I unfortunately had an over the side experience. I have a Lirakis harness with tethers which are about 5 feet.. not sure.
The incident occurred when I had a hank on head
sail and I left the protection of the anchorage to discover a strong wind
as well as some larger than expected seas. I decided to use a jib
instead of the genny which was hanked on.
I went forward with the jib
bag so that I could take it down and stuff it in the bag and then put on the genny. (man are roller furlers great).
I got to the bow tied the bag to the cleat. I had attached my tether (1 of them) to the slotted tow rail. Just as I finished tying the sail bag the bow dropped into a huge trough and in instant was thrown up as the next wave came and lifted the bow. The motion was enough to send me flying into the air off the deck... and when that wave passed another trough appeared and I was now pulled downward tethered to the dropping bow which I believe shipped some green water.
I did not come down on the deck but over the side. My tether was OVER the live lines just aft of the pulpit. Shiva has a fairly high freeboard and I was on the lee side when this happened so the rail was closer to the water then the windward side for sure.
The boat was making way inder engine
. My friend who is not a sailor sat in the cockpit
not knowing what to do... obviously as I was being pulled through the water against the topsides more or less at the surface of the water. I was perhaps only submerged in the first instance of the bow drop.
I was able to get one leg *hooked* around a stanchion so I was no longer in the water. But I was unable to from that position to release the tether and climb in.. nor did I want to be untethered to the boat and hanging to the rail and stanchion. It was hard I recall
to get to the second tether and fun it under the life lines so I could craw onto the deck under the lower live line... with the other one released and yet be still tethered. I asked my friend to bring a line and tie it to my harness passed under the lines and cleat it off and then unclip the tether. He did this, but he was not using a harness.... holding on with one hand.
I was obviously able to get aboard and lived to tell this tale.
A very short tether would require me crawling on the deck.
But a centerline tie to would have prevented what happened. This means use the side jack lines to move forward AND the second to a CL jack line or deck fitting.. and get a roller furler
so you can less the time at the bow in rough seas (I did).