15 October 2009

Leadership, Teamwork, Seamanship, Responsibility- When What We Teach All Comes Together

Given the number of boats and hours we spend on the water we are fortunate that we have not had many incidents at the KP Waterfront, though we spend a lot of time training for them, well this week that training did it's job.

To all, 

On Tuesday October 13, 2009 there was an incident aboard the S/V Renegade. Crew members aboard at the time were M/N Derrick Cherico (helm) and Logan Koltermann (main), and Plebes James Pilliod (jib), Mikkel Tophoj (bow), Stefano Ritondale (mast), and Zachary Bradley (2nd jib).  At the time the wind was blowing about 20-25 with gusts up to 30. The J29 doesn’t have instruments so this is just an estimate. We had a #3 jib up and one reef in the main. We did some tacks upwind then went wing-on-wing downwind for a bit then came back up. Our Offshore Coach John Porter told us to practice some man-overboard drills. Logan then went down below to get an extra fender to throw overboard. We were on starboard tack at the time and tossed the fender off the stern. We immediately called man overboard and eased sails and came down. The Plebes had an eye on our "man," then we jibed and came up wind and tacked onto stbd. We came up to our man head to wind. The Plebes were unable to recover our guy so we went back onto starboard tack for a bit then came back down to make another pass. Plebes Tophoj and Bradley had an outstretched arm pointing to the man in the water while Plebe Ritondale went down below to get the boat hook and Plebe Pilliod was working the jib. As we came downwind Derrick called ready to jibe, we all acknowledged and then jibed. It was then that Bradley lost his footing on the starboard side and began to slip in between the lower lifeline and the deck. He managed to grip onto the stanchion just aft of the shrouds while his waist/legs were trailing in the water. Only able to hold on for a few seconds he let go and fell in the water. He was under the water for approximately 4-5 seconds. Fearing the worst we kept an eye and waited for him to surface, still on port jibe. We immediately notified the rest of the crew this was no longer a drill and we had an actual man overboard. While Tophoj had an eye on Bradley in the water, Derrick came up and tacked the boat onto starboard. Bradley saw this and began swimming to us. We were not on starboard tack for long when the boat met up with Bradley. As Derrick tried to stop the boat, Logan luffed the main and ran over to the leeward (port) side and grabbed Bradley and hoisted him through the lower life line and the deck. We asked if he was hurt and he said no just cold. We then told him to go down below and warm up. It was at this point our Offshore Coach came up in the Ambar and made sure everyone was ok. After this fact, we went engine on doused the jib and main. Then making sure everyone was ok and had no serious injuries, we headed back into the basin.

            Other boats that were practicing too were the Lager, Hypnos, Diana, a few sonars and the dinghy team. However these boats were not in the immediate vicinity.  We think a few things we did right was to immediately notify the entire crew that there was a man overboard and to keep a sharp eye on him.  The waves were about 3-4 feet high, some even 5. This we’re sure made it hard to keep an eye on Bradley. We never were more than 200 feet from him which made it easy.  We were really impressed with the other Plebes on board. They did a great job of keeping an eye on our guy in the water and knowing what to do when the situation presented itself unexpectedly.  Especially with the weather getting colder, you never want someone in the water for too long. Luckily he was able to swim to us which made it easier for us to get him on board.

            We cannot think of much we did wrong, however in that kind of breeze with 2/3 of your crew plebes, it might have been a good idea not to jibe. Instead we could’ve came up on the wind, tacked, then came back down. That was one possibility, another is absolutely making sure everyone is ready before each tack and jibe. I think also Bradley may have been too focused on keeping an eye out for our fake man in the water and was not paying as much attention as he should’ve and lost his footing. There was definitely a ton of breeze that day and I think each of us learned something. We were very lucky to recover him so quickly and also that no one was seriously injured.

Very Respectfully,

MIDN Derrick Cherico 2/c and MIDN Logan Koltermann,2/c

3rd Company

Renegade Skippers


Anonymous said...

were pfd's being worn?

Kings Point Waterfront said...

Yes, pfd's were on.