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Old 08-07-2011, 17:00   #31
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Re: Challenge: Outboard Lifelines

Lockie,

I must say that I, (Me being a guy with more than 50 years of global sailing experience behind me) much, but not all of it single handed, will cheerfully admit to being absolutely astounded, disgusted, and shocked by some of the responses to your very important question.

Such a lot of wildly varying options being proposed here. Kind of makes it hard to decide what to do right?

WRONG.

It’s not really that hard to figure out at all:

When it comes to personal safety, “Prevention” rather than “What If” is the key.

As Witchcraft and Feral Cement have already pointed out, do what they (And I) do:

Keep your jacklines tight yet free running between their forward and aft anchor points, make sure that your safety harness clips run freely along both jacklines, then, cut your safety harnesses to just slightly over the distance required to get you from your jacklines to a standing position at your mast.

At that length, you can do all the things you would ever want to do topside and there is NO WAY that you will ever be going over the side.

“BUT” you say, I need to cross over the deck from Port to Starboard, and a long safety line let’s me do that;

It surely does, but it also allows you to go over the side whereas with a short safety line, a quick butt slide back to the security of the cockpit, and a quick switch over to the opposite jackline allows you access to either side AND, keeps you onboard.

Doing it as Witchcraft, Feral Cement and I go about it may not be the most “Freedom of Action” option but it sure does keep you onboard.

Feel free to action all the other suggestions made about how to get back on board if you do go over the side but don’t think, not even for a moment that in heavy weather, the conditions most likely to see you off over the side, that any of those suggestions would save your life.

They won’t…James
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Old 08-07-2011, 18:45   #32
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Re: Challenge: Outboard Lifelines

I apologise up front but in terms of safety, I am incensed by some of the previous and frankly foolish responses here and I must add to my previous reply:
Going over the side is either deliberate; “A rather nice thing to do whilst at anchor in nice calm waters”, or, it is “Accidental”.
If you go over the side in the sort of VERY heavy weather the Atlantic, Pacific, Southern Ocean, North Sea or even the Great Lakes can throw at you at the drop of a hat, in most cases, (And I do mean in “Most” cases), the statistics suggests that you will NOT survive. (Play Hymn Music).
Let me stress that yet again:
If you go overboard in heavy weather, regardless of being either single handed or having lots of folks on board, You will probably not survive.
Having back up “Get Back Aboard” plans are nice to have, but they’re sort of like carrying a “Rabbit’s Foot”, comforting perhaps, but of no known value.
And to all of those posters who believe in, or, claim to have perfected “Get Back Aboard” solutions, I have to believe that they have not the foggiest idea of what it is like to be out there, by yourself, in non stop ferocious weather, the very sort of weather that, if allowed, would put you over the side.
If they had been there, had they done that, they would not have offered such foolish and meaningless advice.
The bottom line is that you secure yourself to your boat in such a way as to prevent being washed overboard, and that my friends, based on real life experiences, is the Only way to go.
And to the previous posters that I may have “Peed Off” by this follow on post, I will say to them, quit posting answers to serious safety issues unless you know what you are talking about which sadly, in this instance, most of you don’t….James
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Old 08-07-2011, 19:06   #33
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Re: Challenge: Outboard Lifelines

Amen James. thanks for the sobering comments
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Old 10-07-2011, 11:16   #34
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Re: Challenge: Outboard Lifelines

Rule One: Keep your butt in the boat.

Rule Two: Keep your butt in the boat.

Rule Three: If rules one and two fail, then kiss your butt good bye as you most likely won't survive to tell the tale.

I found that out after I took a lady friend sailing one afternoon. We anchored off the local beach and I decided to jump over for a swim. I purposely left the ladder down below so I could see if I could get back aboard or not.

Well after mucking about for the better part of an hour, starting to come down with hypothermia, I discovered that getting back on was not possible. I has Sue pull out the ladder and climbed aboard. A few weeks I tried it again with various new methods, none of which worked. ladder time again. this was in shallow water up to my chest.

A few years later, out watching the Symphony of Fire off Toronto Island, I went up on the foredeck to let out more rode. No harness, it was dead calm. As I got to the foredeck the wake from a cruiser going by a couple hundred yards away hit my boat and i went down on my knees to ride it out. Cross swell from another large cruiser and it was like being on a teeter totter when the fat guy jumps on the end. Over I went. Again, no way to get up without the ladder. I figure if you go over without a ladder hanging there already, your chances are pretty slim.

So stay in the boat. Period.

Sabre
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Old 10-07-2011, 12:07   #35
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Re: Challenge: Outboard Lifelines

Warning - I am a landlubber (well, I row a 10' boat most days )

Further down in the post below Bob talks about the aluminum ladder permenantly mounted to his hull. This sounds helpful when unexpectedly tossed off the boat in calm conditions.

Windborne in Puget Sound: Boarding ladders

But would anyone be concerned about the additional holes in the hull that would be required?

-Scott
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Old 10-07-2011, 17:10   #36
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Re: Challenge: Outboard Lifelines

Wow! I had no idea how big this hornet's nest was when I gave it a nudge! I think the short-tether folks have won my vote.

I have hung onto a line trailing off my anchored boat in a 1 - 2 knot current with no clothes to add drag. By comparison, trying to haul myself up a line fully clothed while the boat does 5 or more knots sounds awfully hard.

So I'm off to splice up some nice short tethers. Thanks to all, including those I disagree with. And btw I got myself a nice new pee bottle, and despite how nice it feels (and it sure does feel great), no more pissing over the side unless I'm anchored!

lockie
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Old 10-07-2011, 17:59   #37
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Re: Challenge: Outboard Lifelines

Look at your boat. It's more than four feet from the waterline to the tow rail anywhere on mine and the hull is curved. Falling off is not an option.
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Old 10-07-2011, 19:03   #38
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Re: Challenge: Outboard Lifelines

First, I agree with most James' posts. There are 2 accidental ways you can go over: in fair weather you simply get your feet tangled up and pitch, and in foul weather. Many of the suggestions might work for the fair weather case, so they have some value. But it should be understood that in foul weather the odds are against you. Anytime I have felt weather could knock me off--waves on the deck--I'd give little for the odds of being hauled back aboard. It's been right nasty and the crew, if any, has their hands full.

But I don't think the following works for everyone. Most boats I've been on I would much sooner extend my tether from the windward jackline than clip the leeward line, no matter how tight. I'm sure this is boat-specific.

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Baines View Post
ďBUTĒ you say, I need to cross over the deck from Port to Starboard, and a long safety line letís me do that;

It surely does, but it also allows you to go over the side whereas with a short safety line, a quick butt slide back to the security of the cockpit, and a quick switch over to the opposite jackline allows you access to either side AND, keeps you onboard.
I use a slightly non-conventional tether set-up that works for me (remember, I have a cat with a lot of beam). The tether is about 10 feet long with a loop and biner at 6.5 feet; I can either clip 10 feet, 6.5 feet, or 3.5 feet, depending on where the carabiners are clipped. Because the jacklines are inboard and run along the top side of the hard top and can clip in the cockpit and have no reason to unclip on deck. I can keep it short if I like or I can extend it enough to reach across, which I ONLY do once I am well across the deck from the windward rail. A non-locking biner is used at the intermediate clip point for simplicity--since it is not clipped to a hard point the odds of unclipping are astronomically small (clipping to a hard point is completely different and locking biners are REQUIRED).

As I said, this may be very boat-specific. I certainly would NOT use a 10-foot tether while on the windward side.
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Old 14-07-2011, 18:55   #39
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Re: Challenge: Outboard Lifelines

Before you go offshore, why not replace the lifelines with an 8' chain link fence. You could even put some razor wire around the top to keep the pirates out!
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Old 14-07-2011, 21:12   #40
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Re: Challenge: Outboard Lifelines

Like SabreKai said, don't fall off the boat! Short tether sounds good for going on the bow, but still, don't fall off the boat!
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Old 15-07-2011, 19:08   #41
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Re: Challenge: Outboard Lifelines

Risk management causes me to walk on the left side of the road facing traffic. This may give me the opportunity to see the idiot who swerves off the road and hits me. Risk mangaement puts me on the short teather in heavy weather, but I could stumble at any time. Actually, I've only fallen off my boat once in forty years. This was shortly after moving from a slip with the finger pier on the port to a slip with the finger pier to starboard. Yes, it's true, I just rushed outside at night for a quick trip to shore and committed to the step before noticing that nothing was there. When it happens you will likely be unprepared. I just walked off like a lemming, but that was in calm still water by the dock.
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