It’s well worth reading the excellent report from US Sailing on the tragic person overboard (POB) death in the 2022 Bermuda race.
Lots of good analysis and some great recommendations.
That said, the biggest takeaway for me is that the cockpit of a sailboat at sea can provide an illusory sense of safety.
The fact is that even with:
…the wind in the low to mid 20s, with some higher gusts…US Sailing Report
a wave can near-broach the boat and wash a person right out and over the lifelines, as happened in this case.
…this wave washed Colin over the top of the leeward lifelines and into the water…US Sailing Report
Phyllis and I have always tethered in the cockpit, even in much more benign conditions than that.
In fact, our rule is to be tethered, even in the cockpit, any time we are sailing in swell, which is pretty much any time out of sheltered waters.
Reading this report was a good reminder for us to stick with that policy.
Much more on POB prevention.