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Old 19-11-2010, 07:27   #1
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Personal Fall Limiter vs Jacklines

I'm considering alternatives to typical jacklines. It seems to me that in most installations, with the jackline along the side deck, a crew that fell over the side would be dragged along the side of the boat, or astern. Keeping the crew on deck would obviously be much preferable. Has anyone used or considered the use of a Personal Fall Limiter, such as is used for fall protection in industry?
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Old 19-11-2010, 07:45   #2
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I guess I'm not sure how the Personal Fall Limiter differs from a harness and a jackline. On my boat I use a two piece tether, one fairly long and the other about 2 ft. When working on the mast I will clip the short tether to some hardware so I can't go over the side. Other times I might clip the longer tether to the jackline on the opposite side of the boat from where I'm working thus limiting the chance of going over the side completely.

In all cases, if conditions are such that I need the jackline the rule is that someone be in the cockpit to keep an eye out for mishaps. If I did go over, it wouldn't be for long.

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Old 19-11-2010, 08:34   #3
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Is the personal fall limiter you are describing also called a yo-yo in the industry?

Yo-yos work like the name says. They let out slack when you pull slowly but lock up when you pull suddenly as in a fall.

But jacklines can keep you in the boat. You clip on to the windward jack line so that if you fall you have the full width of the boat to stop as you fall leeward. But it is possible to fall overboard and get pulled along. That is why I use a combination inflatable pfd/harness and have a snap shackle to let me release the tether if I fall overboard.

All of this works with other crew members on deck. If you are the only person at the helm such as a night watch, then don't leave the helm alone to go forward. Wake up another crew member first.

But all bets are off if you are single handing.

David
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Old 19-11-2010, 09:10   #4
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tension jacklines, shorten tether.
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Old 19-11-2010, 09:52   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamuJoe View Post
I'm considering alternatives to typical jacklines. It seems to me that in most installations, with the jackline along the side deck, a crew that fell over the side would be dragged along the side of the boat, or astern. Keeping the crew on deck would obviously be much preferable. Has anyone used or considered the use of a Personal Fall Limiter, such as is used for fall protection in industry?
I like people who scratch their heads. Being a nay-sayer is easy. Conservative, conventional wisdom answers are easy.

Clearly, these were a great development for the construction industry; they made fall protection while working much more practical.

However, there are a couple of problems, waiting for a bright sollutions:
* Corrosion. Nuf said.
* Fall speed. These units are desinged to catch free-falls, not a sliding fall. The device would be very likely not to trigger in a typical slip until you were over the side.
* Size. They are typically too big and heavy to slide along a jackline. They are typically rigged to a fixed point or slide on an overhead rail or jackline.

The closest alternaitive at this time is a tether with both long and short clip points. Light and simple.

I see the OP has a cat. My solution to the wide decks is to run the jacklines in nearer the centerline, away from the sides. It should be possible to make falling off VERY difficult. There is NO REASON to follow monohull practice on jackline location, when your deck is a different shape.

The "all bets are off if you are single handing" comment is pretty funny; as soon as your crew falls off, you are singlehanding, with work to be done at the rail. Truely, jacklines should be set-up with single handing in mind, unless you run with a really big crew.

I single hand a lot, and I go forward when I need to. Catamaran decks are generally pretty tame, though. I pay attention, stay low, clip in, and hold on.
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Old 19-11-2010, 10:04   #6
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I work with these devices often and I don't think they would be better than jacklines for many reasons including corrosion of internal components. But I have considered hauling one up on a 2nd halyard for extra insurance while climbing the mast.
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Old 19-11-2010, 10:28   #7
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On a monohull we run our jacklines down the centerline, not along the rail. But, I agree, at best they are body retrieval devices,
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Old 19-11-2010, 10:39   #8
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On a monohull we run our jacklines down the centerline, not along the rail. But, I agree, at best they are body retrieval devices,
Hmmm. I don't understand this. I have used low-stretch jacklines secured fore and aft and run along the cabin sides - tight. If done correctly, I don't see how this wouldn't keep one aboard.
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Old 19-11-2010, 11:32   #9
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I've used jacklines when racing in heavy weather a number of times. They're easy to use, unobtrusive, and when clipped in to the windward side, would generally catch you just as you reached the lee side. IF you do go over, the helmsman just has to come about and heave to. Of course, we only did this once in training during nice weather just to test the theory. But it worked perfectly, leaving the man overboard almost at the transom, where we manhandled him back on the boat. Of course, a life sling and lifting tackle could quickly be attached to the main boom as well in that situation if you have a hard time getting him onboard.

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Old 19-11-2010, 17:22   #10
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Yes, clip onto the windward side, and shorten the tether. On my cat I run the lines down the center of the boat around the mast. I go over the bridgedeck to get to the forward parts of the boat if it's real nasty outside.........i2f
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Old 19-11-2010, 18:01   #11
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my tethers are less than 6 ft in length
my boat beam is 12'2" and the jacklines are secured midships. if you are able to roll off my boat while tethered on, is a miracle. OR you really werent tethered on.
my critter remains tethered during rough passages and in marinas.
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Old 19-11-2010, 18:53   #12
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<run along the cabin sides - tight. If done correctly, I don't see how this wouldn't keep one aboard.>

With even a three foot tether you are over the side with jacklines along the rail or even at the base of the cabin top. Taught jacklines along the center line are barely enough to keep a person on board and with a six foot tether probably won't. Our boat is 12 feet at the beam, so the math. Given that it is hard to work ina three-foot tether. Our rule is, like many others, never leave the cockpit at night or in rough seas unless someone else is on deck. As a sailing couple we are conservative in our sail plan so the other can sleep with minimal interruption.
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Old 19-11-2010, 19:21   #13
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Thanks, Thinwater and all who gave this concept some thought.

Disclosure: In addition to being a head scratcher, I'm also a recently retired safety manager who likes to provoke a bit of discussion along these lines. This is our season ashore - we return south to our boat in January, and I'm dreaming of sailing. Tis the season for planning. My wife and I sail as a couple, and I will go to a great deal of precaution to keep both of us aboard. I pray that our Lifesling is never used in crisis mode.

Observation: My yacht did sail on delivery from South Africa to Crotia to Belize with the jackline along the side deck, and most monos and cats that I've seen are rigged that way. The characterization by Hanna of such as "body retrieval devices" is all too realistic.

As it stands, I've rigged my catamaran with a center line jackline (mast forward) that would keep me well within the lifelines. A second jackline leads from the cockpit exit to the mast. A double tether allows transitions while remaining attached. It's a pretty good arrangement, but could be improved. It's that first 10 feet on my catamaran, along the cabin on the side deck, that would present the highest risk of MOB. Hence the head scratching.

Back to the concept: A bit of internet searching has led me to Personal Fall Limiters at reasonable cost, made of non-corrosive materials, that would brake within the parameters of a person sliding along a deck. See Miller Fall Protection for examples. I would not attach the PFL device to a jackline, but rather to a strong point a few feet up the mast, and have the tag end clipped near the cockpit exit (have to work out interference with the genoa sheet) for attachment to harness upon exiting the cockpit.

Again, thanks for the discussion - I'll stay tuned to this channel.






Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
I like people who scratch their heads. Being a nay-sayer is easy. Conservative, conventional wisdom answers are easy.

Clearly, these were a great development for the construction industry; they made fall protection while working much more practical.

However, there are a couple of problems, waiting for a bright sollutions:
* Corrosion. Nuf said.
* Fall speed. These units are desinged to catch free-falls, not a sliding fall. The device would be very likely not to trigger in a typical slip until you were over the side.
* Size. They are typically too big and heavy to slide along a jackline. They are typically rigged to a fixed point or slide on an overhead rail or jackline.

The closest alternaitive at this time is a tether with both long and short clip points. Light and simple.

I see the OP has a cat. My solution to the wide decks is to run the jacklines in nearer the centerline, away from the sides. It should be possible to make falling off VERY difficult. There is NO REASON to follow monohull practice on jackline location, when your deck is a different shape.

The "all bets are off if you are single handing" comment is pretty funny; as soon as your crew falls off, you are singlehanding, with work to be done at the rail. Truely, jacklines should be set-up with single handing in mind, unless you run with a really big crew.

I single hand a lot, and I go forward when I need to. Catamaran decks are generally pretty tame, though. I pay attention, stay low, clip in, and hold on.
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Old 19-11-2010, 19:48   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamuJoe View Post
Thanks, Thinwater and all who gave this concept some thought.

Disclosure: In addition to being a head scratcher, I'm also a recently retired safety manager who likes to provoke a bit of discussion along these lines. This is our season ashore - we return south to our boat in January, and I'm dreaming of sailing. Tis the season for planning. My wife and I sail as a couple, and I will go to a great deal of precaution to keep both of us aboard. I pray that our Lifesling is never used in crisis mode.

Observation: My yacht did sail on delivery from South Africa to Crotia to Belize with the jackline along the side deck, and most monos and cats that I've seen are rigged that way. The characterization by Hanna of such as "body retrieval devices" is all too realistic.

As it stands, I've rigged my catamaran with a center line jackline (mast forward) that would keep me well within the lifelines. A second jackline leads from the cockpit exit to the mast. A double tether allows transitions while remaining attached. It's a pretty good arrangement, but could be improved. It's that first 10 feet on my catamaran, along the cabin on the side deck, that would present the highest risk of MOB. Hence the head scratching.

Back to the concept: A bit of internet searching has led me to Personal Fall Limiters at reasonable cost, made of non-corrosive materials, that would brake within the parameters of a person sliding along a deck. See Miller Fall Protection for examples. I would not attach the PFL device to a jackline, but rather to a strong point a few feet up the mast, and have the tag end clipped near the cockpit exit (have to work out interference with the genoa sheet) for attachment to harness upon exiting the cockpit.

Again, thanks for the discussion - I'll stay tuned to this channel.
I've always found it fascinating, how many ideas can be transplanted from one discipline to another. The people at miller have pioneered many of the carabiner ideas sailors have adopted. Rock climbers invented other parts, including shock absorbing lanyards and wire gate carabiners. There should be a healthy exchange.

* Ask Miller if they have considered a marine version, or at least one that is rated for a salt environment. I have some concern that a critical part might corrode, causing it not to grab in a fall. I don't know the internal workings.
* Yes, you could anchor it high, but then you will still swing around. I don't know.
* I have the same problem on my boat; the passage from the cockpit past the hardtop is narrow, the rest is fine. We run a jackline, not on the edge of the deck, but along the edge of the hardtop and forward to the front beam. Clipped very short, it feels very safe. We have no jackline on the side deck. Try that.

I like what your looking for. I just don't know how to get the triggering mechanism right. I've spent 30 years involved in rock climbing, serious mountaineering and refinery work, and getting fall protection devices to do what you ask is very tricky.

I have also found that staying low is very good (adults hate to crawl, but sometimes it is a simple solution) and knee pads can be good, as they make kneeling on a heaving deck comfortable; kneeling with some pressure on a tether can be a very stable work position.

I would also suggest pouring over the catalogs of rock climbing and rescue equipment companies; you might find a brilliant new application that has been over looked, one perhaps, that only suits your boat.
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