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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #11  
Old 04-29-2008
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False sense of economy.
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Old 04-29-2008
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Why is it that when it comes to safety nobody trusts themselves? OF COURSE YOU CAN MAKE YOUR OWN TETHERS!

I read a review recently (practical sailor??) where name brand tethers failed far short of their rated capacity. The ones from ebay... I'd be scared of those. Making a load bearing sling is more complex than stitching in a loop.

I've used tethers made from regular old running rigging 3/8 or so stay-set with bowlines and or figure 8 knots and climbing carabiners. Hey, if it's held a 300sqft main in 30kts of wind it should be fine as a tether on a boat.

If you want something a little more elegant check out Yates. They load test their stuff, and make slings for the military, industry, cavers, climbers and SAR folks. I'm sure you will find something here you can use:
SLINGS

If you don't use yates slings but want to stick with webbing do a little research because webbing doesn't hold some regular knots. The water knot for example is a good webbing knot.

For those of you who don't trust yourselves to make a tether have you ever gone up the mast? Did you use a special personhauler(tm) or did you use your regular halyard with the bowline (or splice) you tied three years ago?

MedSailor

BTW there are lots of quick release/lock mechanism carabiners. Check any climbing shop: Petzl Am'D Triact-Lock Locking Carabiner from REI.com
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  #13  
Old 04-29-2008
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Another plug for yates, they are very friendly and do custom work for reasonable prices. I've dealt with them before. They'd probably build any tether you wanted with carabiners sew in in for 1/2 a commercial tether's cost.

MedSailor
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  #14  
Old 04-29-2008
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Have to say I'd trust myself before I'd trust some no-name brand I got off of eBay. If you want quality, it's going to cost. I wouldn't want "...and he got it for $39.95 and free shipping" included as part of my memorial service, nor would I entrust my family's safety to a bargain tether or harness.
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  #15  
Old 04-30-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CLucas View Post
Have to say I'd trust myself before I'd trust some no-name brand I got off of eBay. If you want quality, it's going to cost. I wouldn't want "...and he got it for $39.95 and free shipping" included as part of my memorial service, nor would I entrust my family's safety to a bargain tether or harness.


Not to pick a fight, but...

Why do you trust the ones that cost more, but not the ones on eBay? Have you personally tested the name brand ones vs the ebay ones? Have you personally seen the results of the load tests? Have you ever seen a report of cheap eBay knock-offs failing and resulting in personal injury? Maybe there's an issue of practical sailor that I missed that showed the scientific studies comparing name brand and off-brand tethering equipment?

Sounds like the same reason people wont buy the plastic-body Tohatsu outboards they see on eBay, but they'll buy the exact same outboard if it has Mercury or some other brand name sticker on it.

I really did a thorough comparison (enough to satisfy myself, that is), and just couldnt justify the expense of the name brand tethers. I bought some from West Marine, first. The ones I got on eBay were made from the exact same material as the ones I got from West Marine. Same for the jacklines. Which is why I took the West Marine ones back and used that cash for other things.

To each his own, I guess.

I seem to remember seeing pictures of Robin Lee Graham tethered to Dove with a length of rope and a big bowline on a bight slung across his torso. My eBay tethers are a step above that in both comfort and safety. Hell, I've sailed for years without ever having a tether or a jackline. Good thing we never got caught out in any heavy weather.

I daysail my little Newport 27, so yes, I'm not a fulltime cruiser. At that, I might sail ten weekends a season (sadly), and in total, I've been caught out in seas or a storm that warranted tethering a total of ZERO times. The weather forecast has always been my best safety gear. That said, last year three Chicago sailors lost their lives and the boat they were delivering in a situation where a tethered crew would've averted the entire disaster (A MOB situation on a lee shore that led to a catastrophic grounding and loss of life). Ever since, I've been thinking more and more about safety equipment. Especially seeing as I sail by myself 90% of the time.

But, I do have to sail on a budget, there's no way to sugarcoat it. I think theres a disconnect on here sometimes, when Sailnet members assume that everyone is in a position to spend boundless sums of money on their boats. Some of you would never leave your slip or "endanger your family" without the latest and greatest GPS, Radar, bow thrusters, electric windlasses, dinghy davits, and self tailing winches. Others of us have been muddling through with the budget version of 1970's state-of-the-art technology.

Maybe the increased caution comes with age? I'm just 30, single, no kids. Maybe in twenty years when I am married with an Admiral and a family I'll look at this differently. But the way I see it, at the moment, I've been sailing many years with less, and these no-name off-brand eBay tethers and jacklines are a definite step in the right direction, toward a safer, more well-prepared skipper and sailboat.

So, the eBay tethers and jacklines are just fine for now. Maybe for Christmas, Santa will bring me fancy new tethers.
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Old 04-30-2008
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AMEN CN27! Safety is not a problem that gets better the more money you throw at it. I've only been in one instance where I REALLY wanted tethers. Funny thing was I didn't have any. I did have a couple U-bolts, some line, a couple carabiners and a drill on board though. For exactly $0, and a few bowlines and drilled holes later, I made up tethers and jacklines for my crew and I. We clipped in and stayed on board.

Now if I had been of more experience I would never have been sailing in that gale in the first place. I agree about your weather forecast being one of your best pieces of sailing equipment.

MedSailor
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  #17  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoNewport27 View Post


Not to pick a fight, but...

Why do you trust the ones that cost more, but not the ones on eBay? Have you personally tested the name brand ones vs the ebay ones? Have you personally seen the results of the load tests? Have you ever seen a report of cheap eBay knock-offs failing and resulting in personal injury? Maybe there's an issue of practical sailor that I missed that showed the scientific studies comparing name brand and off-brand tethering equipment?

Sounds like the same reason people wont buy the plastic-body Tohatsu outboards they see on eBay, but they'll buy the exact same outboard if it has Mercury or some other brand name sticker on it.
Not looking to argue... My only point is "buyer beware" when it comes to eBay -- People buy brands they trust for a good reason, the company needs to stand behind their product and can't cheap out on components to reduce costs and increase their margin by, for instance, using non-marine grade materials. All jokes aside, marine grade does not necessarily mean just 3x the cost of the non-marine version -- the difference is (sometimes) more than that . eBay tethers may very well be a terrific bargain. I'm not aware of any tests or comparisons done by Practical Sailor or anyone else -- doesn't mean they're not good, only that PS chose not to test them. What kind of steel do they use in the fittings? Load tested to...? Stitching details? Some of it may be marketing hype but that sort of info is provided by folks like Wichard and others because it conveys the professionalism in manufacturing and testing that comes with a name brand. As you've done a comparison against a name brand, you may have found a really good deal.

My wallet is hardly bottomless (far from it) and sailing certainly does not have to be an expensive activity. I would and do happily buy winch covers, drink holders, bino cases, etc off eBay -- just not safety equipment. Some people will jump at a "bargain" without doing the comparison - that's where it gets a little shakey. No doubt there are some sailors whose vanity relies on having the latest gizmo, device or gadget and, worse, those who gain false security by spending big $$$ on safety gear as if it were kryponite (yet don't bother to check the weather, don't know how/when to reef...).

Like most on this board, I'm on a budget and admittedly enjoy the "thrill of the hunt" when I find a good deal or a diy solution. Safety is an area where I wont compromise (sounds as though you dont either, given that you did a comparison with a name brand).
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Last edited by CLucas; 04-30-2008 at 09:15 AM. Reason: Edited "post-coffee" :)
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  #18  
Old 04-30-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CLucas View Post
Have to say I'd trust myself before I'd trust some no-name brand I got off of eBay. If you want quality, it's going to cost.
With all due respect to CN27: I'd tend to agree. Sure, some, perhaps many, eBay sellers are selling good, quality products, and just happen to be using eBay and its tools for quick and easy marketing. But still...

Quote:
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I wouldn't want "...and he got it for $39.95 and free shipping" included as part of my memorial service, ...
ROFL!
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  #19  
Old 04-30-2008
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I bet that the tether is rarely the weak link in the system. I think the weak link will be the crummy chest harnesses that seem to be everywhere. They look easy to slip out of. I also think that the jacklines deteriorate much faster than the tethers because of UV exposure. Finally, I think most jackline securing points are not really bombproof. Using a piece of rope for the tether is fine in my opinion. They key thing is to be able to undo it, under load, at the person end in case you get trapped somewhere where you don't want to be.
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Old 04-30-2008
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The name brand one use magic thread that is not available to less known makers. Actually Practical Sailor did a comparison and found differences that had little to do with price. In addition the latest technolgy involves colored thread indicators that tell you if the material has been stressed with an excesive load (magic thread).
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