Preparing for offshore sailing. After some experience and a lot of reading, I am curious about what experienced offshore sailors actually do. The more I read, the more problems seem to come up. Even using tethers there have been drownings after being dragged beside or behind boat, equipment failures, etc.
Question for the experienced?
1. Do you use jack lines and when?
2. How are they rigged to provide true safety?
NC Newbie heading for Bermuda in Spring
1. Frequently. At night, rough weather, generally if the chute is up (hard to return) or if alone on-deck. Not in the cockpit, but our cockpit is unusually well sheltered.
2. On the high side. However, the correct answer is going to vary with the size and shape of the boat. See the second link below.
Stay low and keep the tethers reasonably short. If you need a tether you probably should be holding on with both hands and staying low.
Sail Delmarva: Climbing Gear for Sailors--Jacklines and Harnesses for the Unemployed
Sail Delmarva: Sample Calculations for Jackline Stress and Energy Absorption
Quick releases present a dilemma. Cataloges all sell them, as they are more money and some sailors want them. They are not required in the racing rules, because there is controversy. I've used them and do not like them (I do use a locking biner on the jackline end).
Has anyone ever seen a spinnaker shackle open unexpectedly? Raise your hands, I know most of the experienced sailors have seen it more than once.
Yes, I've capsized boats while clipped in. I think I can more easily unclip a wire gate carabiner in the dark than any of the new versions. I'm quite sure of that.
Yes, I've heard the horror stories of being dragged. I've even gone over as a test, while sailing to see what it was like; it was not easy, but it was possible for me. My personal choice is based upon the odds; I think it is more likely that a quick release will fail (open at the wrong time or not open easily when I need it) than a simple wire gate will trap me (inability to release a wire gate under load is rare occurrence--it takes a lot of load).