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Old 04-02-2011, 18:25   #1
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Location of Jacklines

As I read of the tragic loss of another single hander on this forum, I can't help wondering about the postioning of jacklines on most boats. This is in no way intended to be a comment on the lost sailor since I don't know the circumstances. On my boat I rig the jacklines down the centre of the yacht so I can't get thrown over or through the lifelines because the leangth of the tether will not allow it. The jacklines also stops well short of the bow so that if I have to work right at the bow my tether is taut. The only disadvantage I see is that I have to unclip and reclip to get past the mast, but I make sure one clip is on before I unclip the other. It's a bit more hassle but as far as I can see much less than the trouble of trying to pull yourself back over the lifelines. What am I missing?

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Old 04-02-2011, 18:59   #2
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Sounds like you got it right.

I've seen people just cleat off a nylon webbing from bow to stern cleats run loosely around the side decks... Seems like going straight down the middle, like you said, makes more sense for keeping a person inside the lifelines.

The only thing I would add to your description, is that it's probably best to stay clipped in at all times while singlehanded, no matter what the weather. (Note that the recent incident happened during calm weather with approximately 4-5' seas). And remember that even if you have crew aboard, if they are not on deck with you, you are singlehanding....

Another recent story I heard of a guy going over in the south pacific, two crew members were down below, one was up and cooking in the galley... gone.
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Old 04-02-2011, 19:12   #3
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I disagree. If you run them on the decks, then you can always use the one on the high side. That way you fall inside the boat.
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Old 04-02-2011, 19:17   #4
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I disagree. If you run them on the decks, then you can always use the one on the high side. That way you fall inside the boat.
unless you fall off the high side...

Logically it makes sense that a person would most likely fall "down" towards the leeward side of the boat. But I'm sure there are any number of freak accidents that could cause a person to fall the wrong way. Either way, if you fall to leeward You'll still be kept inside the lifelines by the centerline jackline.
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Old 04-02-2011, 19:26   #5
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I rolled my ankle twice on mine already. I'm anti skidding the entire deck this weekend and repositioning the lines off the deck raised 3' mast forward to windlass deck height. Center cockpit though is abit different
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Old 04-02-2011, 19:38   #6
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I run nylon webbing jack lines on the deck along each walkway. They stop so that I can get to the bow and to the helm without unshackling. I've also got a padeye on the cockpit floor that allows to go from the stern to the comapanion way without unshackling. That padeye has short line attached to it as my harness/vest combo tether cannot be detached from the harness. Don't go on deck without first clipping on to this line for messing about in the cockpit where I spend most of my time. Use the double clip tether to hook onto the walkway lifelines for going forward before I unclip from the cockpit line.

Never never go anywhere on deck without a tether. I've nearly gone overboard without a tether and won't chance it again.
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Old 04-02-2011, 20:15   #7
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Our jacklines on Sea Trek were also made from webbing so as not to roll under our feet when we stepped on them. They ran from the cockpit to the foredeck down both side of the boat. We used them offshore in gale conditions and it was good to know we were always attached to the boat. The tether was short enough the we could not go over the lifelines and over the side, but long enough that we could work anywhere on deck. We never left the cockpit when off shore unless we were clipped on and that was even in calm conditions. Chuck
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Old 04-02-2011, 20:31   #8
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In theory running down the cabin top sounds good for the reason given, less likely to have enough length in the tether to go over the side. However I think it would be inevitable that you would step on anything run across the cabin top and, wire or strap I think it would likely slip or roll.

I always ran mine down both sides of the cabin but with very little slack so they stayed against the side of the cabin trunk. Never slipped or tripped on one.

The problem is, they are close enough to the side of the boat that if you do go towards the near side you would have to have a really short tether to keep you inside the lifelines, so short that it would probably limit your movement too much.

Have not figured out the perfect answer for me.
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Old 04-02-2011, 20:57   #9
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My problem is not the jacklines so much, which like Skipmac's run taught against the cabin sides. It is the tether. It is always tripping me up especially when I am tacking. Also, I'll get to the end of it and need a couple more inches (as today) to adjust the windvane and I'll just unclip in frustration. So I limit my tether use to when there is a good wind and/or swell on the ocean. Unless it is really blowing in the bay I don't wear a harness when I singlehand. Maybe I need to hear some more horror stories to scare me into submission. I've heard of several mariners going over when they stood to relieve themselves. I don't have that problem. Also, I fear more being dragged by the boat and drowning then having to swin to shore (in the bay). I know I am not strong enough to lift myself back on to the boat. This summer I'm going to practice falling over with my husband who presumably will help me if I get into trouble because if he doesn't he wil have to answer to the kids.
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Old 04-02-2011, 21:05   #10
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Originally Posted by Dulcieta View Post
My problem is not the jacklines so much, which like Skipmac's run taught against the cabin sides. It is the tether. It is always tripping me up especially when I am tacking. Also, I'll get to the end of it and need a couple more inches (as today) to adjust the windvane and I'll just unclip in frustration. So I limit my tether use to when there is a good wind and/or swell on the ocean. Unless it is really blowing in the bay I don't wear a harness when I singlehand. Maybe I need to hear some more horror stories to scare me into submission. I've heard of several mariners going over when they stood to relieve themselves. I don't have that problem. Also, I fear more being dragged by the boat and drowning then having to swin to shore (in the bay). I know I am not strong enough to lift myself back on to the boat. This summer I'm going to practice falling over with my husband who presumably will help me if I get into trouble because if he doesn't he wil have to answer to the kids.
Check first to make sure he hasn't taken out a new, large insurance policy on you.

Do you have double clips on the tether? With one close in and one longer you can always stay clipped on but still get another foot or so when you need it. But then you are on a longer tether and could theoretically go over the lifelines.
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Old 04-02-2011, 21:36   #11
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I've been sitting here wondering how a retractable safety line would work.
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Old 04-02-2011, 21:44   #12
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You mean like a safety belt that's loose until you hit the brakes, then it locks?

Chances are, it would end up jamming at the worst possible moment. I think I'd prefer to keep things as simple as possible.
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Old 04-02-2011, 22:25   #13
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I think the configuration for jack lines changes from boat to boat. When delivering boats I saw many different ways the captain ran the jack lines, some were well thought out and some were just for show. I like the single line down the cabin top with a two tether harness, it does not allow me to fall over board even if I jump.
I also used a harness that was very comfortable, which allowed me to wear it even while sleeping. But this is all moot if your harness isnt properly fitted, it will slide right over your head.
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Old 04-02-2011, 23:15   #14
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I fear more being dragged by the boat and drowning then having to swin to shore (in the bay). I know I am not strong enough to lift myself back on to the boat.
Are you a strong enough swimmer to make it to shore in your clothes considering temperature, currents and other unobservant boaters?

Quote:
This summer I'm going to practice falling over with my husband who presumably will help me if I get into trouble because if he doesn't he wil have to answer to the kids.
(Wo)Man Overboard drills are a great idea; they teach you:
  • watching the boat sail away from you is not a particularly good experience.
  • getting aboard in anything other than light seas is a lot tougher than you would want.
  • you run a moderate to serious risk of injury in reboarding. Everything from a smashed finger on a boarding ladder to getting slammed against the hull to exposure to drowning.
  • It often takes more people or more gear to get you back on board than you would think.

To me this means taking every precaution to stay in the boat until I get to the destination, even if it makes me uncomfortable.
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Old 05-02-2011, 01:12   #15
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Originally Posted by Eleebana View Post
As I read of the tragic loss of another single hander on this forum, I can't help wondering about the postioning of jacklines on most boats. This is in no way intended to be a comment on the lost sailor since I don't know the circumstances. On my boat I rig the jacklines down the centre of the yacht so I can't get thrown over or through the lifelines because the leangth of the tether will not allow it. The jacklines also stops well short of the bow so that if I have to work right at the bow my tether is taut. The only disadvantage I see is that I have to unclip and reclip to get past the mast, but I make sure one clip is on before I unclip the other. It's a bit more hassle but as far as I can see much less than the trouble of trying to pull yourself back over the lifelines. What am I missing?

Greg
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.
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