Returning to CrewOverBoard situations. The following questions arose:
- Why not initially jibe instead of tacking? Wouldn't this give a faster return to the COB?
Jibing is a good option if you are skilled, the wind is not up to high, and someone can watch the water at all times. The problem with a jibe is that it can be treacherous in high winds and waves-if you do not jibe immediately you can easily be a long distance downwind. If only one person is on the boat, it is almost impossible to keep an eye on the COB when jibing. Tacking is surer and safer, particularly when only one person is on the boat.
- Why not approach close-hauled, instead of on a close reach?
If you are close-hauled and are headed by a wind shift, you will not make it to the COB. If you are headed while on a tight reach, you can luff up to close-hauled and still make it to the COB.
- Why not bring the COB back on the boat from the windward side? The leeward side is protected, and the gunwale on the leeward side will generally be closer to the water due to heeling. As the COB is brought onboard, you can immediately adjust the trim by moving to windward. If you try a windward pickup, when you get stopped at the COB you will drift away to leeward, putting distance between you and the COB instead of drifting continually down on them.
- Why not sail back to the COB as fast as possible? Speed is of the essence, but a methodically completed maneuver will give you a better safety margin. If you hurry an miss the COB retrieval, the time lost in a second approach is considerably greater than going a controlled pace in the first place.
- What is the key to a successful COB procedure? Practice, and then practice some more, and then go to a warm lake (Black Butte is perfect) and try it with a real person. You will be surprised to see how difficult it is to see a head in even small chop or waves. Work with a person in the water only when two boats are present. There is never need to compromise on safety.