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post #1 of 32 Old 2 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Tethering singlehanded

I just got back from a multiday singlehanded trip where I made an effort to stay tethered basically all the time. My main tether point was in the cockpit, and I had jacklines leading to the bow on both sides of the cabin. Most of the trip was in heavy air, with significant chop.

What I noticed is that every time something went wrong, requiring me to move quickly and act fast, my first instinct was to unclip from the tether.

The problem is that when lots of stuff is messed up, the tether is just one more thing that can get fouled up one way or another, either catching me, or getting tangled into something I need to not be tangled. Even though its webbing, it's still relatively easy to slip on, or just generally trip me up. It was also pretty common for some sequence of events to cause the tether to get wrapped around me, effectively shortening it.

My final complaint is that with the West Marine tether I gave, it's actually a little difficult to unclip the standing end with one hand, for when I need to move forward. There were quite a few moments when two hands simply aren't available.

Does anyone have a solution to make the tether less annoying?
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post #2 of 32 Old 2 Weeks Ago
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Re: Tethering singlehanded

Work on your procedures so the work goes smoothly. Things should never be "messed up". The tether should not cause problems in normal procedures like reefing or headsail changes. This takes practice, certainly. Try to establish a rigid routine. Follow it exactly every time. Even the handholds. Always go over and under the sheets, around shrouds, the same way while going forward.

Never unclip the tether. That will solve the awkward clip problem.

If it really nasty weather a second tether is handy to strap yourself to the mast or foredeck so you don't get blasted all the way back to the cockpit before the task is done.

I just bought a comfy looking Spinlock harness that promises to be reasonably nice to sleep in.

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post #3 of 32 Old 2 Weeks Ago
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Re: Tethering singlehanded

Tethers are surely a pain to deal with because they make moving around more complex. Doing regular tasks, once all the snags are discovered, it becomes more natural. Having both one and two legged tethers helps. The alternative to not using one is not attractive:-)

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Re: Tethering singlehanded

This double-legged tether from Kong: Kong Double Expandable ORC Tether w/ Quick Release

...is ISAF approved. It can be unclipped with one hand, yet requires a very specific grasp in order to disengage the safety.
It has a short leg and a long leg, so that you can choose the best one for the task at hand. It also lets you "hop" from point to point while remaining clipped on.
It also retracts due to the elastic sewn inside the cover. I've been very happy with it so far.

As for your jacklines, you may need to re-consider how you've run them, if they are causing interference.
Mine run nearly all the way to the bow, hiding in the crease between the cabin top and the deck. This keeps them from being underfoot most of the time.
You might consider a single jackline, run on the centerline.
All boats are a little different, with different layouts and will require some experimentation. Maybe your movements just need a little more practice and forethought.

In any case, two thumbs up on your solo sail, and tethering on. In spite of the inconvenience, it kept you onboard and we're not reading about your unmanned boat being found floating around.

Oh, I almost forgot: You should contact the SFBaySSS (Singlehanded Sailing Society). They will probably have some great advice for you.
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post #5 of 32 Old 2 Weeks Ago
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Re: Tethering singlehanded

I know exactly what you're talking about aaronwindward, but I would say the best solution is for you to work out a better tether system. I use dual-length variety tethers. I clip into the bow-stern jacklines that run absolutely clean along the deck. Once out of the cockpit I quickly clip the second short tether to various hard points at the work stations to ensure I can't go overboard.

I'd actually prefer a centre-line continual jackline, but I can't run one clean on my boat. If you can, that would be best.

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Re: Tethering singlehanded

Couple thoughts.

Your jackline/tether should be set up, wherever possible, so that you can't reach the water. Running them down the side decks typically doesn't accomplish this. Running them as close to the middle of the boat as possible is better.

Sounds like you could use better tethers.

At the least, you need two tethers. You can leave one at each jackline too, but then you'll need several more. The idea is that you clip the new one on, before detaching the old one.

Some tethers come with one chest connections, but two jackline connections, like a Y. Often one is short and the other long. When not in use, you just take the unused second tether and reclip it to your vest or harness. At the least, you can connect to the next jackline, before detaching from the prior.


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post #7 of 32 Old 2 Weeks Ago
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Re: Tethering singlehanded

The idea of full-length jacklines is attractive from the standpoint of unobstructed movement but the downside is that long lines have a LOT of stretch, making it possible to go overboard. I think there are better ways to run jackline systems which keep you on a shorter leash so to speak. Optimally, jacklines should keep you ON the boat. My jacklines run bow to stern up both sides but I'd like to modify the system to make it impossible to be left dangling by a tether over the side. I have a plan for this but have not done it yet.

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Re: Tethering singlehanded

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronwindward View Post
I just got back from a multiday singlehanded trip where I made an effort to stay tethered basically all the time. My main tether point was in the cockpit, and I had jacklines leading to the bow on both sides of the cabin. Most of the trip was in heavy air, with significant chop.

What I noticed is that every time something went wrong, requiring me to move quickly and act fast, my first instinct was to unclip from the tether.

The problem is that when lots of stuff is messed up, the tether is just one more thing that can get fouled up one way or another, either catching me, or getting tangled into something I need to not be tangled. Even though its webbing, it's still relatively easy to slip on, or just generally trip me up. It was also pretty common for some sequence of events to cause the tether to get wrapped around me, effectively shortening it.

My final complaint is that with the West Marine tether I gave, it's actually a little difficult to unclip the standing end with one hand, for when I need to move forward. There were quite a few moments when two hands simply aren't available.

Does anyone have a solution to make the tether less annoying?
First off, you might want to do a forum search of tethers/jacklines, few subjects are as endlessly repeating around here as this one ;-)

Here's a recent one:

Request for Comments: DIY Tether

Opinions on tethers tend to be very much of a personal preference, and highly dependent on the boat(s) you sail... I don't care for the 2-legged tethers myself, they represent a needless degree of complexity to me, but others love them... You make no mention of the sort of boat you're sailing, but on most boats under 35' or so, I've settled on the opinion that the 'workstation' approach using various fixed tethers is by far the best way to go for me, on a smaller boat like mine...


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post #9 of 32 Old 2 Weeks Ago
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Re: Tethering singlehanded

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Some tethers come with one chest connections, but two jackline connections, like a Y. Often one is short and the other long. When not in use, you just take the unused second tether and reclip it to your vest or harness.
Be very careful where you clip on the second leg of the tether. You do not want to open the quick release then find yourself still tethered. So don't clip it to your vest or the D rings. Mine goes on the outer portion of the quick release snap shackle, like this:
http://savvysalt.com/wp-content/uplo...ck-release.jpg
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post #10 of 32 Old 2 Weeks Ago
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Re: Tethering singlehanded

I have just finished 2 weekend single-handing trips on my new boat. Conditions were benign and I decided to forgo the tether except for one part where I had to lean over the side with the boat hook to pick up a mooring ball. My lifelines are high enough and I am more careful than normal when single-handing and do not feel that tethers are necessary for me in benign conditions.

I should however, tether up on my next trip so that I can find the flaws in the system before I need to use the system in snotty weather...

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