Senior Smart Aleck
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Thanked 70 Times in 65 Posts
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1. Yes, on rare occasions when offshore and/or night sailing. Do not wear a lifejacket with a harness.
When we were teenagers, my siblings and friends would intentionally fall off the boat to be dragged behind the boat in a chest harness for fun. We discovered how to use the forces of being pulled behind the boat to manuever yourself to the transom - sort of like flying while skydiving. If you arch your back, keep your head up, and try to spread your arms away from your sides, you will remain on the top of the water and you can use the force to steer your body to the transom ladder.
I think this is a great idea for anyone: practice falling overboard while you are sailing with your harness on to understand the forces involved and how you can maneuver yourself back to a place where you can board the boat and not drown. (Make sure someone else is with you so you can be saved if necessary.) I can now understand how someone can drown while being dragged if one allows oneself to be pulled like a log with one's head down - you feel incredible force if you do not take actions to rise up out of the water.
2. Ordinary high stretch climbing rope run through the bow cleat outside the shrouds to the stern cleats with figure 8 knots, chest harness with standard 8-10 foot tether with nonlocking caribiner. I do not like the idea of clipping and unclipping everytime you must move forward. (I would rather drag behind the boat so I can more easily re-board, then on one side or another where I would have to climb back up the side.)
Last edited by jameswilson29; 12-02-2011 at 10:38 AM.