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Irunbird 07-18-2012 10:29 AM

Pad eyes for tethers and jacklines
Hey, folks- I've got a quick question about this setup. I'm outfitting an Olson 30 for some coastal racing and possibly Newport/Bermuda, and need to pick a suitable folding pad eye for several places in the cockpit (all 4 corners of the cockpit well for crew to attach tethers) and two on the cabin top on either side of the hatch sliders. I'm trying my best to not blow my budget too badly on this boat, since I plan on selling it after maybe 3 or 4 more years of sailing before buying a cruising boat, but these little guys seem to cost a good hunk of change. The cheapest option so far seems to be the Suncor brand, and there are some choices in terms of size. Does anyone know #1. if that's the best option/choice? and #2 if that is a typical safe configuration for installing them? Since these are potentially life-saving items, I don't want to go cheap, but I'd rather not have something that is truly overkill.

Any ideas are most welcome--


Barquito 07-18-2012 01:37 PM

Re: Pad eyes for tethers and jacklines
If you would consider non-folding type, mounted on the side of the cockpit well, they would cost less (but possibly hurt your shins more).

Irunbird 07-18-2012 02:55 PM

Re: Pad eyes for tethers and jacklines
I think I've stumbled on an answer; 1 regular pad eye (non-folding) at the back of the cockpit floor, centerline- and one folding pad eye on the cockpit floor right below the companionway, then two eye straps on either side of the cabin top hatch. I'll tie one jackline for everybody sitting in the cockpit to the hardware in the floor, and two jacklines to run along the cabin top and terminate at a common point on the bow. Only one folding pad eye, which my wife will compliment me on for being so frugal... something I'm not really known for!

Stumble 07-18-2012 03:34 PM

Re: Pad eyes for tethers and jacklines

I also have an Olson 30, and I would really stay away from the cockpit floor. It is one layer of glass thick and doesn't have the strength to handle this type of loads.

Instead I would go to the toe rail. It is the heaviest reinforced part of the boat, and one of the few in the cockpit that can handle the loads you might experience.

Irunbird 07-18-2012 03:40 PM

Re: Pad eyes for tethers and jacklines
Really? I thought it was a little thicker than that, but I was planning on using large HDPE (like Starboard) for a backing plate, and mount them near the edges of the floor for increased sheer strength..

Stumble 07-18-2012 04:33 PM

Re: Pad eyes for tethers and jacklines
Nope, if you lie under it, you can see the sun shining through the glass.

pdqaltair 07-18-2012 04:35 PM

Re: Pad eyes for tethers and jacklines

Originally Posted by Irunbird (Post 898185)
Really? I thought it was a little thicker than that, but I was planning on using large HDPE (like Starboard) for a backing plate, and mount them near the edges of the floor for increased sheer strength..

Starboard as a structural backer for a 5000 pound load? No, it can crack. Aluminum, SS, or FRP make better sense.

Also, a few things to consider:
Sail Delmarva: The Case for Softer Tethers
Sail Delmarva: Sample Calculations for Jackline Stress and Energy Absorption

Clipping straight to a pad eye is the very best way to insure a HARD stop if thrown, since there is no stretch (the bungies are not for that purpose and don't help). Sometimes they break and folks, incorrectly in many cases, blame it on the tether and not the brutal stop. Jacklines, if strong enough, give a much softer catch.

Bolt hangers can be a very cost effective answer.
Sail Delmarva: Bolt Hangers--A Strong Point For Small Dollars

Irunbird 07-18-2012 04:58 PM

Re: Pad eyes for tethers and jacklines
I could've sworn I've read lots of folks using Starboard as a good backing plate for winches, cleats, etc... I figured it was plenty strong, and since it's weather proof and fairly pliable, would be ideal and crack-resistant. Ever since the first recommendation suggested clipping only to a jackline (in the cockpit floor), I've dispensed with the notion of clipping straight to a fixed point.

Edit: just to be clear on this- I haven't installed a thing on this boat related to this project. All four winches do have HDPE backing plates (and it is Starboard brand), but I have plenty of thick stainless steel to build these from if I'm reading all sorts of suggestions that reverse my thinking on that matter. I'm already taking a razzing over on SA (an idea suggested by one of the SN'ers) for this from some guy in Singapore who thinks I should rethink this whole sailing thing and sell the boat.. not exactly helpful!

Waltthesalt 07-18-2012 05:59 PM

Re: Pad eyes for tethers and jacklines
I use padeyes and an adjustable harness tether so that it's always short enough so I can't go over the lifeline. The USCG surf boats use this arrangement. I also use a track instead of a jackline for the same reason. Practical Boat Owner ran a piece recently on the problem of someone who is over the lifelines tethered and being dragged alongside. Gotta stop fast to keep the head from being pulled under.
As for backing plates I use SS. I'd be concerned that with Al as over time you'd risk localized corrosion with the SS bolt at bolthole. I've seen wood or a similar softer backing material used between the metal plate and the fiberglass. Not sure why perhaps to keep the plate from digging into the glass.

bwindrope 07-18-2012 06:26 PM

Re: Pad eyes for tethers and jacklines
Waltthesalt is right about backing materials. Having discovered numerous fully corroded alumninum backing plates on Aeolus I can attest to the simple truth that alumninum backing plates have no place with stainless hardware. I've replaced all of mine with SS.

As attractive as HDPE is for this use, my research convinced me that SS or FRP was the most reliable way to go. It is likely one of those things where in normal circumstances everything works fine. In exceptional circumstances you better hope things work fine.

I have padeyes in my cockpit. Three. One on either side of the helm, so I can be clipped on both sides with my 6' tethers and have no chance of being launched. One right at the companionway so that you can clip upon entering the cockpit. I use 1" webbing jacklines on Aeolus, secured to cleats at the bow and stern. Works great, and real peace of mind. I'm often alone on Aeolus taking her north or south in the Salish Sea and religiously rig the lines and clip in for going forward.

I've spent enough time in the local 50 degree water to not want to be in it while watching my boat motor happily away from me!

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