Man Overboard Class
Sponsored by Pointer Maritime University (PMU) of Old Point Comfort Yacht Club
If you are a boater, the last thing you want to hear is "MAN OVERBOARD!" but the fact is that it does happen to at least some of us, at some time, always at the most unexpected and inopportune time. It is just plain foolhardy to ignore this fact. A prudent mariner thinks about what to do to reduce the probability of it happening to himself or to others on his boat. Then assuming the worst, he plans what he and the people on his boat would do if the unexpected happened.
Mark Wheeler, a crewman on Meridian X on the Chicago-Mackinac race, went overboard in the middle of Lake Michigan, at night, in a storm, while the boat was surfing downwind almost uncontrollably at 18 knots with a spinnaker up. Talk about inopportune timing! Most of the crew had sailed together for 20 years, so they knew each other and performed well as a team.
The fact that he is here to talk about it tells you that this situation had a happy ending, though it was far from easy. We are fortunate to have the crew of Meridian X that night - Mark, Sledd Shelhorse, Ron Mclean, Graham Garrenton, Beau Warren, Trevor Pardee, and Miah Dull - all coming to recollect the events of that night in detail. These are the guys who were there that night.
You'll hear the story from beginning to end, from the standpoint of those who experienced it. You'll hear what they had done in advance, how they were equipped and organized, and you'll hear what they now believe they should have done both in advance and during the event. You'll hear what they now do that's different from what they did then.
You could pay a lot of money to go to a safety at sea seminar and listen to someone talk about theory and the collected wisdom of group of experienced mariners - or you could come next Saturday and hear it for free, first hand. This is a once in Mark's lifetime opportunity. (At least he hopes and plans it that way)
This Pointer Maritime University class is open to all boaters in the Hampton Roads area, sail or power. Because we are expecting a large crowd, we have moved the class to the Ft. Monroe Armory where we have a large meeting room. The class starts at 9:30 AM and will be over by noon. To get to the Armory from the entrance to Ft. Monroe, take the left-hand road (Ingalls Road) and follow it then take a left on Hatch Lane. You can park in the parking lot there or on Ingalls Road in marked spaces. There are several other parking lots within 200 feet or so. The entrance to the Armory is on the side facing the old “Hospital” parking lot, NOT on Ingalls Road. If you get to a large stone church on your right, you have gone one street too far.