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am planning on crewing on a trimaran from hawaii to sf. am looking for a safety harness and tether to take with. i have climbing harnesses but am told that those are not safe for sailing as they tend to keep the body in the water. so, i looked at west marine and saw this: WEST MARINE Ultimate Safety Harness | West Marine. it doesn't look that special! is that the best option?

how about a tether? will a standard climbing tether be just fine?
 

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am planning on crewing on a trimaran from hawaii to sf. am looking for a safety harness and tether to take with. i have climbing harnesses but am told that those are not safe for sailing as they tend to keep the body in the water. so, i looked at west marine and saw this: WEST MARINE Ultimate Safety Harness | West Marine. it doesn't look that special! is that the best option?

how about a tether? will a standard climbing tether be just fine?
You must think usability.
What kind of PFD?
You should be able to wear
- foul weather gear
- PFD
- harness
At the same time without one interfering with the other.

A typical climbing harness have the attachment for the tether to far down, would easily end up being towed head down.

I personally prefer a inflatable PFD with integrated harnes.

The tether must not be to long (preferably keep you on the boat) and should have two hooks so you are always clipped on.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
instead of foulies, i have gore tex, north face, mountaineering jacket and bib.

what brand inflatable pfd + integrated harness do you recommend? and tether?
 

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instead of foulies, i have gore tex, north face, mountaineering jacket and bib.
Will probably keep you dry and warm, the three layer clothing works in the mountain and on the water :)

The point I was trying to make was that you must take the gear on and off several times during a trip like this.
And it must be used at the same time without interfering with each other.

what brand inflatable pfd + integrated harness do you recommend? and tether?
Don't know what kind of makes & models you can find.
Should have
-crotch strap to prevent it from riding up.
-Sprayhood
-light

On some models / makes these are extras, so check that before comparing.
Try it on it should be comfortable using and working in.

I have a Spinlock Deckvest,
disclaimer: I know that it's not USCG approved and that some have died when using a PFD of this type.
 

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Suggest a Wichard ORC tether (Wichard ORC Bermuda Race Tether) and a Mustang Ocean Series Hydrostatic vest with integrated harness. A crotch strap is sold separately. Needs to provide adequate protection and be comfortable too --ese you won't wear it. Add a water activated strobe and whistle. Since you'll be offshore, think about a PLB as well. Carry a knife on your person.
 

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Yeah, but don't be the guy who, during his memorial service, they say, "but he saved $50 by making his own harness and tether...". They wouldn't put it on your tombstone because they probably wouldn't find your body. I check my inflatable each year (max 18 months) by jumping in while wearing it. I've never gone overboard and each year, the vest inflates perfectly -- costing me ~$25 for the re-arming kit I need to purchase. I don't want to go overboard at night (or anytime) and learn then that my PFD won't inflate. There are other things to save money on. Don't DIY here unless you really --REALLY -- know what you're doing. You pay for research, testing, quality materiels and decades of experience in maritime safety. #petpeeve
 

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I did a fair amount research before our trip to Bermuda. Some general learned information I wrote up here. http://www.sailnet.com/forums/cruis...152665-first-time-blue-water-crew-member.html

I chose not to get the auto-inflate PFD. A friend who got the hydrostatic model watched it inflate while rinsing the salt off when we got to Bermuda. I know that it's not supposed to do that, but it did.

You DEFINATELY want the harness/PFD combination. I didn't get that and was really sorry each time I prepared for the night watch in the dark.

My wife got this and liked it very much. Note: This model does not have a crotch strap.
Defender.com Search Results: 552188PFDRBCA

For the tether, you will want the retractable tether with a 6' and a 3' strap. One of the crew had a tether whose 3' strap was not retractable. I liked the look of that.

ASP-283SETE
Double Retractable Tether
Kong ISAF Safety Harness Tethers
 

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I personally like the Spinlock inflatable with integrated harness. It fits me well and is comfortable over long periods. Comfort is very important. Crotch straps are also critical and these come integrated as well.

Plenty of people wear non-sailing clothing and it can work. However, sailing foulies do have some important features you may not find in mountaineering gear. Aboard a sailboat, you will be raising your arms frequently, so having snug wrist closures will limit the amount of water that runs down your arm, inside your jacket. Serious offshore jackets have water tight wrist seals. The high neck rolls on foulies is also pretty helpful, as it keeps you remarkably warmer in the wind, which you can find yourself sitting in for a half day. What is comfortable for an hour or two, could make you hypothermic after 10 hours. You lose a ton of heat from the neck up.
 
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BJV
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Being using spinloc deckvest for 10+ years.
By far the most comfortable and in my opinion best designed integrated pfd and harness around. Lasteat models have spray hood, cutter, whistle and locating light built in.
Integrated leg loops/crotch strap allows you to choose most comfortable set up for you.
Soft tether attachment wieghts less and more comfortable than large metal D rings
 

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A few years back a British sailing magazine did tests on harnesses and tethers. They had a guy jump overboard at 4 knots. With the tether attached to the centre of the chest, he built up such a huge bow wave that he couldn't keep his head above it. A guy was drowned that way in the Farallons race a few years back( which should have resulted in a law suit against the manufacturer of the harness)
When they attached the tether to the back of the harness, it was far more comfortable, but there was no way the occupant could reach the tether to pull himself back in. When they attached the tether to the top of the shoulder, it was comfortable, and the occupant could both breath, and pull himself back in, by himself. That is how mine is done.
 

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The aim of the harness, tether, jackline system is to keep you on the boat, not just attached to the boat. System needs to be rigged with that focus in mind. We try to have jacklines well inboard, long tether only long enough to allow movement and short tether used on hard points if working at mast or bow.
 

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Yeah, but don't be the guy who, during his memorial service, they say, "but he saved $50 by making his own harness and tether...".
Commercial tethers must be good....

What is wrong with this picture? Top of the line commercial tether with a flaw most brands share.

(You can't actually release the shackle because the second leg is clipped to the harness, and there is no other parking place. This was snapped in the aftermath of a fatal accident.)
 

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These things are very pricey :) Any options that do the job and are less expensive?
You mentioned owning a climbing harness, so I'm going to assume that you know enough about climbing to tie some knots and work with rope. If anything in this post is confusing, don't try it at home. ;)

A tether can be made up with a short length of dynamic climbing rope. Do you have a retired rope, a gym length, or one you're willing to cut up? If so, just tie a length with figure 8s at each end. One one end, ideally, you want a one hand locking biner like a Kong Tango. On the other end you MUST have a shackle that can release under load. These (for good reason) don't exist in the climbing world, so you have to purchase a snap shackle of appropriate size.

Instead of dynamic climbing rope you could use climbing spec webbing, but issues have been raised about this being a static-type of cordage and if your tether is clipped to a fixed point you could break ribs since there is no shock absorption in the system. However, webbing is what's in the commercial tethers, and while I'd like to say that most know about, and accept this risk, what is really the case is that most people have no idea about this risk.

Webbing also requires special knots, which even when tied correctly must be monitored because they can slip (possibly more when wet). If you've tied your own slings and runners before and climbed on them, then this can be a recommended method. If you've not done this, I don't recommend trying it.

MedSailor
 
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