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  1. #1
    BlueSkyNick is offline Registered User
    Location : Near a marina, sailing club and pub
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    Default Life lines and jack stays

    I am a strong believer in the first rule of Man Over Board, ie Don't Go Over.

    So I am happy to clip on if necessary, particularly if only SWMBO is on board with me.

    I often wonder what would actually happen if I went over and was held up by my life line. In particular, if I go to the foredeck for some reason, I clip on to the jackstay before leaving the cockpit and make my way up the side deck.

    Suppose we hit an unexpected wave, I lose my grip, trip over a sheet or whatever and fall over the guard rail. The boat is now sailing along, possibly on autopilot, with me being dragged along, and getting dunked uncontrollably.

    So what should happen next? How would the crew get me back on board?

    Anybody done it for real?
    was BIGNICK, SkyTalk, MoodyNick in the past.

  2. #2
    Talbot's Avatar
    Talbot is offline Registered User
    Location : Stavanger, Norway
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    Default Re: Life lines and jack stays

    good reason for having the jackstay down the centre of the boat, rather than right on the side. I have mine rigged so that I can actually use it as a handrail as well as the safety line.
    "Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors - and miss."
    Robert A Heinlein

  3. #3
    Sgeir's Avatar
    Sgeir is offline Registered User
    Location : Loch Linnhe in the summer - Dallens Bay, Appin. Ashore at MRC, Loch Creran for this winter.
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    Default Re: Life lines and jack stays

    Unless the remaining crew are able to stop or de-power the vessel quickly, my guess is that you'll take in a lot of water. The thought of being dragged along at say six knots is not appealing and I think that there would be a real danger of the lungs filling with water.

    Getting people back on board? Aside from making an immediate call to the coastguard, difficult.

    We keep the mainsheet connected to the traveller and boom with two karabiners, the idea being that they can be quickly reversed (moving the mainsheet tail to come down from the boom), and lowered to a person in the water. If the person is conscious then, in theory, he/she could then clip on and be winched out on the mainsheet. Don't want to try it though.

    If we actually had crew (usually just the two of us), then perhaps the sun awning or a spare sail could be lowered in, but I could see that being very slow.
    Ω

  4. #4
    BlueSkyNick is offline Registered User
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    Default Re: Life lines and jack stays

    Thanks Sgeir,

    Your thougts echo my own. MOB recovery is a seperate subject in itself.

    I am wondering about the benefits of clipping on to the jackstays in the first place ...... as you say, the thought of being dragged along at 6 knots is not appealing.
    was BIGNICK, SkyTalk, MoodyNick in the past.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Life lines and jack stays

    On last year's ARC one of a 2-man crew went over and was left hanging from his harness. The combined efforts of both men failed to get him back aboard and he had a heart attack and died.

    I have experimented with crew retrieval and settled on an 'Oscar' MOB sling which is designed to be towed to the casualty so you can reel him in. I keep a snatch block on the end of the boom through which I reeve the Oscar's line then use a halliard winch to lift the MOB aboard. It's not very comfortable for the casualty but it works.
    One hull good, two hulls better.

  6. #6
    PIGLETSDREAM is offline Registered User
    Location : Ashtead, (Office Heathrow Airport)
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    Default Re: Life lines and jack stays

    Probably the most frightening aspect of sailing, especially when short handed. I used to do a lot of white water canoeing and as a result have done lots of rescues of fellow paddlers in big white water and strong moving current. As peoples kit got better, Dry tops or dry suits it got easier, but one thing sticks in my mind from a test that I ran with a group of paddlers. I weigh 12stone (then) I went into some still water with track suit trousers trainers T shirt and cagoule and a bouancy vest. On getting me out of the water I was weighed, 17stone 9lbs. Once the water had vented out of the over suit I settled at 14stone. The problem is how do you get that dead weight up say 3feet without serious climbing tackle. Our boat has no swim platform and trying to climb up from the water in the dead calm is difficult, if i was fully clothed, I don't think I could manage without help. Not as an admittance of failure, the first thing that is done when MOB is may day, after Dan bouy, easier to cancel than to wish help arrives sooner. We have lots of pulleys and snatch blocks and plans and I have bruised ribs from the practice, but nil wind and a hot summers day picking up a fender can never replace picking up a real body in a bit of a blow.

    May you never have to, but think beyond the fender routine.
    Must go, Matron is coming

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Life lines and jack stays

    I have always believed a general rule that you keep your lifeline as short as possible by doubling it and clipping both ends to your harness. If working at the mast, say, take the lifeline around the mast and clip back. Do the same around the jackstay. This is one good reason why flat webbing jackstays are better than round ones - the won't eat into your life line.
    This means that if you should go over the side you probably won't even reach the water. A lifeline at full stretch is necessary on only a few occasions in my experience.
    Cornishmen do it drekly

  8. #8
    bilbobaggins is offline Registered User
    Location : Grey Havens Marina - Elves pontoon
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    Default Re: Life lines and jack stays

    A couple of thots..... Military aircrew are trained in sea-survival techniques; it is likely that parachute descents become para-dragging in the water for a while, and the guys ( + honorary guys ) are taught to roll onto back, 'sit in' the water with heels and arms well spread, so one can breathe air.

    N'other thing - see the RORC annual racing handbook for spot-on diagrams of techniques for recovery of MOB 'up the side' ( Moderator - these ought to be shown in mag/on forum, but must? get Copyright OK first? )

    You will see a stormjib capable of attachment, tack and clew, along the toerail by means of cords - or cords 'n small snaplinks - while the head is attached to a halyard.
    This triangle is lowered into the water, the MOB is pulled into it like an arm into a triangular bandage, and the whole lot rolled up by winch-winding the halyard tail. The MOB then rolls onto sidedeck.

    Seems to work with just a minimum of preparation - and the essential trial to find how/where the bits fit together.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Life lines and jack stays

    The assumption is normally made that you are on the High Side, trip / fall over, then slide across the deck and head for the water UNDER the lower guard wire on the low side of the healing boat.
    If you go OVER the top guard wire on the High Side of a healing boat. What makes you think that you will get to the water?
    OK - I know that you are a big lad and you probably will get there, but think for a moment, Height of the top guard wire to the water minus the Length of harness lifeline.
    Will you just end up suspended with your feet dangling in the water?
    Will the wire brake / stanchion bend so your body does reach water level?
    I think that if you are on the High Side of a healing boat you may well just be suspended.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Life lines and jack stays

    Provided theirs someone awake ready to stop the engine /heave too you woukldnt be dragged for long.

    i think that shortening your strop by bringing both ends back to the harness has allready been mentioned.

    I think that if only one inexperienced person was left on board then tacking the boat to put the casualty on the windward side then sending a mayday woukld be appropriate.You can allways cancel it later when your down below dripping over the upholstery and giggling uncontrollably [img]/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]

    Personally I think the possibility of being drowned by dragging is outweighed by the chance of being lost alltogether especially at night.

    I have done a few experiments with a 5 gallon oildrum half filled with water tossed overboard in the dark .even using the GPS mob facility on a motorboat with a trained crew and good searchlights its not allways easy to find .

    Thinking about the possibilities now and then is good for making you take extreme care up on deck.racing yachts think we are a load of old women but its a different ballgame on a yacht with several capable crew all up on deck ready to assist.

    As to recovering someone you have to work out what will work for you.Usually involves a halyard or some people use the topping lift and unclip the mainsheet tackle from the boat.

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