The purpose of jacklines is to provide a solid attachment point for a
tether, to prevent crew from going over the side of the boat.
On a boat as small as a Tanzer 22, the challenge is where to locate the
jacklines inboard, so that even in case of a fall, the crew is still ON
the boat, and not simply being dragged in the water. For this reason,
I do not consider the lifelines to be a safe place to attach a tether.
On Brave and Crazy, the jacklines start at the two clutches on deck. I had
a 1/4" stainless steel plate fabricated, which is installed under the clutch.
The clutch is through-bolted with six 1/4" stainless bolts, so this should
be strong enough. The jackline I'm using at the moment is 3/4" tubular
webbing, often used for climbing. This is NOT the kind of webbing
you're likely to find at Fabricland.
I've also included a diagram of the plate. Click on the image for a larger
version, or you can download the
From the clutches, the jacklines are led forward, through a low-mounted
spinnaker ring on the mast, and through one of the bow cleats. This keeps
the line as close to the center of the boat as possible.
To thread the webbing through all these small fittings, one end is temporarily
removed from one of the snap hooks. I sewed a loop in both ends, so you simply
insert the loop into the ring of the snap hook, and then bring it back around
the body of the snap hook. No knots, no chance of it coming loose, and no
My self-inflating PFD has a built-in harness. The two rings are normally held
out of the way, but can be easily deployed to attach to a tether.
Demonstrating how to use a 3-leg tether to go forwards. I start aft of the mast,
clipped in with one leg of the tether. Next, I clip the third leg forward of
the mast. Finally, I unclip the leg that's behind the mast. In this way, I can
move up to the foredeck in bad conditions, whilst being attached to the boat at
When working on the foredeck, I'll often clip the long leg of the tether around
the jackline and then back to my harness. This reduces the length (and my distance
to fall, if that happens) but still gives me enough working room for typical tasks
on the foredeck.
Two photos of me, clipped in while underway. Note that I don't always use a
tether while underway, especially if conditions are favourable. However, the
standing rule on Brave and Crazy is that ALL crew wear PFDs once the boat is
underway, no exceptions. PFDs are comfortable enough these days that there's
no excuse for not wearing one. Especially on Lake Ontario, the water
temperature is usually low enough even in mid-summer that swimming to safety
is simply not possible due to hypothermia. All you can do is wait for the boat
to come back and get you. That's made MUCH easier if you're wearing a PFD.
© 2018 Melissa Goudeseune