Elevated Jackline Leads

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Combination jackline lead and shroud cleat

 

This is a very interesting idea a few offshore sailors I know swear by. Run your jacklines off the deck up to a fixed point on your midship shrouds. That way the jackline is always easy to find and clip on to as you step out of the cockpit, your clip stays clear of all the other lines and stuff on deck, and if you actually do slip and fall you may stand a better a chance of staying onboard. The folks I know who like to do this always had to jury-rig something. For example, the combo shroud cleat/jackline lead seen here is a DIY prototype developed by Cyrus Knowles a few years back.

New this spring there is finally an off-the-shelf product from Johnson Marine that does the same thing. It doesn’t incorporate a cleat, but you could still use it to tie off a small-diameter flag halyard when the jacklines aren’t deployed.

Johnson Marine jackline fairlead

Jackline fairlead diagram

One reservation I have about elevated jacklines is there is no way to rig one that allows you to move all the way from the cockpit to the bow without unclipping and clipping back on again at the shroud. On some boats, of course, you can’t do this no matter how you lead the jackline. But on others, like Lunacy for example, you can, and I consider this a huge advantage.

The other reservation I have about this particular product is the price, which is just 25 cents shy of $170… each. They are beautifully made, CNC machined out of 316 stainless steel, are quite sexy looking, and they have a sleek low profile that should keep sheets and other working lines from hanging up on them. But still that’s a lot of money ($340, if you like to have jacklines on both sides of your boat) just to rig some jacklines.

Johnson Marine jackline fairlead kit

The leads can be mounted on wire, rod, or Dyform shrouds with diameters from 5/16″ to 1/2″. Includes wedge and shims for smaller diameters.

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3 Responses
  1. timqueeney

    Downside to this approach is that the jackline is outboard. Not a good place to reach for when in rough seas. You miss and you’re breathing fish.

  2. Chris

    We use a set up like this, running the line from the boom gallows forward. The height of the line provides more security w/o getting in the way/underfoot and since unclipping to get past the shrouds happens where it’s easier to hold on I’ve never felt uncomfortable. My grrl who doesn’t swim(!?) and wasn’t born with a caul appreciates it and I don’t get as nervous when she insists on going forward.

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