I will echo what's been stated already: a Getaway moves -incredibly- fast on its side. No one's going to catch one once its gotten loose in winds strong enough to cause a pitchpole event. Not Michael Phelps. No one. Our mantra: even if you're hurt get a hold of the boat first and -then- have a little cry. PDF's are mandatory.
This season we'll be adding whistles to everyone's PDF in the event any/all crew become separated from the boat. (A signaling device lashed to the boat doesn't help you much when it's long gone...)
We are a family of 7 and novice lake sailors. Bought a new Getaway last summer and love it, but found out the hard way that (1) the boat's ample tramp space all but invites inexperienced crew/passengers to get out of position, (2) it's really quite important to keep the bow up, and (3) problems relating to #1 can quickly lead to problems relating to #2 and the next thing you can expect is an abject lesson in rapid deceleration!
On my first pitchpole maneuver I only half-way's managed to follow the "golden rule" for ditching, which is apparently to ensure that both feet go to one side of the mast (LOL!): I smacked my knee on the mast (bone chip) which slowed me up enough so that I crashed down shin-first onto a wing seat (ouch!) before finally ending up in the water with the mast slamming down inches from my head. Two of the four of us aboard did not catch the cat before it took off, but luckily we were not far from shore. Even in chest deep water with a boost off the bottom I had a very difficult time scrambling up on the hull to right the boat due to my tender knee. My point? When you're formulating your "Plan B", factor in the prospect of contending with an injury to yourself or a crew member/passenger.
As I stated, we're warm weather lake sailors in wetsuits and pdf's; while the prospect of having to follow one's cat back to shore is not a welcome one, in our scenario no one's life is likely to be at threat if the boat gets away. I'm far more concerned about injuries caused by rapid deceleration--especially when sitting on the wing seats since there is literally nothing to hold on to. The first time we momentarily dug in a hull I slid along the seat and drove my 11-year-old son's thigh straight into a shroud wire, leaving a nasty bruise.
Has anyone ever seen or considered fabricating some sort of handles on the wing seats?
I hate to sound like a safety Nazi, but I sometime wonder about whitewater rafting helmets for those times a guy goes out looking to push the envelope...
2009 Getaway. “One out of four people in this country is mentally unbalanced. Think of your three closest friends; if they seem OK, then you're the one.” -Ann Landers