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MAIB Safety Bulletin: The use of safety harness tethers on sailing yachts

By MAIB — last modified Jan 11, 2018 02:56 PM
The MAIB issued on 9 January, 2018, a safety bulletin to highlight an urgent safety lesson that has arisen following a fatal man overboard during the Clipper Round the World Race from the sailing yacht CV30 in the Indian Ocean on 18 November 2017.

Published: 2018-01-11 00:00:00
Topics: Safety and Medical

MAIB Safety Bulletin: The use of safety harness tethers on sailing yachts

Example of Tether hook distorted - from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch

The incident took place in the Indian Ocean on November 18, when British solicitor Simon Speirs (60) went overboard from the yacht CV30 after being swept off the bow by a wave. Wind conditions at the time were 20kts gusting 40kts.

He was wearing the correct safety equipment at the time including a safety harness and tether which was attached to the boat.

The tether failed under load and broke. While Simon Speirs was recovered 36 minutes later, he was unable to be revived and was buried at sea some 1500nm from Fremantle.

The preliminary investigation has revealed that the snap clip used to attach Simon Speirs to the yachts jackline had caught under a cleat or similar fitting on the yacht and had become unable to be properly aligned when the man overboard load was applied.

As a result, it appears that the tether hook distorted because of the load angle and released.

The bulletin contains details on the background and events leading up to the accident, initial findings and the safety lesson,

Read the full bulletin at https://www.gov.uk/maib-reports/safety-warning-on-the-use-of-safety-harness-tethers-on-sailing-yachts

A full report will be published when the investigation is complete.

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