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Old 22 March 2012, 07:00   #1
Country: UK - England
Town: bath
Boat name: -
Make: Ribcraft
Length: 6m +
Engine: -
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 95
helmsman overboard dilema

So, you`re on your own in the boat cruisng along 20-30knts downwind wearing a lifejacket and kill cord. Perfectly normal. Then you loose concentration for a split second and you`re out of the boat in the drink (reason irrelevant), the engine has cut out but the boat is now 30m at least away from you and being blown further away...nightmare

apart from wearing a personal VHF and hoping that others can save you, what else could one do ?
My question is would it be nonsense to be attached to the boat with a very long (50m say)thin rope so that you have a fighting chance of getting back to the boat ?
Anyone do this
often wondered it, never asked...

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Old 22 March 2012, 07:20   #2
martini's Avatar
Country: UK - Channel Islands
Town: jersey
Boat name: Martini II
Make: Arctic 28/FC470
Length: 8m +
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What about a short rope so you don't fall out in the first place?

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Old 22 March 2012, 07:32   #3
TonyC's Avatar
Country: UK - Wales
Make: XS // Delta
Length: 6m +
Engine: 60hp // 2x90hp
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Foot Straps?
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Old 22 March 2012, 08:28   #4
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Country: UK - N Ireland
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I do alot of RIBing on my own and going overboard is a senario that I have thought quite a bit about. Also remembering that this would also happen in the event of a serious fire.

My solution is:
I always wear a drysuit and helmet for thermal protection.
On my lifejacket, which has built in buoyancy, I always have a VHF radio and a PLB attached.
I always leave information on shore with a definite return time - after which the Coastguard is to be informed if I do not make contact
Maximum Preparation - Maximum Fun
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Old 22 March 2012, 09:19   #5
boristhebold's Avatar
Country: UK - England
Length: 7m +
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,280
I always carry a PLB in my pocket plus handheld VHF attached to my lifejacket which is always worn and kill cord.

I have used a lifeline in the past attached to my lifejacket harness and attached to the Rib around a heavy metal bar that goes round the seats but not often. Last time I attached this was leaving poole at about 6am to go and watch the round island race from hurst castle and needles area. Such was the weather conditions last year it was a bit of added security.
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Old 22 March 2012, 10:11   #6
Country: UK - Scotland
Boat name: Wildheart
Make: Humber/Delta Seasafe
Length: 5m +
Engine: Merc 60 Clamshell
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,539
First experiment (as I see you have a 6+m boat) Throw a fender or similar over the side as you pull the kill cord. How far wil lit travel?

Experiment 2 - Nose up to a mooring. Knock it into neutral. How fast does it move (do this with differnet wind / tide situations)

As an observation a friend's Ricraft 5.3 with a 90 on the back if you pull the kill cord at anything >about 20 knots you need an airbag on the wheel - it's like hitting a brick wall.

problem with long lines is that you will forget it one day & trip over it. Strapping yourself in there are dozens of "strapped in kids under an upturned hull" threads - plenty to read. I have foot straps. if I feel the boat turning over I would like to think if I couldn't jump clear it wonlt be much worse than being under an upturned dinghy. But I derie t othe conditions so flipping it is hopefully a very low likelihood scenario. Feet in I hopefully won't fall out. I'm also sat on a jockey seat which I can clamp with my knees if need be.

On the other side of the coin a SIB will skim sideways pretty rapidly in a wind and you don't have all the toe straps jockey seats etc I just talked about......
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Old 22 March 2012, 11:15   #7
m chappelow's Avatar
Country: UK - England
Town: yorkshire
Boat name: little vicky
Make: avon ex RNLI
Length: 3m +
Engine: tohatsu
Join Date: Mar 2008
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In open Water tow a long floating type line behind the boat ,
Mate of mine. Used to do this when single handed ,
only works if the engine has a kill cord though
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Old 22 March 2012, 11:23   #8
Country: USA
Length: 3m +
Join Date: Feb 2012
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My old RIB came untied from my sailboat and I foolishly dove in after it even though it had a decent head start. In relatively light air on a warm day in warm (27 C) water it took some doing to catch it. I would NOT count on being able to swim after your boat. Wearing a lifejacket and/or dry suit I would never have caught it. If I had a brain I would have gone after it by boat instead of swimming too.
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Old 22 March 2012, 12:10   #9
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Country: Netherlands
Town: Breda
Make: Scorpion
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I do 95% of my ribbing on my own.
Always have a 2 meter elastic safety line attached to the Rib and to lifejacket.
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Old 22 March 2012, 13:58   #10
Country: UK - England
Town: bath
Boat name: -
Make: Ribcraft
Length: 6m +
Engine: -
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 95
Thanks for the various replies, very interesting. It seems to me that there is no definitive solution. An upturned hull to sit on and call for help would be pretty serious but to see the boat blow away is my biggest fear.
I know that when the kill cord is pulled the whole rig stops pretty fast ( done it by mistake ) but in a following sea in a blow I don't fancy my chances of swimming to catch up to it, even 10 meters with all my clobber on and I'm a half decent swimmer...

A heavy beam landing in a confused sea is the one likely to get me..

I also don't fancy a short harness as, like in a car sometimes, it's best to be thrown free, (although it clearly can stop you going over the side in the first place ) . As long as it was just the right length, sort enough that if I lost my balance the kill cord was activated and I'm not flailing around the transom/ engine ie somewhere just behind the drivers seat. Otherwise I would consider a coiled length of thin rope , which would be just longer than the "stopping distance at say 30 knts " , held with a very thin Velcro strap so it would un-coil under pressure....

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