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  #41  
Old 02-09-2011
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  #42  
Old 02-09-2011
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Originally Posted by NCC320 View Post
Are we fooling ourselves about jacklines and tethers.
I couldn’t agree more…

Lots of good info passed on here, of course. But one thing that always strikes me about these sorts of discussions, is our tendency to focus on gear, and equipment… That’s the trend among today’s sailors, a surefire winner today in the sailing industry is any product with the word “Life”, or “save” in its name… Every glossy sailing rag has their annual SAFETY issue flogging the latest personal EPIRBs, or whatever. But, when was the last time you saw an article dedicated to the psychology, or physiology, of moving around a boat safely? It’s incredible, how quick we seem to forget that the most important piece of gear keeping us on the boat resides right between our ears…

Now, I’m far away from the mainstream of cyber-sailors in my thoughts on this subject, I realize… (grin) People should always do what works best for them, of course. But whenever I hear talk of “always”, or “never”, I wonder if sometimes it betrays a lack of situational awareness, and making judgments based on each individual situation, and perhaps an over-reliance on gear to keep us safe…

I do a lot of singlehanded sailing, and most of my time offshore is spent solo… And yet, in benign situations, I’m often comfortable leaving the cockpit without a harness, even at night… Many here would think that’s foolish, they may even be right…(grin) Sure, sometimes it’s sheer laziness, but that’s the reality of how I sail… Hell, when the time comes if I don’t think I can make it to my mast and back without falling overboard on a perfect night in benign conditions, with the moon or my spreader lights ablaze, I probably have no business being out there to begin with…

However, as soon as the thought occurs to me “OK, moron, perhaps NOW would be a good time to clip on a tether…” of course I will do so… And, whenever I leave the cockpit, I always try to imagine to the best of my ability to do so, that the perimeter of my deck represents the edge of a thousand foot cliff, and my lifelines are charged with 600 volts of electricity… I cannot stand to see any crew I’m sailing with to so much as TOUCH a lifeline, that’s an indication they’re not moving around on deck properly or comfortably…

I often see cruisers moving around their boats in marinas or anchorages in such an ungainly fashion, I shudder to imagine some of them leaving their cockpit on a dirty night offshore… It’s a sad reality, no amount of tethers or jacklines are gonna compensate for the way some people move on a boat…

Not to mention, of course, how difficult it is to move about on so many of today’s designs, to begin with… Then, once cruisers start lining the rails with jerry jugs of diesel or all manner of crap some are compelled to drag along these days, safe movement on deck becomes even more of a challenge… Best not get me started on THAT particular rant… (grin)

Anyway, my point is that staying aboard your boat is something that has to do with decisions, routines, mindsets, a degree of agility and fitness, and a sort of innate 6th sense made and perfected long before one clips a safety tether onto a jackline… For anyone planning to sail offshore, it should inform the choice of your boat to begin with. And yet, given some of the boats people are heading out in these days, and the manner in which their decks are cluttered with all manner of hazards, safe movement outside of the cockpit seems little more than an afterthought for many…

Last edited by JonEisberg; 02-09-2011 at 04:34 PM.
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  #43  
Old 02-09-2011
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Well put.

I snicker when I see jacklines but no toe rail or handholds.

Inattention is always the scary thing. Just seeing the jacklines makes me think, even when I'm not clipped in, and that is worthwhile too, for me.

I've done plenty of mountain rock and ice climbing without ropes. I concentrate. The reason I am critical of weak jacklines or poorly thought out systems is that they can give a false sense of safety, which is intolerable.
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  #44  
Old 02-09-2011
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I'd definitely install two lines and I'd practice hooking on and off in the dark!
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  #45  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dulcitea View Post
Great idea for the small cruiser! I have jacklines on either side of my boat but I don't think they are safe. I need one hand to keep the teather moving along the jackline. I am always getting snagged on something. Can you tell me how you attach the teathers to the mast and foredeck? I was thinking of adding padeyes like I have in the cockpit.

I have a few strong points at the base of the mast that I run the fixed tethers from… But, you could simply tie yours off around the base of the mast, lacking a dedicated mounting point. On the foredeck, I tie mine into the deck fitting for my staysail, and run the hook back to the base of the mast… You might consider using climbing rope, it has a bit more “give” than most marine ropes, and it holds knots and resists abrasion well…

Again, I highly recommend this setup for boats of moderate size… In regards to my post above, and my habit of often going forward without a harness, I will say that I find myself doing so less often since I’ve adapted this setup… Especially when singlehanding, and when being in the successive 20-minute catnap routine… I find it WAY more practical and comfortable to sleep in a harness alone, than one with a tether attached, or to have to keep removing it and putting it back on… Again, this is what works for me, it’s an inexpensive solution, and a bit easier to de-rig and stow once in port than most jackline arrangements, but your mileage may vary, of course…

One other suggestion for those using jacklines – I found slipping a couple of stainless rings onto each of mine made them much more user-friendly – easier to clip onto than a jackline laying on deck, and they run back and forth more effortlessly and with fewer hang-ups than with a tether attached directly to the jackline…
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  #46  
Old 02-09-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Lots of good info passed on here, of course. But one thing that always strikes me about these sorts of discussions, is our tendency to focus on gear, and equipment… .... But, when was the last time you saw an article dedicated to the psychology, or physiology, of moving around a boat safely? It’s incredible, how quick we seem to forget that the most important piece of gear keeping us on the boat resides right between our ears…
As usual, Jon and I are on the same page.
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  #47  
Old 02-11-2011
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tether can get you back aboard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dulcitea View Post
...In addition, there is no way I would be able to get back on the boat if I were dumped over on the end of a teather. (I have tried.) ... ?
A friend's adult son went overboard (lee side) at the end of a tether on a passage from NYC to Bermuda (Moody 345). He was only over briefly before a wave threw him back on board with only a variety of scrapes and scratches. You do not have to climb back in many circumstances.
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  #48  
Old 02-15-2011
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Finally, depending on the materials your jacklines are made of, I would argue that they should NOT be permanently rigged. You should take them up whenever the boat is going to be left idle for any period of time, for example, otherwise the material will degrade with exposure to the sun's UV.
An alternative to rigging and then taking up your jacklines before and after each trip is simply to buy new ones every year. (This tip from Andrew Evans' new web book on Singlehanded Sailing, available here: http://www.sfbaysss.org/tipsbook)
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  #49  
Old 02-15-2011
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Finally, depending on the materials your jacklines are made of, I would argue that they should NOT be permanently rigged. You should take them up whenever the boat is going to be left idle for any period of time, for example, otherwise the material will degrade with exposure to the sun's UV.
Dyneema/Spectra are far more UV-resistant than plain nylon or dacron webbing, so if you need/want to leave jacklines rigged, go with a spectra/dyneema jackline with tubular webbing over it to prevent it from rolling and protect it from chafe.
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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
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  #50  
Old 02-16-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killarney_sailor View Post
A friend's adult son went overboard (lee side) at the end of a tether on a passage from NYC to Bermuda (Moody 345). He was only over briefly before a wave threw him back on board with only a variety of scrapes and scratches. You do not have to climb back in many circumstances.
Good plan....

I submit again, that most of us are kidding ourselves on this issue. I'm not suggesting that jacklines and harnesses shouldn't be used. If you fall or are tossed across broad areas of the deck, the jacklines will keep you on board, but if you fall off on the same side as you are hooked on or from the bow where the boat is narrow, particularily if you go under the lifeline, you are going over the side and will be dragged along. Being dragged in rough weather at 5 knots means you are likely to die. If you go over top of the lifeline, you are in a better position as long as the lifeline or stanchions don't fail since you will be held closer to the deck. If you have a crew and they see you go over, they probably can get you back on board, possibly before you die. Singlehanding....you are not likely to make it. Each boat rigs jacklines and harness tethers a little different, but most seem to favor jacklines down either side deck, coupled with 6 ft. primary tethers. Typical boats on this list have 3-4 ft. freeboard and there will be some stretch in the jackline. Remember that the harness attachment is on the upper part of your body, so the lower part is dangling below this point. If you really want to know how secure your system is, go out on a calm, no wind day (with someone to assist you in getting back on board) and experiment in seeing how many different directions that you could go overboard. Then do it, and see if you can get yourself back on board. From several locations.

Just my opinion and I could be wrong. The test suggested above with your particular system will tell the truth, and might lead you to change or modify your arrangement.

In this discussion, I've seen only one mention of life line netting (I don't have it, but I don't go off shore in rough weather). A good rugged netting would appear to be a big assist to keeping a person on board. So would a bulwark or significicant tow rail, but your boat either has these or it doesn't. Any thoughts on why netting is not generally seen or mentioned? Also, on the tether, a 3 ft. tether around the jackline and clipped back into the harness would give only 1 1/2 ft. effective tether, which given the attachment point to the harness would keep one on board, but should allow a crouch approach in moving up or down the deck, while holding onto lifeline on one side and handrails or other hard grab points as you move along the deck on the other. In such a case, you are less likely to loose your balance and if you do, the tether is now short enough to keep you on board, in theory. Any thoughts or comments on this?

Last edited by NCC320; 02-16-2011 at 10:37 AM.
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