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Safety Harnesses

By The Ithaka - Published October 06, 2006 - Viewed 12044 times

Safety Harnesses

Carl L., from Chicago, who sails the Hylas 45 Demitasse, emailed us, asking "Do you guys wear harnesses, and if so when?"

From Douglas: Actually, we're religious about them. When we're making passages, harnesses go on before nightfall. We wear them whether we're on deck or in the cockpit, until it's light again, and we also wear them during the day if the wind strengthens too much. Sometimes, this is a pain, but once you're cruising, you listen to the local Single Side Band nets, and the stories of overboard deaths give quick resolve. Just the other day, we heard on the SSB Panama Connection Net about the tragedy of a Danish boat traveling from the ABC islands in the Eastern Caribbean to Panama. They suffered a knockdown, and the un-harnessed man was swept overboard. His wife tried to start the engine and reverse course, but the ignition key had fallen out during the knockdown, and she had to go below to find a replacement. She never found her husband. Just before Christmas, the skipper of a boat sailing from the San Blas to Colon, Panama, fell overboard, and his girlfriend, who was an inexperienced sailor, couldn't retrieve him. He, too, was lost. Last year, the sailing vessel Wanderer was found in the mangroves at Punta Gorda, Belize, her dinghy still tied to the stern, her skipper Robert O'Neil believed to have fallen over the side. Yes, we wear harnesses.

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