4.8.18 @ 1000 Local, 1700 Zulu Day #15
Location: 06°13N/127°47W SOG: 6.0 knots COG: 215°T Wind speed: 6 knots Sea State: #3 on the Beaufort wind scale (Jim the H2O is 93.2° F) Cloud: 70% BAR: 1013 Mood of Crew: Great! ! !
Jacks or Better
One of the things that I have used extensively while boating over the last fifteen years is a Jack Line. This is a safety line that is usually set up along the length of the vessel and along both side decks. It is secured at the bow and the stern of your vessel. This line is then clipped onto by persons onboard the vessel with safety tethers while on deck. The basic concept is to not be disconnected from you vessel while at sea. You may be drug through the water upside down and backwards, but you’ll still be attached to your vessel. That makes the identity of the owner easier when the boat is found.
Jack lines are made of different materials such as flat webbing or line. The line could be three strand or double braid line. Both types of lines or webbing should have sufficient breaking strength for obvious reasons. What good is the line if it breaks when you are hurled over the life lines of your boat and your tether reaches maximum length with a loud snap. See you later alligator. I have chosen to use the flat webbing for jack lines, because when you step on them they don’t roll under your feet and potentially cause you to lose your balance. There is already enough movement onboard underway without a rolling jack line.
The tethers that we use on Dazzler are flat webbing of sufficient break strength as well. The tethers are double tethers with one three foot long and the other is six foot long. They are attach to a harness or combination harness life vest. The sailing hardware used on the tethers are also of sufficient break strength and load rated. I read an article from SV Morgans Cloud that suggested that a maximum break strength should not be less than 5000 pounds to more than handle the forces involved in being hurled like a dog toy at the beach over the side of your vessel’s railing. So, I kind of used that as a good rule of thumb for our Jack lines.
Last month while performing the last minute preparations, I wanted to experiment with a different configuration with our jack lines. Traditionally, I laid the lines out along each side deck from bow to stern. It was simple and always seamed to work okay. A few articles I had read over the past several years regarding jack lines suggested rigging them off the deck about chest high and closer to the center line of the vessel. I had always wanted to attempt this configuration, because of some interesting advantages. For starters the tethers could be shortened and you wouldn’t be always tripping over your tether or getting it tangled in other rigging or wench handles, etc…. In 2009 Dazzler was fitted with a stern arch for mounting solar panels, wind generator and the antenna farm. It also makes a great platform to attach a jack line to at about chest height. I luggage tagged one end of the jack line to one of the largest tubes of the arch. Going forward with the line it passes through external handles on the outboard edge of the hard dogger, passes through the boom gallows handle forward to the mast where it wraps around the mast and is secured to a mast cleat. This configuration keeps the line off the , further inboard and at approximately chest height. One of these lines is on each side of Dazzlers cabin top. The foredeck required a bit more thought process. Dazzler’ tender is inverted onto its top on the foredeck while underway. So I decided to mount the jack line along the center line of the inverted bottom of Dazzler’s tender. I then used a luggage tag loop with the jack line and fastened it to a pad eye mounted on the bowsprit as an anchor point. Yes it is on the deck of the bowsprit, but anything higher would interfere with the running rigging of the headsail furling gear. The line passes aft over the foredeck and over the bottom of the inverted tender along the centerline and makes a few wraps around the mast and is secured to a mast cleat.
The purpose for having the chest high jack lines was to be able to use the shorter tethers (three foot long) thus shortening the distance to the side of the boat and maybe just prevent you from being hurled over the railing and drug through the water. If the tether lines are not long enough to allow you to reach the side of the boat, maybe you won’t go over the railing. Sounds good to me!
So far our daily use of the newly located jack line system and tethers has proved to be an improved fit for Dazzler. Jilly likes the elevated jack lines, because she didn’t like stepping on them and getting them tangled around her feet. I like the new configuration because when working on the main sail your tether is closer to your work and the distance to travel over the rail is now much shorter. While sitting in the cockpit the lines are elevated above our heads and this makes it easier to move and work in the cockpit while being attached to Dazzler.
One last thing, while modifying my existing jack lines for this project, the use of our handy Sailrite sewing machine made stitching in loops on the ends of the jack lines a snap. I used PTFE thread for the stitching and made the same stitch pattern as was originally used by the jack line manufacture.
Something to consider in the safety arena. That’s the way it was April 7, 2018. Have a great day!
PS Sorry for the bad location information yesterday. It wasn’t my turn to be ring master at the circus. Jim, the air temperature is cooler than the water temp. But, the thermometer isn’t speaking with me today for some reason.
4.8.18 @ 1000 Local, 1700 Zulu Day #15