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MOB for Real

Discussion in 'Ask All Sailors' started by Will Gilmore, Jan 9, 2018. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. Will Gilmore

    Will Gilmore

    Joined Oct 19, 2017
    2,397 posts, 977 likes
    O'Day 19
    US Littleton, NH

    -Will (Dragonfly)

  2. Will Gilmore

    Will Gilmore

    Joined Oct 19, 2017
    2,397 posts, 977 likes
    O'Day 19
    US Littleton, NH
    [​IMG] :yikes:
    "MAN OVERBOARD! Get the Life Sling!"

  3. David in Sandusky

    David in Sandusky

    Joined Nov 8, 2007
    1,048 posts, 99 likes
    Hunter 27_75-84
    US Sandusky Harbor Marina, Lake Erie
    Here is our plan for getting the MOB in a Lifesling up the leeward side.

    Our Vang is a rope fall with a snap shackle on each end, and plenty of line to serve as a preventer. The proceeds is to detach both ends of the Vang. Then to attach the snap shackle at the top end to the bale at the end of the boom (where the mainsheet fall attaches.) Hove to, the boom can easily be deployed over the leeward side, and the MOB. The bottom shackle of the Vang can then be extended to hook on the rings of the Lifesling. There is enough mechanical advantage in the Vang fall to allow the Admiral, or another crew of moderate strength to haul even the portly captain up and then swing him or her aboard.

    That is our plan. We have not yet rehearsed it, but look forward to doing it this summer, thanks to this conversation.

    By the way, the Captain wears harness and tether at all times underway unless there is a helm person aboard who is qualified in the MOB drill. Although the Admiral has practiced it a number of times, she refuses to be so qualified!

  4. Gunni


    Joined Mar 16, 2010
    4,994 posts, 905 likes
    Beneteau 411 Oceanis
    US Annapolis
    I really really don’t like the heave-to method of MOB recovery. Try it and see if you can manage all the variables but I think you will find that there is too much fiddling with sail size and trim to get the boat into a hove situation. And I definitely would not be using the boom to recover a MOB while said boom was holding a working hove-to sail. A real MOB is a Peking Fire Drill for the crew. You are managing a panic situation. Throw in dark and get the point. Put the boat back on the MOB, release the headsail sheet, drop the main pivot to your MOB. Use your mainsail halyard as a MOB hoist, better yet position it as an attachment for your block and tackle. Resist the urge to start your engine, you may have some running rigging in the water.

    Will Gilmore likes this.
  5. cb32863


    Joined Jun 29, 2010
    828 posts, 83 likes
    Beneteau First 235
    US Lake Minnetonka, MN

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  6. thinwater


    Joined Mar 26, 2011
    1,843 posts, 300 likes
    Corsair F-24 MK I
    US Deale, MD
    How long could it possibly take to check? There are only a few lines that could be in the water. I'm sorry, but that always strikes me as strange advice. Check first, of course, but then use the engine. It's just one more tool, very useful if the crew is short handed or two-handed. For couples, the boat will only have one sailor, and odds are good it will be the less experienced of the two.

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  7. Jackdaw


    Joined Nov 8, 2010
    8,657 posts, 2,029 likes
    Beneteau First 36.7 & 260
    US Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
    Depends on the boat. For jib-and-main cruisers, I’d agree that a stray line is a rarity. For race boats with sheets, guys, twings, after a quick stop for an MOB it seems there is always a line in the water.

  8. AlastairLC


    Joined Jan 2, 2017
    246 posts, 49 likes
    O'Day 322
    US Lake Pleasant
    I notice that Scallywag used their engine to recover their MOB.

  9. Jackdaw


    Joined Nov 8, 2010
    8,657 posts, 2,029 likes
    Beneteau First 36.7 & 260
    US Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
    For boats with saildrives, motor use is MUCH less dangerous . The prop is usually just a few feet aft of the keel, well out of the way of someone in the water.

  10. shemandr


    Joined Jan 1, 2006
    3,370 posts, 492 likes
    Marblehead Skiff 14'
    US Greenport, NY
    My understanding from the web site report is that they were at speed going off the wind. At 15 knots boat speed you would quickly put distance between you and the MOB. There's someone's life involved. You use the engine and every other tool available to make the recovery. They did it in 7 minutes which is pretty damn good. I don't think we did it as fast in Little Peconic Bay. I'm sure every crew member and all the crew in the race shuttered at the thought of how that would have gone in the Southern Ocean.

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  11. AlastairLC


    Joined Jan 2, 2017
    246 posts, 49 likes
    O'Day 322
    US Lake Pleasant
    They said they only found him because he raised his hands. (!)
    I think the engine is useful particularly when there is only one hand still onboard and he (she?) is not a skillful sailor.

  12. Will Gilmore

    Will Gilmore

    Joined Oct 19, 2017
    2,397 posts, 977 likes
    O'Day 19
    US Littleton, NH
    The engine is useful if you got one. Lines in the water are a particular concern because often an MOB occurs because of a knock down or sudden jibe. Lines go all over the place. I don't know about racing boats, but cruisers sometimes keep dock lines tied to bow cleats. Bad idea. A spring line off the bow could be hard to see in heavy weather, a roller furling line, even a jib sheet could be in the water at the bow, where it is hard to see from the cockpit and still tangle the prop. What's an MOBs chances if you don't use the engine because you are afraid there might be a line you missed still in the water vs starting the engine and getting caught in an overlooked line. Presumably, the risk is worth it because on the chance that there is a line in the water and it interferes, you can still sail.

    Another question. If the MLA (Man Left Aboard) is inexperienced, will they know how to start the engine and get it in gear?
    Sheets are easy to loose for a non-sailor, the boat's sails are visible for a long ways, If all the MLA can do is throw a float and let go the sheets, maybe the MOB is healthy enough to swim back. I am keeping in mind that even freed and luffing sails sail. Just thinking about best vs worst case options for a crew of limited ability.

    Sea anchors haven't been brought up. Is there any place in this exercise for deploying a sea anchor?

    Another option cruisers may have, that racers don't, might be an easily deployed dinghy from davits or deck mounts. I wouldn't recommend all hands leave the ship, but with a couple of crew left, letting a dinghy out behind the boat could help.

    -Will (Dragonfly)

  13. Hayden Watson

    Hayden Watson

    Joined Apr 5, 2009
    508 posts, 102 likes
    Catalina '88 C30 tr/bs
    US Oak Harbor, WA
    I have made this comment on a different MOB thread but here it is again. On our boat we heave-to on every outing for lunch and head stops because it is so easy; come to close haul, tack, when the boat slows try to tack back and lock the helm - done! We cruise with the dinghy in-tow tight to the transom with the out-board mounted. Given that the Admirable can hove-to and can enter and drive the dinghy, she would heave-to, get into the dinghy and come get me if I went over the side. The dink is much more maneuverable and it is easier to return the MOB to the inflatable than it is to the boat.

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  14. TomY

    TomY Alden Forum Moderator

    Joined Jun 22, 2004
    1,132 posts, 634 likes
    Alden 38' Challenger yawl
    US Rockport Harbor
    Ha! I was gonna mention this but it's not a good idea for most people. We've settled on our dinghy as the first man overboard saving device.

    It won't work unless you're towing(but you mention an option: a dinghy in davits).

    We tow our dinghy everywhere as coastal sailors(Canada to Bahamas-1 1/2 times). It's never been on deck and rarely do we even day sail without it. It has so little drag.

    It's so stable, both my wife and I can board it from in the water without swamping it. We've practiced that just to see.

    If somebody goes OB, we've decided throw the life buoy-ring, and handy boat cushions(they are always in the cockpit), and cast off the dinghy.

    There are all kinds of situations, primarily heavy weather, where this won't work. As coastal sailors, we're rarely off shore more than a day, overnights are rare: If we get caught in heavy weather, I've screwed up badly(weather info is so easy and accurate today).

    We have a life sling. I wouldn't even begin to think of that working well. We have a sturdy side deck ladder that extends 2 treads below the water. That might be useful.

    If I went in the water, I'd be looking for the dinghy which would likely be nearby(the cushions and life ring(s).

    Is this foolproof? Far from it. We used to do MOB drills when the kids were little. Mostly for fun, I never saw our results as getting me back onboard, for sure! The Life Sling looks like wishful thinking.

    All the above is probably why we've never had a MOB. Kids have never been allowed out of the cockpit when young, underway. I personally take the 500' cliff safety measure. I've lived with that in my work as well so it's easy for me.

    Will Gilmore likes this.
  15. gettinthere


    Joined Nov 26, 2008
    1,785 posts, 126 likes
    Endeavour 42
    US Cruisin
    Off on a tangent...the bucking up and down of the stern, even in minimal seas is pretty significant. Imagine going over the side to cut a line from the prop! I carry a bicycle helmet aboard for that purpose.

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