Racers are generally much less averse than cruisers to doing things which could result in a swim, because they have a different risk-reward trade-off.
I remember discussing with Nicko (skipper of Camper) the high platforms for the helmsman on his Open 70 for the last Volvo
, which stand them at least a foot above the deck, completely unprotected (unlike the shorthanded boats, there's no wave deflector or dodger
of any description).
I asked him if his guys were concerned about the risk of being swatted off their plinth by aft-rushing green water
, given there was nothing (let alone a strong point) suitably high for them to clip a harness tether to. He said yup, they were concerned.
I suggested that he could consider fitting a double-ended ringbolt through the hollow axles of each steering wheel
, and in extreme conditions, a temporary strop could be clipped from the forrard eye to a flush padeye a little further forrard on the deck. The helmer could then clip a short tether to the aft eye.
He considered the idea, and then rejected it. He felt even a temporary strop would be too big a price
to pay, in terms of getting in the way of crew manoeuvres.
Handrails would usually interfere with their deck-gear layout, which takes first priority; in any case their boats generally don't have a long cabin trunk.
Racers also tend to be fit, agile, athletic and strong. They do not generally sail these boats with small children
on board* (who are the ideal size for cabin-top handrails), and if they get washed off their feet while travelling along the side deck, far from being sympathised with, a racer
has to buy a round of beers at the next port.
*(Although I once crossed the Pacific on a big racing
with a child who turned two on the way - when we had left she was not that great at walking; during the rough passage
, it was never feasible for her to do anything other than crawl; yet on arrival, immediately she touched dry land, she could RUN!)