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Old 05-02-2011, 04:56   #16
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In almost 60 years of sailing, I've fallen overboard twice. Both times, the boat was tied to the dock in calm water. The point is, you fall overboard when you don't expect it. One of the times I fell in, I was alone, near Annapolis in the winter. Hypothermia is not pleasant; its a good thing the dock was only a few feet away. Even so, I was finished for the day by the time I got warm again.

With just two of us aboard, the on-watch person is effectively single handing. We have a traditional rig, with hanked on sails, so we spend a lot of time out of the cockpit under less than ideal conditions. The "safety of the cockpit" is an illusion, in our opinion. The more time you spend there when under sail, the more likely you are to fall when you have to go forward for some unexpected activity.

Our rule of thumb is to only wear harnesses and clip on when we don't want to die, which is most of the time. It's worth some effort to experiment with jackline placement and keep the tethers short, so that you can't fall over the lifelines. There's always a way to do it. Just accept that if you fall overboard and nobody notices, you are as likely to die as you are to live, and work from there.
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Old 05-02-2011, 07:51   #17
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I'm a down the center on a short tether kinda guy.

But seriously, dual tethers? Can't you grab that mast like your life depended on it for the two seconds it takes to clip off one side and onto the other?
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Old 05-02-2011, 08:05   #18
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I think it is more important to have Jacklines set up for ease of use. Putting them on the centerline will work on some boats. On mine, I can't see how you'd easily click in from the cockpit from behind the dodger. The dodger probably makes me safer than the Jacklines -- less fatigue. I don't want my jacklines stopping too far from the bow or the sides, as I want to be wearing a tether when I'm hanging over the sides trying to clear some fish net or flotsam off the boat. I do stop them short of the stern so I won't be swept off the ass end. I have a separate short tether permanently installed at the wheel so the helmsmen is tied in short. I would not want a jackline that required clipping/unclipping to get to the bow. Tethers slow your response to events down enough as they are without adding a bunch of intermediate fine motor skills.
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Old 05-02-2011, 08:11   #19
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The reason I like dual tethers is you can have one shorter and one longer.

Back in the day I instructed rock climbing and high ropes. When things are dicey (or you have a guest you don't want hurt) and you really, really don't want to fall, you never, ever want to unclip. I like the ability to stay always clipped in during a good blow.
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Old 05-02-2011, 08:21   #20
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I think it is more important to have Jacklines set up for ease of use. Putting them on the centerline will work on some boats. On mine, I can't see how you'd easily click in from the cockpit from behind the dodger. The dodger probably makes me safer than the Jacklines -- less fatigue. I don't want my jacklines stopping too far from the bow or the sides, as I want to be wearing a tether when I'm hanging over the sides trying to clear some fish net or flotsam off the boat. I do stop them short of the stern so I won't be swept off the ass end. I have a separate short tether permanently installed at the wheel so the helmsmen is tied in short. I would not want a jackline that required clipping/unclipping to get to the bow. Tethers slow your response to events down enough as they are without adding a bunch of intermediate fine motor skills.
+1 for jacklines on the sidedecks so that we can clip on from the cockpit with the dodger in place. The jacklines are webbing which runs along the side deck moderately tight from bow to stern. We're almost always doublehanding. We clip to a padeye in the cockpit when the other person is below or after dark. If someone has to go on deck, the other person is called and is in the cockpit. My wife decided to go below one night a while back when I was doing something on the foredeck. We had a lively discussion afterwards and neither of us has done that since.
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Old 05-02-2011, 08:28   #21
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I see a 'Jackline' every week on my way to the supermarket... all the local addicts queuing outside the Centre for their 'Scripts'....
I don't use em but centre seems the most sensible... also the most outa the way... how many times do you cross the cabin top... except to reef...
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Old 05-02-2011, 09:06   #22
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Dual tethers solve the problem of clipping from one line to another, but they are a pain most of the time. Another answer, for those who want variable length, is tethers with a loop somewhere near the mid point. This way you can have a short tether at any moment by simply clipping the loop in. For increased security, a second biner is needed, but it need not be a locking sort, as it is not the last line of defense. A light aluminum wire gate will do.
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Old 05-02-2011, 09:16   #23
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I'm looking at my boat right now, wondering how the down-the-centerline camp would even rig their jacklines. My dodger is about 10' wide, measured abeam. That leaves a bit more than 2' of side deck outboard the dodger on each side. By the time I move forward of the dodger, the centerline of the boat is occupied by a rigid vang. Nowhere to clip a jackline in that area between the mast and dodger. What this means is that a centerline jackline would have to only run from the mast to the bow, but this really wouldn't work either because such a rig would keep me from opening the anchor locker.

Have the people promoting down-the-center jackline actually attempted to rig such a contraption? I'm looking at the boats in slips next to me now, a Canter 51 and a Tayana 48 Deck Salon. Both of these boats would present the same problem while trying to rig a center jackline. You'd have to start outside and then run them inside the mast pulpits, which would end up making it far more cumbersome to get to the bow to change a headsail or rig a spinnaker. This would become especially problematic if you were dragging a sail along with you.

Sorry, the down-the-center jackline doesn't make sense on any of the boats I'm looking at. Besides, those of us who've been trained properly have been taught always to go forward on the high side. So why would you suddenly want to go forward differently now that you're clipped in offshore?

One more point. My boat is equipped with three sets of grab rails inboard of the side decks. One set runs fore-and-aft on the outboard edges of the dodger, the second set runs along the trunk between the dodger and the mast, and the third is on the foredeck. When things get really dodgy, I'm going to be crawling hand-over-hand along these grab rails. Wouldn't it make more sense to run my jacklines alongside these grab rails (in other words, along the side decks) rather than down the middle where there's absolutely nothing to grab onto other than the mast?
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Old 05-02-2011, 09:23   #24
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But seriously, dual tethers? Can't you grab that mast like your life depended on it for the two seconds it takes to clip off one side and onto the other?
Dual tethers is standard operating procedure on offshore race boats. Were you to work the foredeck with a single tether, people would think it was your first time offshore. And were you seen to be hugging the mast for dear life in the middle of a sail change, that might very well be the end of your racing career.
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Old 05-02-2011, 09:26   #25
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I have followed a few threads on Jacklines and can understand the theory that lines down the centre of the boat would be a better option and not allow you fall overboard but.

We have webbing jackstays that run bow to stern along the decks and are taught and with them I can walk from helm to bow without having to unclip.

Now I have looked at many many boats in lots of marinas and all seem to have outer deck mounted jackstays, so the question is how/where do you guys rig jackstays on the centre line of the boat, I have a plethora of lines back to the cockpit and it seems to only clear deck on centre line of the boat is from mast to bow over the forehatch and a short run from mast to companionway.
Yep, you hit it on the nail. I think one of the most dangerous areas of the boat is the dodger outside the cockpit. I was on a boat where a Y configuration worked beautifully (single line up the foredeck, then two lines from the mast to each side of the cabin top near the cockpit). A single line up the middle works great for certain boats too (webbing run from pad eye near cockpit to around the mast and then forward to anchor cleat). For some boats, the only realistic solution seems to be the V configuration (bow cleat to points either side of the cockpit). Each boat with its nuances, and assorted gear mounted on decks, make the running of the jack lines a custom job.
I have had a few near misses with going over board offshore and at night. The time to figure out what will happen if you put your harness, tether, and jackline to the test is at the dock Set up your jackline, throw on your harness and try to fall overboard. If your configuration allows you to go over the sides, then go over the sides and get a feel for what you will need to do to get back on board (it might be as simple as making the tether longer so you are swept to the rudder area and to the swim ladder or a well placed grab rail). If you have a single line or Y line config then look at the problem areas of getting around the dodger. I know of a boat that keep their tethers on the jackline to avoid this issue.
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Old 05-02-2011, 09:48   #26
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Good thread it may save my life- has me thinking about mine, on a cat I have 2 sets of Jack lines one down each side,starting from the center bow-to the stern outside-and it would not keep me from going overboard at the stern- IM going to rig one down the center- I have the duel tether set up with auto inflate pfds, rigged with strobe/light, water proof hand held vhf - I may have to have a custom made tether rigged up because the standard ones are not long enough on a cat(i would think)
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Old 05-02-2011, 09:51   #27
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My boat has a three inch toe rail and wooden hand holds forward of the dodger and the length of the cabin top. I ran the jacklines down the sides and I always went forward on the high side because sometimes the lowside toe rail was underwater or close to it. I clipped to the mast when working in that area. I also had a padeye in the cockpit.
I'd also like to suggest that a singlehandler clip on while leaning overboard to pick up a mooring.

To maintain a tight jackline, I'd untie the webed line and soak it in salt water so that it would shrink tighter when it dried out. In ten years of use, I replaced them once.
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Old 05-02-2011, 10:27   #28
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Good thread it may save my life- has me thinking about mine, on a cat I have 2 sets of Jack lines one down each side,starting from the center bow-to the stern outside-and it would not keep me from going overboard at the stern- IM going to rig one down the center- I have the duel tether set up with auto inflate pfds, rigged with strobe/light, water proof hand held vhf - I may have to have a custom made tether rigged up because the standard ones are not long enough on a cat(i would think)
Every boat is different, and cats more so, but for a cat...

We run the jacklines up over the edge of the hardtop, ending near the aft edge of the hard top. This protects the tricky bit near the cockpit side and prevents us from going over the stern. The bow end, like yours, ends on the front beam midway between the center and the edge.

This way, I can get to the mast and and forestay still not get thrown over the side. They are also out from under foot on the sidedeck and not underfoot by the mast. Since they are not underfoot, we use 5/8" rope, which allows us to leave them set, makes a better hand line, and they don't break down from UV.

If I need to go WAY down to the other side or work hanging off the transom, I have dual length tethers (described above) and simply extend.

Beam has its privileges.
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Old 30-06-2011, 11:05   #29
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Re: Location of Jacklines

Does anyone use permanently mounted tethers - numerous tethers?
Clip on at the cabin, move to the mast, clip next tether to harness and then unclip first.... moving back to cockpit reverses process and tethers are always where you need them.

Each tether could be custom to the length of the boat you are working on.

Sure, you need a few extra this way, but everyone on board would be using the same tethers so the numbers probably work out to be the same as everyone having their own personal double-line tether.

Just curious
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Old 30-06-2011, 12:15   #30
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Re: Location of Jacklines

We are re-riggin the Ranger 23 and came across what I think is a brilliant idea... a jack line AROUND the mast. Lines come off it to clip to the harness and you can move around the deck in either direction and to the bow on one line. On a larger boat you would need other clip ins as well, but this solves the issue I have with jack lines running the length of the deck. They seem to be such a possible tripping hazard.

Anyone else used or seen this system?
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