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Wednesday was my second day on the water with Bluewater Sailing and we continued with some more excellent training. At about 8:30 in the morning, Rebecca gave me a ride over to Mt. Hartman Bay to meet up with Chao Lay and immediately upon stepping on board, I was given control of the helm. The first bit of practice, after raising anchor, was docking. Although we’ve had plenty of practice docking ZTC, I have infinitely less experience docking a monohull. As it turned out, Chao Lay is extremely responsive and I had little trouble bringing her along side the docks safely, or springing her off into the wind.

Practice session number two once again involved collecting MOBs (Man Overboard) only instead of using the engines as we did on day 1, we worked this time to retrieve them while using only the sails to maneuver. This is a skill which I have had very little practice on. To be honest, the only time we ever did any work on this was back when we took our sailing course 2+ years ago and at the time, only Rebecca was able to successfully retrieve the MOB. Good for me but not so good for her! She should be happy to know that I faired infinitely better on Wednesday, successfully retrieving the MOB each time using the “Quick Stop” method, including the surprise one they tossed out when we were out amongst the reefs.

A demonstration of the Quick Stop MOB recovery method.

Once everyone on board had had a few cracks at MOB retrieval, we sailed out of the bay to practice tacking and jibing around and between the reefs. Fortunately while doing so, the sun was nice and high in the sky, giving us great visibility. As we did the previous day, after every few tacks, we would switch roles on the boat, giving each crew member a chance at the helm.

When it came time for lunch, I suggested that we move over to Hog Island and raft up to ZTC. Alex thought that was a great idea so after radioing Rebecca to let us know our plans, we dropped our sails and made our way through the channel. Although I’ve been in and out of there a few times, this is the first time that I’ve been at the helm without the benefit of a chartplotter. Seeing that boat end up on the reef the other day didn’t make it any better either. Good visibility combined with the bit of experience that I have with the channel paid off though and we made it in without issue. Our raft up also went without a problem, sliding Chao Lay gently up against ZTC, bringing my sailing that day to an end.

ZTC and Chao Lay rafted up just off the beach in Hog Island.

After lunch Alex and the other guys on Chao Lay cast off to make their way back to St. George’s. Although I would have liked to sail back with them, getting back to Hog Island from St. George’s would have been a bit of a hassle so I stayed put. All in all the two days I’ve spent on the water with Bluewater Sailing has been extremely productive. Alex has continued to challenge me with skills that I know will be tested in the on-the-water Yachtmaster exam. I am looking forward to having some additional time with Alex prior to the test later this month.

8 Comments

  1. Well done. It is not as easy as it seems in the book.

    Did he show you the MOB drill of heaving to just to windward of the person and gently drifting the last few feet sideways on to him? I had not met this till I did my ICC course, single-handed, and the examiner pointed out that it was extremely practical, even for a crewed boat. I liked it, and I managed to do it (second try though).

    Mike

    • Not sure exactly the method you are describing, Mike. Perhaps it is similar.

      The Quick Stop that we did, and what is demonstrated in the video, involves first “crash” tacking the boat (tacking without releasing the jib), effectively heaving-to to slow the boat right down. The boat is then brought onto a broad reach, sailing a few boat lengths away before tacking the boat back towards the MOB. During the previous steps the jib is furled in, main sheet eased right out and traveller dumped to leeward to de-power the boat. After the final tack, the boat is brought up on a close hauled course, sailing just to windward of the man in the water. The speed of approach is adjusted by the main sheet, pulling it in if more speed is needed or easing (pushing) it out to slow down. The ideal scenario does have you stopped immediately to windward of the MOB, in reach of the rescuer(s).

  2. Ken Goodings Silverheels III - Reply

    Nice video Mike but it appears impractical for shorthanded vessels as we.
    Dousing the jib, pointing to the MOB, holding the boom over and sliding the traveller while steering the boat is not a one person job. In addition….cats (generally) have less keel in the water and may not manoever the same as a deeper draught mono.
    How many crew were directly involved in the quick stop on your student boat?
    How would you plan a single handed MOB pickup on your own cat?

    • You are very right, Ken. I agree. There were three of us on deck involved with the MOBs with Alex, the instructor, just observing. Single handed it would be much more difficult. After tacking the boat and getting some gear in the water, the prudent thing to do I think would be to start the engines, get the jib furled in and motor back on a close hauled course just to windward of the person in the water.

      Retrieving the MOB might be best achieved with the Lifesling method although I have yet to deploy and try that.

      Do you have such a plan worked out?

  3. Mike, can I send you an email to discuss this a bit further please. I am very interested to understand your way better, I think it is the standard RYA method but I’m not certain.

    I will also re-study that video yet again.

    Of course I will try to give you the heave-to method as well as I think it involves less, and is good for single or short handed on a cat, which is what I have. This might help Ken (above) too.

    I can’t see your email, but mine is mike_bruce at msn dot com.

    Mike

  4. Mike, how do you like the handling of the mono compared to your cat? I would think that there would be some situations where the mono has the advantage and others where the cat does. Well done, in any case.

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