Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
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Liferafts shouldn't be stored on the rails...Hellosailor's point about it getting taken from the boat, just as you might need it is a very good one. There is a reason that they should be lashed to the deck, or stored in a locker.
I would go with loops rather than carabiners on a jackline. The loops are softer and stronger than most carabiners are. One problem I can see with Hello's advice on wetting the jacklines before rigging them, is if you tension them and they shrink, they may do bad things to whatever they're attached to.
Also, if you do opt for the flat webbing jacklines, rather than ones that have a line or cable running through the webbing, don't forget to twist the webbing about ten times, as this will prevent them from vibrating and humming/slapping in the wind. Pete Goss forgot to do this on one of his single-handed races, and ended up cutting his jacklines as the noise was driving him crazy.
Also, the aft end of the jacklines should generally be about a tether length foward of the end of the boat. This is to help prevent you from falling overboard and getting dragged by the tether...which will generally result in you drowning.
I would also highly recommend installing some padeyes within the cockpit, that allow you to clip on before you exit the companionway. In really bad weather, you don't want to have to come all the way up to clip in. If these padeyes are also located so that they help brace you for steering the boat, that is ideal.
The jacklines should run so that you don't have to unclip to go foward. I prefer the tethers with the two legs (1m and 2m) and that have shock cord running in the legs to retract them out of the way when not in use. Also, make sure that the tethers have a standard snap shackle, that can be released under load at the body side, and a safety clip, like the Wichard or Gibb, on the boat side. The plain spring clips can come unclipped and are not considered safe to use anymore.
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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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