Have you tried getting back aboard your boat from the water. If you can not then consider weather it is worth being tethered to the boat in a situation where you can go overboard. The jacklines that came with my boat ran alongside the toe rail, useless as I can not get back aboard from the water when amidships.
The second thing to consider is assuming you go overboard while sailing at say 4 knots, can you get back onboard, in fact can you even prevent yourself from drowning. This issue is well documented and thereare unfortunate cases where people have died while teathered alongside and being towed along. Can you release your teather under load? Most can not and the only way some people survived was by somehow slipping out of their harness or jacket with incorporated harness.
No, I haven't tried, primarily because the water is pretty cold, and I'd be afraid that something could even go wrong in the test run to cause a serious incident. But I probably have to get past that. I could try it with a wetsuit, for instance, to give myself a little additional buffer the first time.
My tether has a quick-release on my end, so I'm pretty confident that I can get the thing off fast if I need to.
I expect that the freeboard will be a pretty serious problem. I do sport climbing recreationally, so if I can get ahold of anything at all, I should be able to pull myself back on board some sort of way; but realistically, if I fall off on the high side, under autopilot, I could see this being seriously difficult.
So far, I've actually rigged the jacklines all the way fore and aft. I understand this is not recommended; however, it lets me get to the stern, where there is a swim ladder.
There's another threat back there, under power, which is the outboard; I probably should be clipping in to the outboard kill switch as well. (However, the risk of falling out under power is much reduced, since I generally don't motor in bigger seas, and there's also less heal or need to go forward.)
When in the cockpit, I attach directly to one of two padeyes in the cockpit, and I'm pretty confident (although I have not tested) that I'd be able to get back into the cockpit if I was attached to either one, because of their positions.
Yeah, when you put it that way, it seems like reversing against a bow line actually would have worked really well. I wish I had thought of that on the spot; that would have worked really well, and probably avoided damage.