International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Guidelines to Jacklines



The International Sailing Federation (ISAF), the world governing body for the sport of sailing, has established clear guidelines for ISAF-sanctioned events, and these are generally applied to offshore racing-ISAF-sanctioned, or not-around the world. Among the recommendations are the following:

Jackstays shall be:

1. Attached to through-bolted or welded deckplates or other suitable and strong anchor points fitted on deck, port and starboard of the boats centerline to provide secure attachments for safety harness;

2. Comprising stainless-steel 1 x 19 wire of minimum diameter 5 millimeters (3/16 inches), high-modulus polyethylene rope (such as Dyneema/Spectra), or webbing of equivalent strength; which, when made from stainless-steel wire shall be uncoated and used without any sleeving;

3. 20 kilonewton (2,040 foot-kilograms or 4,500 foot-pounds) minimum breaking strain webbing is recommended.

Clipping Points shall be provided:

1. Attached to through-bolted or welded deckplates or other suitable and strong anchorage points adjacent to stations such as the helm, sheet winches and masts, where crewmembers work for long periods; which, together with jackstays and static safety lines shall enable a crew member

a. to clip on before coming on deck and unclip after going below;

b. whilst continuously clipped on, to move readily between the working areas on deck and the cockpit(s) with the minimum of clipping and unclipping.

2. The provision of clipping points shall enable two-thirds of the crew to be simultaneously clipped on without depending on jackstays.

3. Warning: Beware of U-bolts as clipping points; see OSR 5.02.1a (This rule states that non-locking carabiners can slip off if rotated around the U-bolt.)

Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.


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