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Caldwell talked about it in "Desparate Voyage" - saying that when he actually finally did go over and swam to the line it was so slippery with gunk he could barely hang onto it.
I also read a story about a single-hander that disappeared in the last year or so. He went over and grabbed the fishing line he was trolling. The hook came along and set in his hand and he was able to reel himself back on.
I'm thinking tethers are a very cool thing.