Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Thanked 216 Times in 167 Posts
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What happens after you fall off your boat?
You get wet? Seriously, nothing good...I have ended up in the water in late fall when a small boat that I was sailing capsized. A rescue boat came along side to try to rescue me and just getting myself out of the water in my wet clothing was extremely difficult. You cannot believe how heavy wet sailing gear can be. It took several attempts. The first few times I tried to do it in one quick lift. The weight of thw water trapped in my foul weather gear was too much. Ultimately, I had to lift myself a little at a time so that the water could drain before hauling myself up further. Frankly, it was totally exhausting and if you were single-handing you still need to be able to sail well enough to get home.
As a general rule, when I am single-handing I wear an inflatable harness and I try to use the jackline that is on the weather side of the boat, which in theory should keep me from being able to fall over the lee rail. I have slipped on occasion and slid down the deck, and the teather worked keeping me from sliding out under the lifelines, but I still am not completely convinced you would stay aboard if you took a fall on the foredeck or in all situations. (I do have zig-zagged lines rigged at the foredeck to help with sail changing and slippage.)
If you do go over, a teather can be a help, if you are in good physical condition (but can also be a hinderence) Years ago, I experimented with climbing out of the water while wearing a harness and teathered to the boat. I was able to reach up and support my weight on the teather with one hand, make a small loop in the teather below my hand to grab onto and used that arm to reach the rail. I then was able to work my way into a position where I was ultimately able to hook the stern rail with my foot and get aboard. (I was in a little better physical shape back then) On the other hand the teather kept me from reaching the transom where there is a boarding ladder that is a permanent part of the boat. (Now that I am a sexagenarian, I am not so sure that I could do that today and as I write this, I think that I should probably experiment with this again next summer.)
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay