MOB's tether 'too long'


The skipper of a 38ft sloop died when he went overboard because his harness tether was too long, a report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch has found. The MAIB also highlighted the fact that RYA training courses did not cover, as a matter of routine, recovery of an MOB on a harness.

In June last year Christopher Reddish, 46, from south London fell overboard 14 miles south of Selsey Bill, West Sussex, while sailing Lion, a Reflex 38 in a RORC race from the Solent to Cherbourg in up to 30 knots of wind. He was still attached to the boat by his 1.8m long tether.

The crew, including Mr Reddish’s son spent 16 minutes getting him back aboard where he was pronounced dead by a consultant cardiologist who was one of the crew.

The MAIB ruled that had Mr Reddish used a shorter harness – those 800mm long were available on board – he would not have gone over the side. Lack of training in MOB recovery was also an important factor in his death and when Mr Reddish went over the side no one initially took charge because a mate had not been nominated.

Other safety factors raised by the loss of Mr Reddish include: no standards cover the quality of lifejacket crutch straps of lifting rings for manufacturers to comply with. Lashing the genoa on deck meant crew had to go forward into a ‘high risk area’ when seas washed it free. The skipper’s lifejacket rode up over his torso and might not have been correctly adjusted. The crew had not practiced an MOB drill before the race. The yacht’s engine was not started until14 minutes into the emergency because it was feared it would foul trailing ropes.