting them back on board. It sounds trivial but getting someone wet and tired back on board is quite difficult. Practice helping them up the ladder and getting them into the cockpit.

Then start the actuall POB drills. It is perfectly ok to start drilling by having someone jump off, carefully motoring away, then approaching them upwind and luffing the boat up (heading into the wind until it stops and sails are in irons, or headed into the wind) to make either a pickup or, more simply, throw a line to the POB. Once you have that figured out, you can add to it by sailing away from the POB, getting downwind, then completing the same step above.

On the Hudson, we have to factor tides and shifty winds into our POB so they can get quite hairy. Add to that our winds have a nice habit of suddenly reversing themselves once in a while.... :? :?

Ive found all the 'training manuals' want you to practice an entire POB recovery drill from start to finish. It took me three seasons before I could do that with any competence. Most of us are pleasure sailors. and we dont gain competence fast enough for the way those manuals are written imho.

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