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  #1  
Old 09-02-2011
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diy safety harness

Hi! First time posting here, and I just bought my first cabin cruiser, a hunter 25. I do have some dinghy sailing experience though.

I had to ascend the mast a few days ago, and an old timer in the marina taught me how to make a harness out of rope, and a safety ascender also out of rope. It was really interesting, and saved me some money.

Now I need a safety harness and some jacklines for the boat. Has anyone done this themselves? Can anyone offer some recommendations on how to do this ?

I appreciate any help.
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Old 09-02-2011
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You could just tie yourself to your boat with a rope around your waist. The only downside to this DIY solution is that if you do take a really hard fall, rope is more likely to break ribs than 2" webbing. It is also more likely that you will use a harness and tether that has clips rather than making a knot every time you leave the cockpit. Harnesses can be found cheaply (in boat terms) on e-bay. Tethers have expensive hardware on each end, so, are harder to find cheaply. Sailrite has kits that are cheaper than new. If you are going to get an inflatable PFD, you could consider getting one that has the harness built-in (a little more expesive than without). There is an argument for having a PFD or a harness, but not both.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterchech View Post
Hi! First time posting here, and I just bought my first cabin cruiser, a hunter 25. I do have some dinghy sailing experience though.

I had to ascend the mast a few days ago, and an old timer in the marina taught me how to make a harness out of rope, and a safety ascender also out of rope. It was really interesting, and saved me some money.

Now I need a safety harness and some jacklines for the boat. Has anyone done this themselves? Can anyone offer some recommendations on how to do this ?

I appreciate any help.
Of all the places to cut corners, this is about the last place I would try to do something on the cheap. Spend the money and get stuff you know won't let you down. They aren't that expensive....

Heck, I'd even reduce my beer budget before this!
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Old 09-02-2011
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Heck, I'd even reduce my beer budget before this!
Beer budget and need for safety harness could be highly correlated.
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Old 09-02-2011
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My guess is that in old boat literature there are descriptions of how to fashion a harness out of readily available rope and that for legal reasons newer books leave this out. If you have a good public library that doesn't throw out the rarely used old stuff, you might find something. As far as the impact breaking ribs thing, how about a light duty rubber snubber on the teather?
I wish I could find this myself.
John
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Old 09-02-2011
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Originally Posted by peterchech View Post
Now I need a safety harness and some jacklines for the boat. Has anyone done this themselves? Can anyone offer some recommendations on how to do this ?
Hello and welcome!

I'd suggest reading this: Sail Delmarva: Sample Calculations for Jackline Stress and Energy Absorption

My own experience/conclusion is here: Jacklines | JdFinley.com

Hope that helps!

JdFinley.com | Sailing, development, and life with JD
You can observe a lot just by watching.
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Old 09-02-2011
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unless you are a rigger or really know your knots....around your waist, gentleman parts and chest are not the place to practice. Same with simple ropes as jacklines....spring for a real harness and real jacklines attached correctly.


YMMV
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Old 09-02-2011
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Peter, there's no much difference between storebought jacklines and DIY jacklines. Use tubular nyon webbing, not polyester which is cheaper but takes more UV damage. Tubular not plain flat, because it is much stronger and still lies flat. Webbing not rope, because rope rolls under your foot and you fall.
You can buy tubular nylon webbing on eBay or a local camping store. Just take some care with the attachments, and stow the webbing when it is not in use, to minimize UV damage.

Safety harness? Rock climbers routinely used to make their own harnesses out of the same stuff but these days, you can buy a rock climber's safety harness, or a roofer's safety harness (sold in buckets in the big hardware stores) for not a lot more than what it would cost you to fuss around and make one. That will also usually be 2" webbing instead of 1", and the difference is that the wider webbing will do you less damage if you fall. I'd ante up and buy one, since DIY means a lot of careful stitching and hardware you won't conveniently find.

Then there's the tether...the elastic ones with locking snap shackles would be pretty hard to duplicate yourself. A plain snap shackle can and will unclip itself if you spin it around just the "right" way, so a plain spring-loaded carabiner or snap won't do as well.

Yes, a couple of loops around the waist, a bowline, some 1/2" line was used for so many years, but the new stuff will be so much kinder to you, in the event that you actually get saved by it.
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Originally Posted by miduship15 View Post
Of all the places to cut corners, this is about the last place I would try to do something on the cheap. Spend the money and get stuff you know won't let you down. They aren't that expensive....

Heck, I'd even reduce my beer budget before this!
Hey, I'm doing this for a bigger beer budget!!! lol

Seriously though, you "shouldn't" climb masts without professional ascenders and harnesses, but sometimes you have to get resourceful...

Why Nylon instead of polyester? I thought polyester was more UV resistant than nylon, not the other way around...

I saw some tubular straps in the hardware store used for towing cars. They are bright yellow, have a 3300# breaking strength, but no word on what they are made of or UV resistance on the package... these might work?

As far as rock climbing harnesses, they strap low on your body, on your waistline and between your legs, but most sailing harnesses are over the shoulder and around the waist. I think this may have to do with being dragged through the water upright? So I wonder whether a double bowline, with one loop around the waste and the other over a shoulder might do fine?
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No interest in making my own parachute either. Some things should pass inspection first.
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