Racing out on the harbor a few weeks ago one of our guys suddenly found himself in the drink. I was able to capture a few clips on video in between helping to make sure that he was safe.
This is a real safety tip that you should probably take a lesson or two from. You’re not going to ever prevent a Man Over Board – it’s going to happen one day but from this you might beable to lessen the number. Personally I’m up to 4 now (it’s not me going over it’s all the other crazies).
Here’s what happened, he was setting up the spinnaker bag for a hoist when suddenly the bow pulpit gaveway and that was it – he was in. The culprit? A through-deck bolt completely snapped and upon inspection it had been fatiguing away over time until the point where it could hold no more.
Fortunately for Pete, our skipper went into MOB recovery mode instantly. We were on a close haul at the time, we threw a life ring, tacked over, turned downwind went past him then gybed around to come up along side. We tossed a rope and hauled him in. What was interesting however was that the crew were so shocked that no one loud hailed “Man Over Board” including myself. As responsible crew we need to be aware and train on what to do just as much as the skipper. We used the classic MOB maneuver shown in this animated 40 second video:
We found enough dry clothes onboard to carry on the race and came in third in A class fleet.
Here’s the video clip I was able to capture of the event:
A few lessons then about Man Over Board:
- Expect it when you least expect it
- Practice the maneuvers several times each season
- If you just crew on boats, take the responsibility to learn the drill
- Practice performing from various wind angle start points
- Store some dry clothes onboard permanently
- Make sure you have a means to hoist an unconscious person onboard.