When it came time for the Pac Cup inspection, we had already signed the certification that we had performed the obligatory MOB practice onboard Valis. The Inspector asked the simple question, "has the crew done the practice?" Paul answered, "yes". The Inspector pressed on, "this crew?" Paul, "Umm, no." Inspector, "no problem, just do the practice and send in the certification form." Paul, "sure, we'll do that."
Lacking the ability to lie, we all decided we'd best do the MOB practice and the Emergency Rudder test. This weekend was perfect for it, blowing 20-30 knots in the slot, exactly the conditions that people, hats and cushions go overboard in real life. We left Sausalito with me on the helm, searching for a good spot. I cruised over to Alcatraz, gybed onto port, wove our way through some racing fleet or another, with top sustained wind in the low 30s, the boat handling like a dream.
Every once in a while, I'd count to make sure we still had four crew on board. You know, in case somebody decided to test me right there and then. But, thankfully, nobody on the crew is that stupid or clumsy. So we kept searching.
Finally, as we started into the lee of Angel Island, the wind moderated down to 20, then 15, then 10. And we were set. We have a lot of thinkers and theoreticians aboard Valis so we got right down to business. The business of discussing what we were about to do as I sailed aimlessly around Southampton, avoiding other less serious more leisurely sailors. We discussed the ins and outs of MOB theory and research. We discussed Valis' particular handling characteristics in such situations. We messed with the nav display to figure the appropriate button to push for MOBs. And we annoyed the heck out of John.
After about 15 minutes, he said "f*** it, man overboard" and threw the hapless cushion to the dangerous seas. Ah, hell, I was the poor schmuck at the helm, I had to do this. So, I beam reached, tacked, broad reached, and tacked up to our cushion and came within about 2 inches of the pole being able to reach our victim. Instead of doing the whole figure 8 again, I just went ahead and did the bottom half of the 8, pulled up alongside of the cushion and David brought him onboard. We had saved the cushion.
High fives all around, discussion on what would have happened in real conditions with a real person, more fussing with the nav display, and John had had it again. He took the cushion and threw it overboard again. He hates that damned cushion apparently (a good thing to know since I'm about to spend 2 weeks at sea with the guy). This time, I hit the button, and said, "I'm not doing that again, you take the darned wheel" and handed all but pointing responsibility over to the man who hates the cushion (John for those of you not paying attention).