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Old 08-06-2016, 12:38   #1
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jackline color

hey all,

I'm building up some jacklines and safety tethers for my boat, planning on an extended cruise of the Pacific in about a year. I'm reading voraciously and taking into account pretty much every opinion I can gather while I make my own decisions on what feels right.

One question though - I'm going to go with "climb-spec" tubular nylon webbing for the jacklines, possibly with 1/4" Spectra threaded through for extra backup.

...should I go with fluorescent ORANGE webbing, or fluorescent YELLOW webbing?

My thoughts are that the orange, being a darker color, will be less visible at night without a headlamp (not that that's super likely, but still), vs. the yellow will get dirtier faster and as such less visible in the daytime.

Anyone here make their own jacklines? I'm really liking this article currently:

...and I'm likely going to order either this: Climb-Spec Tubular Webbing 1 inch x 100 yard Spool Orange ::

or this:

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Old 08-06-2016, 12:43   #2
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Re: jackline color

I doubt that the color will matter much. We have yellow, and dirt hasn't been an issue. With hollow nylon webbing I would definitely run a strong low-stretch line inside, as the nylon is going to stretch a lot. You don't want stretchy jacklines. I do like my flat polyester webbing, since it doesn't roll under your foot. With the flat webbing I put a few twists in it to reduce "flapping" when the wind picks up.

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Old 08-06-2016, 12:48   #3
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Re: jackline color

^^ just fyi - as the author of that article you like - I have to tell you it is a bit out of date ( a problem with the internet - stuff lives on forever, even when it is out of date) and I learned quite a bit during my load testing of sewn webbing loops (which was after I wrote that article). Details of what I learned are here scroll down to the sections on sewn loops and jackline construction. . . . the essence is that it is MUCH harder to sewn really strong end webbing loops than most people (including professionals selling them) thought. But there are a couple tricks (outlined on my web page) that make it possible for a DIYer.

As to color - I think either would be just fine - no major difference.

Most people recommend polyester webbing rather than nylon - because nylon is more vulnerable to UV (putting spectra cord down the middle would mitigate that) and it stretches more when wet. I'm not sure it matters that much, espically if you add the spectra cord.
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Old 08-06-2016, 13:12   #4
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Re: jackline color

It's pain in the ass to fish a small line down the middle of tubing, then you need to figure out how to sew the line into the end of the tubing. The two are completely different when you come to the end. It's easier to get Polyester webbing that is strong enough you don't need the small line in the middle. I found some in bright yellow.
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Old 08-06-2016, 13:26   #5
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Re: jackline color

FWIW, have found that black line last way longer than light colored line in constant UV exposure. I'd get black webbing if it's available.
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Old 08-06-2016, 13:34   #6
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Re: jackline color

The colour is less important. How do we know what colour is your deck? And why should you need to see the lines in the dark? I ask because I clip in before leaving the cockpit and so I do not need to look for the lines walking fore and aft. Our lines crossover at the mast. I also work the deck in the darkness. I know where things are and I do not need a torch. Sure thing, I have one in the pocket.

You want stitched webbing (can be done on any home sewing machine).

Non-stitched tubular can roll dangerously under the shoe. Esp if you decide to feed anything thru the tube ...

I would not use nylon - our lines live permanently on the deck while on the passages. Going polyester saves you heaps in the longer run.

Think if tubular polyester is OK for you. Stitched.

(If you do the stitching, it is a zigzag stitch)

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Old 08-06-2016, 13:57   #7
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Re: jackline color

We use yellow jacklines.
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Old 08-06-2016, 14:27   #8
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Re: jackline color

I made ours with the 1" tubular Mil-Spec nylon webbing, rated 4,000lbs. The loops at one end, was a knot w/stitching over the tail. The color isn't important, it will fade anyway. Some talk about the stretch of nylon as being bad, but I see it as a shock absorber and the truth nylon shrinks a lot over time. Twisting the jack line seems like a good deal for wind noise, but makes it more a trip hazard. I've gone overboard twice so I take this very seriously, neither time was I hooked in.

One happened when we hit a freak wave or wake in the Chesapeake. I was on the bow the boat was doing 6kts in very calm waters and wake shot me straight up and I slid down the genoa, grabbing the lifeline as I was going over. Bent two stations over, being dragged at 6kts I lost my hat, glasses and shorts were around my ankles. Had the mate deploy the lifesling and grab it as the boat slid by after heading up. My pet pee, is having a ladder that can be easily deployed, even being able to pull it down while in the water.

The other time was working on a tug in the harbor and had a floatcoat on.

We have lost 5 people to falling overboard in the marinas near me, most at night in the winter and none had ladders they could get to. Another very good friend was pulled out in Feb by a SEAL Team guys who heard him breathing and was in very bad shape. Getting people back onboard is a big part.
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Old 09-06-2016, 20:40   #9
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Re: jackline color

Mine are blue. They stand out well against the deck. The porpoises approve of them too.
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Old 09-06-2016, 20:57   #10
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Re: jackline color


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