Thank you John and Bob.
I’m very please to find some who doesn’t laugh when I suggest lifelines on a dinghy. I am very interested in buying/making/acquiring lifelines for this summer’s sailing, and wanted to hear from people with experience.
I have been looking at lifelines available, and found that the only ones commercially available are far too short for use in a wayfarer. Given the almost complete lack of details available about using lifelines in Wayfarers, I was beginning to think there was a good reason not to use lifelines. Thank you for confirming that lifelines are indeed a worthwhile safety feature. I will definitely look into getting a pair of harnesses and lifelines.
I had come across these Gibb hooks which seem to be pretty standard for using on yacht lifelines. I would definitely want to be sure I could easily unhook myself from the lifeline in an emergency. I would also want to ensure both crew members have a sharp knife (which we do anyway) to cut the lifeline free if it were to become tangled in a capsize for example.
Bob: I understand the difficulties of having long lifelines to get tangled in, however I would not be comfortable with 3m lifeline. I understand that with a decent hook you can easily unclip if the boat capsized, however that is exactly the sort of time I would want my lifeline to be attached. I would want a lifeline long enough to allow me (or my crew) to go out one side of the boat in a capsize, right it and get in the other side (ie The boat does a full 360degree roll) without releasing it.
Thinking about the issue of the lines getting tangled up…
If the lifeline is 6m+ long, for normal sailing, there will be at least a few meters of slack. Would it be reasonable to fold up the last few meters of webbing and ‘secure’ it with light elastic bands? Any tension on the lifeline would very easily release the extra length. With the extra length of webbing neatly folded up instead of lying around the cockpit, it would be far less prone to getting tangled. Any thoughts anyone?
I do indeed always ensure someone knows where I’m going. As you recommend, the boat is equipped with a waterproof hand-held VHF and a box full of flares. I would definitely consider buying a ‘personal locator beacons’ such as an EPIRB for any ‘serious’ off-shore sailing.
When I said ‘we’, I was referring to myself and my crew. I am very confident in my usual crew’s ability, and I’m sure he’d be able to rescue me if I fell overboard in any reasonable conditions. However I realise that at night or in very heavy weather, finding and getting back to a man overboard could be a very difficult task for anyone, which could be avoided by wearing lifelines, hence my interest in the subject.