Thursday, July 10, 2014

Is Your Tether Quick Release Actually Quick Release?

With his typically engineering analysis, Drew over at Sail Delmarva asks some hard questions about tethers:
This tether was found by rescue workers at the Wing Nuts accident site; there were several fatalities.

Where do you clip the "spare" leg of a 2-leg tether? To the harness ring, or course, if there is no loop on the tether... and there is not. Pull the quick release and you are still attached by the spare leg. A potentially fatal design error.

This is dangerous even on deck--if the tether gets wrapped around a sheet or guy he has 2 clips to release to get free. Not good.

And this points a scary trend, where equipment companies design to standards but don't actually test the gear in the field. They give the gear to sailors to use, but that is hardly the same as structured testing where all likely use scenarios are systematically tested.

The solution? some brands are adding a ring or loop near the harness end. If you make your own, leaving the loop long enough will do. Or in my case, I simply clipped in a small biner to give myself a parking space.

The typical vendor response? You should have a knife. Please. Why not say I should fall off the boat?

(No, I don't used quick-release harness end clips. I single hand and can't imagine a senario where  releasing will leave me better off. On the other hand, I can imaging the quick-release letting go or me clipping it incorrectly. My compromise. I still prefer to clip to the "parking space" and have only one clip on the harness.)

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