Perfect singlehanded rescue

Foolish

Super Anarchist
1,686
363
Victoria, BC
I have often wondered if I could rescue people while singlehanding.  I got the answer yesterday and it went perfectly.   

A canoe with two people tipped over in Cadboro Bay (near Victoria) yesterday.  It was blowing 18 knots with a chop.   I heard a very faint "help" in the distance, and after a bit of looking around I saw them waving at me.  I waved back to let them know that I was coming.

I tacked around and sailed up about 50 yards above them.  Then I tacked again and hove too, and drifted down to them.  I was still moving forward a bit, so I tossed them my spinnaker sheet and they grabbed on.  I was moving slowly enough that I could easily pull them towards the boat.  

In the hove too position, the boat has a strong lean to the leeward side.  The Olson 30 is very low to the water and the leeward side was just inches above the water.  So I pulled them to that side.  I have spectra lifelines, so I cut the lower line giving them free access (this is a key benefit of spectra lifelines).  The fellow was able to pull himself on board while I controlled the tiller, and the two of us each grabbed the girl's wrists and easily slid her on board, PFD and all. This would not have been possible with wire lifelines.

The whole process was very fast and proves my thought that sail boats should be sailed, not motored, when performing a rescue.  In a wind like that, I have much better control of the boat under sail than under my little 5hp outboard.  I heave too often when coming back to the docks, so I am very comfortable with how the boat moves.

We went back and found the fellow's 75lb pack and dragged it on board, but we were not able to spot the dark green canoe.  It's probably floating out to the Pacific by now.  We did warn the Coast Guard that it was out there somewhere.

This is NOT a photo of them, but I didn't think it prudent to call out "swim just a bit longer while I take a Facebook photo".

Canoe.jpg

 

slug zitski

Super Anarchist
4,976
774
worldwide
I have often wondered if I could rescue people while singlehanding.  I got the answer yesterday and it went perfectly.   

A canoe with two people tipped over in Cadboro Bay (near Victoria) yesterday.  It was blowing 18 knots with a chop.   I heard a very faint "help" in the distance, and after a bit of looking around I saw them waving at me.  I waved back to let them know that I was coming.

I tacked around and sailed up about 50 yards above them.  Then I tacked again and hove too, and drifted down to them.  I was still moving forward a bit, so I tossed them my spinnaker sheet and they grabbed on.  I was moving slowly enough that I could easily pull them towards the boat.  

In the hove too position, the boat has a strong lean to the leeward side.  The Olson 30 is very low to the water and the leeward side was just inches above the water.  So I pulled them to that side.  I have spectra lifelines, so I cut the lower line giving them free access (this is a key benefit of spectra lifelines).  The fellow was able to pull himself on board while I controlled the tiller, and the two of us each grabbed the girl's wrists and easily slid her on board, PFD and all. This would not have been possible with wire lifelines.

The whole process was very fast and proves my thought that sail boats should be sailed, not motored, when performing a rescue.  In a wind like that, I have much better control of the boat under sail than under my little 5hp outboard.  I heave too often when coming back to the docks, so I am very comfortable with how the boat moves.

We went back and found the fellow's 75lb pack and dragged it on board, but we were not able to spot the dark green canoe.  It's probably floating out to the Pacific by now.  We did warn the Coast Guard that it was out there somewhere.

This is NOT a photo of them, but I didn't think it prudent to call out "swim just a bit longer while I take a Facebook photo".

View attachment 457811
Before you attempt a rescue make sure that the folks you are rescuing are correctly wearing PFDs

 
Very nice work.  I’m still experimenting with sail trim and rudder position to get hove-to with minimal forward motion.  This story gives me more motivation to keep trying. 

 

C4ISR

New member
3
1
Tucson AZ
Fantastic. Another great item for your resume.  Thanks for the info.  I have wire lifelines but the ends are connected with spectra so can be cut.  

Farr 30

 

shaggybaxter

Super Anarchist
4,340
2,364
Australia
You're a gem Foolish, good on you and thanks for sharing.

Like C4, I had wire lifelines but tied off at the pushpit with dyneema. One hidden benefit was the wire lifeline stopped at the next stanchion. When cut this gave you a wire sling underwater you could stand on, situated between the set of stanchions ahead of the pushpit. 

Admittedly a bit uncomfortable with bare feet but hey, every little advantage helps.   

 
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Crash

Super Anarchist
4,938
919
SoCal
I have often wondered if I could rescue people while singlehanding.  I got the answer yesterday and it went perfectly.   

A canoe with two people tipped over in Cadboro Bay (near Victoria) yesterday.  It was blowing 18 knots with a chop.   I heard a very faint "help" in the distance, and after a bit of looking around I saw them waving at me.  I waved back to let them know that I was coming.

I tacked around and sailed up about 50 yards above them.  Then I tacked again and hove too, and drifted down to them.  I was still moving forward a bit, so I tossed them my spinnaker sheet and they grabbed on.  I was moving slowly enough that I could easily pull them towards the boat.  

In the hove too position, the boat has a strong lean to the leeward side.  The Olson 30 is very low to the water and the leeward side was just inches above the water.  So I pulled them to that side.  I have spectra lifelines, so I cut the lower line giving them free access (this is a key benefit of spectra lifelines).  The fellow was able to pull himself on board while I controlled the tiller, and the two of us each grabbed the girl's wrists and easily slid her on board, PFD and all. This would not have been possible with wire lifelines.

The whole process was very fast and proves my thought that sail boats should be sailed, not motored, when performing a rescue.  In a wind like that, I have much better control of the boat under sail than under my little 5hp outboard.  I heave too often when coming back to the docks, so I am very comfortable with how the boat moves.

We went back and found the fellow's 75lb pack and dragged it on board, but we were not able to spot the dark green canoe.  It's probably floating out to the Pacific by now.  We did warn the Coast Guard that it was out there somewhere.

This is NOT a photo of them, but I didn't think it prudent to call out "swim just a bit longer while I take a Facebook photo".

View attachment 457811
Is it accurate to assume blade jib and full main given the conditions?

And as us old Navy guys would say, Bravo Zulu! 

 

The Q

Super Anarchist
Well done, a well executed rescue..

I've done two single handed rescues neither was anywhere near  as difficult as yours

One I was in the rescue boat and a two man canoe capsized, they were tourists on the way back from a pub, and had the wrong PFDs on, the other canoe with the girls in, had taken their larger PFD's. I just heard a splash as I was returning from conveying a crew to their boat, , An easy rescue come along side get him to float then roll him in..

The other rescue I was sailing a wayfarer 16ft dinghy, I spotted a windsurfer beginner getting washed down wind, unable to paddle against the wind and he fell in every time he tried to stand up..  So I sailed down to him rounded up along side threw him a rope, tied to a seat rail, then towed him back up to where he had started.. Tacking was interesting as the load dropped off as I tacked, then came back on with a jerk as the rope tightened up and had to turn him in a new direction..

 
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Foolish

Super Anarchist
1,686
363
Victoria, BC
Is it accurate to assume blade jib and full main given the conditions?
Jib and one reef in the main.  But when hove-too, I release the main completely so it really doesn't play any role.   I find that my boat heaves-too much better with the Genoa up rather than the jib.

 
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Zonker

Super Anarchist
8,904
4,820
Canada
Before you attempt a rescue make sure that the folks you are rescuing are correctly wearing PFDs
In cold water where hypothermia may be an issue you want them to make sure they are correctly wearing PFDs?? As usual WTF?

How about just getting them aboard?

 

slug zitski

Super Anarchist
4,976
774
worldwide
In cold water where hypothermia may be an issue you want them to make sure they are correctly wearing PFDs?? As usual WTF?

How about just getting them aboard?
You are an amateur , you may do anything you wish 

professional seaman always ensure that all persons are wearing PFDs before they perform the rescue  transfer 

6C9FF326-E482-4B21-BDE4-ADC3CBE681D7.jpeg

3654A353-F842-4864-8088-F6CB47FBEC25.jpeg

 

climenuts

Anarchist
662
251
PNW
Awesome work, Foolish.

Did you bring them back to shore or did CG come retrieve them? Was hypothermia an issue?

On a side note (not at all intended to insult the rescued): Why on earth do people try to canoe in unprotected waters... Buy an ocean kayak.

 

Foolish

Super Anarchist
1,686
363
Victoria, BC
Did you bring them back to shore or did CG come retrieve them? Was hypothermia an issue?

On a side note (not at all intended to insult the rescued): Why on earth do people try to canoe in unprotected waters... Buy an ocean kayak.
Yes, I came back to the dock.  About a half hour of beating into the wind I'd guess.  They both were really cold so went below during the sail and changed into dry clothes from their big pack.  

It's funny that in a sailboat we look at "small craft warning" as meaning a good day on the water. But it really does mean something for a small craft.

 
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