Man Overboard Practice - Van Isle Leg 3

Of all the things that can happen during an offshore race, a Man Overboard situation is probably the worst.  For that reason, we take safety precautions while sailing, we have a pre-defined recovery procedure, and we practice recovering a Man Overboard regularly.

For the inside legs, the standing orders are that life jackets are to be worn when the wind is over 15 knots, or anytime between sunset and sunrise (with tethers).  From Port Hardy onwards, the standing orders will be for life jackets to be worn at all times, with tethers after dark.

Our man overboard procedure is posted in the head for the crew's reading pleasure



On Leg 3 of the race, which was at times a fairly windy affair from Campbell River to Hardwicke Island, we had the opportunity to put our MOB procedure into a full test, as our inflatable Man Overboard Unit decided to self-deploy while we were beating upwind in 18 knots and in heavy seas.

The MOM unit is the little white container on the starboard stern of the vessel.  Photo credit to Linda Vermeuien.
Overall, the recovery went well, despite the fact that the unit deployed right at the moment that we were getting ready to recover a loose batten and reef the main, so our return to the unit was delayed.

Lesson's learnt:
 - It is difficult to see the man overboard pole in seas
 - The boat has to be at a dead stop as you come up to the pole to recover it, so it is important to keep an eye on the speed.