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Old 01-07-2016, 10:21   #16
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Re: Bluewater Cats: Your rules for going forward?

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Originally Posted by AZUS View Post
Hi, fellow catamaran cruising couples.

I'm curious, what have you developed over time as your rules for wearing PFD's, and for using tethers when doing multi-day passages? Does it change when it's just the two of you vs. having multiple people on board?

Also, have you developed a preferred watch schedule for extended passages?

I'm looking for actual cruisers who have come to their own conclusions to relate their own practices, not theoreticians laying down the Holy Writ for the rest of us, pleae!

Always a PFD with integral harness at night. It was only donned during the day if going forward in poor weather. Our watch routine was not for many; my wife stood 02h00 - 04h30 whilst the kids were young. I did the remainder but would catch a couple of hours rest, on and off during the day whilst the children were wide awake. As the kids got older they also participated in watch keeping until they could stand watch on their own. I would often sleep in the saloon or the cockpit whilst they first did this and we would only let them stand 30 minute watches initially. We would also use a mechanical one hour egg timer, set for 10 minutes whilst off shore. The regime we followed with babies on board meant a few days of being tired but you soon acclimatise. Our no male peeing over the rear was enforced at night or in bad weather. If someone wanted to pee they always have to shout what they were doing beforehand - dont want to suddenly realise a boy was missing. I know many shall say it is a bad practice but it happens - so we rather manage it. We bought new lifejackets a couple of years ago (Ergofit by Crewsaver) and am really pleased with them - with integral spray hoods that actually work.
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Old 01-07-2016, 10:36   #17
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Re: Bluewater Cats: Your rules for going forward?

The kids always wore life vests and tethers when on deck. We word belt packs and harnesses on deck when offshore. We also had two life slings ready to deploy and night watch had to be attached to one of them.
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Old 01-07-2016, 11:01   #18
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Re: Bluewater Cats: Your rules for going forward?

Honestly we had no rules short of common sense or a set watch schedule. We have crossed the Pacific and back and forth from NZ to Tonga/Fiji. Plenty on miles in the Caribbean and East Coast as well.

Offshore I did keep a jack line set up, cursed it most times as it was a tripping hazard. On our 50' (27' beam) cat going forward in all but the worst conditions was pretty stable. Lifelines were netted as well.

One rule we did have was no one on the tramps offshore. Had a friend who lost (and found) a crew member when he fell through the tramp as it tore open mid Atlantic.

The kids were in harness on the foredeck offshore but rarely went up there except to collect flying fish in the morning.

Watch schedule? No hard and fast one with the two of us. At night radar guard zone always on. Always reefed at sundown. Slower but no drama. Generally I'd stay up till 1 or two, Becky would relieve me for two hours then up till sunrise.

During they day I'd sleep most of the AM while she homeschooled and kept watch. A nice rhythm develops on long passages.

So that's how we did it :-)
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Old 01-07-2016, 11:05   #19
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Re: Bluewater Cats: Your rules for going forward?

Hugely dependent on conditions and crew numbers, experience, design of Cat, etc.

On our basic cruising cat, lifelines which run to just aft of the forestay (why do you need to go to the side of the boat except at the dock?) and only ever short tethers. Jackstays are dyneema rope, not webbing. PFD? No, not unless conditions are so bad that you have worries about the eventual fate of the boat. Otherwise, tethers are the way to go.

Watches, if double handed 4hrs on, 4 off from 8pm to 8am, and during the day, whatever suits so long as the nightime watches are worked out at 8am, not pm.
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Old 01-07-2016, 11:12   #20
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Re: Bluewater Cats: Your rules for going forward?

To diverge somewhat...

I have just learned that Hampidjan, maker of DynIce (was Dynex) Dux, is making Dyneema-fibre WEBBING

DynIce Accessories - Hampi­jan Group
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Old 01-07-2016, 11:13   #21
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Re: Bluewater Cats: Your rules for going forward?

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Originally Posted by akprb View Post
Honestly we had no rules short of common sense or a set watch schedule. We have crossed the Pacific and back and forth from NZ to Tonga/Fiji. Plenty on miles in the Caribbean and East Coast as well.

Offshore I did keep a jack line set up, cursed it most times as it was a tripping hazard. On our 50' (27' beam) cat going forward in all but the worst conditions was pretty stable. Lifelines were netted as well.

One rule we did have was no one on the tramps offshore. Had a friend who lost (and found) a crew member when he fell through the tramp as it tore open mid Atlantic.

The kids were in harness on the foredeck offshore but rarely went up there except to collect flying fish in the morning.

Watch schedule? No hard and fast one with the two of us. At night radar guard zone always on. Always reefed at sundown. Slower but no drama. Generally I'd stay up till 1 or two, Becky would relieve me for two hours then up till sunrise.

During they day I'd sleep most of the AM while she homeschooled and kept watch. A nice rhythm develops on long passages.

So that's how we did it :-)
Very similar to our regime with the kids.......
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Old 01-07-2016, 12:42   #22
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Re: Bluewater Cats: Your rules for going forward?

Lots of good advice already, so here are a couple of observations not directly responsive to your question, but hopefully of use:

I'm a monohull sailor, but when I've spend time on my brother's catamaran, I've had several hard falls inside the boat, as a result of misjudging the big step downs through my progressive glasses. (My brother says Tanqueray was also a factor but I dispute that). So especially at night, I would think about doing something to illuminate (yes, okay, red) or otherwise protect any big step hazards.

Any time you're short handed, auto-steering failure will cause a cascade all kinds of potentially dangerous situations. Have at least two auto-steering systems for short handed off-shore work.

Good luck

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Vetus Group
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Old 01-07-2016, 14:02   #23
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Re: Bluewater Cats: Your rules for going forward?

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Originally Posted by AD28 View Post
To diverge somewhat...

I have just learned that Hampidjan, maker of DynIce (was Dynex) Dux, is making Dyneema-fibre WEBBING

DynIce Accessories - Hampi­jan Group
I am sure Thinwater will chime in, but I think you want some stretch in your jacklines, at least poly.
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Old 01-07-2016, 15:08   #24
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Re: Bluewater Cats: Your rules for going forward?

On our Lagoon 39 the cockpit (better description is patio area or extension of salon) this area is well protected. We feel secure in this area during night passages so lifevests typically are not worn.

PDFs are immediately available hanging on a hook on the patio and easily accessible. Jacklines are installed and no one goes to the foredeck without a PFD and tethered in, with a second person coming on watch. We typically limit passages to 18-22 hours (100-130 nm) as this is what we feel the two of us can handle safely.

The Captain stays on watch until he feels he is becoming ineffective at which point the Admiral takes over. The Captain typically covers 75% of the passage.

We are able to operate the helm station using our Ipad as a repeater. We can alter bearing, operate radar and AIS, see COG, SOG AWS etc. This ability enables a more restful passage, maintain a lookout at all times, stay dry and out of the weather for most of the passage. The Ipad is reviewed at a minimum of every 30 minutes while underway (This may seem lengthy for along the Eastern seaboard and probably is, we are sailing the Eastern Caribbean Basin so passages are like St. Croix to St. Maarten, St. Barts to Antigua etc).
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Old 01-07-2016, 17:56   #25
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Re: Bluewater Cats: Your rules for going forward?

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Originally Posted by SVNeko View Post
I am sure Thinwater will chime in, but I think you want some stretch in your jacklines, at least poly.
Was there anything in my post soliciting your or "Thinwater's" opinions?


Originally Posted by AD28 View Post
To diverge somewhat...

I have just learned that Hampidjan, maker of DynIce (was Dynex) Dux, is making Dyneema-fibre WEBBING

DynIce Accessories - Hampi­jan Group



No, there wasn't anything in my post soliciting opinion.
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Old 01-07-2016, 22:24   #26
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Re: Bluewater Cats: Your rules for going forward?

Coastal sailor but I think it's the same. Take no chances. Stay with the boat (whatever it takes....... even if one is unconscious) and always have strobe, radio(GPS), and PFD. Maintain radio watch plus APRS. APRS is a GPS based tracking system using ham radio. There may be commercial equivalents. If feeling queasy or drowsy notify others. If necessary, install timer alarm that must be triggered to remain silent. Set for 15 minutes max. Kids ALWAYS tethered.
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Old 01-07-2016, 23:10   #27
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Re: Bluewater Cats: Your rules for going forward?

I am a monohuller and single/double hander but my advice is yes, do all the above but very important, each time I leave the cockpit, day or night, "If I go overboard, I WILL die". And I say it again each time I make a move. Keeps me from making a stupid mistake.

It has worked for me (knock on wood if you can find any).
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Old 02-07-2016, 00:26   #28
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Re: Bluewater Cats: Your rules for going forward?

I have an enclosed cockpit, So in the cockpit and inside the boat, I never wear PDF's,
I do have a chest harness with quick release,
If I am outside the cockpit, I have the chest harness and Tether on at all times, No PDF,
My Tether is made short so that I cant go over the side any where or in any conditions,
I can be Injured or unconsious, But I still wont go over the side,

I have a jack line under the Boom that goes from the cockpit to the mast, It is unobstructed, The full length of the boom,
To go past the mast to the front of the boat, I jam myself in and then change the hook on the tether to the front mast stay, Only takes a few seconds, Repeat going back,

I only wear the Auto PDF going into inlets or creeks as it is required by law,
But it covers me if the tide or weather is rough,
I also sleep in the Salon as the beds are too far to get on deck quickly if some thing is happening,
My PDF is always just handy. just beside the Epirb, But they are a last resort,
I single hand, And This works for me,
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Old 03-07-2016, 19:47   #29
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Re: Bluewater Cats: Your rules for going forward?

Just thought I would mention that most tethers I have seen are very good at making sure you remain securely tethered in an emergency but are difficult to untether. If your safety line attachment on your pfd is difficult to release on the deck you will have little chance of doing so under an overturned vessel. I don't think this would ever have occurred to me except that I read the full details of a tragic Sydney to Hobart race in which experienced sailors had been lost in extremely bad conditions. One of these lost sailors drowned under a capsized vessel because he couldn't release the safety line attached to his PFD. As often happens we learn good lessons from tragedies and ever since this event I practice releasing the tether with my eyes closed until I can do it reliably. On my boat I have it perfect but when I sail on an unfamiliar vessel I always make sure I practice as well since the equipment is always a little different. You have to put up with a lot of comments from the rest of the crew until I tell them why I do this. I haven't come across any equipment yet that looks like it has been designed with this feature in mind.
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Old 03-07-2016, 20:42   #30
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Tethers and Flotation

I know of a youngster that went overboard while on a mooring during a 4 kt flood tide and mom went over after him in the dark. He had on a life jacket and she didn't. Not fun hanging on a mooring buoy yelling for help. Consider a steep sea running at 10' and 25kts of wind and a half submerged shipping container hit straight on at 8 or maybe 14 kts in a multihull. Have you done everything you can to survive?

There was a death in the recent multihull competition in San Francisco Bay due to a capsize and crew member was trapped under the boat. Freeing ones tether isn't something to joke about.
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