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Old 20-04-2016, 09:07   #1
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Which harnesses and tethers do you like?

Hi all - I'm an experienced sailor with many miles crewing offshore but I've always used the boat owner's harness and tether. I'm looking to purchase my own and just wondered what favorites are out there that I may not know about. Thanks for your opinion!
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Old 20-04-2016, 09:53   #2
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Re: Which harnesses and tethers do you like?

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Originally Posted by kimwindjammin View Post
Hi all - I'm an experienced sailor with many miles crewing offshore but I've always used the boat owner's harness and tether. I'm looking to purchase my own and just wondered what favorites are out there that I may not know about. Thanks for your opinion!
Custom.

Standard lengths are often wrong, either too long or too short. I use one leg shorter than 3' and the other leg longer than 6'.

Webbing does not offer sufficient shock absorption for my ribs. More of a problem on bigger boats and cats.



Finally since I single-hand, I have no use for quick-release snaps
  • I won't be better off bobbing in mid-ocean
  • Snap shackles can open inadvertently (probably not closed properly, but does the reason actually matter?)
  • They take 2 hands (sometimes unclipping at the harness end and re-clipping is the best way to work around rigging). I like the Kong Tango best, and I have used others (too hard to work with tired, cold hands).
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Old 20-04-2016, 10:19   #3
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Re: Which harnesses and tethers do you like?

Single handed I mostly use a work positioning lanyard, instantly adjustable and if the worst happens and you do end up the drink then you're in with a chance of getting back on by passing the tail over the life lines and double purchasing the lanyard.





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Old 20-04-2016, 10:25   #4
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Re: Which harnesses and tethers do you like?

We have Baltic equipment here with safe hooks. No separate harness just life vest with harness built in. And triple hook tethers with one short one long arm. None recommended.

- you may want a light & comfortable harness (esp. in the tropics),
- you may want very light hooks on the tether,
- you may want a soft attachment on the harness (loops rather than D-rings),

etc.

Money no subject, I would start investigating at e.g. Spinlock then extend my search. I think Spinlock did a couple of things right in this department.

What I like (but I do not own):

https://www.spinlock.co.uk/en/catego...ck-pro-harness
https://www.spinlock.co.uk/en/catego...s/safety-lines

I'd rather NOT have these shown HEAVY safe hooks but they may be the best option around.

I'd consider a DSC/AIS combo personal beacon (like OS (Now ACR) RescueMe MOB1, or similar dsc&ais COMBO device), if justified by how and where you sail.

b.
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Old 20-04-2016, 11:11   #5
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Re: Which harnesses and tethers do you like?

Mustang HIT pfd with harness.

This tether

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Old 20-04-2016, 15:21   #6
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Re: Which harnesses and tethers do you like?

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Originally Posted by kimwindjammin View Post
Hi all - I'm an experienced sailor with many miles crewing offshore but I've always used the boat owner's harness and tether. I'm looking to purchase my own and just wondered what favorites are out there that I may not know about. Thanks for your opinion!
We prefer the Spinlock 5D PFD with harness and leg/crotch straps. They are the most comfortable we have tried on, and support attachment of an auto-actuating AIS or AIS/DSC POB transmitter [e.g., MOB1]. They also come with 2 built-in, auto-actuating lights.

You can get them in white for sunny, hot areas.

They also make a harness of similar design without the PFD.

If you use a tether with a metal quick release shackle, you will like the soft D ring attachment point. [No metal to metal clinking/dog tags sound...]

We intend to build our own tethers per ThinWater's climbing rope recommendations, but currently use Spinlock tethers with an attachment loop [i.e., cow-hitch it to harness loop] instead of a shackle.

We are experimenting with 'trapeezing' between attached tethers instead of running along jack-lines with a tether- although both are set up.

Trapeezing described as having appropriate length tethers attached to specific stations on the boat [e.g., cockpit, mast, foredeck, etc.] and close enough to attach the new tether to your harness before detaching the one you came from... Pretty quick once you set it up right, and it keeps you away from that 500ft cliff edge- something jack-lines are less prone to do- depending upon the vessel...

Best wishes finding what is best for you.

Cheers!

Bill
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Old 20-04-2016, 16:25   #7
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Re: Which harnesses and tethers do you like?

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Mustang HIT pfd with harness.
With a Mustang crotch strap.

BTW - the twin tether.
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Old 21-04-2016, 08:40   #8
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Re: Which harnesses and tethers do you like?

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Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
Mustang HIT pfd with harness.

This tether

I agree that a combination of tether and PFD with harness rings is the best set up. There are a lot of good choices of PFD. I prefer the Spinlock Deck Vest or the Helly Hansen Racing PFD. Mustang is good also.

These tethers look like Kong tethers. I tried 6 different brands at the Safety at Sea Workshop in Newport, and these were by far the easiest to use. They are easy and natural to operate with one hand and they open wide enough to tether onto a stainless tube, such as at the binnacle. The best price is at Jamestown Distributors. Buy the double safety hook model. It gives you much more security it rough seas if you have to leave the cockpit.
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Old 21-04-2016, 09:10   #9
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Re: Which harnesses and tethers do you like?

i'll second Dr. Sea's advice. I have appreciated the Kong double tethers I got for a very fair price through Jamestown Dist. Don't often buy anything much online, but these were an exception. They meet Safety at Sea requirements, as well as the SERs for the Oregon Offshore Race.
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Old 21-04-2016, 10:13   #10
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Re: Which harnesses and tethers do you like?

I worked with Kong around 2000 to develop both of the yellow tethers. They had just come out with the Tango 7000-series aluminum snap, and I thought we could add elastic (not an original idea) and the over-load stitching (then required by the OSRs) and have just two tethers that satisfied all offshore requirements. While West Marine had an exclusive for a while, other companies (Defender) started offering them as well.

Practical Sailor did a test on the tethers at some point to see if the snap would deteriorate in the saltwater environment. As I recall, they hung a tether at the mid-tide line and let the tides wash and dry the snap for a month. It passed their test with flying colors.

My visit to the Kong factory near Lake Como was a real treat. I am sorry that I cannot remember the name of the MD, but he was involved in many exciting markets, including ultralight aircraft, ice rescue, sailing, parachuting, alpine climbing, and so forth. The Kong factory had a small hanger with dozens of ultralights and a small runway out back.

It does appear that Jamestown has excellent prices on the Kong tethers.

Cheers,

Chuck Hawley
Chairman, Safety at Sea Committee, US Sailing
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Old 21-04-2016, 10:46   #11
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Re: Which harnesses and tethers do you like?

I do not like pdfs with built-in harness.

One is the discomfort from continuous carrying a four pound sack round my neck, two is that most regular pdfs have the breast belt too high for secure use with tethers, esp. think of women and children who have less accentuated arms than men.

One can slip out from a regular pdf with built in harness.

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Old 21-04-2016, 11:07   #12
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Re: Which harnesses and tethers do you like?

Thank you all for the responses!
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Old 21-04-2016, 11:36   #13
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Re: Which harnesses and tethers do you like?

Musting HIT with Kong double leg tether. I like the Spinlock PFD as well, would consider that on a future purchase.

I just bought a set of West Marine branded universal leg straps. For obvious reasons, I somewhat dislike crotch straps. These leg straps attach to the PFD/harness on the outside and go around each leg at the upper thigh.
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Old 21-04-2016, 11:47   #14
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Re: Which harnesses and tethers do you like?

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
I do not like pdfs with built-in harness.

One is the discomfort from continuous carrying a four pound sack round my neck, two is that most regular pdfs have the breast belt too high for secure use with tethers, esp. think of women and children who have less accentuated arms than men.

One can slip out from a regular pdf with built in harness.

b.
That's why you must have crotch straps. Not only so that the harness works, but so that the life jacket itself works.

We've known that since the '79 Fastnet disaster

Life jacket -- or harness -- are useless without crotch straps.
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Old 21-04-2016, 12:05   #15
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Re: Which harnesses and tethers do you like?

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Life jacket -- or harness -- are useless without crotch straps.

I wouldn't go that far. Having them is definitely better than not having them, but if I found my self needing a PFD/harness and it didn't have crotch straps, it would certainly be safer to have it on than to not.

If your harness is on tight, it will still do a reasonable job of staying in place inflated and in the water. Most people don't wear their harness tight enough.

Crotch (or what I prefer, leg) straps do make it much, much better.
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