MOB: windward or leeward

kingfisher

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In recent PBO (dec '01), the advised pickup side of a MOB manuever is by the leeward side. Why ? I'd assume the windward side is much safer.
Pickup to leeward:
1) You run the risk of the boat drifting over the victim
2) if you miss your approach, you can't bear away.
3) you need two crew on the leeward rail to hoist the victim aboard, the same rail where a flogging boom will try to knock someones head in.
4) when picked up by windward, if you miss the approach, just let the victim drift towards you (victims drift faster than deep keeled boats)
5) On dinghys, having all the weight on the leeward side of the boat is just not a good idea.

Arguments?

Obi-Wan
 

rogerroger

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The casualty is sheltered on the leeward side and the boat will be blown towards him (or her).

I'd rather a boat drifted onto me than away from me - yes they might get knocked about a bit but this will probably happen when you get them next to the boat for recovery no matter what side you pick them up on.

Either way - I really must remember to practice it some time!

Roger Holden
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Julie

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Just to be confusing, whilst you pick up a MOB on the leeward side of the boat for bigger boats, on a dinghy you always pick them up on the windward side. Or that's what I've been taught !!
 

HaraldS

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Fortunately haven't had a real person over board so far, but for all the other stuff like hats and boat hooks it has always worked great on the leeward side. Especially since I usually heave too, and then I can vary drift vs. progress and stop right there.
Also the heeling boat makes it easier to pick something up.

In a serious case I would probably try the same and see that I can secure the person on the lee and then get him on board at the sternplatform, I also have a crane there.
 

claymore

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Keeping them to windward means they are always in sight, the boom and flogging main are out of the way. Dinghy style we sail onto a beam reach then sail a figure of eight, going about rather than gybing and approach on a beam reach with just enough power to keep the boat going. Dinghies all behave differently and with cruisers there is a whole load extra to consider in terms of how long it takes to slow them down. (I know I'm stating the obvious to experienced readers here - sorry) Sailing on and off moorings and anchoring under sail all helps you learn what the boat needs.
Husband and Wife sail together on our boat and we have done practicals on recovery. A line to the casualty with a great loop to go over them and a massive karibiner onto the lifelines, keeps them alongside and then we have put a boarding ladder over and recovered that way. Obviously the worst case scenario is a windy shitty night and rightly or wrongly - we haven't practiced for that - we just make sure that we are well fastened on to prevent MOB.
As there are only 2 of us normally - we have decided that we wouldn't get involved in throwing dan-buoys or horseshoe belts over either - we made the decision to take control of the boat - if its the helm that went over - and get on with making a right first time job.
 

Bergman

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Most been said by others, I always would go for Lee side.

Just a thought but are points 1 and 4 somewhat contradictory?

Never had to do it for real but I do practise every season. Like Harald I approach casualty (bucket and fender) hove to and fiddle with sails to control drift (a bit)

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1>Edited by bergman on Thu Dec 13 18:06:30 2001 (server time).</FONT></P>
 

zefender

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Good post - I've never been sure either. I think there are pros and cons of both.

Whilst there is a danger of the boat drifting over the MOB in a leeward pickup, in a windward one, in any sea, there's also the danger of the victim smacking against the hull or being swept under it. In a real, live MOB, I think many people would hit the engine switch fairly quickly. If this case, I'd prefer the victim to leeward.

I think the most important goal is to get a secure line around the victim. Despite flogging boom et al, I think a leeward pickup is the fastest way of doing that.
 

kingfisher

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When a victim is on the leeward side, it is in the wind shadow of the boat. That's good, because it provides some shelter, but then the only thing drifting is the boat. During exercices, ive seen lots of cases where my students simply arrive right on the spot where the fender/bucket combo is floting, and then simply drift over the lot, capturing it on the keel or the prop.

Obi-Wan
 

chas

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I agree. So much depends on crew size, wind strenght, sea state and sea room. My inclination would always be keep the MOB to leeward but I can envisage situations where this may not be practical. I agree about the engine as well - especially if there is any stream.
 
G

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Leeward. Why? In addition to the reasons already mentioned no one has yet mentioned engine failure. When approaching a casualty in the water approach on a broad beam reach. This is so you can control your speed as you approach by flailing the sails and hauling in as appropriate. (Get rid of the Genny.) Finally, you let the main sheet go and stop dead next to the victim. If you get your approach wrong or the wind shifts you can still correct. If the casualty is to windward and you stop too soon you will never be able to correct sufficiently enough to get speed back on to reach the hapless victim.
Well worth practising!
 
G

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Re: MOB:

Good post. On various courses I've done, MOB training has always been different! And it just doesn't do to argue. Good reasons for either side, but imho validity of the reasons vary with conditions.

In a real MOB the first minute (at least) is wasted with realising that somebody saying "man overboard" isn't a sick joke.

Also, chances are that in coastal water, the MOB happens on way into port or way out of port when most of the deck action happens, and as this means there more shallow water than deep, they're over there in shallow water...
 

Mirelle

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leeward

On the basis of practice manouvres only, I think that the height of the topsides and the amount of sea running are very important. The lee side is much, much easier, being lower, the boat offers a bit of a lee (this does not make much difference, but less spray anyway) and if you need to use a halyard to hoist the casualty aboard, which in my case is pretty likely, it will plumb the casualty.

My boat has 2'6" of freeboard amidships. Heel her and that becomes say 1' to leeward and say 4' to windward.

1' is easy; you can perhaps even wait for a sea and roll the casualty into the scuppers.

4' is the North Face of the Eiger!
 

kingfisher

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Here's my experience; when misjudging the distance:

You are trying to get the boat as near parallel to the victim. Which means that even if you stopped 2 m away from the victim, because you drift a lot before you pick up speed, there's usually no chance that you'll pick him up on the same maneuvre.

If you overshoot, it's even worse. As soon as you bear away, you drift over your victim.

Another problem for the students. They usualy misjudge the parallel distance boat-victim. If they aim for the leeward side (problem with seeing the victim behind the sails), and the victim is to far away from the side, they have to bear away, and pick up speed. On the windward side, if they misjudge the distance, they simply wind up a bit more.

Obi-Wan
 

kingfisher

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Freeboard is the same

I hope that, when you pick up your victim, you are fully stopped. I.e. that there is no wind in your sails. So there will be no/little heel in the boat. So the freeboard issue is not an argument for a leeward pickup.

The lee protection the boat offers, is negated by the risk of the boat drifting over the victim.

Still not convinced, sorry.

Obi-Wan
 

claymore

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Re: Freeboard is the same

Glad you said that - I was getting a picture of the lee-rail awash with the boat heeled and some poor sod being grabbed like a British rail mail sack as the boat thundered by. I realise you may be too young to understand that comparison - if you are please ask and I will explain
 

HaraldS

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Re: Freeboard is the same

Great post and it seems we all have been thinking through this many times and I'm sure many are wondering like me what it would be like to have to recover somebody in 60kn of wind 20ft seas.

So far I have been recovering stuff on the lee and found that things tend to move with the boat and that the boat doesn't really drift over things. I certainly feel that I have perfect control over the boat when I keep the victim on the lee, with a back winded foresail and I can get to almost a stand still without flogging sails.

In the real case I'm thinking on drifting by very slowly and close in such way and apply the lifesling, after the victim is secured and astern I would stop etirely, including flogging sails and try to recover the person over the transom, rather than any side of the boat.

Now, I often have a rib in the davids that could be a problem. What I did about that was to hook it up on two of those quick release whichard shakles, which would simply drop the dingi and it would start floating behind on a long line. That could be another potential help for recovering somebody, even if we lose the dingi in end.

On the transom I have a solid bathing ladder and a 200kg crane on the radar mast. So I'm convinced the transom is the final answer, but my approach would be with the victim in the lee.
 

claymore

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Re: Freeboard is the same

Mind those toes on the prop when going round the back - you need to make sure that someone has put the engine in neutral - if you have it on, and that the gear-lever won't be knocked in accidentally. No need to lose the dinghy though - your davit lines are obviously long enough to allow the dinghy to float so just lower it into the water and leave it there. If the MOB is getting tired, someone can always drop into the dinghy and roll them in. The major problem with having them on the lee is that at the critical time - you lose sight of them. With your jib backed you have it powered up which means that you will be fore-reaching, moving slowly forward and sideways, your sheets will also be flogging around and if you still intend having the MOB to leeward, the sheets will be flogging whoever is on deck.
 

Twister_Ken

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Transom not a good idea...

..in any sort of seaway. When stopped the back of the boat smacks down in a very life threatening manner.

Once had this situation in a Round the Isle of Wight race when an X-99 broached in front of a bigger boat, was rammed, and sank in seconds. There were about 6 people in the water, and as many yachts trying to pick them in the overfalls off St Catherines. As soon as we got near them, we felt the danger of knocking their heads in because of relative movement was extreme. In the end two were picked by a press motorboat, and the others by Helo.

Talking about it afterwards we concluded that, with the boat see-sawing on steep waves, the only way we'd have stood a chance of picking them up was to have tried to get then alongside the boat, somewhere near the shrouds, close to the boat's 'pivot point'.

Still would have been very difficult though, even with fit racing crew to do the grabbing and lifting.
 
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