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New ISAF rule on quick release harnesses.

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Matt Jackson View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Matt Jackson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: New ISAF rule on quick release harnesses.
    Posted: 26 Nov 04 at 7:54am

There is a new rule proposed by ISAF about QR trapeze systems:-

 

'A trapeze or hiking harness shall have a device that can quickly
release the competitor from the boat at any time while in use.'

 

There have been a few important points made recently on the Contender (Yahoo) email group - some quite spirited! Although I don’t speak from an official position in the Contender association I think it would be useful to summarise (as I see it) here what has been discussed so the wider sailing public can also start a discussion on the subject. I suspect the same points will be discussed again and there will be a few people trying to scare each other with anecdotes about drowning but any discussion is good for gauging peoples views on unworkable or unjust rules (or laws) and mounting a campaign against them:-

 

1. People have been killed or had incidents where they could have been killed from entanglement with trapeze hooks - we now all know this and armed with this information we can make a CHOICE whether to buy a system which protects us from this hazard.

2. As a group we are well informed intelligent people who know why we sail and don't take kindly to unnecessary legislation - how much easier has racing become since the racing rules were rationalised a few years ago?

3. Entanglement incidents which pull a sailor under the water (by definition) have some tension on the hook - any quick release mechanism MUST be able to release with some tension on the hook to be of any use.

4. Contenderers on the email group are not alone in being opposed to this rule - our friends in the Musto Skiff, 505 and I14 classes are also discussing this.

5. The rule won’t come into force until 1/1/06 (if at all) and any class or club could delete the rule via the sailing instructions anyway – but do we want ISAF spending our association subs discussing this kind of rule?

6. QR harness system development is only just starting and the first generation to be developed will be expensive and not very good - as a product designer I know that designs are rushed to market to exploit a single supplier situation and only over time with some competition will designs improve and get cheaper.

 

Please note that in principal I believe QR harnesses are a good thing and I’m considering buying one for my next harness but I also believe I should decide when that should be. My objection to this rule is a ‘thin end of the wedge’ thing if we let this rule through then what next? Crash helmets? Back protectors? EPIRBs? All this drives up the cost and reduces the freedom of our sport.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Granite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 04 at 9:14am

Question:

Does the rule apply for quick reliese from only when you are hooked into the trapize in normal trapizing positions? That would mean that a current hook with the rubber gromit removed would comply i.e a single action of pulling on the loop of the trapize unhooks me.

Or does it attempt to say that you should be able to releise from any angle that the equipment could take up difficult to design and certify! If you are saying that a harnes in its self complies with a rule then it needs to be certfied.

If we are saying that a normal open hook is not an effective quick releise then that would also rule out the ball and ramp method on the Bethwait harness which looks (I havent used one) like it would be better than current or quick releise hooks at preventing entanglement with other parts of the rigging such as shrouds or just getting caught on the deck of the boat?

 

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Post Options Post Options   Quote *GM* Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 04 at 10:41am

The rule reads:

"40.2 A trapeze or hiking harness shall have a device capable of quickly releasing the competitor from the boat at all times while in use."

So I don't think that a normal hook would be legal (and I hope no-one actually still has the rubber grommit fitted!).  I don't see how the Bethwaite system can be legal either as it relies on not getting tangled on things rather than having a "device capable of quickly releasing".

I can't see any club or association being prepared to delete the rule via their SIs - if they did and there was an "incident" involving someone wearing a non-ISAF legal harness the lawyers would have a field day.

I don't really have a problem with ISAF legislating for the compulsory use of safety equipment (I've been involved with motor sport for a long time and there are rules requiring competitors to wear helmets and overalls that meet certain ISO or BSI standards there).  However, as Matt says, QR equipment is still in its infancy.  OK, ISAF have delayed implementation for a year and this has been on the cards for a while but I think they should have delayed making the use of it mandatory for a while longer.  And I think they have got it wrong as far as the wording is concerned anyway.  From looking at the minutes of the meetings at which it was discussed it seems clear that the exclusion of Bethwaite type arrangements was deliberate and I think that is a mistake - I'd rather avoid a tangle in the first place than know I could get out of it quickly once I'd got tangled!

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Lucy Lee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 04 at 11:03am

Well, I've been sailing trapeze boats for about 15 years, and all my scariest moments have come from getting my feet, clothing and buoyancy aid caught on things, not the trapeze hook.

I am certainly not going to sail without a buoyancy aid or clothing  , that would be really daft!

I agree with Granite that designing a QR system that would work in any circumstances would be very difficult. Most of the times I've been trapped I have pinned against the boat on my front, so getting my hand to a QR system on the front of a harness would have been impossible. Not getting caught in the first place seems to be more sensible...

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Granite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 04 at 12:55pm

The Rule States

"40.2 A trapeze or hiking harness shall have a device capable of quickly releasing the competitor from the boat at all times while in use."

I would say that a trapeze harness is in use while i am standing on the side of the boat hanging from it. Therefore the quick releise is for me to reach one hand up to the handle lift my weight slightly and the elastic pulls the loop out of the hook I let go of my handle and fall in to the water. I have releised my self quickly

Does ISAF plan to test and certify all harnesses? or would I if challanged to the conformity of the harness would I be able to show that I can release myself from the trapize quickly?

The trapeze harnes is not in use when I am floating in the water next to a capsized boat or even traped under the water by my hook (or boyancy aid or one of the straps or buckles) caught on some part of the boat.

I would say that using a quick releise hook could be more dangerous! Consider the situation where it is a rising wind you have capsized badly the hook has got releised (possably accidentaly through the button getting pressed) and even though there is an anoying bit of rubber on the quick releise hook it has fallen over the side of the boat you could now be faced with a long slow beat home with no trapize.

Remember that the manufactureres of the quick releise harnesses have a vested interest in telling us that the old ones are no good if a hook is satisfactory I do not need to buy anything for me for the manufacturers!

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Post Options Post Options   Quote john.d.knight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 04 at 1:58pm
I've been out of the widsurfing world a few years now but we had low snag hooks and quick release harnesses twenty years ago. Surely its not beyond harness manufacturers to be able to adapt these features for trapezing harnesses? Here's a link to a quick release system on a windsurfer harness http://www.gunsails.co.uk/en/harness.htm it's about 2/3rds down the pay.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Scooby_simon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 04 at 2:41pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Lucy Lee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 04 at 2:41pm

That windsurfing kit site is a bit strange: you can only look at the back of the harnesses, with the groovy graphics, and not at the buisness end of the harness.

How does the QR system work?

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Post Options Post Options   Quote hurricane Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 04 at 3:34pm

"40.2 A trapeze or hiking harness shall have a device capable of quickly releasing the competitor from the boat at all times while in use."

does a Knive count as a quick release mechinism???

because thats what i carry

and tbh i am really annoyed with the rule beacuse i think these systems look very easy to set off by accident and wont be using one!!!!!

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Phil eltringham Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 04 at 6:18pm

I think the knife would only work if you had a lace on hook, and even then I would not trust myself to be clear headed enough to cut myself free if I was struggling for breath under a hull/tramp. 

Personally I'll stick to my B14 where I dont have to worry about trapeeze hooks. 

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