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-   -   Tether overload protection (https://www.sailnet.com/forums/gear-maintenance/329366-tether-overload-protection.html)

SteffanieS 04-23-2019 11:46 PM

Tether overload protection
 
I recently purchased a Wichard 3-point tether from my local marine consignment store. I'm about to begin my Coastal Passagemaking course, and need to have one, but am going broke buying all the equipment.

My question is this, how do you know if it is time to replace the webbing on a tether? Wichard says the threads are meant to be an indicator. But, when I contacted a representative at Wichard today, they were very vague, said yes we sell replacement webbing but the only recommendation is to buy an entire new tether. The tether I bought on consignment would be over $200 new. Not replacing it.

What would you do? I'm a fairly light-weight woman. Is this tether likely to fail on me? The representative wouldn't even talk to me about what to look for in the threads. Does anyone here have experience with this?

Thanks!

jephotog 04-24-2019 12:09 AM

Re: Tether overload protection
 
$200 is a lot for a tether, but how much is your life worth? When I start wondering: how secure is my tether, harness, helmet, parachute, it is time to replace.

If you need one for the class go with what you got. If you are going into a situation where you may be heading to the bow with conditions that require a harness or else, buy a new one. Do you really want to crawl onto the foredeck wondering the security of your safety system?

pdqaltair 04-24-2019 12:43 AM

Re: Tether overload protection
 
A very difficult question. Often things are placed on consignment because the last person felt it was too old (in which case a moral person would have cut it up). Or they just sold it.
* How old? (post a pic--we may be able to guess)
* How many days in the sun?
* Is it faded?

Post a pic.

(I've break tested lots of rope, old and new, and it is actually quite difficult to judge.)

GeorgeB 04-24-2019 12:59 AM

Re: Tether overload protection
 
SteffanieS, The Wichard rep is going to be vague and non-committal due to product liability torts. The threads he is referring to are some multi-colored threads sewn (overcast?) near one of the shackles (on yours it probably is the one nearest to your harness). They are designed to break when the webbing is over stressed. Don’t quote me but I think yours is rated to 4,000 pounds. Normal use (and most “falls”) are well below the breaking strength of those safety threads. You should be fine. If you are still worried, take a close-up photo of those threads so we can inspect it. Have fun on your course and post your experiences. I’d love to read them. I’m off to Mexico in the morning to deliver a boat back to San Francisco so I will be “off the air” for the next couple of weeks so perhaps another sailnetter can pick up this thread.

MarkofSeaLife 04-24-2019 04:34 AM

Re: Tether overload protection
 
Oh, I can answer this! :grin

In general: pay the least for gear while you are doing lessons. Because it maybe the last time you go sailing.
If you do go crewing after your course your skipper will have tethers.
If you buy your own boat then you need to take a but more care.

Tethers will degrade (mostly) by 3 things:
UV
Abrasion
Impact

Like a seatbelt 1 car crash and you should replace it.

Unless you buy a tether new you don't know if it's been left in the sun for months, or if it's been stressed.
So when you buy your own boat you should upgrade to a new one :grin but this one is fine while you're learning.

As a tip: Wichard are very good but are expensive. There's gotta be more economical but still safe brands 😊

PhilCarlson 04-24-2019 07:21 AM

Re: Tether overload protection
 
You could fabricate one:

Tango locking carabiner ~$35: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003EM8FIK...v_ov_lig_dp_it

1" tubular nylon is not expensive and breaks at ~2000 lbs and is easily doubled up and tied.

If you are confident in your stitching skills you can make it look nicer than the knotted version.

Pros:
-You know exactly what you have and what it's been exposed to.
-Somewhat less expensive than off the shelf. (But not when you consider the time you put into research and production)

Cons:
-Your commercially licensed skipper may not share your confidence in your handywork.
-You can't sue the manufacturer if it doesn't work the way you thought it would.
-Not consistent with the "spare no expense where safety kit is concerned" philosophy.

BillMoran 04-24-2019 08:21 AM

Re: Tether overload protection
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by PhilCarlson (Post 2051597914)
If you are confident in your stitching skills you can make it look nicer than the knotted version.

I used to rock climb, and I highly discourage this ...

It's surprisingly easy to make stitching that isn't nearly strong enough to handle the potential loads.

Knots, on the other hand, are a lot easier to ensure are tied correctly and knots have known breaking strengths. If you're going to make your own, I highly recommend that you research the correct type of knot for the situation and be sure you tie it correctly.

I would advise against stitching unless you have someone with experience doing stitching designed to handle the kinds of shock loads a harness is designed to handle. Not just any ordinary seam expert ... stitching for loads is a science unto itself.

All that being said, there's no reason I can think of that you couldn't tie your own with a little research.

PhilCarlson 04-24-2019 11:04 AM

Re: Tether overload protection
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SteffanieS (Post 2051597890)
My question is this, how do you know if it is time to replace the webbing on a tether? Wichard says the threads are meant to be an indicator. But, when I contacted a representative at Wichard today, they were very vague... Is this tether likely to fail on me? The representative wouldn't even talk to me about what to look for in the threads.

Perhaps more to your point: I think you are talking about the stitching on the webbing where it is folded back on itself a few times. That is a strain indicator and is intended to break when a significant shock load (somehwat less than the tether's breaking load) is applied. If those threads are separated, damaged, or broken, the tether should be replaced.

Can you post a picture of the part you are concerned about?

pdqaltair 04-24-2019 11:34 AM

Re: Tether overload protection
 
Tango sells tethers for not much more than the cost of the components. Prices have come WAY down the last few years.

$112 for a 3-clip tether. The parts, purchased on e-bay, will cost yearly $100.

I used to be a proponent of DIY tethers, particularly for boat (multihulls) that needed odd lengths. But with this price drop, the smart thing is to buy.

---

Whether the strain threads are broken tells you NOTHING about the remaining strength in an old tether. It only means it has never been over-strained. But it could still be be weak as a kitten.

And Mark makes really good points. In truth, most tethers never see much use.

jephotog 04-24-2019 12:02 PM

Re: Tether overload protection
 
Here is a double tether for a $100.

https://www.landfallnavigation.com/k...EaAkD6EALw_wcB

I have bought a lot of stuff from Landfall Navigation, good company to deal with. They have a single tether for even less.


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