Like me, Kim Klaka has never fully understood the recommendation to have a safety harness clipping point near the companionway.
Kim writes: “I realise you are extremely vulnerable when exiting and entering the cabin, but there is a much safer way of arranging things on most yachts. Provided your boat is not too beamy at the forward end of the cockpit (less than maybe 3.5m) and you have jackstays running along the side decks, then try this: have all unused tethers attached to the jackstays, with the other end dangling through the companionway.
“When a crewmember comes on watch they can clip on before leaving the cabin and they are already connected to the jackstay as they climb into the cockpit. No switching of attachment point required. Clearly, they will be on the long tether, but they can change to a short tether using the third clip once they reach their chosen place in the cockpit.
The reverse procedure is followed when going below – keep the tether clipped to the jackstay and go down the companionway steps, only unclipping when you are safely in the cabin.
I have used this technique on a variety of boats from seven metres to 13m length over 30 years and never found a problem. It has the bonus of always knowing where the spare tethers are – they are in the companionway.
The only time it falls down is when it is so rough that you need the washboard in place and the hatch shut; even then a workaround can usually be found.”