Rigging jacklines and safety tethers (safety)

Posted By: thouse

Rigging jacklines and safety tethers (safety) - 04/03/03 11:11 PM

I just thought this an interesting read and something to consider when rigging jacklines and safety thethers:

GUEST EDITORIAL - Patrick Broderick

In Scuttlebutt 1298 Tom Dick recalled the tragic circumstances leading to the death of Harvey Schlasky in the 1999 Bay Area Multihull Association (BAMA) Double-handed Farallones Race after being thrown from his boat and dragged behind until the Coast Guard arrived and asked his crew member to cut his tether. Unfortunately Harvey could not be resuscitated and even more unfortunately in the scramble to save his life his inflatable lifejacket/safety harness came loose and was lost. Harvey was the Singlehanded Sailing Society of San Francisco Bay's Treasurer that year and I was the Commodore.
I was also a participant in the BAMA race.

Several lessons were learned that day. Harvey and his crew member rigged jacklines from the bow pulpit, across the ****, to the pushpit. When they went overboard, the crew member was thrown across the **** and over the other side of the boat so his tether dragged him alongside the boat. Harvey was on the low side and when he went overboard and his tether slid to the jackline's end, at the pushpit. This allowed him to be towed behind the boat rather than alongside. The crew member was able to re-board the boat, but in the knockdown the boom was broken and his attempts to lower the mainsail left it partially hoisted. He could not stop the boat. By the time the Coast Guard arrived it was too late.

The SSS sponsors single or doublehanded Bay and ocean races (including the biannual Singlehanded Hawaii Race), and safety is primary. After much discussion we concluded that jacklines should terminate at the forward end of the **** so someone attached to them would be towed alongside the boat rather than behind. We also concluded that while in the **** it was better for the tether to be connected to hard points as far forward as practical for working the boat. Again, the idea is to be towed alongside rather than behind in case of an overboard situation. Most shorthanded sailors rig ropes or rope ladders that can be reached by a person on the water and can provide that all important foothold needed to hoist oneself back into the boat. Anyone contemplating shorthanded sailing owes it to themselves (and their loved ones) to think hard about getting back onto their boat.

Many of us also concluded that tethers with a quick release snap shackle for attachment to the safety harness end of the tether made sense in case separating oneself from the boat became necessary.

Nearly 100 boats will participate in next Saturday's 2003 Singlehanded Farallones Race (30 miles out and back around the S. E. Farallon Island). Each participant will be eager to win; each will be cognizant that safely completing the race is even more important. - Patrick Broderick,

The board of directors for the Transpacific Yacht Race has endorsed US Sailing's modified Rule 5.02.5 of the Special Regulations governing offshore and oceanic racing, which parallels a rule that Transpac already had in place. The new rule requires that crew members on deck between sunset and sunrise shall wear harnesses and personal flotation devices (PFDs). The rule doesn't require that the harnesses be connected---a key point in divided opinion among US Sailing members surveyed
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