Most one man-overboard drills usually consist of throwing over a cushion and returning to pick it up by the strap. A good sized fireplace log is a better way to do the practice because it is much more awkward to get aboard.
There are four important steps to retrieving a person who has gone
The moment someone goes over the side, a boat cushion or life
preserver should be tossed to him/her. Make sure to keep him/her in sight,
and as the distance widens, it is increasingly important to maintain
visual contact with the person overboard.
Even when you are alone on the boat, keeping the victim in sight is second only to getting the boat back to him. Everything becomes more practical as you get in closer proximity to the person in the water. Here are three methods of rescue.
This method involves jibing to rescue the person
over board. Only do this in light winds to avoid capsizing. Remember to stay in constant communication with the victim.
If the wind is too strong to jibe the boat, then tacking in a figure eight is a good way to go. Remember to stay
in constant communication with the victim.
The Quick Stop manoeuvre is a new, widely
recommended method that calls for the boat to go head-to-wind as soon as a person goes in the water.
The jib is backed to further reduce speed while the sailboat continues turning until the wind is abaft the beam.
The course is stabilized on a beam-to broad-reach for two or three boat lengths, then altered to nearly dead downwind.
If the wind is light, you can tack immediately after the person falls overboard and leave the jib cleated. Remember to stay in constant communication with the victim.
All these methods are good and each will benefit from practice.
Most practice sessions are held in calm water on clear days, which is
rarely the condition in which a man-overboard emergency will occur, so think about handling the situation in a storm, or at night, or in fog.
The wise sailor reviews his plans for handling person overboard scenarios every time he goes aboard a boat. He applies his plan to the conditions prevailing whenever he goes on deck. When a crew member goes in the water there should be no delay in starting the best retrieval method.
Many safety authorities believe that the victim should be picked up on the windward side, but I believe that with a sailboat the leeward side is likely to be both lower and more sheltered, with the boom readily available as a mounting for the hoisting block.
As the boat drifts to leeward it will drift away from a victim who is to weather, but will remain close to the victim to leeward.
Watch out, though, to make sure that the boat bouncing in a seaway does not slam down on top of the swimmer. Resist the temptation to have someone go in the water to help the victim - you may lose two people.
If the person in the water is unable to help himself you then may have to send a spare person into the water to help. In this case make sure there is a line securely attaching the boat and the would-be rescuer.
Plan ahead how you are going to get this person overboard back aboard. Of course the more you know about how your boat behaves under differing circumstances; the better will be your performance in any emergency.
Picking up a mooring under sail, particularly in winds over 30
knots, teaches you a lot that you can use to save a friend's life. At all times handle your sails at racing speed. Whenever you can, practice and think about what you are going to do in a person overboard situation. The seconds you save may be important in an emergency.
Linda Cullum is from Cape Cod, MA, with a second home in Vermont. She is the author of Learn to Sail! With Multimedia!
A Sailing training CDROM/DVD which teaches all aspects of Sailing including Knots, Piloting, Rules of the Road, Weather with digital video from Sail Magazine, narration, animation and quizzes.
Article Source: Ezine
Articles by Linda Cullum