Am I missing something, or are the sailing harnesses intended to keep you on board your boat idiotic?
All the harnesses I've seen are missing either leg straps or shoulder straps. I wonder how many people who wear them have ever actually been suspended in the air in one - and overcome the pain-induced instinct to immediately try to escape from it?
It appears to me that the ones without leg straps would either cause you to fall out of the harness, or worse, to ride up to your diaphragm and smother you, boa constrictor style. At best, a really violent shaking would leave you with a ruptured spleen. I had one sales guy explain to me that: "there are metal loops that you are supposed to connect to your belt." Wow, imagine hanging from a line with that arrangement -- I wonder if anyone's ever gotten a fatal wedgie!
The ones without shoulder straps will certainly dump you out if you're flipped inverted (a likely occurrence if you trip backward over those useless knee-high life lines on most boats).
I read the report on the Fastnet 1979 race, and I wasn't surprised to read that they found empty "safety" harnesses slapping against the sides of boats.
Finally, there's the issue of releasing yourself. None of the designs make that look very easy. And there are times when I can imagine needing to do that quickly - particularly if I have gotten myself entangled in a line under tension.
So here's what I've done: I took my skydiving harness that has brought me to a near stop 500 times from a 120 MPH vertical descent (I probably won't fall any faster than that
from my boat), I attached my tether to the "three ring release system
" on the harness so all I have to do is pull one handle and I'm freed from the tether, and the webbing crossing my back is covered to prevent it from hanging up on the shrouds as I pass by them. The harness is padded and I can hang comfortably from it for several minutes at a time (which I've done 500 times already). The FAA inspected and approved the design to withstand many Gs of a 200 pound subject's deceleration (I don't see any inspection labels on the sailing harnesses...). The whole thing cost less than the dumb stuff they sell at the marine stores.
But again, am I missing something? Please don't tell me: "we've always done it that way," because people have been falling overboard and drowning for a long time, and I don't see anything good about that.