The phone cord thing sounds clever. And cheap. My 2 favorite goals. Do you have picts of your fishing setup?
I do use the flimsy hobie brand rod leashes now, combined with a nylon line extension. The quick release plastic clips are convenient for passing the rod around the sheet and mast, but worry me a bit. But it's not that big a deal, for reasons I will explain.
I splurged on the Lightspeeds after alot of research and seeing all the cool PVC setups guys out here in the islands came up with. On the rear Akas, they keep the reels pretty dry, with or without tramps. Keeping the gear dry and the tramps functional were my first concerns. Another was not having any sharp edges that the supermodels could bruise themselves on. (Man can't live on fish alone,..)
The extreme adjustability of these units was also a plus.
The balls feel great now, thank you very much, but we'll see what happens as they age, wear and get really wet.
I mentioned that a buddy of mine uses these bad boys for his large tuna rods:
They are very solid and adjustable, but mount low to the water, as you can see. and can not be removed. Close to $100 each. The rod can easily go for a swim.
With this particular RAM system, unless the ball fails completely, there is a near zero chance you are going to lose your rod/reel. When the lock is engaged, the rod clamp will not let it go. The leash provides redundant insurance.
Don't believe me? FInd a store with one and clamp a body part in there, then try to get it out. Just try,..