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  #1  
Old 01-02-2008
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Happy New Year all. (Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!)

So here's the deal:

I am new to sailing (1 season).

I have a 1979 Nash 26' (tiller).

I sail in Southern Georgian Bay, with the plan to sail up to Northern Georgian Bay (North Channel, Tobermory etc.) this summer.

I want to sail solo this year as I am off all summer and can't always get crew.

My boat is pretty well equipped:

- Old Garmin chart plotter, that still works but I want to upgrade. (I do supplement that with a hand-held Garmin plugged into my laptop with older charts loaded. (Of course I have all of the most up-to-date paper charts and subscribe to NOTMAR for up-dates)

- Depth sounder / fish finder - seemed to work well until the last trip of the season when weird lines started to show up on the display. I plan on replacing it this year.

- VHF radio (analog) and handheld portable

- self inflating Mustang PFD's

etc. etc.

Anyway, next week is the annual Toronto Boat Show and I'm itching to spend some money.

If you were me, what should I be looking for?

A few things:

I was thinking of an autohelm, but a couple of members here pointed out the Tiller Tamer. So for $30 ish compared to $2000 ish I thought I would give it a try. Does anyone have experience with this or any other similar product?

Based on a discussion on another thread I will be getting a couple of harnesses and tethers. Any recommendations on brands / styles etc? What about jack lines? Can these be any suitable line or should I be looking for something special?

Any other gadgets or gizmos that have made your sailing life more safe / enjoyable? (I saw a folding dish rack at a local shop - I think this would be an improvement over the one I have been using.)

Any feedback would be appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 01-02-2008
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Safety first harnesses and tethers are great but what do you do single handed to get back on the boat if you do go over the side . There are some quick pull rope ladders out there you might want to look into. Also small life raft or dingy The north channel is a brisk 50deg F in the spring & early summer.
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Old 01-02-2008
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Good points.
Are you aware of any re-boarding device that can be deployed automatically?
I have a ladder that is velcroed up. Could this be rigged to deploy? (I just had a thought: has anyone heard of a locking mechanism that would secure the ladder, but has a toggled line hanging off the stern that could be used to un-latch and deploy the ladder from in the water? Of course this would have to be designed in such a way as to not interfere with the rudder and outboard.)

I have read about people that stream lines (I think they call them 'last chance lines'?) off the stern.This might be an option.
I do own a dinghy. I usually have it towed behind. I guess that could work as a 'last chance'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cruisingdream View Post
Safety first harnesses and tethers are great but what do you do single handed to get back on the boat if you do go over the side . There are some quick pull rope ladders out there you might want to look into. Also small life raft or dingy The north channel is a brisk 50deg F in the spring & early summer.
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Old 01-02-2008
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THere was a thread a while back about stringing a line behind the boat. I believe that the general consensus was not to bother - at least if your boat does more than 5 Kts. I would spring for a 2 hook tether, jacklines, and an emergency boarding ladder (There is a metal one advertised in many sailing mags that looks good to me)

Ed
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Old 01-02-2008
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A good tiller pilot is only about $500-600 or so...not $2000... and is far more useful when singlehanding than a tiller tamer IMHO.

For jacklines, my favorite jacklines are made of polyester webbing with a spectra line core. The webbing is basically to protect the spectra core from abrasion and UV. You can also get regular polyester webbing jacklines. Don't get the nylon webbing for jacklines—it is far to elastic.

As for harnesses, I prefer them to be integrated with the PFD.... this makes it much simpler to get them on and off, as well as reduces the amount of gear you have to wear and the time it takes to adjust everything when you add/remove layers or foul weather gear. The one I use personally is a Spinlock Deckware Pro harness with PFD. One caveat, it isn't USCG approved, even though it is SOLAS approved. The SOLAS standards are much stricter and more difficult to meet IMHO. It came with a whistle, spray hood and water-activated strobe.

BTW, some of the Mustang inflatable PFDs have optional harnesses you can purchase. This is probably better than getting standalone harnesses. Don't forget to get a crotch strap for the PFD/harness... since having them pulled over your head is a possible problem. The Spinlocks come with thigh straps, which are much more comfortable IMHO.

Tethers—I prefer the double leg tethers. One leg is one meter, the other is two meters long... it is very convenient and allows you to stay clipped in all the time. I'd recommend getting the ISAF-approved tethers, since they have the strain/overload indicators as part of their design. You'll want safety hooks, like the Gibb or Wichard double-action ones, on the boat/jackline end and a snap shackle on the body end. This is so you can release the body end of the tether if necessary.

A good rigging knife and/or pocket tool. The rigging knives I like are the Boye's rigging knives, since they will cut synthetic lines better than almost anything else, and they never rust. The pocket tool I carry is a Leatherman Core, which is the first one to come out with a decent set of scissors.

Hand-bearing compass and good binoculars are both worth having aboard. 7x50 binoculars are pretty standard and allow you pretty good low-light vision and decent magnification. The Plastimo Iris 50 is a good hand-bearing compass—and about the size of a hockey puck and it floats—get it in yellow, not blue...much easier to see if you drop it in the water.

The in-the-water deployable ladders are nice and all...but IMHO, especially with 50˚ water temps, you would really be much better off staying on the boat.

For when you're not single-handing.... a LifeSling2 is an excellent investment. One of the best pieces of safety gear you can get for doing MOB recoveries. Also, it qualifies as a USCG Type IV throwable PFD.
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Last edited by sailingdog; 01-02-2008 at 05:15 PM.
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  #6  
Old 01-02-2008
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Dog, as usual has some good advice... Binoc's. w/ a compass are your best bet. A Leatherman Wave or similar as a knife (keep it with you at all times). The Mustang PFD seems to be gettin' quite popular (the US model is MD3184 -IIRC there is a Canadian equivalent with a slightly different model number)

A couple of thigs that I would add: Foulies and boots and non-cotton sox (you mention a lot of gear, but not these).

Oh yeah, Sailing gloves. Lots of em. Somehow the damn things keep going overboard.
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  #7  
Old 01-02-2008
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Thanks for the thoughts, but my shopping list is getting longer...

At least no one has suggested getting a new boat - yet!

You are right about the AutoHelm - the one I was looking at (AutoHelm2000) runs at about $800.00 CDN.

Why do you prefer the AutoHelm? - I like the idea of the remote control. What other features do you like that would justify the extra cost?

The info about the tethers and Jacklines is also very useful.

I will look into kits to integrate harnesses into my PFD's. I have a couple of manual inflating Mustangs (they were a gift). Do you know whether the manual-inflate mechanism can be replaced by an auto-inflate mechanism? I checked the Mustang website and couldn't find any info on this - although I am at work and haven't done a thorough search.

I have a hand-bearing compass. I have 3 old sets of Bushnel binoc's (2 8x35's & 1 10x50) I know they are not waterproof but I can't justify the expense of real marine ones as long as they still work for me.

The knife is a good idea. I have one of my old dive knives velcroed to my stern rail. It has a good line-cutting edge, but it is not reall a high quality knife. I think this would be a good purchase. Someone here (Valiente?) mentioned having a small hatchet on board. That sounded like a good idea.

Thanks again for the input.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
A good tiller pilot is only about $500-600 or so...not $2000... and is far more useful when singlehanding than a tiller tamer IMHO.

For jacklines, my favorite jacklines are made of polyester webbing with a spectra line core. The webbing is basically to protect the spectra core from abrasion and UV. You can also get regular polyester webbing jacklines. Don't get the nylon webbing for jacklines—it is far to elastic.

As for harnesses, I prefer them to be integrated with the PFD.... this makes it much simpler to get them on and off, as well as reduces the amount of gear you have to wear and the time it takes to adjust everything when you add/remove layers or foul weather gear. The one I use personally is a Spinlock Deckware Pro harness with PFD. One caveat, it isn't USCG approved, even though it is SOLAS approved. The SOLAS standards are much stricter and more difficult to meet IMHO. It came with a whistle, spray hood and water-activated strobe.

BTW, some of the Mustang inflatable PFDs have optional harnesses you can purchase. This is probably better than getting standalone harnesses. Don't forget to get a crotch strap for the PFD/harness... since having them pulled over your head is a possible problem. The Spinlocks come with thigh straps, which are much more comfortable IMHO.

Tethers—I prefer the double leg tethers. One leg is one meter, the other is two meters long... it is very convenient and allows you to stay clipped in all the time. I'd recommend getting the ISAF-approved tethers, since they have the strain/overload indicators as part of their design. You'll want safety hooks, like the Gibb or Wichard double-action ones, on the boat/jackline end and a snap shackle on the body end. This is so you can release the body end of the tether if necessary.

A good rigging knife and/or pocket tool. The rigging knives I like are the Boye's rigging knives, since they will cut synthetic lines better than almost anything else, and they never rust. The pocket tool I carry is a Leatherman Core, which is the first one to come out with a decent set of scissors.

Hand-bearing compass and good binoculars are both worth having aboard. 7x50 binoculars are pretty standard and allow you pretty good low-light vision and decent magnification. The Plastimo Iris 50 is a good hand-bearing compass—and about the size of a hockey puck and it floats—get it in yellow, not blue...much easier to see if you drop it in the water.

The in-the-water deployable ladders are nice and all...but IMHO, especially with 50˚ water temps, you would really be much better off staying on the boat.

For when you're not single-handing.... a LifeSling2 is an excellent investment. One of the best pieces of safety gear you can get for doing MOB recoveries. Also, it qualifies as a USCG Type IV throwable PFD.
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  #8  
Old 01-02-2008
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Got the foulies and gloves.

Boots are a great one to add to the list.

I tried using my neoprene diving booties last year. I was surprised by how cold my feet got.

Keep the ideas coming!

Quote:
Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
Dog, as usual has some good advice... Binoc's. w/ a compass are your best bet. A Leatherman Wave or similar as a knife (keep it with you at all times). The Mustang PFD seems to be gettin' quite popular (the US model is MD3184 -IIRC there is a Canadian equivalent with a slightly different model number)

A couple of thigs that I would add: Foulies and boots and non-cotton sox (you mention a lot of gear, but not these).

Oh yeah, Sailing gloves. Lots of em. Somehow the damn things keep going overboard.
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Old 01-02-2008
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I like the tiller pilot, since it can be used to keep the boat pointed into the wind, if you have it connected to wind instruments. It is also a lot more versatile than a tiller tamer. BTW, I have the remote for mine...which is useful when dropping the anchor or working on the foredeck singlehanded.

I don't believe the manual inflation vests can be retrofitted with automatic inflators. I prefer the automatic inflators, since a percentage of MOB accidents will end up with a incapacitated person in the water.

The major advantage of marine binocs is that they are sealed and nitrogen filled, so the won't fog up internally, regardless of how cold or clammy it is. The West Marine ones aren't all that expensive, and have been fairly well regarded.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 01-02-2008
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I must agree with everything the great Sage SD says, but I will add a caution. On SDs boat having 6 foot of tether is no problem it having more beam than an aircraft carrier, but on your boat with a jack line down the centre you will end up in the drink, think about halving the tether by hooking both ends to your harness (only necessary when single handing keeping yourself on the boat not just attached to it is the priority). Self inflating PFD are preferable but have you ever tried getting back on board a moving vessel with an inflated PFD without help, I have not thank (insert deity) but could imagine the difficulty. JMHO
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