Over the past few months, UK Sailmakers has posted on our website, newsletter, and Facebook several articles on safety-at-sea and, in particular MOB situations. That’s because many of us at UK Sailmakers are involved in assisting with SAS training for adults and, during the summer, juniors, too. Here’s a video we’re sharing of some 420 sailors racing upwind when the crew misses the hiking straps and summer saults over the side. The young helmsman executes a perfect upwind “quick stop” MOB recovery.

The steps taken
Immediately he turned the boat up into the wind and, with the jib still cleated on the old leeward side, tacks the boat and stops dead in the water. A wider shot would have shown how close he still was to the MOB.
Then, after un-cleating the backed jib sheet, he drives downwind under main alone. Finally, when downwind of the MOB, he gybes, and, using the parts of the main sheet to control forward motion, he comes up right next to his crew.

Two key observations
Notice two things: First, he pulls up the crew using the shoulder straps of her lifejacket. Second, she had no idea that the mast-mounted camera was on capturing the entire sequence. It’s worth getting to the end when she cracks-up upon realization that the entire incident was recorded.

Today’s lessons...
So, what’s the learning from this video? Clearly, we see that quick stops work. Notice how tightly this dinghy turned to stay very close enough to make the recovery in less than a minute. Big boats can turn just as sharply. Too many people sail off for four or five boatlengths and that just adds time to the recovery process. We also recognized the value of teaching juniors sailing one-designs that this is the way to recover a crewmate. Finally, we learned that sailing’s a bummer if you miss the straps coming out of a tack!