Tag Archives: safety

Our quick and easy preventer explained

When I recently wrote about some helpful upgrades that we’ve made to Yahtzee, I included a new preventer setup that I think needs some clarification. Well, I finally had the time to set it up at the dock and take some photos that will help explain it a bit better.

In my mind — and experience sailing downwind — a well devised and rigged preventer is an essential piece of gear aboard. And if it’s done right, it should be easy to set up, release and switch sides after an intentional jibe.

What any good preventer should do is catch the boom in the unfortunate event of an accidental jibe. That being the case, I like to lead the preventer line as far forward as possible. But, and this is the big caveat, every boat’s setup will be different. There is no one size fits all. After safe ease of use, what you want to achieve is a fair lead so the the preventer isn’t chafing.

Here’s Yahtzee’s preventer explained:

When installing a permanent preventer that can be quickly deployed on either side of the boat, the first thing I wanted to achieve was making it so that it could be stowed easily out of the way on the boom. To make this happen on Yahtzee, I measured and cut a length of Dyneema, attached the aft end to the bail at the end of the boom and then ran it about 3/4 of the way forward towards a cleat. At the forward end of the Dyneema I spliced in a stainless ring. This ring can then be attached to a short piece of bungee from the cleat to hold it taut, or to the second portion of the preventer line when it’s fully rigged.

Dyneema runs from the end of the boom forward when not in use.
A short length of bungee cord with a clip on the end can attach to the ring on the Dyneema or hold the coiled preventer that will run forward to the bow while deployed.

When it’s time to rig the full preventer for use, I can simply unhook the coil or Dyneema line and ease the boom out to where I want it while broad reaching or running. The secondary line then runs forward to a low friction ring on a snap shackle that I can move from the bow to the toe rail depending on how and where I want the line to lead.

Boom eased out over the starboard side with the preventer fully rigged.
Preventer running forward to the bow.
At the bow the preventer can get cleated on either side or led through a low friction ring and run aft.

The great thing about this setup is that when it comes time to jibe, Jill or I can un-attach the two lines without having to lean out over the side of the boat. The Dyneema can get quickly stowed on the boom with the bungee and then we can move the other section of the preventer to the new side. Once the jibe has been completed, the ring-end of the Dyneema section gets taken off the boom and re-attach it to the secondary line. When it’s all set, we can tighten the whole thing up and sail on without worry. Simple, quick and efficient.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me (andrewcross8@gmail.com) or ask in the comments below.

Deciding on a PLB and other safety gear

While outfitting our boat and crew to head off the coast of Washington for a run down to the Columbia River and then the return trip back with the Oregon Offshore Race (OOR), we assessed our personal safety gear and decided to make a few necessary upgrades.

In doing so, we spent time combing through the OORs Safety Equipment Requirement (SER) list and researching all the available options including Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) and personal strobe lights should someone fall overboard at night. We also took stock of our crew overboard devices, life jackets and tethers.

Going through the SER was incredibly useful for helping us determine what’s right for us in both a cruising and racing application. And even if you have no intention of sailing in a race or even heading offshore, a lot of this can be necessary equipment for any boater who plies the cold waters of the Inside Passage. But there’s no perfect solution for every boat and crew, so here’s a little info that may help you decided what’s right for you.

Personal Locator Beacons

We decided to purchase the ACR ResQLink+ Buoyant PLB
We decided to purchase the ACR 2881 ResQLink+ Floating GPS 406 PLB

Very simply, a PLB is a mini EPIRB that when activated sends a GPS signal to rescue services who are then able to mobilize and find whoever’s at the location of the transmitting beacon. Though PLBs aren’t new to boaters, there are some nuances between them and this was our first time purchasing one, so we wanted to make sure we knew what our options were. We have an EPIRB aboard, but we also wanted to have a PLB that, as a couple who stands watches alone, could be carried by the person on deck. Also, it could go in a ditch bag or with a crewmember into the life raft if need be. Continue reading Deciding on a PLB and other safety gear