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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #1  
Old 05-25-2004
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Safety

This is a followup to the thread on use of tethers.

A boat was lost in the surf south of San Francisco this spring and of the 3 crew the only one that was tethered (in the cockpit) was the only life lost. I thought at the time and again now it would be a very good thing to have more than sailor''s lore to go by in making safety decisions. In rockclimbing we have an annual ''Climbing Accidents in North America'' that publishes details of all serious climbing accidents the prior year. It discribes difficulty of climb, weather conditions, experience of the climbers, gear being used, and as far as can be known, how the accident occurred. Many times interviews are included with fellow climbers, rescue personel and when possible the victim. The factors that bring climbers to grief are so similar to those involved in sailing/boating accidents, wouldn''t it be a good thing to have a "Sailing Accidents" annual? Does anyone know of a good source for this kind of information?
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Old 05-27-2004
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Safety

I think this is a great idea. One place to look might be local Coast Guard distict offices, perhaps the marine safety division.
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Old 05-28-2004
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Safety

US Sailing is also a good resource for MOB reports. They offer a special award - The Arthur B. Hanson Medal - for people who help others in danger. The writeups often include detailed information. The most recent one on the USSailing website is for Rolex race winners who stopped to rescue a fellow competitor who had fallen overboard.
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Old 08-01-2004
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Safety

This is an issue that I have been thinking over for a long time. Being tethered to the boat can be worse than not being tethered. I hate the tether as it restricts my movement so much. I have jack lines, and an expanding tehter, but I find it hurts me more than it helps me. My new rule. In reasonable calm conditions, singlehanded - no tether. Rough conditions I tether. Short handed - like one or two competant crew -no tether except in extreme conditions.

I do wear my inflatable life jacket on deck whenever singlehanding and in rough conditions with crew or in cold water.

I have found tethers to restrict one''s ability to make quick on deck manuevers. My present thinking is, when singlehanding, once you go over your done - tethered or not.
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Old 08-03-2004
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Safety

People are killed by seatbelts too. That doesn''t mean they''re not a good idea 99% of the time. What happens if you''re singlehanding in reasonably calm conditons, neatening things up on the foredeck, and a powerboat wake throws you over the side? If "once you go over, your (sic) done", why bother wearing a lifejacket at all? Tabarly thought that way. He''s dead.

The actions we take to be safe do depend on what the conditons are, but waiting for extreme conditions (Force 9 and 20+foot seas, in my book) does not seem like good seamanship. You have to reef before the boat is overpowered. You have to bring the dinghy in before it gets swamped. You have to batten down the hatches before the wave comes aboard. You have to stay with the boat to handle it.
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Old 08-09-2004
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Safety

Lets say conditions are reasonable calm, moving at 5 knots or so under auto pilot- not heeled too much and that wake throws you off the fordeck and you are tethered. You will be pulled back as far as the shrouds and then you are stuck. How do you get back on baord? Do you just get dragged along side your boat banging against the hull until hypothermia gets you? Just try to grab hold off anything while being dragged throught he water at 5 knots. If you go off the high side, you will not even be able to grab a toe rail. This could concievable happen a half mile off shore-swimming distance.

I am confused on this issue by the pros and cons. I am not sure the singlehanded community has really thought this completely through. Perhaps there are times when a tether is good to use and others when it is not.

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Old 08-09-2004
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Safety

We use jacklines and lanyards or tethers in rough weather. Like any other safety gear it has to be laid out right and the crew has to understand that you are tied to the boat so if something happens there has to be a pre-plan on what to do next.
As far as using jacklines and lanyard when sailing solo, I do not do that. My concerns are tripping, since it is not usual practice to move around on a leash, and of course the obvious: so you go overboard, now what.
For going forward on wet decks, with crew watching, jacklines and lanyards are standard, for solo, I just don''t know. The pros and cons seem about even.
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Old 08-09-2004
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Safety

I run my jacklines near the centerline. I use a ''3-hook'' tether - one near the center of the tether (the other two allow the tether to be doubled); hence, shortened by one half for ''normal'' usage. The goal of such a set-up is to prevent going over the side; but, has the flexibility to use a full length tether as an option. Works for me.
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Old 08-10-2004
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Safety

to me, it just makes sense to use a tether if I think there''s a chance I might go over. If I''m alone and I can''t get back on board, I can cut the tether. At least I have the option. And there''s a darn good chance the tether will keep me from going over in the first place.

Just make sure you use the fast-release type of tether that will open even under heavy load, and/or that you have a good, sharp knife on you at all times.

bw
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Old 08-11-2004
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Safety

I think there are already plenty of pubs describing how to gear up for safety. Some accidents are just plain IQ related and nothing will help that cause.

There''s just no way to get around the risk factor. I saw a guy fall and break ribs on his lifelines. Another boat had their cat tethered and hung itself jumping around. I went over the side in bad seas with a harness and it saved me. A fried of mine didn''t use his harness "quick" release on a Hobie and turned himself into a wrecking ball against the mast when we capsized. It''s just part of sailing. Ain''t it fun?

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