An argument for wearing a tethered PFD when solo sailing... - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 27 Old 06-16-2008 Thread Starter
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post #2 of 27 Old 06-16-2008
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WOW!

I know there has been a lot of talk about pfd's as of late, in light of recent events. I'm not sure if this has been brought up yet, but whitewater pfd's offer another option for the mix.

I'm a recovering whitewater kayaker and I can say the WW pfd's have come a LONG way in the last 10 years in both comfort and safety. Some of these are designed for "swift water rescue" and offer a fantastic anchor point for the sailor to his/her jacklines:

Front:


Back:


As you can see, there is a D-ring on the back of these that work as an attachment point with a quick release. These pfd's are also designed to be:

Comfortable: low cut around shoulders allowing for free movement

Safe: low location of flotation floats you high in the water. Closed cell foam is always "inflated".

I have called on these pfd's many times in raging rivers, but never on the ocean. I do wear them onboard when I feel they are called for and I find them to be very comfortable and easy to use. Then again, I've spent countless hours in pfd's so they feel quite natural to me.

Anywho - perhaps this is old news, but FWIW this could be a good option for some.

S/V Gracie
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post #3 of 27 Old 06-16-2008
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This happened near me, on a day I was on the lake...So of course everyone at work asked if it was me...At least those that didn't bother to know the details, like I'm not 47, Canadian, or able to survive 12 hours in Lake Erie without a PFD. That must be one tough dude.


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post #4 of 27 Old 06-16-2008
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in general, there is no point in a tether when single handing, as if you go over the side while alone, you can't get yourself back aboard by youself if the boat is moving, and on most boats, even if the boat is not moving. If you decide to use a tether anyway, be sure you attach it with a shackle that you can open under a load, so you can at least buy some thinking time before you dround.

If you can set up your jacklines, and use a short tether that doesn't allow you to go over the lifelines, you could be all set, or use a spare halyard as suggested in a prior thread.

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post #5 of 27 Old 06-17-2008
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Quite a story...and it sounds like he gets his sailboat back.
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post #6 of 27 Old 06-17-2008
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IMHO, you're better off with a tether than a PFD when singlehanding. You really need to STAY ON THE BOAT. Set it up so that the jacklines and tether don't allow you to go overboard...

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Originally Posted by sailingfool View Post
in general, there is no point in a tether when single handing, as if you go over the side while alone, you can't get yourself back aboard by youself if the boat is moving, and on most boats, even if the boat is not moving. If you decide to use a tether anyway, be sure you attach it with a shackle that you can open under a load, so you can at least buy some thinking time before you dround.

If you can set up your jacklines, and use a short tether that doesn't allow you to go over the lifelines, you could be all set, or use a spare halyard as suggested in a prior thread.

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post #7 of 27 Old 06-17-2008
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It almost seems like we need to figure out a way to borrow a page from the PWC design book (as distasteful as that might be to some ). If you fall off, they either just turn off or start an arc back toward you at idle speed. I am not sure how you easily and safely stop a sailboat under varying conditions though. Plus you would probably have a guest trip the sensor accidentally every now and then. Still; seems like there could be something. I think I can get on my boat via the stern ladder even if it is moving. I have pulled the kids on a boogie board under sail before and just pulled the rope in and had them climb the ladder to get in, still underway. But that was a fairly calm lake at maybe 5 kts.

-Andy
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post #8 of 27 Old 06-17-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
IMHO, you're better off with a tether than a PFD when singlehanding. You really need to STAY ON THE BOAT. Set it up so that the jacklines and tether don't allow you to go overboard...
I always recommend a PFD/Harness AND Tether if you are singlehanding, with a double tether, one short, say 3 ft, and the other long, say 6 ft, as offered by Wichard. Yes the goal is to STAY ON THE BOAT, but given the size of the boat, usually only with jacklines on either side, it probably is possible to go over the lifeline, especially if you are on the bow, although if going out of the cockpit always travel on the high (windward) side, and clip in / secure with the short tether when you get to the area you need to be. I recommend the PFD / Harness because if you go over, and cannot get back into the boat, you may have to disengage the tether to keep from drowning, thus needing the PFD. If singlehanding, also it is recommended to carry on your person a waterproof VHF, and if you can afford it a PLB. Now, maybe for a two hour sail in the bay, this is all too much, I know guys that singlehand with none of this, on the other hand, I would really hate to be wrong.
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post #9 of 27 Old 06-17-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingfool View Post
in general, there is no point in a tether when single handing, as if you go over the side while alone, you can't get yourself back aboard by youself if the boat is moving, and on most boats, even if the boat is not moving. If you decide to use a tether anyway, be sure you attach it with a shackle that you can open under a load, so you can at least buy some thinking time before you dround.

If you can set up your jacklines, and use a short tether that doesn't allow you to go over the lifelines, you could be all set, or use a spare halyard as suggested in a prior thread.
I strongly disagree, I think aI tether is vital. And I CAN get back aboard mine from the water. I was sailing with a friend the other day and he was going to "drop me off" on my boat which was anchored- translation: sail really close to it and I was to jump from one to the other.

Well I pulled a "Forest Gump" and missed the boat. I had to heave my soaking wet self back aboard. It wasn't easy but I did it, and I'm sure underway it would have have been much more difficult but with my life at risk I would have had an extra jolt of adrenaline I'm sure. In any case I would rather stay with the boat than watch it sail off without me, then my chance of getting back aboard is defintiely ZERO.

And the attachment point on the WW pfd is in the back, I think I would much rather be dragged chest fisrt than back first.
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post #10 of 27 Old 06-17-2008
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Like lbdavis, I used to kayak a bit. I was also a raft guide for a while, which is something that has made me somewhat uncomfortable with tethering. We used lines to tie off rafts and we coiled them and stowed them under way. Under no circumstances did we ever allow a customer to hold or use a line while on the river. There were two situations we were concerned about. One was having the rope snag on something stationary, like wedging between two rocks. The boat would get pushed on with a lot of force and straighten the rope. If it was coiled around something, it would squeeze it with tremendous pressure. Lots of people break fingers that way (not on our boats, they didn't!). The other concern was getting tangled and kept under the boat if you fell out or the boat flipped (I never did; came really close a couple of times). But I understand this is different and I need to learn the proper use for tethering.

-Andy
Newport 17 - "Kohanna"
At sea Darwin's hypotheses is the final arbiter of right of way.
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