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Old 07-09-2016, 17:28   #46
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Re: Has anyone ever fallen over tethered and tried to pull themselves back in?

Going over - yes, me single handed.

Easy to get back on - in the books maybe, in real life, in calm water no, in rough water maybe you get lucky and washed backed aboard.

All the great ideas etc. Politely BS for the most part. I went to a lecture many years ago in San Diego by Tristan Jones and asked what I thought was a great question (silly me) as I wanted to learn from wonderful yarn teller and a fine seaman with far more experience than I: "what is, or do you have, a preferred tactic in heavy weather?" The response "a cup tea in the harbor." I thought what an anal aperture, and he was right - the essence is prevention.

Shorten the tether so you can't get dragged or barely go over. Have two of them, clip one, unclip the other. Yes a real pain in the arse absolutely.

I use to just go forward on my gaff schooner (38' OD, 10' sprit, 14 ton) to scandalize the rig if I needed to reef/stop, etc. in hurry and just tie a bowline around me she was all lanyard and deadeyes, no winches, or wenches for that matter scandalize the rig in heavy weather and just tie on a bowline - Dumb, dumb, dumb. Did that for practice in 8 kts breeze, flat seas, boat maybe moving 3 kts and fell over stubbed toe on cleat (even when shoes now) luckily I was dragging a stern line and didn't realize it. Was at the time late 20's "6'4" full of muscle" as the old song would say and barely dragged myself aboard and the boat headed up.

Never again -I go out alone 2 tethers - mine are just a bit less than 4 feet as I'm taller than most; when with others after dark - two tethers including when in cockpit. I'm now 60 still occasionally crossing oceans, short handed, and have learned to take my father's advice, though it only took me 45 years or so (quick learner am I) "one hand for you one hand for the ship, you fall - goodbye, don't fall."

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Old 07-09-2016, 17:29   #47
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Re: Has anyone ever fallen over tethered and tried to pull themselves back in?

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Originally Posted by er9 View Post
so i read over and over of solo sailors tethering themselves to their boats as a safety precaution. good stuff and i'm an advocate but...

i recently read Istvan kopars book of his first circumnavigation. If your not familiar...this guy was is peak physical condition as a man for his first circumnavigation. In his book he describes being on a shakedown sail with a buddy. he decides to jump in as the boat is sailing along and get dragged by a tethered fender if i remember correctly off the stern for a fun tow/swim. he then describes not being able to pull himself back to the boat from the dragging fender/rope.

there are pictures of this guy at the time and he is muscular and in very good physical shape. i got to wondering....if any of us tethered solo sailors actually fell over, you have to remember...if your thrown overboard chances are its moderately severe conditions, would we actually be able to really pull ourselves back aboard on a slick rope, under probably severe conditions being dragged by the weight of a many ton ship moving at 6+ knots?

my question is has anyone here actually had to do this? has anyone ever tethered themselves with friends aboard and purposely jumped in to see if they actually could?

i'm not questioning the act of tethering ourselves to a boat but is there a right way and a wrong way to do this so you actually have a realistic chance of pulling yourself back aboard, alone in the worse case scenario?

to add to this....im a humongous fan of Laura Dekker. i was watching her documentary last night for the 50th or so time and i noticed her harness. she was clicking in her harness from the back. ive tethered myself sailing alone and i can only assume from experience clicking in from the back causes less snags moving around on deck but.... when i thought about it though i imagined being thrown overboard like that. you essentially would be dragged backwards from the weight of a 20 thousand or so pound ship moving at many knots speed. her harness looked off the shelf made but that would mean you would be dragged backwards and would have to summon the strength to not only turn yourself around against humongous forces but then pull yourself back aboard.

wow...i'm in pretty good shape but that seems like a tall order even when its life or death and the adrenaline kicks in...
In my younger days and with many crew I often dived over in hot weather and towed from a line. Even with a swim platform I couldn't get back on board, usually it took 2 of the crew to pull me back.
When older and single handing I ensured my tether was short enough to prevent me going over and I always wore one on deck and in the cockpit at night. In nearly 60 years of sailing I've never gone over accidentally.
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Old 07-09-2016, 17:45   #48
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Re: Has anyone ever fallen over tethered and tried to pull themselves back in?

While there's one obvious recommendation contained in this thread - put your jackline or anchor point at the center line of the boat, don't use the rails or safety wires as a jackline, and keep your tether short, there must be more. Could someone knowledgeable in this area summarize the recommendations in a post here? Frankly the topic scares the willies out of me.

I seem to remember, awhile back, a tragic story of an older couple cruising; one went overboard in gentle conditions and the other could not get him/her back on deck.
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Old 07-09-2016, 17:51   #49
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Re: Has anyone ever fallen over tethered and tried to pull themselves back in?

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Originally Posted by tkeithlu View Post
While there's one obvious recommendation contained in this thread - put your jackline or anchor point at the center line of the boat, don't use the rails or safety wires as a jackline, and keep your tether short, there must be more. Could someone knowledgeable in this area summarize the recommendations in a post here? Frankly the topic scares the willies out of me.

I seem to remember, awhile back, a tragic story of an older couple cruising; one went overboard in gentle conditions and the other could not get him/her back on deck.
Rail is not optimal because you can't slide the tether.

Short is not optimal because you can't stand up.

Use 2 tethers and always have one attached.

Probably need a block and tackle on the end of the boom or a spare halyard with a winch to get someone on board.

Getting someone in the water to a stern swim ladder may alone them to climb up if they are not injured.
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Old 07-09-2016, 17:59   #50
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Re: Has anyone ever fallen over tethered and tried to pull themselves back in?

I've only done 10,000 miles solo, all in the warm coral sea.
My practice is to tow 30 meters of silver rope, knotted every meter. The rope floats and even when it gets slimy I can get a grip on it.
I often would leap overboard and quickly swim to the rope while sailing. My boat only did five knots under sail using the wind vane steering.
The only way I can pull against the flow of water was to swim freestyle over the rope, pulling my self by the rope.
By the time I get up to the transom I am very tired and sore so the climb up the transom ladder is very difficult. I bolted side fins on the transom mounted rudder under the waterline, which were designed as foot steps.
If you don't have a good ladder on the transom you will probably drown.
As for personal life lines!! Make sure they a attached in the centre if the deck and are short enough so you don't fall over the side.
There was a Japanese solo sailor who fell over near Tasmania wearing a harness with a wire lanyard. He dragged behind his yacht untill it hit the rocks near a lighthouse and he was able then to climb aboard his ruined yacht.
Happy venturing mateys.
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Old 07-09-2016, 18:03   #51
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Re: Has anyone ever fallen over tethered and tried to pull themselves back in?

This might be a really dumb idea, but has anyone ever considered (along with a short tether)......using a "vertical tether"?
...in other words.... an extra halyard from masthead that allows you to pendulum out to foredeck and clip on, but if you ever were swept out the Lee side you are probably not in the water and with a better lead to walk up the hull or be winched back on board?

Just a morning coffee thought....
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Old 07-09-2016, 18:05   #52
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Re: Has anyone ever fallen over tethered and tried to pull themselves back in?

A good jackline gets used more often without hassle. We use the standard ones from West Marine, along the centerline and put knots at select points/hard foam ball spacers that keeps the line taut but gives small clearance so it is easier to clip and move fwd and aft.
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Old 07-09-2016, 18:16   #53
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Jackline Configuration

We have commercial jack lines. Forget the brand. They are stretched from the bow pulpit down each side of the cabin, back to the cockpit.

In rough conditions I am tethered to a hard point in the centre of the cockpit
by a 6' foot stretchy tether. I can reach anything in the cockpit but can't go over. To go forward, I clip the 3 ft non stretchy tether to the jackline at the cockpit, on the high side. The tether slides unincumbered on the 1.5" flat nylon jackline all the way to the bow. A 3 ft tether on a flat nylon jackline( that raises about 6"'off deck when pulled on, is more than enough tether for me (5'7") to get anywhere on the high side to the centreline of the boat. I usually have the tether in hand when moving, always providing one hand for me, when going forward or aft. We were cruising in Lake Ontario this summer with friends joining us also on a 32 foot boat. When in a blow, they watched my wife go forward (for reasonsI don't recall). They were blown away how easily she moved about the boat and vowed to put tethers and jacklines on their "must do" list.
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Old 07-09-2016, 18:34   #54
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Re: Has anyone ever fallen over tethered and tried to pull themselves back in?

I fell off a 21 ft columbia in the gulf stream off the keys. I had no auto pilot and believe that is what saved me. The tiller was lashed and the sails were balanced. the Solace would hold her course that way for hours and hours. I was coming up from below with coffee and eats lost my balance due to a rouge wave and fell over was lucky enough to grab the jib sheet and hung on, I was in good physical shape and trim. I couldn't pull myself back up. luckily the drag that I caused to the windward side caused the Solace to come about and eventually jibe. I was able to clime aboard during that time.

To day I ware harness' and the tether won't let me get further than the gunnel. Even that is rough on the lea side in a storm, I know that as I was washed off the fore deck a couple times in a storm trying to shorten sail. Today I shorten early.

play it safe its less hassle.
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Old 07-09-2016, 20:27   #55
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Re: Has anyone ever fallen over tethered and tried to pull themselves back in?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pelagic View Post
This might be a really dumb idea, but has anyone ever considered (along with a short tether)......using a "vertical tether"?
...in other words.... an extra halyard from masthead that allows you to pendulum out to foredeck and clip on, but if you ever were swept out the Lee side you are probably not in the water and with a better lead to walk up the hull or be winched back on board?

Just a morning coffee thought....
Sailboats heel, pitch, roll, and yaw. I envision a human tether ball getting bashed against the mast in between dunks in the water either side.
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Old 07-09-2016, 21:01   #56
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Re: Has anyone ever fallen over tethered and tried to pull themselves back in?

Yeah...that is probably what it would be like in heavy weather.
But seen as a last resort if the normal tethers were lost for whatever reason... If overboard, you might have a chance to survive with that vertical line.

These days, I sail very conservatively which is my primary safety device.
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Old 07-09-2016, 22:24   #57
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Re: Has anyone ever fallen over tethered and tried to pull themselves back in?

Yes, once in 25-30kn with 6-9ft seas. Two lessons learned. First commercial lifejackets with twin cylinders make a difference, enough buoyancy to stop yo being dragged under. Second there is know way you can climb the hull side. Either you have low enough freeboard to roll in with a wave or you need a scramble net you can deploy from in the water. Even they it would be an act of desperation. I now have lines on the cabin side ans short tethers so that they don't reach the rail.
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Old 08-09-2016, 05:15   #58
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Re: Has anyone ever fallen over tethered and tried to pull themselves back in?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pelagic View Post
This might be a really dumb idea, but has anyone ever considered (along with a short tether)......using a "vertical tether"?
...in other words.... an extra halyard from masthead that allows you to pendulum out to foredeck and clip on, but if you ever were swept out the Lee side you are probably not in the water and with a better lead to walk up the hull or be winched back on board?

Just a morning coffee thought....
Ever have a halyard line come loose and start swinging around and try to catch it again on a rocking boat? Would you what that to be you?
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Old 08-09-2016, 05:33   #59
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Re: Has anyone ever fallen over tethered and tried to pull themselves back in?

Some thoughts as to prevention and not going overboard in the first place, and also getting someone back on board.


1. We change down to a smaller hanked on jib before dark. Now with roller furling, that job is made a lot easier. But reducing sail before dark keeps from having to go up in pounding weather to reduce sail or clear a snagged roller furling jib sheet on the foredeck. ( same for reefing....we reef down early to keep life easy...as soon as the white caps start up )




2. Again, many years back a good buddy of ours was in the paddle board race from Two Harbors Catalina island to Manhatten Beach on the mainland . Open and deep ocean. He had practice along the southern califonia coast line for a few months. We were is support and safety vessel.


The usual morning calm winds took a vacation, what arrived were stronger winds and four plus foot seas that greeted the entire group of paddlers. Our friend did well for about an hour or so, and he would start veering off course....we would pull up along side ( under power ) and advise him to stay near our boat to stay on course, follow us.


Finally, after several attempts to keep him on course, he panted that he could not do it, he was feeling sick and exhausted. No swim ladders, or boarding ladders, I used a couple of extra lines with large bowline loops as we sat hove to.


He was about 5'10", fit and strong. Both Erica and I were in excellent condition and lived active lives. Were it not for those two jury rigged line ladders with the lowest below the water line, not sure we would have been able to get his 170 pounds back on board.


We called on the VHF freq that was assigned to the race group and told them we had our paddler on board ( as well as his board ), and were withdrawing from the race. We still sailed him to Manhatten Beach, off shore , which took a few more hours, where he paddled in to meet with friends who were there to party with the group and get him and his board back to Newport Beach. Erica and I sailed back to our slip in Newport bay that took a few more hours and had a good day with spirited sailing and good winds.


Most of the paddle board racers had with drawn due to the sea conditions and some getting sea sick, fatigued, and disoriented . Everyone was required to have an escort boat that stayed with them.


After all of the other very interesting posts is seems to summarize


1. Don't go over board in the first place.
2. Two short tethers
3. Center line area jack lines


Last tale. At a local hang in Alimitos Bay, I would see a large bewhiskered older gentleman siting alone at in the same bar stool, never at a table with any friends. I learned that he was a long time sailing skipper and delivery capt.


One day, I went up to him to try and start up a conversation about sailing and maybe see if he would like to come over and join us at our table. He looked at me with total indifference, and turned his back. OK, so much for that idea.


A few weeks later I noticed a large flower arrangement and a full drink sitting at his place at the bar. I asked what that was all about. Well, he was capt. on a delivery crew bringing back a sailing vessel from Hawaii ( a vessel that had raced over in the transpac.....race crew flew home on an airliner ). Stormy night, no harness, went up on the foredeck, and overboard. The crew could not find him in the dark rough seas. The flowers and his favorite drink were in his honor at his favorite place and barstool.


Back to one of the major ideas of not going over board in the first place. Take safety precautions .


Thanks to the original poster and the contributors for this interesting and very informative subject.
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Old 08-09-2016, 07:08   #60
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Re: Has anyone ever fallen over tethered and tried to pull themselves back in?

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Ever have a halyard line come loose and start swinging around and try to catch it again on a rocking boat? Would you what that to be you?
I hear you but not sure if that's the same.

I am thinking if i went over., with the length and angle I am dangling about half way up the hull.

That would allow me to be holding on and my weight is bending the halyard over the top lifeline if I'm over the side .

Not convinced this is plausible without actually mocking it up on my 2 masted schooner..... just attracted to the idea of an added safety line that could pull you up over the side
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