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Tethers - Quick Release or Not?


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Provisioning for a new boat, and wanting to buy the right equipment for our 5 year plan which will include inshore, coastal and offshore events.

When I last read about and discussed tethers, it seemed the majority opinion favored a quick release at the harness allowing release under load in case you find yourself where being detached from the boat was less life threatening than being held underwater or being entangled in rigging, etc. That said, I'm a bit surprised at the number of new tethers which do not offer this setup, so I'm wondering if I'm missing something where quick release may no longer be the preferred setup.

It appears the WS OSR is silent on the subject - neither requiring, nor prohibiting the quick releaseSo I ask the only organization more powerful, and all knowing, than World Sailing... the Sailing Anarchy forums:

Quick release on your tether or not? 

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If you're the captain, perhaps you want to go down with the ship.  All others: quick release, please.

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I think quick release is the way to go and it's what I bought.

Not sure how valid it is as it was told to me by someone who made shit up half the time but: apparently certain safety regs need you to have a quick release or a means of cutting yourself loose.

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I’m a huge fan of the quick release option, so much so that my tether has a quick release, and my lifejacket has Spinlock’s HRS setup.  If things go horribly wrong, I’d rather not drown because I’m being towed at speed alongside the hull. 
 

Edit:  it’s all about having options. Do you really want to bet your life on the fact that the folks who wrote the rules thought out every scenario?

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From memory on previous editions of CYC Race to Mac, the MSR's (Safety reg's) required inboard end to release under load, typically a snap shackle.  Haven't done Chi Mac in a few years so can't speak to what current reg is. Again from memory (always a sketchy proposition) they had a few other good ones with regard to personal safety gear.  Knife on person either able to open with one hand or fixed blade, whistle and light on PFD for night sailing.  YMMW and just my 2 cents......

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4 hours ago, Sucia said:

It appears the WS OSR is silent on the subject - neither requiring, nor prohibiting the quick releaseSo I ask the only organization more powerful, and all knowing, than World Sailing... the Sailing Anarchy forums:

Quick release on your tether or not? 

National manufacturing standards V practical use/safety on a sailboat. WS don't mandate (leave it up to user) followed by national affiliates and RO's hopefully. WS smart.

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I have had a quick release release unexpectedly 2x. And at very bad times, of course; Handling sails on deck in the dark offshore in a gale, and securing a roller furled jib that had no jib sheets, also of course in a storm and while standing at the very tip of the pointy end. 

No way, i will never have one of those again. I keep a knife with a dummy cord to my harness at all times. 

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14 hours ago, @last said:

From memory on previous editions of CYC Race to Mac, the MSR's (Safety reg's) required inboard end to release under load, typically a snap shackle.  Haven't done Chi Mac in a few years so can't speak to what current reg is. Again from memory (always a sketchy proposition) they had a few other good ones with regard to personal safety gear.  Knife on person either able to open with one hand or fixed blade, whistle and light on PFD for night sailing.  YMMW and just my 2 cents......

US Sailing Safety Equipment Regulations for Ocean and Coastal races require a tether with "a means to quickly disconnect the tether at the chest end." Doesn't specify "under load" but seems like most tethers meet that with a snap hook with a stout lanyard.

Also requires life jackets to have crotch/leg straps, whistle, light, reflective material and be marked with the boat or wearer's name. Nothing about a personal knife but they do require a sharp, strong knife accessible from deck or cockpit.

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It should be left to the individual to balance the risk of being dragged, versus the risk of accidental release.

I returned a tether because the quick release just seemed too loose. The replacement was the same brand, but required a bit more force to open the quick release.

I kind of doubt that in a real near-drowning situation someone is going to be able to cut the tether with one of those blades.., but certainly those tethers  are not going to release accidentally at the chest attachment.

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Keep in mind that ideally a tether will stop you from going over the side rather than keeping you attached to the boat while in the water. Short tethers and fixed attachment points (padeyes at work sites rather than jacklines) help with this.

I think if I were in the water at any speed I'd rather be detached from the boat and rely on locator beacon, strobe and whistle.

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I use a quick release with one of my daughter's pony tail bands over the release lanyard to make it harder to accidentally release, but easy to release if needed. 

Just for fun some warm summer day, put on your boots and foulies and flotation device of your choosing (mine is inflatable with harness), and hop in your neighbor's swimming pool. You will quickly learn how little mobility you have.

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15 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

National manufacturing standards V practical use/safety on a sailboat. WS don't mandate (leave it up to user) followed by national affiliates and RO's hopefully. WS smart.

But then you get the clueless clowns at AS banning them despite the advise of all the top sea safety experts in the country. 

AS do not like to be told. 

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In The RYA world we have been looking at MoB still tethered on as a few people have died still attached to the boat. Like most things there is no one solution for all. 

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20 hours ago, Sucia said:

Provisioning for a new boat, and wanting to buy the right equipment for our 5 year plan which will include inshore, coastal and offshore events.

When I last read about and discussed tethers, it seemed the majority opinion favored a quick release at the harness allowing release under load in case you find yourself where being detached from the boat was less life threatening than being held underwater or being entangled in rigging, etc. That said, I'm a bit surprised at the number of new tethers which do not offer this setup, so I'm wondering if I'm missing something where quick release may no longer be the preferred setup.

It appears the WS OSR is silent on the subject - neither requiring, nor prohibiting the quick releaseSo I ask the only organization more powerful, and all knowing, than World Sailing... the Sailing Anarchy forums:

Quick release on your tether or not? 

I prefer the classic style , easy and accurate to use when your hands are cold 

the quick release, snap shackle ,  style is fiddly  to operate  and makes me feel insecure

I end up double checking the snap shackle countless times when on watch 

 

 

 

EC4323DB-0F6F-4C8D-A2B9-6AF50F348648.jpeg

752744F3-C288-42F3-AC0D-751D2A9B376E.png

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Sailing Uma had a video on the vests/harnesses they chose- I think British?  Anyway the release was partial- a second short tether released so that you were tethered by the upper back of the harness/vest, allowing you to be dragged on your back, face up.  Maybe a good compromise.  Searching for the video.

 

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Quick release is required for all offshore events around here - such as Van Isle 360 - that require Safety at Sea classes.  

In my experience, i is impossible to relesat a non-quick release lanyard if you are being towed at more than 3 knots.

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3 hours ago, Borax Johnson said:

I use a quick release with one of my daughter's pony tail bands over the release lanyard to make it harder to accidentally release, but easy to release if needed. 

Just for fun some warm summer day, put on your boots and foulies and flotation device of your choosing (mine is inflatable with harness), and hop in your neighbor's swimming pool. You will quickly learn how little mobility you have.

Love this idea.  I imagine it would take a bit more focus to grab the lanyard in the moment of crisis, however the bands easily broken so shouldn't be too much trouble. That said, it would also greatly avoid the snag and release issues from a lanyard dangling while working.

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Good article from PBO here

Their bottom line conclusion is if someone is being dragged you need to get the boat under 2 knots in less than a minute or they're probably dead, either from drowning or blunt force trauma. Consider how you would do that in a sport boat under a kite in any sort of breeze. I think you'd have a lot better chance adrift in a properly kitted out PFD.

Their other important lesson, I think, is if you use a tether use a short one and clip onto the high side. If you fall to leeward the tether should catch you before you go off the boat, and if you fall overboard to windward your torso will probably stay clear of the water until your shipmates can get the boat slowed down.

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6 hours ago, us7070 said:

 

It should be left to the individual to balance the risk of being dragged, versus the risk of accidental release.

 

I’m in complete agreement. Choose what you feel comfortable with.  

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8 hours ago, TJSoCal said:

US Sailing Safety Equipment Regulations for Ocean and Coastal races require a tether with "a means to quickly disconnect the tether at the chest end." Doesn't specify "under load" but seems like most tethers meet that with a snap hook with a stout lanyard.

Also requires life jackets to have crotch/leg straps, whistle, light, reflective material and be marked with the boat or wearer's name. Nothing about a personal knife but they do require a sharp, strong knife accessible from deck or cockpit.

Good point, again from memory crotch/legs straps, whistle and reflective material.  Also from memory there was a minimum buoyancy on the MSR's.  Am always happy to see discussions like these from informed, knowledgeable and passionate people commenting about a pursuit that I think for the most part we all like.   

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3 hours ago, boatcat65 said:

Sailing Uma had a video on the vests/harnesses they chose- I think British?  Anyway the release was partial- a second short tether released so that you were tethered by the upper back of the harness/vest, allowing you to be dragged on your back, face up.  Maybe a good compromise.  Searching for the video.

 

I dunno about the back tow idea. It looks fine in benign conditions in the Uma video (clear astern, flat water, slow speeds) but I'm not sure it would be much better than front tow if you were alongside the hull at any speed (see the video and pics in the PBO article). I wonder if that system includes a way to release the back tow if you need to.

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I prefer and use quick release at the harness.

However, at the start of a 130nm overnight offshore race, one of my crew got on the rail and had his brand new tether snap shackle disconnected and fall into the ocean after it got snagged on the lifeline.  Carry spares...

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4 hours ago, Sucia said:

Love this idea.  I imagine it would take a bit more focus to grab the lanyard in the moment of crisis, however the bands easily broken so shouldn't be too much trouble. That said, it would also greatly avoid the snag and release issues from a lanyard dangling while working.

A single wrap of electrical tape is what I recommend. One around the snap shackle itself and one to secure the tag. Stops it getting snagged and if you aren't strong enough to rip that off you have no place being offshore on a yacht.

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I guess i may consider this. 

I tell you, it is scary as hell to be in bad conditions when you look down and see your tether has quick released on its own. Again, has happened to me twice. Had i gone over I would not have been recovered either time. 

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My understanding is offshore racing you need to have a tether that can be quickly released if needed. The confusion comes from that can be a snap shackle or a knife to cut the tether.  Advantage of the snap shackle is you can release more then one time.  Advantage of a tether you have to cut is it won't release by mistake.  Each sailor has to decide which is best for them.  

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On 1/7/2021 at 4:43 AM, Baldur said:

I guess i may consider this. 

I tell you, it is scary as hell to be in bad conditions when you look down and see your tether has quick released on its own. Again, has happened to me twice. Had i gone over I would not have been recovered either time. 

What type of shackle?  I used a Wichard snap shackle with a little strop, but if you are really concerned use a Tylaska.  

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On 1/6/2021 at 5:31 PM, TJSoCal said:

I dunno about the back tow idea. It looks fine in benign conditions in the Uma video (clear astern, flat water, slow speeds) but I'm not sure it would be much better than front tow if you were alongside the hull at any speed (see the video and pics in the PBO article). I wonder if that system includes a way to release the back tow if you need to.

You can actually adjust your head to create a wave that breaks over the top of your skull and allows you to breathe inside the curl.  I've done that being towed slowly behind a ski boat.  So I think towing backwards probably gives you a little more margin.

 

Whatever you do, don't use a standard carabiner as the boat attachment point

 

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3 hours ago, Ultraman said:

What type of shackle?  I used a Wichard snap shackle with a little strop, but if you are really concerned use a Tylaska.  

How would you release a tylaska under load? You gonna dig your fid out? Or do you think you'll have the prescience of mind try and dig your finger in firm enough that the trigger will release (unlock your finger or thumb - which will probably stay in the tylaska for a moment before falling out the side opposite your hand used to be). 

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59 minutes ago, mustang__1 said:

How would you release a tylaska under load? You gonna dig your fid out? Or do you think you'll have the prescience of mind try and dig your finger in firm enough that the trigger will release (unlock your finger or thumb - which will probably stay in the tylaska for a moment before falling out the side opposite your hand used to be). 

A Tylaska on the tack line will have tons of load and needs a fid, sure.  But a person dragging won't have a lot of load.  They always come off with a finger tip everywhere else on the front of the boat.  No dongle stop to snag.  That's what's prematurely releasing.  I wouldn't recommend putting your whole finger through. 

Like I said, I use a Wichard Snap shackle with a little strop.  

Rule #1: Stay on the Boat!

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Quick release at my body.  Specifically one that releases under load.  Most dont.

Also, ensure the carabiner/shackle  that you connect to the jackline/boat is something that you can operate with one hand. Amazing the number of Spinlock & other shackles that I've seen guys need two hands to operate when its actually blowing and its important for it to work easily. 

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1 hour ago, mustang__1 said:

How would you release a tylaska under load? You gonna dig your fid out? Or do you think you'll have the prescience of mind try and dig your finger in firm enough that the trigger will release (unlock your finger or thumb - which will probably stay in the tylaska for a moment before falling out the side opposite your hand used to be). 

Run a small line from the bail of the Tylaska, through the trigger hole, and back to the bail. If you grab that loop and yank, shackle opens and fingers stay attached. 

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53 minutes ago, Monkey said:

Run a small line from the bail of the Tylaska, through the trigger hole, and back to the bail. If you grab that loop and yank, shackle opens and fingers stay attached. 

Just being the Devils Advocate here, you would want to watch out for the swivel winding in the same direction until it tightened the line and triggered the Tylaska. Make it a largish loop to mitigate this happening...

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24 minutes ago, Jethrow said:

Just being the Devils Advocate here, you would want to watch out for the swivel winding in the same direction until it tightened the line and triggered the Tylaska. Make it a largish loop to mitigate this happening...

Valid point, but it already has to be a large loop to be of any use. It has to be something you can still grab in a full on panic scenario. I’ve never used that idea on a tether, but it works great on my cobbled together set of “handcuffs” that I use for spin peels. 

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2 minutes ago, Ultraman said:

One reason I don't use Tylaska on a tether is they are too expensive and valuable on halyard and tacklines...

My main reason is because the tethers commercially available don’t have them. I’m honestly not sure how most races would treat modified tethers. 

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1 hour ago, Monkey said:

My main reason is because the tethers commercially available don’t have them. I’m honestly not sure how most races would treat modified tethers. 

The spinlock tether I have just had a loop in the end. To be cow hitched to the harness. I have a wichard snap shackle from an old wichard tether cow hitched instead. 

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14 hours ago, Monkey said:

My main reason is because the tethers commercially available don’t have them. I’m honestly not sure how most races would treat modified tethers. 

 

Bermuda Race inspectors (at least some of them) have not had a problem with home-built tethers that met the requirements at each end - the double action clip, and a quick release.

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22 hours ago, Ultraman said:

What type of shackle?  I used a Wichard snap shackle with a little strop, but if you are really concerned use a Tylaska.  

This is the style i had. When handling sails close to my body in extreme conditions i looked down and it had let loose. 

The first time was off shore at night in a gale. The second was about 15minutes after a 67kt gust (recorded on halibut bank buoy that day, u can look it up) and just right when southern straits 2010 was abandoned i was standing on practically the tip of the point end. 

0107PS_Photos007.jpg.cf.jpg

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3 hours ago, us7070 said:

 

Bermuda Race inspectors (at least some of them) have not had a problem with home-built tethers that met the requirements at each end - the double action clip, and a quick release.

Thanks!  I always wondered about that. I don’t really have any issues with the ones available other than I wish they offered a Tylaska option. 

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5 minutes ago, Monkey said:

Thanks!  I always wondered about that. I don’t really have any issues with the ones available other than I wish they offered a Tylaska option. 

Some of the tethers come with a loop rather than a shackle.  You can add whatever shackle you want or just luggage tag onto your PFD and have a knife/cutter attached.

Spinklock tether.jpg

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On 1/5/2021 at 4:09 PM, Controversial_posts said:

At least with the spinlock tethers, they are made to be used with newer Spinlock vests that have an integrated tether release. 

QUICK RELEASE: I have one of those spinloc and replaced it with my other back up one half way through the transpac, its not quick release. they are not easy to open and you almost have to use to hands to do it. want to buy mine for cheap? I will never use again.

 

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On 1/10/2021 at 4:15 AM, Ultraman said:
On 1/10/2021 at 4:07 AM, Monkey said:

Thanks!  I always wondered about that. I don’t really have any issues with the ones available other than I wish they offered a Tylaska option. 

Some of the tethers come with a loop rather than a shackle.  You can add whatever shackle you want or just luggage tag onto your PFD and have a knife/cutter attached.

Spinklock tether.jpg

Look up thread ...look at your individual countries standards for safety equipment for working at heights etc.. It's two clunkers both ends, end of story.

What sailing is doing is arguably a safer workaround on a sailboat using a quick release option at harness end. Either that loop DYI snap shackle or off the shelf like EU Wichard. 

So Governments turn a blind to workaround instead of drafting a special sailing standard.

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I added one of these to the Wichard Pro tethers.  Its been inspected at 3 different major offshore events and accepted.  It's attached via a spliced/stitched dyneema loop. This will release under load (I've personally tested it) and its never accidentally released.  You could take off the tiny trip cord if you chose to, i personally release it by grasping the shackle and tripping the bail with my hand, which is probably what id have to do in an emergency. 

 

image.png.65ea441232d6d9a9dd756b000c768920.png

 

I ended up with the Wichard Pro as it was the only one I could open one handed (gimped hands).  

 

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On 1/9/2021 at 12:15 PM, Ultraman said:

Some of the tethers come with a loop rather than a shackle.  You can add whatever shackle you want or just luggage tag onto your PFD and have a knife/cutter attached.

Spinklock tether.jpg

That is so blatantly obvious, I overlooked it. I feel like an idiot. I can’t thank you enough. 

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Spinlock HRS on new vest I bought in 2020 to replace the one that went down on OEX is a huge advance in this area.

  The new design from Spinlock has many other features that I love and are great improvments from the Deckvest.   I have done 11 Transpacs and over 50 Mexico races so I have been wearing these for many years.  The new one is well worth the extra $$.

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On 1/12/2021 at 8:39 PM, The Profit said:

Spinlock HRS on new vest I bought in 2020 to replace the one that went down on OEX is a huge advance in this area.

  The new design from Spinlock has many other features that I love and are great improvments from the Deckvest.   I have done 11 Transpacs and over 50 Mexico races so I have been wearing these for many years.  The new one is well worth the extra $$.

Do they still kill your neck or do they sit lower on your back now?

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On 1/7/2021 at 12:54 AM, TJSoCal said:

Their bottom line conclusion is if someone is being dragged you need to get the boat under 2 knots in less than a minute or they're probably dead, either from drowning or blunt force trauma. Consider how you would do that in a sport boat under a kite in any sort of breeze. I think you'd have a lot better chance adrift in a properly kitted out PFD.

Their other important lesson, I think, is if you use a tether use a short one and clip onto the high side. If you fall to leeward the tether should catch you before you go off the boat, and if you fall overboard to windward your torso will probably stay clear of the water until your shipmates can get the boat slowed down.

For curiousity's sake, does anyone have a statistic/study on sailors dead to losing contact with the boat(tether failure, quick release or just not picked in) versus guys killed by getting dragged along? From a gut feeling I would always say that the former are in the majority. But that is nothing to rely on.

As for stopping the boat under spinnaker. Luckily I have yet never needed to and would not like my takedown time on all but the smallest boats.(especially without preparation. Like clearing the halyard beforehand) But that also means I can't quite picture the practicality.

Would crash gybing be a viable option to slow the boat sufficiently to allow for retrieval? A boat on its side and likely destroying the spinnaker still drifts quite fast, but at the same time the windward side is fairly high up and should create breathing room?
Once saw a yachting world video on dropping the spinnaker away(into the water via blowing everything) and heading into the wind. Expensive, but made sense to me compared to trying to find someone fast enough after becoming disconnected from the boat.

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Priorto and after the invention of the Lifesling, the Sailing Foundation gathered as much data on MOB as possible, and collected them as a Lifesling Case Histories document.  I think the majority of cases were losing contact with the boat, but take it with a grain of salt because I don't think tethers were common back then.  But I agree that the majority of cases are people who got separated from the boat and not dragged along.  I know of one dragging incident, a shorthanded Farralones race on a J/29.

Definitely the most important thing is to stay close to the COB.  It's really hard to find people once you get out of visual range.

For downwind, the recommendation is to just turn head to wind and let the spinnaker paste itself against the rig.  You can do this in just a couple of boatlengths.  It works even in heavier air (I was onboard Night Runner when she did the recovery in Case 81).  Then drop the spinnaker on deck.  It's a bit of a mess and hard to get the headsail back up quickly but it's best to be close and not running away trying to do a clean takedown.

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12 hours ago, sam_crocker said:

and collected them as a Lifesling Case Histories document.

Thanks for that link. Was a very educating read on real world scenarios and what worked or didn't.(case 81 in particualr was well illustrated. Did you write it?)

Found it suprising how many dragged along drownings there were reported. Even if the number is not the majority, more cases than I expected. (though I bet some bias for the people reporting such things also being sailors that actually use tethers as opposed to some of the rent a boat casualties)
What stuck out to me in those case was that often the remaining people on board did not know what to do and kept the boat on its stable course which ended with the person in the water drowning or letting go of the boat to avoid immediate death.

I am going to emphasize for everyone the priority to stop the boat as a conclusion from that. One thing to be aware of having to stay close or risk losing them and how some standard MOB maneuvers as taught(at least years ago. Probably not anymore) get way more distance between you and the victim through things like orderly dousing of the sails.

And this is good impetus to change my autopilot on a boat I singlehand often. Already have jacklines that keep me within grabbing distance of the hull(well, mostly) and a transom ladder/outboard rail to get on.(transom is a bit chancey in waves but no idea how to do it better) Convinced me to spend the money now on an autopilot that will round up the boat on its own.

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On 1/12/2021 at 7:39 PM, The Profit said:

Spinlock HRS on new vest I bought in 2020 to replace the one that went down on OEX is a huge advance in this area.

  The new design from Spinlock has many other features that I love and are great improvments from the Deckvest.   I have done 11 Transpacs and over 50 Mexico races so I have been wearing these for many years.  The new one is well worth the extra $$.

Which model did you go with? 6D or Vito?

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For anyone looking for a lifeline with integrated quick release, I am very happy with this one.

KONG lifeline

It has new types of lightweight carabiners and the two elastic ends make life easier when not in use. It is a bit cheaper than the comparable spinlock product as Well.

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1 hour ago, neuronz said:

For anyone looking for a lifeline with integrated quick release, I am very happy with this one.

KONG lifeline

It has new types of lightweight carabiners and the two elastic ends make life easier when not in use. It is a bit cheaper than the comparable spinlock product as Well.

I've got one of those and like it as well. But I wouldn't clip it to a pulpit like the guy in the ad - I've seen an article about tests done by the Naval Academy that indicated that when lifeline systems fail it's almost always the pulpit structure that goes.

Also, if you've got a double tether don't clip the spare tether back to your harness or you've just bypassed the quick release snap shackle - if you blow it you'll still be attached to the boat. I made a short loop of small stuff on the tether to hook the carabiners to when not in use so they don't dangle but the only thing on the harness D-rings is the snap shackle

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On 1/20/2021 at 7:15 AM, Rambunctious said:

Which model did you go with? 6D or Vito?

The Vito is the super comfortable one. The price is a little eye watering, but once you spend the money and wear it for a few days, all buyer’s remorse goes away. 

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On 1/20/2021 at 3:03 AM, allweather said:

Thanks for that link. Was a very educating read on real world scenarios and what worked or didn't.(case 81 in particualr was well illustrated. Did you write it?)

Found it suprising how many dragged along drownings there were reported. Even if the number is not the majority, more cases than I expected. (though I bet some bias for the people reporting such things also being sailors that actually use tethers as opposed to some of the rent a boat casualties)
What stuck out to me in those case was that often the remaining people on board did not know what to do and kept the boat on its stable course which ended with the person in the water drowning or letting go of the boat to avoid immediate death.

I am going to emphasize for everyone the priority to stop the boat as a conclusion from that. One thing to be aware of having to stay close or risk losing them and how some standard MOB maneuvers as taught(at least years ago. Probably not anymore) get way more distance between you and the victim through things like orderly dousing of the sails.

And this is good impetus to change my autopilot on a boat I singlehand often. Already have jacklines that keep me within grabbing distance of the hull(well, mostly) and a transom ladder/outboard rail to get on.(transom is a bit chancey in waves but no idea how to do it better) Convinced me to spend the money now on an autopilot that will round up the boat on its own.

Frank Shriver wrote that one.  He was on the USSA Safety at Sea Committee and was chair of the Sailing Foundation SAS committee and wrote that up as a Arthur B Hanson award submission.  He also taught Lifesling Seminars, so had some background :)

For maneuvers, it's dead simple when going upwind to just tack the boat and don't touch the sheets.  The boat goes head to wind, the sail backfills and helps push the nose down.  You can go in circles forever like that and you'll automatically be close to the COB.  The beauty of that technique is even an absolute novice can master it.  I'm wondering if you can set up your autopilot to do that in an emergency.

Full disclosure I haven't tried that in a modern boat with skinny keel/bulb.

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Does show. Always glad to read an expert's opinion on events but also with practical insight.

Upwind really is the easiest with how fast a boat can be slowed once you put it into irons. Had not considered how even someone with very little practice can do it.
But even for a capable sailor leaving the jib as is and only adjusting main sheet(for some boats to help things along) does come in handy when you're the only one left aboard. Especially with bigger boats I find that maneuvers can get quite taxing if you need to do multiple tacks in short order afterall.

My experience, mostly limited to Dehler 30 OD and the like is that they can heave to suprisingly well. Course stability largely does not seem to be an issue there.
But they stall really easily. Basically right away once speed drops. So circling may be complicated by that since you do need to keep some speed or lose steering capability. With a more traditional hull like my H-boat I can go far slower before that becomes an issue.

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On 1/20/2021 at 10:30 AM, TJSoCal said:

I've got one of those and like it as well. But I wouldn't clip it to a pulpit like the guy in the ad - I've seen an article about tests done by the Naval Academy that indicated that when lifeline systems fail it's almost always the pulpit structure that goes.

Also, if you've got a double tether don't clip the spare tether back to your harness or you've just bypassed the quick release snap shackle - if you blow it you'll still be attached to the boat. I made a short loop of small stuff on the tether to hook the carabiners to when not in use so they don't dangle but the only thing on the harness D-rings is the snap shackle

This ^^^^^  They discuss all this in the safety at sea class (OP, you did take that right?) On a side note, I think double is the way to go, if someone needs to get around something and has a single ended tether they have to be unclipped, although even briefly, and that's a bad idea. Very nice of you to get tethers for your crew, but let me suggest you have them get their own. They should be familiar with their equipment and having them buy their own will promote that.

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