Showing posts with label MOB. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MOB. Show all posts

Friday 20 July 2012

Man Over Board practice for Day Skipper Qualification

One of the elements of a Day Skipper practical course is Man Over Board (MOB) practice. 
A real person is not used for such practice, rather a rope tied to a fender or a bucket!  Day Skippers are shown and get to practice how to get to the object in the water and then work out how to get it back on board imagining that it was the size and weight of a person.
If someone falls overboard the first thing that should happen is someone should shout ‘Man Over Board’ and point at the person in the water.  Someone else should make a May Day call on the VHF Radio.  There are various ways of getting back to someone that has fallen over board.  The quickest and easiest way is to do it under power and there are a couple of methods, both of which are practised on a Day Skipper Course, which can be employed to do this.
Typical Fasnet Race conditions where knowing Man Over Board skills is critical
One option is the helm should be placed hard over, as if heaving too, so that the boat heads up into and though the wind.  This stops the boat very quickly.  The sails should be sheeted in and the engine started.  As the yacht comes around close to the person in the water the MOB lifebelts can be thrown to the person and the throttle can be used with short bursts or ahead and astern to position the boat next to the person in the water ideally bringing them alongside the beam.  Care must be taken to ensure no ropes that could get caught around the propeller are trailing in the water and that the propeller is kept a suitable distance from the person in the water’s legs.

An alternative would be to head downwind of the person, turn the engine on, furl the headsail, sheet the main in tight, and position the yacht so that it can be motored from a downwind position up to the person in the water.  An aspiring Day Skipper will get to practice these manoeuvres a number of times on a course until he or she becomes proficient at it.

If use of the engine is not possible then it becomes a sailing exercise.  The yacht can be stopped dead in the water by putting the helm hard up into the wind.  The sails should be sheeted in tight and the helm left hard over.  The resulting effect is for the boat to go round in small circles quite close to the person in the water.  MOB lifebelts can be deployed.  The yacht should head off on a beam to broad reach for a short distance.  The headsail should be furled (assuming conditions will allow the yacht enough power to windward under main alone.)  A tack should then ensue and the boat placed on a fine reach, or rather pointed at the person in the water which should turn out to be a fine reach.  Day Skippers should by now be quite comfortable of placing a yacht on a fine reach.  The reason for a fine reach is that it is a point of sail that allows you to spill all the wind from the main without it being restricted by the shrouds.  At the same time it allows the yacht room to manoeuvre to windward if need be.  So back pointing at the person in the water.  Someone should ease the main sail right out so that it flaps. The main sheet span can then be grabbed as a whole and used to put power in the sail if required, whilst letting go of it allows the sail to very quickly become depowered.  If the sail cannot be let fully out when pointing at the person in the water the yacht should be steered downwind for a very brief period and then bought back up to point at the person in the water.  This can be repeated until the sail can be eased fully.

As the person is approached all way should be taken off the boat by completely releasing the main sheet span and the yacht rounded up so that the person is picked up on the beam of the leeward side.

You then have to work out how to get say an 11 stone man, clothes waterlogged, possibly unconscious, back on board…

This is a Guest Post by First Class Sailing, a leading UK sail training and boat chartering company with on the South Coast, London and more. First Class Sailing offer, amongst other RYA Courses, Day Skipper Practical courses on which you get plenty of Man Over Board practice.