Ace Crew rescue their Lunatic Skipper
Yes, I jumped in at the end of the Man Overboard drill. I’ve done this a few times previously, and I’m still alive. The RYA suggest that the drill is done with a fender … which is a bit like practising putting out a house fire by starting a bonfire in the garden; it’sjust not the same.
The freakiest thing about a real live genuine MOB is that OMG! - how, why, what happened? And by that time they’re a long way behind. This crew now Know For Sure that they can pick me up, and I know it too. It’s a gigantic confidence boost for me, for the crew, and hopefully for friends and family reading this too.
And Yes, apart from me it’s an all-girl crew. Not really by design, it just happened that way. There was going to be more balance but the boys dropped out and I thought - why not? There’s no particular Grunt needed on a 60ft cruising catamaran. Intelligence is more important, and neither sex has a monopoly in that department.
This time, I jumped in after the very first MOB practise with a fender - a first for me. I got hold of a fender - “Pretend this is me!” and threw it overboard.
Ruth stepped out to the side deck unprompted, and started shouting and pointing the position of the fender relative to the boat “3 o’clock 100 metres, 4 o’clock 150 metres, 5 o’clock” etc. - all completely unbidden by me or anyone. Jess on the helm brought the boat around to accurately get the fender on the starboard bow, slowed the boat, twisted it into the path of the fender and Anna picked it out with twisting boat hook, all at very first attempt.
I then showed the “ski rope” setup on Mojo - a 150 metre floating line with big white float at the end. We threw it out and Jess trolled it around and hm yeah, that’ll be a lot easier to catch someone - a giant ski rope that either the MOB can pick up or another crew can use to go get the MOB - no need to try drive at the MOB and chew them up with the propellors.
So after all that - could they rescue me? Oh yes, they all agreed, no problem.
Unannounced, I jumped in. The rope went out, Jess slowed and turned the boat, put in a wide turn and i was back on board in a couple of minutes. Even if they’d read the blog beforehand (which would have told them I’ve jumped in before) - it’s still impressive.
Talking to Aixa on the way back to the anchorage - we both agreed that Yeah, Okay, all-girl crew Wooh Girl Power! blah blah … but she’d had her reservations beforehand, and maybe I did too. Not now. That performance was spectacular for any crew, and can’t really be bettered. I’ve jumped in before many trans-ocean trips, but never after just the one drill with a fender and just the one show-how with the floating line. I’ve never done it without being Pretty Darn Sure they could pick me up - and the same applied this time. This crew is sea-savvy.
Although it sounds somewhat unorthodox, Mojo isn’t the only boat from which skippers fling themselves into the sea - well-drilled Navy types do it too.
Yet again, Mojo is likely the only transat sailing boat with this level of MOB expertise and that can answer the following positively:
1 Have the crew ever actually rescued the Skipper (or anyone - not just a disposable fender) from the sea?
2 Has the Skipper ever REALLY tested the crew’s MOB skills?
Don’t try this at home, of course: the seas are warm in the Canaries at this time of year, whereas they can be lethally cold around the UK and elsewhere.