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Author Topic: Motley Rescues J24 MOB  (Read 2513 times)

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rirvine

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Motley Rescues J24 MOB
« on: May 16, 2006, 12:18:42 PM »

Mottley rescues J24 MOB during IC Race #2  --- Chris Owen

All, --- I’m sending this to all of you as there are lessons to be learned & mostly so I only have to do it once!

Ironically, 3 of my 5 regular crew were not with us yesterday, unusual for us, but the 2 regulars, Ken & Bill, each brought a friend Forrest & Jack - new to sailing – so there were 5 of us on board for the InterClub race #2 Saturday.
 
  “… The C-34 Start was close with wind 10 – 15 knots steady from the west an hour after max Flood.  The course was Berkeley to around Alcatraz, to #24 NE of Angel Island, to #3 under the Bay Bridge & Finish near Clipper Cove on Treasure Island.  We had a long tacking leg into increasing wind & waves and finally got around Alcatraz in second place behind Crew’s Nest.  The next leg was almost strait downwind.  We were doing 7.5 to 8.5 knots through the water without a pole up because the wind was now over 20 knots & building.  We went around #24 (way around…) and were headed South to the Bay Bridge, but were far to the east of where we should have been (this becomes important in a few sentences).   The wind was now at least 25 knots and the current was changing to Ebb, creating very choppy seas, 3 – 4 feet from crest to trough.  We were still under a full main and a 130 jib doing 7.5 knots, but steering was very difficult.  We almost rounded up twice, so we reefed the main that helped but were still overpowered so we cranked in the jib until I could regain good control.  This became important…  It was very rough conditions but thankfully still a sunny day.   About 50 – 100 yards ahead of us, 3 J-24s were racing in close proximity.  One seemed to broach and then their kite let loose.  We could see crew scurrying & a pole wielded, but it was still pretty far ahead of us.  About a minute later, it happened.  One of my crew yelled ‘There’s someone in the water!’  There it was – a bright red/orange object with a head on top – about 40 yards ahead at our 2 o’clock position.
 
           I quickly looked around and determined 3 things – we were the closest boat to the overboard victim, the only one moving toward the victim as the J-24s were moving away – remember 1 was in some trouble still – and we were still doing over 7 knots.  We had to slow down, get control of the situation and position ourselves for retrieval.  I yelled to douse the remaining jib as I turned to start the engine, praying it would fire up immediately.  It did.  The crew got the jib furled, watched the victim’s location, and got our horseshoe float into the cockpit.  We didn’t have a Lifesling; we didn’t have our horseshoe float attached to a line.  I left the reefed main up because I thought it might give us stability in the adverse conditions, but also because we just didn’t have time to get it down.  I was able to half circle the victim to position myself upwind so I could float down on him with the engine in neutral.  I was very conscious we did not want to run over him or knock him in these winds & seas.   I had yelled to throw him a line but nobody heard me, apparently.  This turned out to be a good thing, as I subsequently didn’t have to worry about fouling my propeller on a lifeline, as we got close.  I got the aft ladder down into the water.  The victim (the heck with that, his name is John) was very calm and he had good auto-inflate equipment.  We floated down to him and Forrest grabbed his hand on the starboard side, about 10 feet from the stern.  They stayed clasped until John got around back and grabbed the ladder.  He rested just a moment and then climbed the ladder into the cockpit with a minimum of help, and bringing about 5 gallons of water with him!   But he was safe and we were all elated.
 
     The time from seeing John to getting him onto Mottley was only about 2 minutes and we estimate he was in the water less than 5 minutes, but it took its toll.  We got him below and out of his foulies and life vest.  His teeth were chattering away and his fingers were cramped but he recovered fast.  John was thirty something, in very good physical condition, and we found out he was in active service in the Coast Guard!  I think this accounted a lot for his own cool headed handling of the situation.  His J-24 (Scissors something from Richmond YC) had now recovered but we had no chance of returning him in those conditions.  We hailed them and decided to motor to Clipper Cove at TI where it was calm and a transfer could be made.   There was no discussion on Mottley about returning to the race.  It would not have been appropriate.   Amongst thanks all around, we returned John to his boat and waiting crew at Clipper Cove…” 
 
Despite our DNF for the race, I can tell you every member of the Mottley crew was smiling as we headed back to South Beach.  They did an incredible job and I am very proud of each of them…   
 
Chris Owen
Skipper of the C-34 Mottley
 
P.S.  “What I learned today”
 
 00. Buy more expensive life saving equipment than you can afford.  John got tangled in a line as he went overboard and was dragged behind his boat before freeing himself.  His vest self inflated during this and so he remained very visible throughout.
 
2.  Had he been much younger or a little older, in those conditions, there may not have been as happy an outcome.  I kept checking his eyes for signs of panic just before we retrieved him.  He was well trained.  Train your crew.
 
3.  We were incredibly lucky to get him on our first pass.
 
4.  The worse the conditions, the more likely something bad will happen.  Everyone needs to slow down & keep his or her wits about him or her.
 

All sailors have a unique fellowship.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2006, 06:07:32 PM by rirvine »
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Craig Illman

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Re: Motley Rescues J24 MOB
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2006, 08:56:11 PM »

This would be worth copying to the main message board.  Good job!  :thumb:

- Craig
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Rick Johnson

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Re: Motley Rescues J24 MOB
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2006, 08:02:32 PM »

I agree, this is worth everyone's time to read.  Great Job!
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Rick Johnson, #1110, 1990, s/v Godspeed, Lake Travis, TX
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