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  #71  
Old 03-23-2013
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Re: Harness and Tether Recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
There is a French gadget that effectively can put you on the boat even sailing solo. There is on the net somewhere a movie showing it at work.

I think that the main objective is eliminating the possibility to fall overboard.

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Any name of le gadgette , or title to search? I agree, I should adjust my system to keep me on the boat. But now I'm curious. Viva la difference

Last edited by Joel H.; 03-23-2013 at 04:25 AM.
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Old 03-23-2013
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Re: Harness and Tether Recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by joebeach View Post
What is a "screamer" in the context of tethers?
Yates SCREAMERS

I have zero experience, so not qualified to comment. But hey, it's the Internet, so since when has that stopped anyone? So here goes:

Everything is a compromise. The screamer damps your fall when you reach the end of your tether in a free fall. That's great for mountain climbing, where you could really fall a distance. But it looks to me like the screamer lengthens your tether a bit (a foot or more?). That extra length could be the difference between holding you on the deck or dangling in the water. Also, if your tether is sized and attached at the right place, it should keep you from ever experiencing a free fall, so the screamer should not be needed. So I suspect the minuses may outweigh the pluses for using a screamer in a marine application.
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Old 03-23-2013
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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.
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Old 03-23-2013
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Re: Harness and Tether Recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
Yates SCREAMERS

I have zero experience, so not qualified to comment. But hey, it's the Internet, so since when has that stopped anyone? So here goes:

Everything is a compromise. The screamer damps your fall when you reach the end of your tether in a free fall. That's great for mountain climbing, where you could really fall a distance. But it looks to me like the screamer lengthens your tether a bit (a foot or more?). That extra length could be the difference between holding you on the deck or dangling in the water. Also, if your tether is sized and attached at the right place, it should keep you from ever experiencing a free fall, so the screamer should not be needed. So I suspect the minuses may outweigh the pluses for using a screamer in a marine application.
Yes and I no. I use Screamers on a daily basis working. They have about 6 feet of webbing in them, believe or not, but are designed to break away in a controlled manner. Put X amount of breaking force into them, then only Y amount of webbing will come undone. Generally they are designed for vertical fall arrest work where they come apart in a smooth and Linier manner that can slow a 200 pound guy from an uncontrolled fall into a controlled and near painless descent that will not damage internal organs or fracture vertibre.
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Old 03-23-2013
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Re: Harness and Tether Recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
Yates SCREAMERS

I have zero experience, so not qualified to comment. But hey, it's the Internet, so since when has that stopped anyone? So here goes:

Everything is a compromise. The screamer damps your fall when you reach the end of your tether in a free fall. That's great for mountain climbing, where you could really fall a distance. But it looks to me like the screamer lengthens your tether a bit (a foot or more?). That extra length could be the difference between holding you on the deck or dangling in the water. Also, if your tether is sized and attached at the right place, it should keep you from ever experiencing a free fall, so the screamer should not be needed. So I suspect the minuses may outweigh the pluses for using a screamer in a marine application.
In the original post on the subject I gave several links that contained the fall/wave calculations. Be thrown horizontally across the deck by a wave imparts the same fall speed that a 6' fall does (about 8 knots). That is why the sailors broke their tethers and ribs. It is not hard to imagine being thrown at 8 knots. Thus, it is a mistake to equate impact only with falls. any situation with more than 3 feet of slack is potentially dangerous.

Sail Delmarva: The Case for Softer Tethers

Yes, there is extension length. However, the rip only triggers when the impact is over 500 pounds. I have been using one on my boat for a year, regularly allow it to take my weight, and nothing has ripped. Additionally, it only rips far enough to prevent injury; it will not rip the full length unless needed. I have also used them rock climbing for decades and never had one extend; yes, I fell on them, but never hard enough to trigger. You see, climbers use an elastic rope.

I think it is not that they don't make sense in a marine environment (climbers, OSHA and the military make universal use), it is that marine tethers have always been behind the times. Note that they just added warning flags to tethers, something OSHA has required for 2 decades.

Because the impact potential (less energy absorption) is a bit less in the marine environment I would argue for a shorter length. They are made in several energy capacities.

Might save a back injury. That's my reason.
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Re: Harness and Tether Recommendations?

I started writing blog posts on jacklines when I realized there were systems on boats that were understrength, and that they were common. Folks underestimated the tight-rope effect when using either steel cable or high mod line. I pulled a 5000-pound cable apart on a neighbor's deck with my hands; he had tight steel cable and no stretch.

I then looked at my own boat. The jackline set-up was good, but the tethers needed improvement. Eventually it occurred to me that there was one activity for which there was no commercial design that worked; fishing off the sugar scoops.

I love to fish for striped bass and blues, most often solo. This involves clipping to hard points (no jackline stretch) on the hard-top with a 6-foot tether and working around an open rail landing big fish, often more focused on the fish than my actions. A fall down the sugar scoop against a harness would easily break ribs. Reboarding, of course, is not a great hazard since the tether will hold you right at the ladder and the tether will not reach beyond the sugar scoop. But that is specifically why I use screamers and where I use them. I suspect many boats have one or 2 bad spots where a long stumble is possible.



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Old 03-23-2013
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Re: Harness and Tether Recommendations?

Thanks, guys, for obliterating my skepticism on this topic. I am convinced that a Screamer is beneficial, especially if you're tethered to a fixed point that has no give.

How about if you're tethered to a synthetic (polyester or nylon) jackline? Does the guitar-string effect provide sufficient flex to avoid it? Or is this a situation where you do both for greater certainty that the harness won't break your ribs?
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Last edited by TakeFive; 03-23-2013 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 03-23-2013
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Re: Harness and Tether Recommendations?

OK, another question about integrated PFD/harnesses. It's pretty clear that if your PFD inflates, it can severely interfere with reboarding and/or releasing the shackle. I hear some people saying that the pill type devices are prone to accidental inflation (though I have not experienced this with my 3 pill-type PFDs). Mustang markets their HIT-type PFDs as not inflating until it is 4' underwater. In your experience, can you confirm that the HIT mechanism is measurably less prone to inadvertent inflation in a wet environment (like green water coming over the deck)?
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Old 03-23-2013
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Re: Harness and Tether Recommendations?

The first priority has to be keeping yourself ON the boat. Even with good jacklines, if you go over the side attached with a tether, your chances of getting back on are questionable. My jacklines run down both sides, full length which is very handy BUT I am going to change to just one center jackline from just forward of the dodger to the bow cleat. The aft padeye will have a tether permanently attached to allow getting past the dodger. This set up will prevent going over the side. With the 3' tether attached, there will not be enough length to be pitched over except maybe all the way forward.

I use either an inflatable with harness or a harness with a std. PFD or just a harness as in first image. It depends on the situation. If I am far offshore, the outcome of going over with a PFD, especially in cold water, is the same as going over without a PFD...so what's the point of being uncomfortable? The priority, as above, is STAY ON BOARD. If there is traffic that might see me bobbing around, I'll put a PFD on but will still adhere to the STAY ON THE BOAT policy.

I also have an emergency telescoping ladder on the transom with a pull ring. I have tried it in calm conditions and it would work if I fall in the water with a beer in my hand at anchor :-) but have no idea if it would be useful with the boat see-sawing in heavy water.
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Re: Harness and Tether Recommendations?

Not sure how to confirm it with experience, other than strictly anecdotally. I doubt anyone has experienced multiple failures in a variety of conditions to know. But one requires a pill to dissolve and the other requires pressure, so it stands to,reason that the pill would be more prone to failure from swamping.

Ironically, the more likely failure, which I have seen first hand, is it fails to inflate at all, even when activated.
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