The Man OverBoard Quick Stop With Spinnaker

Filmed with midshipmen at the US Merchant Marine Academy

The key to the quick stop is stay within in 5-10 boatlengths of the crew overboard. As soon as someone goes overboard, the person who saw the victim go over yells “Man Overboard!” and becomes the spotter who does nothing but point at the victim in the water with an outstretched arm, while calling out the range and bearing to the MOB. Next five things happen simultaneously: Someone hits the MOB button the GPS to mark the position, cushions or the Life Sling is thrown over the side, the boat turns into the wind, the spinnaker afterguy is released enough to move the spinnaker pole to the forestay and the spinnaker halyard is dropped. As the boat rounds up, the chute falls on the deck so that the crew can pull it in.

Turning immediately keeps the boat close. This is important since a boat is moving quickly with the chute up. Even if the drop is slowed by a fouled halyard, turning the boat up toward the wind keeps the boat near the victim.

Make sure to keep the tack of the spinnaker at the end of the pole. Once the pole is moved forward to the forestay, cleat the afterguy and don’t ease it. Keep the spinnaker’s tack at the pole tip. This will keep the spinnaker from getting away from the boat, which will make retrieving the chute harder.

Once the chute is under control, tack the boat and turn back toward the victim. In this video clip, the crew never had to jibe after the tack; they just bore off to a dead run until they could come back to the victim with the wind on the beam.

The victim is picked up to leeward. Studies have shown it is much more effective to pick up a victim on the leeward side. Notice all the loops of line the crew has hung over the side so that the victim has plenty to grab hold of. 

YouTube video

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