Welcome anonymous guest

Please Support

A thought on detachable harness hooks  Bottom

  • So I was out by myself on a hobie 18. On the trap coming back up wind in maybe 14 knots, a bunch of big puffs started coming with large shifts. I had been handling it pretty well but one puff came in with at least a 90 degree shift and threw the boat on the opposite tack. When I felt the power in the boat dropping I had slid back into the rail and was diving across the tramp as the boat capsized back on top of me and put me in the water.

    The mast hit the water with a lot of speed and no sooner than my head popped back above water from falling in the whole boat dropped on my head and went full turtle. I remember thinking how the heck did that just happen, I'm in like 20 feet of water max. The leeward shroud had broken the cotter ring, and the pin came out. I was basically in the process of trying to take a breath when the tramp shoved me underwater. My heart rate was already up from 2 hours of sailing and I think I instinctively let out a "whoa" when I got hit in the head by the boat so realistically I felt out of breath the second I was underwater. My immediate reaction as I was laying on my back was to reach out to the hull and pull myself back out the other side. The only problem was that my trap hook was still hooked to the port trapeze and I was trying to pull myself out the starboard side of the boat. I didn't move at all. I reached down to my trap hook but everything just felt tangled on it and I couldn't pull it off.

    I had that panic moment where you feel helpless and I didn't have any better ideas than to reach out to the hull again and pull as hard as I could. It probably took another 7-8 seconds but I felt myself slowly moving towards the hull. I finally slid out enough to get my head above water and get back on the boat. It was only after I looked down and saw my harness hooked to the side lacing of my tramp and still under the boat that I realized I had pulled myself out of the harness to get to the surface. I use those red hobie bucket harnesses and thankfully always have the legs and hips really loose. Barely enough to keep it on when I walk around. That's the only reason I got out.

    Sitting in the water for awhile without a wetsuit and getting recovered was a whole different issue but that all turned out fine and I only have a mild cold to show for it. It gave me plenty of time to think about the reality that if I would have had my leg straps tighter or was wearing a full harness then I probably wouldn't have gotten out from under the tramp.

    I always thought those trap harnesses with a quick release hook were a bit of overkill and that you were more likely to accidentally dump yourself off the trap than for it to come in useful. I actually still think you are more likely to dump yourself off the wire but at this point that seems like a fair trade off vs at least having a plan B when you get tangled up underwater. I'm going to do some shopping and see what options there are out there. It's probably a good idea, being stuck underwater sucks.

  • Sounds like you were very lucky. Thanks for sharing your story. Magic marine quick release hooks are very good in my experience.
  • The windsurfer people have this all figured out. A lot of easy quick release systems that work well even under load.

    Falcon F-16
    Taipan 4.9
    S2 7.9
  • YIKES! Glad you didn't die Matt!

    Yes i would suggest a MM quick release as mentioned above. Not sure if you know Darren from our beach (firefighter) but he has that exact spreader and as far as i know, never had an issue with it (nor used it but it never dumped him). I just reached out and he never had any issues with it.


    another option is a key ball unit - obviously safer without a hook but limits use to people with the correct setup

    last suggestion is to have a quality knife available to cut through your tramp in trapped - that seems like the worst of all options as it would require time, clear thinking, access to the knife and a new tramp (or repair at the least)

    Edited by MN3 on Apr 28, 2021 - 10:36 AM.
  • WOW Dude!

    Just finished this read. Unreal scenario and you are VERY lucky.
    World Sailing has mandated that all trapeze harnesses be fitted with a quick release system I think around 2022-3 and on. I wonder what insurance snafus can(will) occur if something happens and the harness was at fault if not updated. The MM system is solid and not quite sure about the ball/socket since under load there is no quick release mechanism. Knife is a must!


    Master UniRig Sailor
  • Yea that magic marine bar looks like a better option to me than the locking ball. I'd have to weld on a bottom loop on each side for the way hobie runs the leg straps on my existing buckets but that's easy enough.

    I think if I was a diver and got tangled then a knife would be appropriate, of if I had to go back under to retrieve something valuable or try to help a stuck crew then that would be a tool I'd want to have. In those situations I'd have taken a full breath and had time to have the knife in my hand. The hardest thing for me was the immediate disorientation of being on my back and not being able to see with this low visibility river water on top of not being able to prepare to take a breath. Your thought process gets tunnel vision and I don't think even if I had a knife I would have been able to use it in a useful way.
  • After a death in the AC, now all sailors carry small portable air
    I just searched and am shocked how cheap these are

    I really don't know anything about them, shelf life, etc but they start under $50


    these don't look very practical and i know the units the AC guys wear is much smaller -

    If you sail and trap out - a few $100 for a good one could be an option

    One word about the MM spreader vs the key-ball unit
    You are gonna need the presence of mind to reach down, unvelco the pocket and pull the release, then possibly wiggle around a bit to get it to release if you are under water/pinned

    the key-ball unit will release pretty easily if you have slack - either system has pros and cons

    I don't race and have wings - I don't even have trap lines on my cats these days
  • Thanks for a useful thread. I currently don't have trapeze lines and I only have one harness. A quick release is one place I may spend money - I have teenagers.

    When I worked at Sikorsky we had to do dunker training every couple of years to be on the cleared to fly list. Part of the training was to use those little scuba bottles. The trick is when you use them, you get a gallon of water in your sinus cavity unless you are right side up. You can still breathe, but in an emergency you don't get to choose what your attitude will be. For training they had us hook our legs on the side of the pool, and immediately go upside down against the pool wall. Then you get used to the water in your sinuses and can breathe. I think that is a key thing to experience so you can actually use the bottle in an emergency.

    Also, interestingly enough, the key benefit of the bottle was touted as a tonic against panic. Pretty much all the escapes we practiced could be done without the bottle - unless you panicked.



    Bryan in Poplar Grove, IL
    Supercat 17 owner
  • QuoteThen you get used to the water in your sinuses and can breathe. I think that is a key thing to experience so you can actually use the bottle in an emergency.

    Good data!
  • The DigiDeep, Spare Air and similar emergency breathing apparatus typically have to be maintained the same way SCUBA gear does - meaning annual servicing and pressure tank inspections. Also, many of these designs have to be held while being used, leaving you with only one free hand.

    They have their place, but I wonder whether other measures make more sense for the average sailor.

    Tony H
    Hobie 18
    Sailing Mission Bay and nearby CA
  • QuoteThey have their place, but I wonder whether other measures make more sense for the average sailor.


    I was wondering how well these would work for scallop season ... i'll keep u posted
  • MN3
    QuoteThey have their place, but I wonder whether other measures make more sense for the average sailor.


    I was wondering how well these would work for scallop season ... i'll keep u posted

    I'd also agree. I think with proper training they are fine, but otherwise could be a distraction when you need to focus on getting yourself free.

    In training, and as issued from the flight equipment office, we always had a vest to hold the bottle. The hose was held in place with velcro and you would grab the mouthpiece and stretch it out to arms length, and then put it in your mouth. If it is not secured to your PFD or something it would not be practical.

    Bryan in Poplar Grove, IL
    Supercat 17 owner
  • ac guys mouthpiece is on the shoulder

This list is based on users active over the last 60 minutes.