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Old 03-20-2013
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Harness and Tether Recommendations?

I do entirely river/bay sailing (no offshore), but may be singlehanding some this season, so I'm thinking of getting a harness during Defender's sale. I like my current PFD which has no D-rings, and I'm shocked at the prices of PFDs with D-rings (and also reluctant to buy one without trying it on). So I plan to buy a harness that I can put on under my favorite PFD when needed, and I'll wear the PFD without harness when I have crew (which will be 90% of the time).

What do you guys know about this harness (click pic for link to Defender listing):


If you have it, are you satisfied with its comfort? It looks like the D-rings would ride pretty high on the chest, which I prefer because it would fit above my PFD's waist belt.

I have not been able to find any size info, like what measurements correspond to medium vs. large. I assume that I would wear a medium in warm weather, but would need large to go over top of any heavy foulies that I would wear in cold weather. Does that mean the I need to buy one of each size? (Would also give me a spare for crew.)

I'm also thinking of this tether, which seems to have some nice features. Comments on this?:


I know anchors and fenders can start a huge debate here, so I can only imagine what kind of debate life-saving equipment will generate. I plan to place my order Thursday night, so please give me your input ASAP if you have something helpful to offer.

Thanks!
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Last edited by TakeFive; 03-21-2013 at 06:37 AM.
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Old 03-21-2013
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Re: Harness and Tether Recommendations?

I do wear an inflatable pfd with a harness, at all times.

I use that tether, I like a quick release. I had one fail and WM replaced it for free.

The Spinlock Deckvest is very popular, but not approved. It uses a cow hitch to attach the tether, but the vest has a built-in cutter. It has thigh straps. I have added a crotch strap to my pfd.
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Old 03-21-2013
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Re: Harness and Tether Recommendations?

I agree with TakeFive's approach. I wear a harness and/or a PFD, and I like the flexibility of being able to wear a harness without a PFD in extremely warm weather or a PFD without a harness in certain conditions, or both when necessary.

I have the cheapo Jim Buoy variety with the supplied rope tether. Here is a photo of me off Delmarva during last summer's heat wave, with my Petzl red headlight for reading charts: https://plus.google.com/photos/10193...Pq64djL942rzQE

Incidentally, you can see my aqua colored beanbag to the left of the photo, for sleeping in the cockpit. High temps were in the 90s during the day with high humidity and lows in the 70s or 80s at night.

My harness clips to a dynamic (stretchy) climbing rope that I use as a jackline, to lessen the impact stress on all points. In the unfortunate event I fall overboard, I want to be able to fall clear of the boat relatively gently, slide quickly aft behind the stern, and climb aboard. Hopefully, I will never test the system in real life.

Last edited by jameswilson29; 03-21-2013 at 07:22 AM.
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Old 03-21-2013
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Re: Harness and Tether Recommendations?

I used WM harness and Double tether, no pdf when in a harness. I use 1" hollow webbing for jacklines. There we be many opinions on here about whats right and whats wrong but in the end you need to go with what you ultimately feel safe with. The reality is there is no right or wrong answers. Best advice I have heard is one hand for the boat and one hand for you. One of the things that help me stay safe is to think situations through before attacking them, even in emergencies. Good luck and have a great sailing season.
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Old 03-21-2013
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Re: Harness and Tether Recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
I do wear an inflatable pfd with a harness, at all times.

I use that tether, I like a quick release. I had one fail and WM replaced it for free.

The Spinlock Deckvest is very popular, but not approved. It uses a cow hitch to attach the tether, but the vest has a built-in cutter. It has thigh straps. I have added a crotch strap to my pfd.


I have the same setup. When off shore as part of a crew or alone I wear the spinlock integrated PFD, with harness with a plb attached. The crotch straps are never in the way and a great addition. To me wearing a pfd with integrated harness is the way to go and you dont even know the harness is there. I never pay retail for any of this stuff and have accumulated them over the years, At the boat show last year Annapolis performance sailing was 40% of their pfd, teathers, and harnesses.


I do a lot of single handing also, If it is to become part of your routine, I would invest in some quality stuff and accumulate it over the years as it can be expensive and you can wait till they have deep sales on them. The harness you are looking at is adequate, but could really cut into you you if you really had to use it, Also the quick releases are important that they are qualoity and will work when called upon, not just to move from jackline to jackline, but in an emergency under adverse situatuions and pressure on the clip.

Staying on the boat is the first priority of course and your safety equipment/ system should be first rate to save you, not an afterthough or just sale priced.

Here is my single harness- very lightweight and great construction
Spinlock Deckware - Deck Pro Harness: Mauri Pro Sailing

It doesnt cut into you when you wear it for long times like the webbing harnesses will.

Spinlock Deckvest 5D 170N Pro Sensor Inflatable PFD & Harness
ACR 2881 ResQLink+ PLB Personal Locator Beacon

In the bay I usually wear an integrated Mustang with harness when single handing.

Mustang MD3184 PFD Auto Hydrostatic Inflatable-MD3184 Mustang

Check out the teathers on here. I have this one
Annapolis Performance Sailing (APS) - Race Safety Line: Cow Hitch + 2 Clips

Generally I run a jackline from the cockpit to the mast and a second one to the bow.
Inflatable PFDs | Hydrostatic, Manual, Automatic | Spinlock, Mustang - Annapolis Performance Sailing (APS)
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Last edited by chef2sail; 03-21-2013 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 03-21-2013
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Re: Harness and Tether Recommendations?

FWIW, ISAF now requires a crotch strap on harnesses (even though the manufacturers don't seem to have caught up yet).
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Old 03-21-2013
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Re: Harness and Tether Recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
.....The Spinlock Deckvest is very popular, but not approved. It uses a cow hitch to attach the tether, but the vest has a built-in cutter. It has thigh straps. I have added a crotch strap to my pfd.
I'm a fan of the Spinlock Deckvest and its integrated spray hood, s-cutter, lights, thigh straps (very important) etc. As the OP pointed out, there is a lot of personal preference to this one and I find the Deckvest to be most comfortable rounded neoprene instead of sharp edged nylon. Personally, I see no circumstance where one thinks a harness is necessary, where a pfd wouldn't be. Maybe its just me. I can see one wanting a pfd, but not necessarily need to be tethered in, and there is no downside to the deckvest. Just don't clip in.

Not sure what you mean by needing a cow hitch. You could use any regular tether you like on the deckvest. I prefer Spinlocks, which has an ordinary opposing movement clip at the harness. II'm in the camp of not trusting a quick release and prefer to cut it away, if necessary. I would rather focus on setting up the jackline, so that being dragged in the water was an impossiblity anyway. That's fielders choice as well.

I never did really research why they are not USCG approved, but many European safety items just refuse to go through the US bureaucracy. Some moto helmet companies refuse as well, but doesn't make them poor choices.

As the Spinlock vest are not approved, you do need an approved pfd for yourself squirreled away somewhere to comply.
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Old 03-21-2013
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Re: Harness and Tether Recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
I'm a fan of the Spinlock Deckvest and its integrated spray hood, s-cutter, lights, thigh straps (very important) etc. As the OP pointed out, there is a lot of personal preference to this one and I find the Deckvest to be most comfortable rounded neoprene instead of sharp edged nylon. Personally, I see no circumstance where one thinks a harness is necessary, where a pfd wouldn't be. Maybe its just me. I can see one wanting a pfd, but not necessarily need to be tethered in, and there is no downside to the deckvest. Just don't clip in.

II'm in the camp of not trusting a quick release and prefer to cut it away, if necessary. I would rather focus on setting up the jackline, so that being dragged in the water was an impossiblity anyway. That's fielders choice as well.
.
If I am in the cockpit for a long duration on a relative calm day and not moving forward I will sometimes just wear the harness as its really light, but I agree with you anytime spent foreward meeds a PFD.

I also agree with the cutting of the web, thats one of the reason I went with the spinlocks too. The quick relaease are an asset when moving up the jackline and going from one to the next one. Thats why I have the double so you are never not attached.

Placement of the jacklines is the parmount thing too, Especially the final one in the cockpitone which prevents you frrom being thrown over the stern.

I reality I dont do much sailing in conditions where this is a real necessity, but on a couple of deliveries I have done being clipped in was a great sense of securit

Dave
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Old 03-21-2013
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Re: Harness and Tether Recommendations?

If you go with a combo unit (which we have) blow the extra bucks and get one using a hydrostatic trigger. The others use a variation of a salt tablet. Given you will be out in weather taking seas on your chest from time to time last thing you need is to have the pfd deploy at just the wrong moment. Also worth not buying on internet sight unseen. Something you should really try on with your foulie top on at least and move around and sit a spell. Also with just a tee shirt ( some chafe your neck). Needs to be comfy.
Big fan of the double tether with elastic cover. Don't trip on it. Also make sure all three attachments can be released with one hand under load.

p.s.- have the mustangs and some small ones for kids Bought different colors so can tell the admiral's from mine.
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Old 03-21-2013
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Re: Harness and Tether Recommendations?

I'll consider a combo unit, but only if the PFD is comfortable/light enough that I wear it all the time, even without the tether. I like the idea of always having the D-clips available on a moment's notice, but not if there's a large penalty in comfort. Previous comments were that combo units were heavier than non-harness auto inflate PFDs, but I suspect there are exceptions.

In my boat I will wear a PFD all the time - I'm not willing to compromise that level of safety. I just won't need a harness 95% of the time, since I have crew with me and am in a very protected area. But a PFD that's as comfortable as my current one, but has D clips, would be the best of both worlds.

I've had my eyes on the Mustang MD3184 for awhile (have had a price watch on it at Amazon, waiting for it to come down some), and I think I tried one on at a boat show awhile ago, and recall it was fairly comfortable. I went with a WM non-harness PFD because it was equally comfortable and much lower cost, and at that time 3 years ago I envisioned absolutely no need to clip in. But that WM one has gotten to the point where the bobbin needs replacement, so it might be a good time to upgrade to the Mustang, with its D-clips and superior auto-inflate technology.

Can you guys with the Mustang vouch for its comfort and light weight? If so, that would probably be my selection.

Defender has it on sale for $231, which is 10% below their normal price. I've seen it go for a bit less on ebay, but always concerned about expiration dates when buying through unauthorized sources. I have about 6 weeks before I might need this, so I can afford to wait for an attractive price. Whati s a good price for the MD3184? Should I go ahead an pull the trigger at Defender? I'll be placing an order for some other accessories, so I'd add this in with them.

Also, are there add-on leg straps available for the MD3184? Keep in mind that I will not be sailing in areas where USCG certification is required. I'll be using the harness on inland waters out of an abundance of caution when singlehanding.

FYI, I checked the exhibitors list for the Annapolis Spring sailboat show, and Annapolis Performance Sailing is not on the list.
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Last edited by TakeFive; 03-21-2013 at 11:32 AM.
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