Planning for Crew Safety in 2022

Happy New Year!!

Although the winter sailing season in Charleston is still fantastic (most days), this is also the season of taking stock and getting ready for the upcoming sailing season. Last year we did some systems work and spent a little time cleaning up the to-do list from the fall survey.  This year I’m looking forward to working more on processes for crew safety and boat performance.

Refining the Crew Overboard Procedure

One of the crew processes that is often overlooked is the crew overboard drill. I just scheduled the first of several Man Overboard (MOB) practice days for the season.  Typically, how far we go depends on who shows up for practice. In the next sections I’ll highlight some considerations based on what I’ve seen in my classes.

Layer 1

The first layer of the onion focuses on tracking the target, the upwind/current approach, and managing boat speed. These fundamentals are critical regardless of the recovery technique you are using and regardless of whether you are executing under sail or under power.

Layer 2

The next element is selecting the correct technique for the situation. If we’re motoring a powered pickup is in order, if sailing our first (and hopefully only) approach will be under sail. Is the person in the water conscious and alert? If so the Lifesling is a great recovery tool with its associated approach. The other common options are the Quick Stop and Figure-8. I will typically use the Quick-Stop if the mainsail is up because it keeps the boat a little closer to the MOB than the Figure-8. In my opinion, it is also a little more automatic requiring less decision making. If we’re sailing under genoa alone, we use the Figure-8, because we’ve found that we can’t execute a quick-stop technique without the mainsail up.

Layer 3

The third element is getting the person connected to, and then back on the boat. Once you have successfully approached the MOB and they are alongside, get a line attached to the MOB. Don’t rely on the tenuous connection of the boat hook to keep the MOB from drifting away and forcing another recovery attempt. Even if you didn’t do a Lifesling recovery, this is still a great tool for connecting a person to the boat.

Don’t wait until you have a person in the water to think about AND PRACTICE getting a person out of the water. We have several options for getting a person out of the water.  1) The Lifesling hoist. 2) A spare spinnaker halyard. 3) The stern ladder. Consider your boat and make sure you have a plan and the necessary equipment to execute it.

Layer 4

The final element is providing post recovery care to the recovered person.  If your MOB happens in Charleston in the summer and your crew isn’t injured in their ordeal, the aftercare may be a towel and water bottle. In almost every other situation you will have more to do. Start by assessing your patient and then beginning treatment for injuries, shock, hypothermia, etc.

As the captain you are also responsible for crew safety and the safety of the vessel. Make sure you don’t get hyper focused, remember to remain situationally aware and to check in with each of your crew.


I hope you have a safe and fun 2022. You can improve the odds by doing a little planning and getting out and practicing! If you would like a jump start, I’d be happy to help you get your program going.

Some thoughts on where to go sail this winter

Although summer is starting to wind down, September and October are arguably some of the best months for sailing in the Carolinas. If you are able to dodge the hurricanes (This is also the peak of the hurricane season). Still its also a great time to consider trips to warmer climates for the coming months. So, where to go sail this winter? With the changing landscape of international travel, I’ve been looking at more domestic options.

sunrise sail

I think many other people have had the same thought, lately there’ve been a number of articles (and vlogs) about the Dry Tortugas, here’s what I’ve come across so far to kick off planning for a sail this winter.

The narrative of the latest in an annual tradition of visiting the Dry Tortugas.
Tortugas Bound: Exploring Florida’s Last Piece of Wilderness – PassageMaker

A good discussion of Provisioning for the Dry Tortugas | Blue Turtle Cruising.

I’ve also recently seen a number of good videos on YouTube. Here’s a link to an excellent video by Sailing SV Delos – This fort is an Isolated PARADISE! Sailing Vessel Delos ep. 325

Finally, if you’re looking for options somewhere else here’s the 2021 Charter Resource Directory – Sail Magazine

In case you missed my regular monthly sailing tips.

What I’ve been reading, sailing tips!

August was a weird month, so I missed my regular post. I’ll double up this month heading down two different paths. This time I’ll be looking at sailing tips and tricks to help keep the skills sharp.

A little bit of technology turning on itself. 5G Cellular vs GPS, unfortunately it looks like GPS lost this round.

Looking for a better way of keeping abreast of what the Coast Guard is up to. Subscribe to the Coast Guard’s email list for the latest updates.

A little continuation on anchoring, some tips from Boat US .  Aside from the technical tips, there’s a nice list of of anchoring etiquette.

Here are some great tips on downwind sailing from Quantum Sails. A good discussion about how to set yourself up for success on those downwind legs in various wind conditions.

Keep an eye out for my next post taking a look at some of the options available for a winter vacation.

What I’ve been reading in July

I hope your summer is going well and you getting a lot of time on the water! Here’s some interesting and informative articles that I’ve come across this month that may help you improve your sailing skills.
heavy weather sailing
One of the greatest challenges for new sailors is understanding the points of sail. Regardless of experience, knowing what the wind is doing and how best to use it is a critical skill.
This article provides some great insight.
Another challenge frequently faced on the water is dealing with fog. Here are some excellent reminders about how to improve your safety when operating in fog.
I also came across this short review with tips on picking up mooring balls.
I hope you find these interesting and helpful. If you’re interested in joining a class or getting personal instruction to improve your sailing skills, take a look at our current schedule.
Captain Tim
S/V Peregrine

What I’ve been reading in June

In addition to the great training provided through US Sailing and Power Boating classes on the water there are a lot of resources on the web. Some are better than others so a little skepticism is always good. Here are a few articles that I’ve read lately that I thought were interesting and provided a different take on some skills all boaters should continue to develop.

Here is a post about man overboard procedures with a focus on shorthand sailing. I haven’t tried out the ideas yet but it’s on my to do list for the summer.

This two part article that digs a deeper into anchor loads, determining scope, etc. Spoiler alert- more scope is better!! The discussion on wind gust loading is pretty eye opening.
In addition to scheduled classes, we are also available for focused training on a variety of topics. Let us know what you’re interested in, Im looking forward to seeing you on the water!
Captain Tim Vienneau
Cruising Instructor

The Leukemia Cup!

We may still be weathering the storm of a global pandemic, but brighter skies are ahead, as we start the countdown to the 24th Annual Leukemia Cup Regatta in the battle against blood cancers!

Battling Cancer

We sail so that no child has to hear the words “You have cancer”

We sail in honor of family, friends and loved one’s that have faced cancer, the list is far too long. We sail to fund better, safer treatments with less side effects and better  outcomes.

We sail so that no other child has to hear the words “You have cancer”.

We sail for little girls, like Elia, who is currently battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

We sail to provide HOPE to our community and to create a world WITHOUT cancer! You can provide that hope! My team has a goal of raising $5000 to FIGHT BACK against blood cancers and I need your help!

Please consider making a tax-deducible donation to my online fundraising page through the link below and share this link with your network! Together we can rid the world of cancer – for you, for me and for little girls just like Elia!

To learn more about SV Peregrine and her crew visit Our About Page