Senior Smart Aleck
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Richmond, Virginia
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Re: Harness and Tether Recommendations?
It is difficult to work with a short tether. There are accounts of solo sailors who have been seriously injured by their fall on a static line and even though they did not hit the water they were injured by contact with the rail/hull of the boat and suspended in a position from they could not extricate themselves. It would seem to increase the chances of suffering a serious head or back injury. Of course, there are also accounts of sailors who have drowned while dragging on a tether, or who are unable to get back onboard the boat after falling in the water.
My best chances of not falling and injuring myself are to have a sufficiently long tether to allow me to work unhindered and to allow me to use my natural balance to prevent myself from falling in the first place. A longer tether also allows one to use one's hands to break a fall, instead of slamming one's side or back against an immovable object. A dynamic jackline that allows one to run freely to the stern of the boat seems to be the method least likely to result in an injury from the fall. I have pulled myself back on a boat from that position. Everyone who uses this method should practice being dragged behind the boat and re-boarding. I suspect a healthy, fit, flexible, uninjured sailor (not overweight or out of shape), pumped full of adrenalin from a fall will be back on the boat in no time. If you are not fit and/or are overweight, or can not do a pull-up, then, yes, under no circumstances should you ever plan on reboarding the boat once you hit the water on a tether.
I was involved in sport climbing, also, and I would not want to fall any distance on a static line, no matter how good the harness is. If you are wearing a harness with crotch straps, you might want to say goodbye to the family jewels and not plan on ever having any more kids. If the family jewels survive, you are likely to dislocate your back or shoulders and suffer a concusion when you head slams into the rail. Remember, if you fall on a static line, the rope will pull you short and be directing your body position in the fall, so you will not be breaking your fall with your hands and knees.
Last edited by jameswilson29; 03-23-2013 at 07:43 AM.