Harnesses and Lifejackets and How to Use Them

Phyllis Nickel at the helm of "Morgan's Cloud" during a sunny windy afternoon sail off Jonesport, Maine.

In this chapter I’m going to look at harnesses both separate and built into lifejackets. But before I get started I want to make one thing crystal clear. This chapter is not about what you should do. Rather I’m going to explore the way our thinking about harnesses has, and continues, to evolve.

My hope is that the chapter will inspire you to think carefully about your own practices, because this, like most everything about person-overboard prevention, is an area where (despite what various “authorities” may try to ram down our throats) there are few, if any, hard and fast rules that work in every situation.

John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for 25 years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 20 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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