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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.

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Old 03-23-2002
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Safety Harnesses

US Sailing has the report on line at

No mention of actual force generated - I must have seen that elsewhere. They dropped a lot of 220# dummies 6.6 feet for these tests.
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Old 04-05-2002
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Safety Harnesses

I endorse the wearing of harnesses in all conditions .
The best arrangement I use consists of a double life line with a 3ft and 6ft line attached using "Gibb" Hooks and attaches to my harness with a gibb hook as well.
You can work around the deck from stem to stern without detaching yourself from the boat , by transfering the lines to various points.
When I am working I use the 3ft line as my final attachment , even in a knock down situation on most boats it is impossible to go over the rail with this set up !
Never clip you self to the standing rigging as a knock down could see you half way up the rig as the boat recovers!
Also I always sail with a "Wichard" knife hung around my neck as a precaution.
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Old 04-06-2002
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Safety Harnesses

Orc regulations require a snap shackle at the chest end of teathers.
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Old 04-10-2002
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Safety Harnesses

A Gibb hook is just a clever snap shackle and far more effective. I would not use straight snap shackles for their tendancy to undo as they snarl up and twist. I would recomend that genuine Gibb hooks are used every time (no, I don''t work for them!) We have all safety lines with three Gibbs so you''ve always got a 1 and a 2 metre option, and can move around always attached.
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Old 05-02-2002
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Safety Harnesses

From many deliveries, have many tales of those tossed overboard because they were not holding on. The tether saved them. In bad weather I kept the kit needed to pull someone onboard close at hand in the cockpit lazarett. Much as I told them to hold on with one hand, they were volunteers. Some knew everything til going to sea. I myself have been sent flying overboard, but that was due to a knockdown while reefing, not a big wave. Rogue waves are very rare. It is much, much better to be attached to the boat rather than be watching the boat''s lights fading in the distance, I would assume. My harness was a part of my automatic inflatable - actually it fit a lot better because the harnesses were all meant, it seems, to hold people much larger than I. At 110 pounds, the automatic fit snugly and was a more than reliable harness.

Hope this helps,
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Old 05-29-2002
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Safety Harnesses

I once sailed aboard a 75-foot ocean racing catamaran from Newport, RI to New York. The professional crew of that boat told me that most of them refused to tether themselves to the boat because they feared they''d be in for worse injuries being dragged alongside a boat that customarily sails at 20 knots. Instead, these guys said they''d take their chances falling off and being picked up later.
I don''t fault their reasoning, but while while I steered, I was clipped in.
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Old 05-29-2002
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Safety Harnesses

I beleive that. There was a very good write up in todays sailnet article about the tragedy that happened on Friday night in the Around Block Island race when someone was knocked off a boat and not wearing a harness or a PFD.

Its very humbling. There are more discussions about wearing a "PFD-all the time?" on this message board
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Old 07-13-2005
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Safety Harnesses

Lots of opinions here.

I am a new sailor and I own a 1963 Pearson Triton 28''. In 2 weeks time I am heading down to Florida to sail the boat for several months. I will be going alone at least for the first part of my trip.

Its time for me to purchase safety gear and I would like some recommendations. I''m not sure I can buy "bad" stuff but I really don''t want to spend 500+ dollars on harness teather and jacklines and then have someone suggest its an unsafe set up.

Should I get the inflatable vest with built in harness? It seems like anytime I would want to be secured to the boat in case of falling over I would also want a pfd on.

For tethers (west marine) I see several. From reading this thread the idea of the 3'' and 6'' double tether sounds good. They sell 2 of these, one with Gibb hooks and one with Wichards. Any pro''s and con''s in those type hooks?

The jacklines from west marine come in 30 and 35- versions, should i buy 2 30'' sets?


Rob Alexander

Also thanks to Jeff_H and Jack from Whoosh for sharing lots of ideas and time when I was looking for a boat last summer.

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Old 07-13-2005
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Safety Harnesses

Congratulations on finding and buying a boat. I am a big fan of the inflatable harnesses and have generally bought the West Marine store brand. They have an autoinflate model that is also rain resistant that I have been using. I have been using the model 6 foot teather that has elastic so that it is is not in the way when it is not in use. I find that I don''t trip over it as much as I did with the regular teather. I am not sure how to advise you about the jacklines. I personally like a very low stretch jackline because I typically attach to the windward jackline and I really want the jackline tight enough to keep my body from being able to make it over the leeward rail (I have rigged a zig zag of 1/8" dacron line between the deck and the lifelines forward in order to help keep me and the jib aboard the boat at the bow). I use a recycled old Kevlar cored halyard as my jackline which I tension very tight. It likes right in the fillet where the cabin sides and coamings meet the deck so it has not been a tripping hazzard.

That said, webbing is the generally recommended jackline material in order to avoid a tripping hazzard. I do not know for sure but I would suspect that the pre-made webbing jacklines are not all that low stretch.

For offshore use, I have become a fan of the idea of using 1/8" SS wire rope for the structural part of the teather but running the SS cable inside a webbing cover to reduce the tripping hazzard.

Good luck and have a great cruise!

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Old 07-13-2005
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Safety Harnesses

Westhaven posted:<blockquote><font color="red">Also I always sail with a "Wichard" knife hung around my neck as a precaution.</font color></blockquote>Reading this made me shiver. I think it''s better to have a knife on your person instead of lashed to the mast. But one sure way to avoid dying of hypothermia in the water is to strangle yourself from a stanchion, cleat, or any deck hardware that your lanyard-cum-noose will catch on as your body goes over the side. There you''ll be, against the hull, like Captain Ahab strapped to the side of his great white quarry.

Please, either use a small cotton string that will snap quickly and just leave a welt on your neck, or attach the knife to your harness.<hr>There are actually two discussions going on here: arranging jacklines and harnesses to keep you from leaving the deck in the first place; and what back-up system to put in place in case they fail to do so.<P>To the former, I''d suggest that one cause of the jackline failing to keep you on-deck is the <u>deflection</u> of the line when pulled outboard. It figures that dividing that long jackline into two shorter lines (one from the cockpit to somewhere around the mast, then a second picking up there and running all the way forward) will allow less outboard deflection, and so better keep your body within the confines of the lifelines. The price? The inconvenience of clipping from one to the other on your way forward. (I wonder how much outboard deflectin JeffH gets with his SS cable as opposed to webbing?).

I do think Jack''s shroud jackline is interesting, and seems to involve the same clipping routine.<hr>To the latter discussion, once you''re over, you''re stuck in a bad situation unless you''ve planned ahead. Whether weather or lee hull, getting back on board is the primary goal. I''m in my mid-forties, but I don''t pretend to think I could heave myself up over the weather deck on a boat with much freeboard sailing to weather: a couple of steps of rope ladder, or a large loop to stand in, sounds invaluable. If using a split jackline, one at the quarter and one mid-ships would be required.<P>I always wear my SoSpenders harness, but usually don''t clip in while in the cockpit; but when single handing (or when I''m the only one on board who knows how to stop the boat) on my tiller-steered boat, I trail a nylon line inboard from the quarter cleat the pilot is on (starboard for me), tie in a loop and slip it around the telescoping arm of my autopilot (this loop must not close under strain, or you could yank the pilot into the drink), then run it over the stern railing to trail about 25'' behind the boat, ending in a loop run through an 8" length of garden hose to keep it open. (At 5kts, the drag isn''t enough to pull my autopilot pin out of the tller, but you might need a shock cord snubber @ the rail).<P>If I somehow tumble out, I have a "last chance" line that I would immediately swim for. As soon as I grab it, the loop @ the autopilot pulls it offf the tiller, and the boat rounds up. I''ll admit I''ve never tested it while under way, but this is just for the unlikely tumble directly from the cockpit into the drink. I''m sure this could be adapted for wheels.<P>I tried clipping the line into my harness, but that was problematic: if short, I would pop the pilot inadvertently when I moved around; if long, it tangled on everything in sight. so I threw it over the stern and tow it.<P>If I''m singlehanding in sheltered waters, doesn''t the rule of basic seamanship demand that I keep my boat from becoming a nuisance, or endangering others? And is falling out a legitimate excuse for the resultant damage to other people and property?
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