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The 'last chance' for a single-hander on a tiller steered vessel

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What is the issue?
If a single hander goes overboard and clears the vessel, with or without a harness, they are effectively lost. Even if they are attached by a safety harness the self-steered vessel will continue to forge ahead exerting too much of a drag upon the solo sailor in the water to pull themselves back aboard.

Why address this?
Every extra precaution a single hander can possibly implement to save their life in a dire circumstance is recommended.

How to address this?
If the vessel is tiller steered, trail a ‘last chance line’ astern that is connected to the tiller via a block, mounted perpendicular to its outer end.

‘Last chance’ solo sailors trailing line
Image: Michael Harpur

Should this ‘last chance line’ be grabbed, the tiller can be effectively pulled right over by the line overwhelming the vessel's self-steering gear. This will force the vessel to slow and round up, providing the solo sailor in the water with a better chance of getting back aboard.

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.

A view of the solo sailing experience

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