Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Wilson, NY
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I just finished an offshore single handed race - 34 naut. miles straight offshore and then back. It was a light air affair and took me almost 22 hours.
I made some statements earlier about tethers and had some time to rethink my positions.
I used my tether everytime I went on deck, except one or two quick and short jobs where I actually forgot to tether. Lake Michigan was very calm, but offshore, I did not feel comfortable on deck w/o a tether. I also carried a gps and a waterproof VHF on me all the times so if I did go over I could call for help.
Still I did have an incident where the tether could have cost me my boat. Just at the end of the race, I was pinching to get to the north of a reef, to set up a finish that would not require tacking. I pinched too much, backwinded the jib, and had to come about. The jib sheet fouled on the fordeck cleat so I had to clear it. Clipped on and freed it. On the the new tack I was heading right at the reef. It was not going to be a problem, as I would be immediately coming about again. Trouble was, my tether snagged on something, and I could not get back to the cockpit. It was a tense few seconds as I struggled to find the shackle to release me. It was always easy to find before, but under pressure....
I guess I have to conclude that it is better to wear one, except when I am close to shore in calm weather.
Never has my tether been the last thing to keep me on board.