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Brighton Belle & Brighton Lifeboat Woman Overboard Exercise

Brighton Belle & Brighton Lifeboat Woman Overboard Exercise

Gordon, Liz, Stewart and I had the most interesting, useful and enjoyable session on Sunday 18 October practising our Man overboard drill . We were ably assisted by Brighton Lifeboat. Dan Gurr, the senior helm, kindly agreed to help us and supply a man(sic) to go overboard – crew member Irenka Griffin. Gordon had come prepared for a dip but was, I think, happy to let someone else enjoy the swim.

Irenka ready to come aboard BB

​The lifeboat stood off as Irenka went in 'accidentally' while Brighton Belle was sailing close hauled on port tack with full main and genoa. The danbouy deployed with ease and the rescue sling was thrown. We hove to, put the engine on, sailed around the MOB until she had hold of the Life sling. We then stopped BB head to wind. With the casualty now attached to the boat with a long line, we furled the genoa and dropped the main on deck while Gordon pulled Irenka towards the middle of the boat using the lifesling rope. Using a spinnaker halyard and spinnaker winch, Liz winched Irenka back on board.

Irenka being winched back on board.

​Lessons learned

  • ​The lifesling system is quite different from other MOB systems, and seems to work very well.
  • As soon as the casualty has hold of the lifesling you must stop the boat quickly. They may still be some distance away but they are now attached so can be pulled to the boat.
  • When using a halyard to lift a person from the water it is necessary to have someone pushing the halyard outboard to prevent the casualty being banged up the side of the hull.
  • Perhaps the main halyard would be a better option to lift the MOB. To be tested.
  • Use a longer winch handle for this man-lifting task.
  • It is difficult to furl the genoa when hove to - especially with full genny.
  • It is useful to have the lazy jacks rigged while sailing to make an emergency dump of the main more controlled.
  • The danbuoy and rescue sling deployed and worked well (thanks to Mary for the flag). The casualty still had to swim some distance to reach them. If you are the MOB you are still part of the team and should work towards your own rescue if you can!
  • The best place to attempt to hoist someone back on board, especially in a moderate or rough sea, is amidships.
  • It might be worth considering making a handy billy, preferably with a 4:1 purchase, that could be attached to the boom and led back to a winch in the cockpit. The boom would need to be secured too!

It would be great to have another practice early in the 2016 season with as many members as possible on board and ideally with the help of the lifeboat if they can spare us the time. Their input was invaluable and really added to the morning.

A very big thank you to Brighton Lifeboat

Tatti McNally

22 October 2015



Bob Williams on Friday, 23 October 2015 10:22

That sounds like a really useful exercise, as well as a fun day. I must make sure I'm on the next MOB (WOB) training day.

That sounds like a really useful exercise, as well as a fun day. I must make sure I'm on the next MOB (WOB) training day.
f t m