21 April 2008

Safety First

I've talked a bit about some extra safety precautions I'm going to do on my Third-of-the-way-across-an-Ocean trip this July. I owe it to my kids, myself, and my couple of readers. I want to make sure I make it a third of the way across the ocean in one piece and firmly on the same boat that I started on.

One of the most important is to tether on at night, when out of the cockpit, or in any kind of heavy seas. It's something I didn't do the first time I crossed all three thirds of the Atlantic and though all's well that ends well, I was wrong to not take the precautions.

When I look at my safety gear, I have one heck of a good lifejacket/harness but my tether leaves a lot to be desired. Not only doesn't it meet the OSRs but it's unattractive and old, a deadly combination. So I ordered a new one today from Landfall Navigation. I deliberately didn't get the triple-ended one, figuring that a tether that I'll actually use is better than the perfect tether that I keep in my gearbag.

Notice how attractive and new this tether is. It has a yellow double-safety clip, rainbow wear-indication webbing, and a hair-scrunchy-like main length. I will look good and be safe, all third of the way across the Pacific.

4 comments:

Zen said...

Yeah Dude!

tillerman said...

There was a discussion on the Laser forum a few days ago in response to a question about whether it made any sense to have a "surf strap" on a Laser. The questioner was concerned about what happened if he fell out of the boat in open water and the boat sailed off without him.

Opinions differed about the real risk of getting separated from a Laser by a distance that was too far to swim, and in any case most respondents seemed to agree that being tethered to the Laser was a very bad idea and would make it almost impossible to sail it properly.

I don't know though. In my recent solo jaunts a third of the way across the bay at home I do worry about what might happen if I lost contact with the boat...

I feel you should expand this discussion about tethers in future posts for folks like me who don't understand all the ins and outs of sailing a third of the way across an ocean. What do you attach the tether too? Do you have to unclip if moving from one part of the boat to another? Is the point of those three-ended ones that you can always be clipped on to something even if you are transferring from one fixed line to another?

Sorry I'm in the middle of reading a book about some folk climbing a third of the way up a mountain and I'm getting confused with all this talk of clipping on to fixed lines.

EVK4 said...

What do you attach the tether to? Clipping points in the cockpit or jacklines.

Do you have to unclip if moving from one part of the boat to another? The jacklines are continuous up the port and starboard deck. There can be a jackline in the cockpit but we don't have one, preferring instead some clipping points.

Is the point of those three-ended ones that you can always be clipped on to something even if you are transferring from one fixed line to another? Yes and no. The best part of the 3 ended lines is that one portion is 3 feet and the other 6 feet. That way you can have the longer part for the hard to reach areas but have a shorter one to keep you from falling all the way overboard. Oceanaire ahs about 4 feet of freeboard, I'd barely be in the water based on our jackline location.

I guess I could write more on it but would prefer to concentrate on my budding rivalry with these Rilke-reading Single Handed Transpackers.

Bigoceans.com said...

Very good design on that clip setup. The spinnaker-like clip is an excellent idea for quick-release. I have a Sea-Go strap, and I'm going to give it a bad review, so anyone searching for that terrible brand finds this - Their 'safety' clips are downright dangerous, nearly impossible to unclip with any weight on them, and constantly jamming along the jacklines. Most of the time I get so frustrated I take the damn thing off. In the end I found one of those spinnaker clips and attached it to the end which I clip onto. Much safer.

Didn't someone die in the Fastnet disaster because they couldn't unclip?