I’m not being sexist here. Some women are out there solo and the answer is a resounding “yes”. Some couples have been cruising for years and have their “systems” worked out. They know how to anchor without talking, use hand signals to dock and know exactly how to deploy the life sling and make a pan-pan or mayday call. But some couples we’ve met have the job distinctions on board broken down to “his” and “hers” and most of the time that’s just fine! There are some things you don’t want us guys messing with. But when it comes to driving the boat, docking the boat, dropping the main, furling the jib and getting your vessel back to shore safely, ARE YOU READY?
As I sat in the cockpit in severe pain, I realized we need to regularly practice as if one of us is not in sailing shape. Last Saturday when I hurt my back, just as I limped back to the cockpit, we heard a distress call to the Coast Guard regarding a vessel in our area who had a sailor suffering a stroke on board. Here we were with our “little situation” and there was a REAL emergency very close to us. I didn’t let Mel go forward to douse the main because she wasn’t wearing a collar and even if she was, if she went over, I was in no shape to get her back on board. I went forward doused and flaked (poorly I might add) the main and got back to the cockpit. We started the engine and Mel drove us under the 17th St. Causeway and through a crazy, crowded stretch of the ICW to the new dock. As I sit here with the slightest twinge left in my lower back, I reflect on what we did right and wrong and ask you… to reflect on your “plan”. A plan I hope you guys never need to implement.
*A few videos about Man Overboard (MOB) rescues worth watching – leave us a comment or join the conversation on Facebook if you know of some other drills that might be helpful: