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Scalawag
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Discussion Starter #1
I want to get some jacklines but getting a setup at west marine would be pretty pricey. I know safety equpment is nothing to skimp on but I had found some jacklines on ebay with tether for a good price (Sailor?s Delight Kit Sailboat 1 Tether 2 Jacklines 25' | eBay).
Not sure what brand they are (homemade?....dun dun dun) Is that a bad idea? and will 25' jack lines be to short if im on a merit 25 being that the lines will curve with the lines of the boat a bit making it slightly longer end to end than 25'

I will prolly get a harness from west marine as i was able to try it on and being a big guy.

Id like to get a inflatable pfd and a standard for times i might get wet but dont want to sacrifice the inflatable vest (in and out of dingy).

All these things are very pricey at West Marine. Any other places I should look.

Thank you!
 

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Very good price on that kit. Looks like a well made gear. And made here in US as well.
Good quality harness is essential. Mostly comes built into a PFD. I would not skimp on that. Buy quality and keep for life, or at least for decades of use.
 

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Master Mariner
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You might want to read up on harness/jackline rigs. As of late there seem to be differing ideas about the efficacy of these systems. Rigging your boat so all or almost all sailing related activities happen in the cockpit might be a preferable way to go, especially for singlehanding.
 

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Whether you run all lines back to the cockpit or not (recommend it), I would still use jacklines. I can guarantee you will have to leave the cockpit at times and you'll be quite happy they're there.
 

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Not sure what Capta would do in the case that any one of a hundred possibilities arise that would force someone to go forward or aft. It is difficult to rig a substitute for a jackline when some immediate issue arises. Might be needed for some part of raising, securing or releasing the anchor, even. Or tending to the fenders in a situation where falling over could be less than ideal. Or that Q flag. On an extended crossing an attentive skipper will be going forward regularly to check on chafe. Or even flicking the night's squid overboard before they rot. Not everything can be run to the cockpit. Plus one is normally clipped in while in the cockpit as well. On larger boats the cockpit may be large enough to need a jackline to just move to the extremities.

As far as length, there is no need for the jackline to extend all the way to the bow or stern. A few feet short of either works fine. I can just reach my stem fitting, not more. Can just peer over the transom. On the other hand, a couple of feet are needed for tying the aft ends. Consider routing inside the shrouds. Fixing to the cockpit sole is common. Being able to clip in prior to exiting the companion way is a plus. Depends on the boat.

I have no dodger so I run the jacklines just either side of center. That being my preferred route forward rather than the side decks. Keeps the jacklines clear of the sheets and blocks too.

You might keep your project in the experimental mode for a while until you figure out a good system.
 

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Master Mariner
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Not sure what Capta would do in the case that any one of a hundred possibilities arise that would force someone to go forward or aft.
Probably the same thing I've done for the last 50 odd years of gallivanting professionally around the globe on boats without a harness, tether, jackline or PFD. Go to my bunk and cry until the problem sorts itself out, what else?
 

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Junior Member
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No reason you can't make your own jacklines. Buy some tubeular webbing from REI and customize to fit your boat. Good harness and tether from the chandlery should round things out.
 
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Buying an inflatable PFD with built in harness might save you some money. Buy a couple extra 'pill' inflation instigators and CO2 cartridges just in case you go in the drink. The PFD's can have a new CO2 cartridge and 'pill' initiator installed and you are back in business. Bought my jack lines off eBay. Be sure the material is dacron or nylon. Polypropylene breaks down real quick in sunshine.
 

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You'll find that climbing harnesses are just as good and about 1/3 of the price because it doesn't say MARINE in them.

It does depend on how good a friend your are with Murphy(of Murphy's Law). I always have to deal with Murphy's Law, but out on the water my friend Murphy gets on steroids, and things happen to me that never happen to other people, and that people often think I am making up.
 

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I selected a SpinLock DeckPro harness because it is comfortable to sleep in. And easy to get in and out of if I decide to just hide in my cabin like a sea captain. Is there an equivalent climbing harness? I don't think so. As mentioned elsewhere, one wants a chest harness on a boat, not a hip harness.

The Spinlock mast climbing harness is about the same price as a comparable rock climbing harness. It is very comfy.
 

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Barquito
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No reason you can't make your own jacklines. Buy some tubeular webbing from REI and customize to fit your boat. Good harness and tether from the chandlery should round things out.
I think that was supposed to be DON'T get tubular webbing. Get flat webbing. It will roll less under your foot than tubular webbing. Just get it by the foot at REI. Run it from a stern cleat to a bow cleat. If you keep your tether short, you can have hard attachments inside the cockpit near the companionway. Go into the cabin with your tether on. Clip back on before you climb out of the cabin.

Overall, I think your harness/tether/jackline system is the second most important safety gear onboard. As Capta has proven, having a good safety mindset is the most important. Being mindful when moving on deck will keep you onboard 99.99% of the time... that last .01% might suck.
 

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Bombay Explorer 44
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Before you go to the hassle of fitting conventional jacklines and buying a harness check to see if you can get back on board from the water. Most people can not.

So if you are a single hander and go over the side you are dead.

A single jackline on the centerline might work though.

I have been sailing a while and am comfortable most of the time without a harness but do wear one when conditions are bad and I have to go forward. I move carefully and clip on with a short tether when I get to the place I need to work.
 

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Barquito;3579385Being mindful when moving on deck will keep you onboard 99.99% of the time... that last .01% might suck.[/QUOTE said:
Only if Murphy IS NOT your first mate. I generally sail with three people: MYSELF, the admiral, and Murphy.
 

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I'm comfortable on deck too, but at least wear an inflatable pfd when singlehanding. When in a very isolated location, I use jacklines and a tether, in case the boat lurches unexpectedly at just the moment when I stumble or am off balance.

My first inflatable pfd with harness was charged with a pill, which had to be recharged every 2 years. I now have a Mustang Hydrostatic with harness, which only has to be recharged every 5 years. It was a little pricey, but they can be found at discount, and those 2 year recharge kits are expensive, too. If you're into the sport for the long term, buy the one that will serve you well in the long term. If you buy a different boat, you'll take it with you.
 

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arrgh!
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Before you go to the hassle of fitting conventional jacklines and buying a harness check to see if you can get back on board from the water. Most people can not.

So if you are a single hander and go over the side you are dead.

A single jackline on the centerline might work though.

I have been sailing a while and am comfortable most of the time without a harness but do wear one when conditions are bad and I have to go forward. I move carefully and clip on with a short tether when I get to the place I need to work.

I would add: See if you can get back on board from the water in rough conditions.

Edit: one thing that seems would be a problem... if you are attached to the boat, you fall over... not only do you have to get back into the boat (at some point), but you are now likely trying to fight a current to get to the boat. If there is a ladder at the back, but your line doesn't reach.... well learn to ski.

I wonder if it might also be smart to have hand holds on the boat to grip as you move around. Some boats probably have enough, some don't
 

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snake charmer, cat herder
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make sure whatever you get is installed at centerline of boat so you do not go over side. prevention is the purpose, not retrieval.
i make my own even tho my boat is equipped with all the stuff, from po, i use regular old rope. new lengths i purchased as remnants. they are always in cockpit and ready for whatever whenever.
many folks place jacklines along the toe rail. with the 6 ft tether, you are indadrink . not safe. can you speel D R A G
centerline is the location for proper jackline placement.
is only common sense no one seems to own any more.

by the way--there is no reason to be walking on your jacklines , as in centerline of boat, you donot be walking decks, only working.

NOTHING should EVER be underfoot when at sea. that is merely asking for trouble.
 

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I've come to prefer fixed tethers at "worstations" at the boat. In addition to the jacklines along the side of the boat and hard points in the cockpit, I have a short, chest height tether attached to my mast. Another, longer, tether attached to the bow.

For example if I need to get to the mast I clip into the high side jackline ... walk up to the mast and clip into the shorter mast tether when I get there. The mast tether keeps me very secure and close; I'm not going anywhere
 

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and will 25' jack lines be to short if im on a merit 25 being that the lines will curve with the lines of the boat a bit making it slightly longer end to end than 25'
The fact that you asked this question tells me that you do not know enough about tethering to be making decisions and purchases at his point in your journey. Do a lot more searching and studying. "Practical Sailor" is a good place to start for most hardware- and gear-related knowledge attainment.

Lots of people have poorly designed tethering systems. THINK about what you are trying to accomplish (keeping yourself on top of the boat). If you happened to get bucked while your tether connection point was at a bow cleat, what would happen to you?
 

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a. I'll bet dinner the Sailor's Delight tethers cannot pass the ISAF drop test. They didn't not claim any certifications. The sewing pattern is wrong (I've done a lot of break testing). Bar tacking is generally the ONLY acceptable method with nylon webbing. And you do NOT want polyester, since the lack of shock absorption will make it fail any impact test... right after it breaks you in half.

b. A non-locking hook can either come off if twisted or clip a second line (I've had both happen).

c. ISAF says a single hander must have a 3' leg. This does not. 6' is also too long for a Merit 25. 3' would be better going forward.

Tubular webbing is a type of flat webbing. However, the REI stuff is too stretchy for boats over about 25 feet. It also does not not meet ISAF standards. If you are a big guy (the OP) this is probably a big mistake, since it will not keep you on the boat. It is marginal at 20' with a 175# guy, based on testing (Practical Sailor). No marine tethers are made with climbing webbing--it is for a different purpose.

There are actually good reasons for the expense. Non-certified equipment is a complete unknown. 3 glaring short comings are too many.
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And I don't understand the new "center jack line" mantra. I have never heard of anyone falling off to windward. Please post a case. They are to windward because people fall to leward. On a small boat a center line placement will not keep you on deck. You can always add a center line for fair weather sailing. But I'm pretty sure you will be to windward when it is kicking.

What you might consider is a high lifeline rigged to the shroud. I added these a year ago and wonder why I didn't do it 20 years ago.
 
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