Of course you are quite correct in your point that not going overboard in the first place is always the best policy, it helps having a body shape like mine, my centre of gravity is always low and being a very bad swimmer I have added incentive to stay aboard!

    Now we have in-mast reefing combined with the roller reefing genoa the need to leave the cockpit can be kept at a complete minimum and hopefully only in conditions which are suited to working on deck although we do try and prepare for the unknown.

    I had decided that if the seastate was really bad whoever went on deck would not only clip on to the jackstays but also attach themselves to the spinnaker halyard or pole uphaul which are clipped to both siderails half way back, that way the remaining crew in the cockpit could keep a couple of turns around a winch to act as a safety line, of course if sailing short handed it may not be so easy.

    One lesson I have learnt is to ensure the lifelines are stowed in the cockpit before sailing, I found out that not having them quickly available when conditions suddenly changed and crew members started being badly seasick meant they were not clipped on as they were leaning overboard to be sick.