Falling or being washed overboard is the greatest danger to which the sailing man is exposed. In heavy weather, the sense of self-preservation makes most people act on the sailor's old maxim 'one hand for yourself and one for the ship'; the risk of going overboard is therefore greater in moderate weather when a moment's carelessness or a sudden unexpected lurch may send one headlong over the side. -- Eric Hiscock in "Cruising Under Sail"
This is such a big topic that I think its useful to break the one big risk into a number of smaller risks, and to then tackle them one at a time.
- Minimize the need to leave the cabin
- Minimize the risk of going into cockpit
- Minimize need to go on deck
- Minimize the risk of going on deck
- Minimize the risk of being overboard, i.e., the risk of being in the water
I find it fascinating that Robert Manry and Roger Taylor handle the problem from opposite ends of the spectrum:
Roger minimizes the overall risk by minimizing the need to leave his cabin. He can steer, trim his sails, and even reef, all from the safety of the cabin hatch. He rarely ventures out on deck in good weather, and almost never in bad, unless necessity demands (and it almost never does!)
|Manry and Tinkerbell waving to passing plane|
So it's clear that this risk can be attacked in many directions, not just one, depending on the sailor and the boat. I'm going to look at each risk as it applies to the Blue Moon and myself, and see how I can minimize the risk in each category.
Next Up: Staying Onboard - Part 2