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Suicide / crew retention line?  Bottom

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  • Yes, agree too. Sailing without any backup available is one of the risks behind this discussion, isn’t it? No
    possible actions to mitigate it? I can think of a couple
  • JohnES
    mattsonHere is a video of what the jackline/tether looks like when used. I did this video for someone interested in going out solo. I usually hook up the tether before leaving the harbor. In this case, I am dealing with it outside the entrance.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICjJNvMhzvE


    Cool video...

    BTW, what is going on with your 19? You repairing it, or getting another one...


    I'm repairing it as a learning exercise, but don't have much confidence in the boat for island trips. Already have a replacement. Just need to get the tires/wheels to make it towable and get the time to make the drive to pick her up. More on that later.

    --
    Bill Mattson
    Prindle 19 "Gelli Bean"
    Prindle 19 "Cat's Pajamas"
    --
  • traphappyMN3, I am saying (clarified my above comment), as you advocate, that a knife can help and you should carry one. I also agree that tethering is dangerous. There are situations where there is enough time to cut a line. That was the example I was trying to paint, that a knife can save you. I carry a knife and always give my crew one.Edited by traphappy on Sep 20, 2018 - 03:20 PM.

    I got pulled from my ankle with the mainsheet, at a pretty high and steady speed, by then I didn’t have an appropriate knife but a stupid Swiss Army knife which I didn’t even bother trying to find on my shorts pocket. I changed my pfd and got the right knife. Now I think I should do the same for my crew...



    Edited by Andinista on Sep 20, 2018 - 04:57 PM.
  • Quote I changed my pfd and got the right knife. Now I think I should do the same for my crew...

    +1

    Sail long enough and ... crazy things are gonna happen - a sharp knife is a life saver for sure
    i recently purchased the ronstan strap cutter that Philip posted.
  • Guys, a little delayed with the response here, but I have to say, dang, based on the responses received this has to be the best post I put up here to date for gaining valuable info in reply. Many thanks and much appreciation to all who took the time to reply. And especially Bill Mattson, who even included links to photos and a great video I really enjoyed. Every comment read and carefully thought over though.

    I have a few replies/questions. Maybe I'll break them up a little. Starting with:

    martin_langhoffMy cat moves pretty wild (it's a toilet), but I don't do distance sailing, in particular soloing.


    Hey man, no need for the auto-correct clarification. In my younger days of wine/women/song, I experienced more than a few late-night episodes learning just how unstable toilets can be: spinning, tilting, bucking, threatening to keel over and crash from great heights at any moment, the whole nine yards, very disorienting for sure - so it definitely sounds like you've got a wild cat on your hands there.



    Edited by CatFan57 on Sep 24, 2018 - 09:45 AM.

    --
    1998 P18.2
    Sailing out of SHBCC, NJ
    --
  • Well, thanks to all for bringing to my attention the risks/dangers of being dragged under water if you tie yourself to a boat that might be moving away from you at speed when you fall off. Andinista's story of being dragged by the foot without being able to do anything to free himself (until luckily the sheet came loose) gives plenty to think about.

    On the other hand, it was interesting to hear from MN3 about the number of times he's seen people's boats sail or float away from them after they fell off, and his statement that it's only a matter of when, not if, it happens to you.

    So I guess it's a real judgment call, depending on the circumstances. Personally, if I were solo-sailing in the conditions Mattson apparently goes in I'd assess the risks the way he sees them. I think you're screwed out there if you lose your boat. And I think his quick release clip that he uses at his harness end looks really good for freeing yourself if necessary - that's basically the kind of set up I was interested in finding out about. Anyway, I'm here more to learn more than to offer my opinions about the risk balancing.

    MN3IMHO - this is a bad idea

    IF you want to be out in 20+ air - go with crew or other boats. if none avail ... stay ashore


    Point taken.

    MN3Your cat should be set up with some weatherhelm so WHEN you fall off your boat it turns into the wind and stays close


    More good info I didn't know. How do I add in the weather helm? Right now my boat holds a really good line when hands-off the rudder, and here I was thinking that's a good thing.



    Edited by CatFan57 on Sep 24, 2018 - 04:16 PM.

    --
    1998 P18.2
    Sailing out of SHBCC, NJ
    --
  • CatFan57Well, thanks to all for bringing to my attention the risks/dangers of being dragged under water if you tie yourself to a boat that might be moving away from you at speed when you fall off. Andinista's story of being dragged by the foot without being able to do anything to free himself (until luckily the sheet came loose) gives plenty to think about.

    On the other hand, it was interesting to hear from MN3 about the number of times he's seen people's boats sail or float away from them after they fell off, and his statement that it's only a matter of when, not if, it happens to you.

    So I guess it's a real judgment call, depending on the circumstances. Personally, if I were solo-sailing in the conditions Mattson apparently goes in I'd assess the risks the way he sees them. I think you're screwed out there if you lose your boat. And I think his quick release clip that he uses at his harness end looks really good for freeing yourself if necessary - that's basically the kind of set up I was interested in finding out about. Anyway, I'm here more to learn more than to offer my opinions about the risk balancing.

    MN3IMHO - this is a bad idea

    IF you want to be out in 20+ air - go with crew or other boats. if none avail ... stay ashore


    Point taken.

    MN3Your cat should be set up with some weatherhelm so WHEN you fall off your boat it turns into the wind and stays close


    More good info I didn't know. How do I add in the weather helm? Right now my boat holds a really good line when hands-off the rudder, and here I was thinking that's a good thing.Edited by CatFan57 on Sep 24, 2018 - 04:16 PM.


    You do want just a bit of weatherhelm for exactly the reason stated. Either rake the mast back, or rake the rudders back (tips aft), to induce weather helm.

    Btw, if the boat capsizes in heavy air, it may be carried away from you regardless of what helm you have.

    --
    Bill Mattson
    Prindle 19 "Gelli Bean"
    Prindle 19 "Cat's Pajamas"
    --
  • mattson
    Btw, if the boat capsizes in heavy air, it may be carried away from you regardless of what helm you have.


    And we are talking feet per second... Had this happen on a NACRA 5.8 where the crew decided to swim around the boat to point the the mast to the wind after being told NOT do that, let alone NOT to let go of the boat... In about 5 seconds the boat was 10 yards away from him and getting further... he was not that fast of a swimmer...

    In all the years of sailing I never had to call for a "dust off" but this day warranted it when I lost sight of him... and I was getting too close to shore.

    Even when sailing with a crew; experience or not, be sure to have a safety briefing before leaving, and as an added bonus, ask them to repeat the procedure 10-20 minutes in to the sail...

    --
    John Schwartz
    Ventura, CA
    --
  • QuoteOn the other hand, it was interesting to hear from MN3 about the number of times he's seen people's boats sail or float away from them after they fell off, and his statement that it's only a matter of when, not if, it happens to you.

    Slight clarification: I have seen many "ghost ship" but mostly due to un-secured boats leaving the beach solo. the point of this was they failed to have weather helm that would have prevented the cats from sailing straight away

    I have only seen 2 people fall off a cat. One was a 70+ year old on a dart, when he came up to me and tacked right on top of my parked boat ... he fell off and the boat sailed away.

    The other person was ... me. Once in the story i shared about freshly "sunscreening up" and flying off my tramp in a hard gybe and the other time was 100% user error and stupidity (showing off / being dumb)



    Edited by MN3 on Sep 24, 2018 - 04:42 PM.
  • I think I know the 70 year old that fell off the Dart. I've been following this thread with mixed thoughts. I think being tethered to any boat is potentially dangerous in the event of a capsize. That said, if you are sailing solo and fall off, your boat is gone by the time you realize that you are in the water. Here's my story ...

    I was out with my 14 year old in 12-15 knot/mph winds (can't remember which). We had completed a turn and were gaining speed. Hannah had set the jib and was moving out onto the wire. I felt the boat gaining power and I wanted to ensure she could get out completely before we were fully powered up. I turned into the wind a bit and let out a little mainsheet. Doing both at the same time was likely my big mistake. I was hiked out, trying to hold it down while she got out and the boat started shimmying left to right. I went over the windward side so quickly that I came up in the water with the tiller grip in my hand. By the time I knew I was in the water, the boat was 25 yards away and moving further away.

    I was really impressed with Hannah. She realized I was gone, came in off the wire, moved back, took control of the now-bent up tiller and mainsheet. She sailed as close to wind as she could to depower. I got picked up by the other boat we were sailing with and that boat dropped me next to our boat. I climbed on and we started again.

    One other thought ... If you choose to use a tether, I would recommend against cleating the main. When I was picked up by the other boat, I just grabbed the dolphin striker and held on for a quick ride. I found that I got tired very quickly hanging on. I can't imagine being behind a boat, attached to a tether, while it has the main cleated and trying to climb aboard with pressure of the water against you. I could see that tiring someone out very quickly.

    My novice $.02, for what it is worth.

    Dana



    Edited by dartsailors on Sep 25, 2018 - 11:13 AM.

    --
    Dana, Holly, Emma & Hannah

    LJ/Stu's Dart 18
    --
  • Sailing offshore on larger boats, a tether and jacklines are mandatory... but so, too, are high-confidence clips. Beachcat sailing wouldn't seem to need a three-clip long-short setup but there's some leverage available, surely.

    *IF* you're going to tether yourself to something that has the capability of dragging you to a rapid wet death, i recommend doing so with a clip that allows you to manually release under load without looking. A tether makes some sense in some situations (stuck under an inverted tramp), but in others (being dragged at speed), I'd want to be able to release the tether by hand without a knife... knowing full well that I'm trading off immediate breathing for an uncertainly-long future of likely boat-less floating.

    I have an interesting thought, not fully considered yet: if your clip is at the end of the mainsheet (assume a separate traveler line for purposes of discussion), you'd have a moderately effective kill switch AND/OR an abort. If you're in the water clipped in while the boat is sailing away, it should round up as the sheet responds to your changing from skipper to sea anchor... but you can always release the clip and opt for survival sans boat.

    If you generally sail inland lakes with other boat traffic, a high visibility flag on your PFD is probably a better bet. If you truly sail offshore away from likely rescue, a tether begins to make sense. Even VHF or phone from PFD/water-level begins to get sketchy to establish/maintain contact if there's much swell at all.

    Randii
  • I had chicken lines on my old Supercat 17 that ran through the rear cross bar with bungie take-ups. On the ends were simple hooks that I attached to the trap loop. They worked great. Kept me rock steady as I buried the bows. Never got tangled up when I flipped. The hooks were very user friendly.

    --
    Joe Bohan
    Cos Cob,CT

    Current boat,

    Nacra F18 Infusion- Bad Toro

    Former boat,

    Supercat 17- Tasmaniac
    --
  • Quote*IF* you're going to tether yourself to something that has the capability of dragging you to a rapid wet death, i recommend doing so with a clip that allows you to manually release under load without looking. A tether makes some sense in some situations (stuck under an inverted tramp), but in others (being dragged at speed), I'd want to be able to release the tether by hand without a knife... knowing full well that I'm trading off immediate breathing for an uncertainly-long future of likely boat-less floating.



    I used to waterski. when i was young and dumb ... i would hang on to the handle after i fell off the skis. I can't imagine pulling myself forward 1 inch while being dragged by a boat.

    not sure it would be "do-able" to get off the tether if you are being dragged. you would need enough strength (and mindset) to pull slack into the line that was dragging you behind the boat to get the clip off the line.
  • MN3I used to waterski. when i was young and dumb ... i would hang on to the handle after i fell off the skis. I can't imagine pulling myself forward 1 inch while being dragged by a boat.

    Yup, been there and done that behind a tow-boat. Weird how reflex is to hold tight!

    There are hooks that will allow you to disconnect even under load. Here's a quick google to one similar to what I've used.
    http://marine.wichard.com/images/prestations/7064-275-rvb-2831.jpg
    If the IMG doesn't work: http://marine.wichard.com…ns/7064-275-rvb-2831.jpg

    Randii



    Edited by randii on Sep 26, 2018 - 12:17 PM.
  • randii
    MN3I used to waterski. when i was young and dumb ... i would hang on to the handle after i fell off the skis. I can't imagine pulling myself forward 1 inch while being dragged by a boat.

    Yup, been there and done that behind a tow-boat. Weird how reflex is to hold tight!

    There are hooks that will allow you to disconnect even under load. Here's a quick google to one similar to what I've used.
    http://marine.wichard.com/images/prestations/7064-275-rvb-2831.jpg
    If the IMG doesn't work: http://marine.wichard.com…ns/7064-275-rvb-2831.jpg

    RandiiEdited by randii on Sep 26, 2018 - 12:17 PM.

    SMART!!!!!
  • Just a couple observations after reading the rest of the thread.

    The hook I am using (link posted earlier) is a quick release, which requires no slack to release. I have attached a short cord to the release pin, covered it in a length of 1/4" OD hose, with a stopper knot to keep it on the line. It is relatively easy to find underwater, and will release under load with no slack.

    During the one time I was dragged a short distance, I was practically on the stern of the boat, able to reach the tiller bar, tiller cross bar, and rear cross bar easily. The length of the jackline and tether are such that you really are never very far from the boat.

    --
    Bill Mattson
    Prindle 19 "Gelli Bean"
    Prindle 19 "Cat's Pajamas"
    --
  • QuoteThe hook I am using (link posted earlier) is a quick release

    Ok fine! you are brilliant too!!!!!
    just teasing - i didn't click through and see your quick release clip, only the second link (carabiner)

    but if you're gonna be tethered .. that is a smart way to mitigate risks
  • mattsonThe trapeze wire broke, I went in the water and the boat headed up a bit and kept going. I was dragged by the tether for a few seconds before the boat slowed down.


    Previously I said I wasn't really here to offer my opinions on risk balancing regarding tethering yourself. But I think I'll reverse myself on that because the question might be worth debating.

    Basically, I question whether the risk of being dragged until you drown by a moving, unmanned beach cat is really that high. It seems not that likely to me. As mentioned by Mattson above, when he fell off he was dragged for a few seconds before the boat slowed down. Apparently the boat slowed down even though it was possibly still under some power(?). Andinista said he was dragged by the sheet for a short time before the sheet came loose. I wasn't there, but did the sheet come loose because the cat slowed down? Sounds likely.

    How far can an unhelmed beach cat really drag a body in the water before slowing down of its own accord? That's a lot of weight and drag, and beach cats are pretty unstable and hard to keep going under power even with an operator on board. A motor boat, sure, but I don't see where that's really the same (and I had my share of novice water skiers fall and fail to let go, which always raised a laugh on the boat).

    I'm not discounting that anything's possible, or the other risks of being tethered. I suppose, for example, the boat could flip over and somehow pin you underneath if you are tied.

    The yacht guys vote for tethers and jack lines when nobody's there to see them fall in. Just seems to me if you're in open waters a couple miles from help you should do just about everything humanly possible to not lose contact with your boat. The idea of pulling out my radio to call for help from six inches above the water line, and then hoping someone will come and locate me when I'm not attached to a boat, strikes me as a far bigger risk. Just my opinion. Of course, there's always the question of whether you should be out there by yourself in the first place....



    Edited by CatFan57 on Sep 29, 2018 - 12:42 AM.

    --
    1998 P18.2
    Sailing out of SHBCC, NJ
    --
  • I'll re-post my story from a year ago topic Scare The Newbies Day! Let's Hear The Horror https://www.thebeachcats.com/forums/viewtopic/topic/16403/start/20
    QuoteI was in a race sailing my H18 solo at Santa Cruz CA 5 or 6 years ago. Going to weather in 12 to 14 knot winds I went over. No big deal. A chase boat comes up asks if I'm ok I respond yes and they leave to help another H16 that's over while my boat is still on its side. I felt comfortable that I could right myself. Next I take out my water bucket and proceed to fill and hoist it to my shoulder (other end of bucket line is connected to dolphin striker) and right the boat. So far so good, up she comes and I drop the bucket and grab the low side dolphin sticker to keep it from going over the other way.

    What happen next frightened me. The rope from the righting bag/bucket wrapped my ankle and the boat starts to power up. The bucket is now acting as a sea anchor! The boat does not want to round up, I'm facing the crossbar and being dragged under the tramp and can't see what I'm sailing toward. I know I'm at least a 1/2 mile off shore so I have some time before hitting the rocks but I don't know if there are any other boats that I might hit. I also can't reach down to release the rope from my ankle for fear of loosing my grip on the dolphin striker. If I would have let go my worry was that I would now be dragged by the boat (ankle first) and be worse off. After several minuets the wind eased momentarily and I was able to get the rope off my ankle but it seamed much longer.

    Once the boat was righted the chase boat must have thought all was well and I did not see them again until the end of the day. From that day forward I do not sail or race alone on the ocean and I now carry a knife!


    I now sail a TIGER and have a chicken line rigged for my crew. It goes through the front cross bar and connects to the rudder pins (bungy in the front cross bar to take up slack). It does not tie my crew to the boat, it is hand held only! I have it rigged this way so my crew has support going upwind it they are hip checked by a wave and going down if I bury a bow, they have support to not be thrown forward.

    I no longer sail solo in 15+ when there are no other Cats or chase boats to assist if a problem arises.
  • QuoteI'm not discounting that anything's possible, or the other risks of being tethered. I suppose, for example, the boat could flip over and somehow pin you underneath if you are tied.

    i agree the risk of being pinned under the boat is more of a risk than being drowned by being dragged

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