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Old 02-01-2010, 20:22   #1
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Lifelines

We are replacing our old coated lifelines this winter. We found some 7/32" halyard wire in good condition (no meathooks, no obvious wear).

1st Question: Safe to use the halyard wire for lifelines?

2nd Question: Possible to adapt 7/32" wire to 1/4" fittings?
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Old 02-01-2010, 21:43   #2
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If you've got 1/4" end fittings, why not just buy 1x19 1/4" wire for the lifelines. Don't imagine it would run more than $200 to buy new 316 wire. We got some free 1/4" 1x19 from a re-rig job and used Norseman terminals on our old boat. AFAIK, it's still sailing with those wire lifelines 35 years and 50,000 miles later. 1/4" 1x19 is so way over strength it might last forever.
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Old 03-01-2010, 00:24   #3
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rover is right. you can buy 3/16' 316 SS cable 1 X 19 wire and fittings and make it so you don't have to worry about it for many years. using 7/16" wire in 1/4" fittings is always a BAD idea!!! on a sailboat, preventing MOB has to be one of the most important things and not a good place to cheap out.
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Old 03-01-2010, 11:29   #4
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We will be replacing all of the fittings, too. The halyard wire is 7/32" (NOT 7/16") - 1/32" less than 1/4" and more than 3/16" which are standard sizes for lifeline fittings.

It's not all about saving money. It's also about reusing perfectly good material when possible.
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Old 03-01-2010, 12:26   #5
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sorry cal, my typo. you still should not use 7/32" wire with 1/4" swage fittings. you could use your old halyard wire for lifelines as long as you get the correct fittings for it.

cheers
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Old 04-01-2010, 02:51   #6
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What about nicopress swages? When we changed the lifelines on our Mason 43, we made eyes with thimbles using nicopress swages and then lashed the lifelines to the pulpit and pushpit. We feel much more secure with lashings than with the usual stainless steel fittings.

What about rope? We used coated lifelines, but I regret it. I've used rope before (on a different boat), and the next time we change the lifelines we'll use it again. The reason has nothing to with money--I just don't trust 316 stainless cable for lifelines, because the lifelines are constantly 'worked.'

Regards.
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Old 04-01-2010, 04:24   #7
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I would have a small concern that the halyard wire (7 x 19) will be more abrasive on the stanchions than the smoother surface of 1 x 19 and also more abrasive to one's skin.
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Old 24-01-2010, 11:50   #8
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CAL, please no!!!!

Do not use 7x19 wire from wire halyards for your lifelines, it will pinch and make meat hooks, Ouch!!. And no, you can absoloutley not swage 7/32 on to 1/4". Use the right fitting for the right wire and please have a professional make it and make sure that it gauges. PLEASE!!!!

Synthetics are great! They have a real place in replacing halyards, runners, topping lifts, even sheets. However, there is alot more work to convert to synthetic lifelines than a few brummel splices (if you want to do it right). It will chafe, and it will stretch (especially if you use amsteel). You can cut spectra, vectran or dynex dux 75 with a nice pair of scissors, try cutting 3/16" 316 marine grade wire with scissors. The stanchion ferrules have to have a welded tube on the inside of the hole, then counter bored then rounded and polished (totally fair). Now you can put your brummel splice in (no thimble, so you can get it off) cow hitch to the forward pad eye of the pulpit. Pull it tight through the first stanchion mark on either side. Pull it back out a little bit and make a service of shrink tube, leather, or whatever you can come up with (mind your diameter the hole is only so big). Do this times all the stanchions on your boat and times all the courses. Oh, and do yourself a favor, spend the extra coin and use dynex dux 75. Don't forget to make the service long enough and leave enough throw for the material to stretch, whether you are terminating with a turnbuckle, lashing or one of those nice spectra lifeline adjusters. BAM! looks nice. Never mind gates, thats a whole other project, to do it right.

Now, did that really cost less than a 1x19 316 marine grade stainless wire, which was measured and gauged by a pro (add as many gates as you can dream up, you just have to purachase the fittings) and then just laced through your stanchions regardless of fairness. Plus if you're really good to your synthetics and remove them every winter and wash them they will be on your boat for five years or so, max (before they become a safety issue). With 1x19 your looking at 10-15yrs., just rinse it off after some salty sailing and put some fresh tape on those cotter pins or ring dings.

Look I know some of you are really happy to finally find a material that is easy to splice, stronger than stainless, and alot lighter. But this is a CRUISERS FORUM so do yourself a favor (all of you) and don't go mental over lifelines. Breaking strength is never an issue with any of these products even if you weigh 500lbs., the stanchion will pull out of the deck before anything else fails. As far as weight is concerned, let's be real, even if you are sailing a carbon/kevlar race boat this is barely an issue for winning regattas (especially if you weigh 500lbs.)

304 architectural grade 7x19 and 7x7 vinyl coat is dead, and should no longer be used on boats. 1x19 316 grade wire (the stuff your standing rig uses) is maybe dying at best, but not dead yet. Don't always opt for cheaper, opt for your best bang for your buck. Quit making excuses, do it right, do it once, keep it simple and just go sailing damnit!

-S.S.
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Old 24-01-2010, 12:22   #9
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Thanks to all of you for your feedback. Summer Wind is getting new 1x19 wire with proper standard fittings done by a real Rigger.
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Old 24-01-2010, 12:32   #10
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you'll be a happy camper .... or sailor
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