lutherdriggers

Tethers that turn into pulleys and ladders?

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This is my first or second post here, so I'm just getting my bearings.  Apologies if I'm a miss on the local culture :p.

I cruise on the coast with my wife, two kids, and non-sailor dad.  The combined skill and distraction caused by my crew (one of which lies beside me now making siren noises instead of going to sleep) makes them amount to a somewhat less than 1 useful crew member.  Therefore I consider it pretty important that I stay on deck.  No plan is perfect, however, and in the event that I become an MOB I'd like to mitigate the risk of not getting back on the boat.

My main question is: What are your thoughts on the design4sea tether http://www.design4sea.com/safety .  The idea is that it can be shortened by the MOB (while being dragged in the water), and it stores a re-boarding ladder.   It seems great in principle, overcoming various issues and fatal flaws in other people's reboarding plans, but maybe I'm overlooking something?

I'm sure this has been done before but while I'm here I'll enumerate some issues with other reboarding plans:

  • Tethers
    • MOB is dragged in/under water because boat cannot be slowed in time, MOB drowns.
    • Person unclips and then falls off, boat sails away, MOB drowns.
    • single-handing MOB simply dangles there and dies of exposure.
  • PFDs
    • boat sails away, MOB drowns or dies of exposure.
    • boat runs MOB over, MOB dies of trauma / drowning.
    • PFD does not inflate, MOB is unconscious, MOB drowns
    • PFD inflates (or is not inflatable type), MOB unconscious but face down, crew does not rescue soon enough, MOB drowns.
    • PFD inflates, MOB conscious, boat circles helplessly with incompetent crew unable to contend with weather, MOB drowns or dies of exposure.
  • Reboarding by a log/tow-line
    • So much has been said about why this doesn't work that I think the accepted wisdom is that it's a bad plan.  Let's save our fingers.

Of course, Tethers and PFDs do mitigate some risk, and in many situations they do ultimately work, saving the life of the MOB, but for reasons I don't feel the need to justify I would like to push the envelope.  No plan is foolproof (except not falling off, haha), but as previously stated, that's not what we are here for.

As far as I can see you can't improve much on a PFD, since the boat can still sail away from you, so I got thinking about tethers, which brought me to the aforementioned one that is designed for self-rescue at speed.  If it works it may take care of 2/3 items I mentioned unless the MOB is unconscious, and the other can be helped by having two tethers (doesn't help if your fancy self-rescue tether isn't the one in use though, does it).

Thoughts / criticisms?

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12 minutes ago, lutherdriggers said:

This is my first or second post here, so I'm just getting my bearings.  Apologies if I'm a miss on the local culture :p.

I cruise on the coast with my wife, two kids, and non-sailor dad.  The combined skill and distraction caused by my crew (one of which lies beside me now making siren noises instead of going to sleep) makes them amount to a somewhat less than 1 useful crew member.  Therefore I consider it pretty important that I stay on deck.  No plan is perfect, however, and in the event that I become an MOB I'd like to mitigate the risk of not getting back on the boat.

My main question is: What are your thoughts on the design4sea tether http://www.design4sea.com/safety .  The idea is that it can be shortened by the MOB (while being dragged in the water), and it stores a re-boarding ladder.   It seems great in principle, overcoming various issues and fatal flaws in other people's reboarding plans, but maybe I'm overlooking something?

I'm sure this has been done before but while I'm here I'll enumerate some issues with other reboarding plans:

  • Tethers
    • MOB is dragged in/under water because boat cannot be slowed in time, MOB drowns.
    • Person unclips and then falls off, boat sails away, MOB drowns.
    • single-handing MOB simply dangles there and dies of exposure.
  • PFDs
    • boat sails away, MOB drowns or dies of exposure.
    • boat runs MOB over, MOB dies of trauma / drowning.
    • PFD does not inflate, MOB is unconscious, MOB drowns
    • PFD inflates (or is not inflatable type), MOB unconscious but face down, crew does not rescue soon enough, MOB drowns.
    • PFD inflates, MOB conscious, boat circles helplessly with incompetent crew unable to contend with weather, MOB drowns or dies of exposure.
  • Reboarding by a log/tow-line
    • So much has been said about why this doesn't work that I think the accepted wisdom is that it's a bad plan.  Let's save our fingers.

Of course, Tethers and PFDs do mitigate some risk, and in many situations they do ultimately work, saving the life of the MOB, but for reasons I don't feel the need to justify I would like to push the envelope.  No plan is foolproof (except not falling off, haha), but as previously stated, that's not what we are here for.

As far as I can see you can't improve much on a PFD, since the boat can still sail away from you, so I got thinking about tethers, which brought me to the aforementioned one that is designed for self-rescue at speed.  If it works it may take care of 2/3 items I mentioned unless the MOB is unconscious, and the other can be helped by having two tethers (doesn't help if your fancy self-rescue tether isn't the one in use though, does it).

Thoughts / criticisms?

Looks like a very complicated solution to operate if you are getting dragged in the water.  Makes no sense to have 3 sections on that tether as it means that you have to do the shortening three times as opposed to just once.  I bet the tether is a heavy piece of kit to run around with.  Also looking at their website they make some BS statements like "a standard tether clipped to the lifeline.... - only a f.....g moron would clip a tether to a lifeline.

Better solution is to attach a traditional tether to a jackline close to the centerline of the boat so you cannot fall beyond the rail.  Add fixed clip in points at the various "work stations" e.g. mast, center of deck a little behind the forestay, at the helm, etc.

Teach your family what to do in case of you going overboard - and practice it (with a couple helpers available for safety - just in case)

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5 hours ago, lutherdriggers said:

Thoughts / criticisms?

Would this system not have the same fault as a trailing rope? Can you operate it while getting dragged at 5 knots?

Heck, you could use an old laser mainsheet setup with a cleat at your harness to be able to pull your self back to the boat, but you won’t find people suggesting that’s a good idea.

There’s an additional problem that’s hard to explain. Humans have the tendency to get complacent in given situations. There’s a danger to trusting your safety equipment. You tend to rely on it more, take more risks, etc...

To me, Last line of defense safety equipment should be robust and simple. More pieces, more failure points. Better to work the other end of this problem, how not to fall overboard. As anyone in an industrial plant will tell you, prevention is far more effective than last line of defense. 

Once you’re in the water, your odds took a dive right along with you.

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I'm with the other guys recommending a better way to stay on the boat,  jacklines close to centerline so going off the side is really hard. You'll be really surprised at how much resistance and water flow is going on at 4-5kts. It would take a pretty strong guy to pull themselves up. 

Trying to turn a tether into a ladder at 5kts under load sounds really impossible

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Edit - I do see where they used it at speed. Not sure I buy 8.5 knots, but fair enough. I stand by my original statement though. If you find yourself in need of it, you’ve already failed to properly assess the dangers and to take sufficient precautions to avoid it in the first place.

I’d also add that I think you are doing a disservice to your “crew” to not have them know the boat well enough to manage it. If you get separated, sure you have a problem, but now so do they. Do they know how to mark the MOB position? Operate VHF? Use a GPS? Drop sails? Start the engine? You get the idea.

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24 minutes ago, OutofOffice said:

Edit - I do see where they used it at speed. Not sure I buy 8.5 knots, but fair enough. I stand by my original statement though. If you find yourself in need of it, you’ve already failed to properly assess the dangers and to take sufficient precautions to avoid it in the first place.

I’d also add that I think you are doing a disservice to your “crew” to not have them know the boat well enough to manage it. If you get separated, sure you have a problem, but now so do they. Do they know how to mark the MOB position? Operate VHF? Use a GPS? Drop sails? Start the engine? You get the idea.

 

To be a sailor means to be able to handle the boat, at a minimum, as well as serving various crew jobs. If you're going offshore, you should have everyone practice steering, and bringing the boat to a stop under sail, as well as practicing reefing, using the radio, etc etc.

Sailboats do't have brakes. I'm astonished at the people sailing around who can't stop their boats when required.

FB- Doug

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It looks better than nothing, I think the lifeline may just be a mis-translation, from their website they seem like clever, experienced chaps. The technora elastic rope section is pretty neat. But as they say themselves, training, so buy one and practice with it, see if you can make it work and report back. BTW your concern is non trivial and shared by many, the issue of sailing with crew that are unwilling to learn is a problem others face. My solution is to try to set it up like a solo mission so you never rely on them in a pinch, the onus is on me to make it work, it reduces the tension that way.

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this thread (1st or 2nd post) needs to address Women and what they can do to keep from sinking in a MOB situation -_-^_^<_<

 

lile Big Tits at the "Bare" Minimum !! :rolleyes:B)

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Install one of these on your boat so you can self-rescue from the water. https://www.defender.com/product.jsp?name=plastimo-flushmount-safety-ladder&amp;path=-1|7504|2290202|2290206&amp;id=2551024

If you're being dragged you'll be better served by having a quick release on the vest end of your tether so you can eject before you're drowned by the water.

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On ‎6‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 6:49 AM, crankcall said:

I'm with the other guys recommending a better way to stay on the boat,  jacklines close to centerline so going off the side is really hard. You'll be really surprised at how much resistance and water flow is going on at 4-5kts. It would take a pretty strong guy to pull themselves up. 

Trying to turn a tether into a ladder at 5kts under load sounds really impossible

 

Many reasoned replies, but this is the best, IMO!  In addition, you should encourage your family members to be involved in running the boat, as it can be fun and satisfying to learn how.  And, if they are all NOT AT ALL interested in that, then you should reevaluate if you really want to be taking them with you?  Maybe take them camping on land instead, and find a few friends who would like to sail with you, instead of the family.

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4 minutes ago, billy backstay said:

 

Many reasoned replies, but this is the best, IMO!  In addition, you should encourage your family members to be involved in running the boat, as it can be fun and satisfying to learn how.  And, if they are all NOT AT ALL interested in that, then you should reevaluate if you really want to be taking them with you?  Maybe take them camping on land instead, and find a few friends who would like to sail with you, instead of the family.

I think it’s fine to take them along, and they don’t necessarily have to enjoy handling the boat, but I would change the framing. It’s not about teaching them how to sail (they may not be interested), but rather it is a safety issue. They don’t need to know how to twist off the top of a Main to squeeze an extra .5 knot or know how to take over foredeck, but they damn well should know where the safety equipment is, emergency procedures, how to call for help, those kinds of things. When you’re singlehanded and get separated from the boat, it’s just your life. With crew, if they don’t know how to handle things, now it’s more than just yours. It’s 4 more lives at risk.

When a storm comes, Do you allow them to decide whether to put on PFDs? No different.

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2 minutes ago, OutofOffice said:

I think it’s fine to take them along, and they don’t necessarily have to enjoy handling the boat, but I would change the framing. It’s not about teaching them how to sail (they may not be interested), but rather it is a safety issue. They don’t need to know how to twist off the top of a Main to squeeze an extra .5 knot or know how to take over foredeck, but they damn well should know where the safety equipment is, emergency procedures, how to call for help, those kinds of things. When you’re singlehanded and get separated from the boat, it’s just your life. With crew, if they don’t know how to handle things, now it’s more than just yours. It’s 4 more lives at risk.

When a storm comes, Do you allow them to decide whether to put on PFDs? No different.

 

Part of basic safety training should be operation of the boat, at least to a minimal degree.  They should all be taught to motor onto and off a dock and mooring, as a matter of basic safety, if the primary person is incapacitated, and unable to perform these tasks.

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34 minutes ago, billy backstay said:

 

Part of basic safety training should be operation of the boat, at least to a minimal degree.  They should all be taught to motor onto and off a dock and mooring, as a matter of basic safety, if the primary person is incapacitated, and unable to perform these tasks.

For sure. They don’t have to be fully capable, but they should have the ability to self-rescue r

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34 minutes ago, billy backstay said:

 

Part of basic safety training should be operation of the boat, at least to a minimal degree.  They should all be taught to motor onto and off a dock and mooring, as a matter of basic safety, if the primary person is incapacitated, and unable to perform these tasks.

For sure. They don’t have to be fully capable, but they should have the ability to self-rescue regardless of who is incapacitated. That’s just proper seamanship to me. I mean heck, when a kid jumps in an Opti for the first time what’s the first thing they learn? Self-rescue.

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These answers are great, but we are going a little off the rails (excuse the train analogy) with what the crew "should" be able to do.  My kids are 3 months and 3 years, so even though my wife can steer and set sails, she might be breastfeeding in the V-berth and not even notice I'm dragging.  I can't assume she will be able to help me immediately.

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56 minutes ago, lutherdriggers said:

These answers are great, but we are going a little off the rails (excuse the train analogy) with what the crew "should" be able to do.  My kids are 3 months and 3 years, so even though my wife can steer and set sails, she might be breastfeeding in the V-berth and not even notice I'm dragging.  I can't assume she will be able to help me immediately.

Fair point. Buy one. Try it and let us know your thoughts. I will always take the word of a user of a product over the maker of said product.

Don't throw away your old tethers just yet, and run the jacklines to eliminate the need then if everything fails, who knows, this may just be your last hope.

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Centerline jack line with double prussic knots and carabiners on both ends of the harness, all the time.  You will not go off the boat, ever.

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Sorry, I was not clear, the prussic knot goes on the Jackline and is clipped into with the harness line.  If you use a jack line with a soft fuzz cover the knot grips as soon as a load is put on it.  When the harness line is slack you just slide as you need it.  With this setup you cannot go more than 4' under load.  I have used it for 40+ years.  Good luck.

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1 minute ago, guerdon said:

Sorry, I was not clear, the prussic knot goes on the Jackline and is clipped into with the harness line.  If you use a jack line with a soft fuzz cover the knot grips as soon as a load is put on it.  When the harness line is slack you just slide as you need it.  With this setup you cannot go more than 4' under load.  I have used it for 40+ years.  Good luck.

yeah, of course.  I use prussic knots to climb the halyard, and if you are just going a few feet up you can just use two of them to shimmy your way up the tether.  Doesn't burden the tether itself because the prussics live at the user-end, so much nicer than building 3 pulleys and a ladder into the tether :D.

Can be a fairly light rope too, like 4-5mm.  I'll test it out to see if I'm comfortable using it while being dragged at 5kn though x)

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Set up your boat so that you hardly ever have to leave the cockpit, especially out in open water. 

Roller furling, reefing lines led back to the cockpit, in mast furling... each of these probably make you safer than methods to make going on deck “safer.” 

The easier and quicker it is to reef, the more you’ll do it, the less chance of being overpowered or caught aback or taking water over the side. 

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2 hours ago, phillysailor said:

Set up your boat so that you hardly ever have to leave the cockpit, especially out in open water. 

Roller furling, reefing lines led back to the cockpit, in mast furling... each of these probably make you safer than methods to make going on deck “safer.” 

The easier and quicker it is to reef, the more you’ll do it, the less chance of being overpowered or caught aback or taking water over the side. 

I agree that if you can do everything from the cockpit you are safer, but it can be difficult to make that work in practice.  My boat (a Newport 30ii) has everything led to the cockpit, which just means that I have to go back to the cockpit to pull on ropes after going up on deck to unsnag them :D

 

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Hi everybody.

I am Eric,  designer of the self-rescue tether (design4sea), but first of all a sailor, often single-handed, and the rest of the time sailing with people around Cape Horn. This is not a commercial e-mail, just some personal thoughts about safety for short-handed and/or inexperienced crews - plus I would like to make some points about the self-rescue device.

Indeed, as written above, the most important is to prevent MOB situations. Centered , elevated deck lines  (jacklines) are in my opinion the main factor.  They allow tying yourself very short while you can still stand up and walk. See for instance www.design4sea.com/video-11.

But sh. happens. Among other things,  jacklines can break or loosen themselves (e.g. breaking intermediate anchoring points). Also you can capsize and make a 360o turn (we did it and I disliked it). And  when you are overboard, you need to climb aboard alone  assuming that nobody is capable of pulling you out in time

Solutions? We made plenty of failed tests. Catching a rescue device fixed somewhere on the boat is illusory. And once you are behind the boat, the drag is too strong to reach the aft again.

On the contrary, if your tether holds, you are dragged along the boat, the pull is very strong and you choke in your own head wave. However there is an unforeseen effect that may save you: SURFING.

IF you manage to shorten your tether , or IF somebody can pull you out from the deck, your body starts surfing, and the drag is reduced to your legs. That's physics, but I confess we just find it out by experience.

There we went with the shortening tether. Is is imperfect and complicated but it works. 

There are 3 shortening sections instead of one because 1) you need to take some pauses,  and 2) a single section is likely to block when shafing on the deck's edge or the lifelines (if they did not break during your fall). It contains stirrups because we did not find out any simple way to tilt on the deck  with wet heavy clothes without using the legs.

It is heavier than a classical tether (850g),  and folding it again after use is as easy as say a parachute, i.e. it is a pain in the ..

As you see, we have no illusions about the device. It is a climbing gear, you need some practice and sufficient strength to use it but at least it increases your probabilities of staying alive.

Finally about two comments found in this thread:

1) we test with the tether clipped outside the lifelines not because we are morons, but because it is a worst-case situation.  WAI (wind assisted idiots) can be really silly sometimes.

2) The claim about climbing aboard at 8.5 knots is true, but not anybody could have done it (see the page of naval architect Jean-Pierre Brouns, www.brouns.fr/ section "essai de longe sur Corto").

I hope this helps.

Eric

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Admiral Shirley stays in the cockpit. Rather than a huge list, I told her to stop the boat with the tiller. If she can, throw the overboard pole out first. It has a flag on top, and a life ring and light that turns on. Then throw out the horseshoe ring. For my part. I use two tethers with the jack lines as inboard as possible. Also there is a line outside the stanchions. If I do manage to slip over, I will clip onto the outside line and go aft. I build a swim platform with a drop down ladder. I climb back on board and order a fresh beer. That is the basic untested plan. Plan B is to walk to shore if it is close enough.

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Hi OutOfOffice

Just an opinion, I am no specialist in these systems. CrewWatcher and other OLAS MOB systems look like a great invent. But they rely on the capacity of the remaining crew to do the approach maneuver.

This needs practice. FYI we exercised, my wife and myself and at the beginning we 'killed' a lot of overboard objects. It is specially uneasy  when you are under sail with wind & waves. See for instance a video from Practical Boat Owner ('tether test', I believe) taken in good conditions.

Alternatively to OLAS, AIS MOB beacons may provide  a better precision (real position vs. position of the fall) and most important allow other boats to rescue the MOB.

Sadly no localization system works when you sail single-handed or with inexperienced crews and there are no boats around to rescue the MOB,  e.g.,  our case when sailing around Cape Horn. Not falling overboard still seems the best solution.. Walking to shore sounds good too.

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On 6/17/2018 at 2:03 AM, Eric - D4S said:

Not falling overboard still seems the best solution.

Which was my original point. For all the safety equipment involved, including 6 professional and highly experienced sailors onboard, nothing helped during John Fisher’s accident. We are kidding ourselves to think too far down the road of response once you’re in the water. It is Murphy’s playground out there and it is almost guaranteed to not go how you planned. I applaud your ingenuity developing this tether. However, it needs to be stressed that this is not a solution for falling overboard. If people want to use your tether, they should take all of the same precautions as if they were not. The danger is in thinking the tether you developed will save them and they start doing things they otherwise wouldn’t. Not one person believes that setting off a PLB while treading water offshore will guarantee a rescue. It is used as just another option if absolutely everything goes wrong. This is where this tether design should fall.

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I like the idea of a prussic on the jack line.  Might be cool to tie one on with a very short loop that permanently stays on the jack line.  Then you could clip one of your tethers to the prussic/loop and walk it forward.  That way you wouldn't have to tie a prussic everytime you wanted to use it.  Normal clip could slide right over it if you chose not to use it.

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I don't understand how tying a prussic to the jackline helps you stay on board or get back on board.  Do you mean prussics (2x) on the tether, to climb the tether up to the boat?  That's what was suggested earlier in the thread and imo is the winning and most tested (according to the commenter) idea.

 

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2 reasons:  Keep you from sliding aft so if you fall over the lee rail you can grab something rather than wash off the back (like if you're going forward on the high side and you accidentally jibe or tack), and sometimes its helpful to lean against your tether if you want to use both hands (not optimal, but sometimes...).

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2 hours ago, Kenny Dumas said:

I like the idea of a prussic on the jack line.  Might be cool to tie one on with a very short loop that permanently stays on the jack line.  Then you could clip one of your tethers to the prussic/loop and walk it forward.  That way you wouldn't have to tie a prussic everytime you wanted to use it.  Normal clip could slide right over it if you chose not to use it.

Okay, I get it now.  This way you can have a moveable station along the jackline.  I think, however, that the number of locations you would want this are quite limited, and that it will be too inconvenient to have to get the clip over a prussic knot every time you want to walk past that point.  This problem is already solved by affixing permanent "workstation" pad eyes wherever you normally need to clip that way.  Safer and more convenient.

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Kenny, you get what I was trying to explain.  Prussic works best it the Jack line has a soft hand and the prussic is also "grippy",  then it just slides with you until under load.  If it is short you never go far from its' central core.  My favorite aspect is that it has omnidirectional loading.  Aloha, Guerdon. 

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