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Old 07-01-2007, 09:59   #1
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Lifelines

We are thinking of replacing our lifelines with rope instead of coated wire. We will be using Endura 12 Dyneema Single Braid 5/16 " with breaking strength of 13,300 #. Has anyone used this line before for any purpose?
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Old 07-01-2007, 13:48   #2
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There has been a little movement towards fiber lifelines but the problem so far is they will not take abrasion or a sharp edge of something running across it for very long. I wouldn't put MY life/wife on the soft stuff. I'm having ENOUGH trouble with my outhauls, I'd be going back to wire if it wasn't for the sharp bends.............................._/)
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Old 07-01-2007, 16:30   #3
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This particular product is known for its abrasion resistance. The primary reason for our choice is safety. Recent articles on safety relate to being able to cut the line with a rigging knife while attempting to haul a person on-board without having to bring them over the lines.

3/16" stainless wire, coated to 5/16" has a breaking strength of 3700#
as apposed to 13,300# for 5/16" Dyneema.

This looks pretty good but I am still trying decide.

Nigel Calder recommends uncoated wire on top and coated for lowers, due to the rusting going on under the coating. This seems a little dangerous to me, but who am I to question his experience.

I first read about using rope in the Ancient Mariner. Many schools of thought, no rush to make this decision.
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Old 07-01-2007, 17:12   #4
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It is a heck of alot easier to visually inspect for chafe than to guess the condition of coated stainless. And Del, with all due respect, I wouldn't intentionally be betting my life or my wife on ANY lifelines. I tell guests on my boat that they are not lifelines but GUIDELINES. There as a visual cue that you are at the edge. If they happen to save a life that's great but on my boat we stay off them when we can help it.
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Old 07-01-2007, 18:54   #5
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I can agree with you for the most part but for people that are not experienced on boats, they are lifelines. But that's what jack lines are for.

On my boat they are gear catchers for sails, fenders, lines and rig. I have netting strung along the forward half for such stuff. It has even saved a hat or two.

No matter how abrasive resistant it is, any fibrous line made out there can be parted easily by putting it under tension and then hitting it with a shape edge. I think I would carry extra line with me if going off shore just in case there was a situation that caused damage. When I look at the plastic coating on my wire I can see a lot of places where it has been gouged, hit, cut twisted and lines dragged across them in the past 25 years. I'm not sure a fiber line would have held up this long.

I had to string a temporary line on mine last summer when I dropped my boom accidentally by releasing the topping lift clutch with my foot while coming back into the cockpit. I just happened to have the rigid vang off for repairs.

Yeah! They are all due for replacement. But, after I do a little work, where I need to remove the stanchions. Hopefully, this year!

I'm not really trying to talk anyone out of fiber lines. Just what the consequences might be, Poly vs. Metal................................_/)
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Old 08-01-2007, 17:11   #6
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Lifelines

Either 3/4 inch sch 40 SS pipe or ss boiler tubing makes far better top lifelines than any of the trendy springy stuff.
With existing stanchions you can simply weld short pieces to the top rail to slide into the tops of the stanchions at the appropriate spacing , after you cut the tops off the existing stanchions. They can be pinned in place . The solid top lifeline, about 34 inches off the deck, gives far more security that wire or synthetic rope, and drastically reduces the amount of movement of the stanchion base, as it results in the stanchions being supported top and bottom This drastically reduces the chances of deck leaks around the stanchion bases.
It also makes the top of a stanchion less of a spear when you fall on it .
Wire or rope top lifelines will eventually fade from the cruising scene, among experienced cruisers.
Brent
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Old 09-01-2007, 04:11   #7
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Lifeline Study
The results of Phase One of the study indicated that bow and stern tubular pulpits and pushpits play a crucial role in the structural integrity of the overall lifeline systems. The research done by Mechanical Engineering majors at the U.S. Naval Academy revealed that wire and swage fittings, utilized in the lifelines of Navy 44's did not fail until tension loads exceeded 5,000 lbs.. However, when the full system was actually tested using loads that simulate hiking crew members leaning against the lower lifeline, failure of the system occurred at 1,200 lbs., and was caused by deflection of the stern pushpit and subsequent collapse of individual stanchions...”
www.ussailing.org/safety/Studies/lifeline_study.htm

Lake Michigan Crew Over Board Study ~ by Glenn McCarthy
Sailing World, McCarthy, Lake Michigan PFD Study

Offshore Racing Council SAFETY AT SEA RULES (courtesy of Wichard)
Safety Products* From Wichard

OSHA’s Guidelines for Personal Fall Protection Systems:
General Testing Conditions and Additional Guidelines for Personal Fall Protection Systems (Non-mandatory) - 1915 Subpart I App B
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Old 09-01-2007, 10:46   #8
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Originally Posted by Louis Riel
Either 3/4 inch sch 40 SS pipe or ss boiler tubing makes far better top lifelines than any of the trendy springy stuff.

Brent
Are there any boats other than Amels that have "solid" lifelines?
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Old 09-01-2007, 11:01   #9
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instead of dyneema or steel, parafil with a plastic coating is a good alternative. It has the strength of steel, doesnt rust, and the plastic coat helps to avoid the problems of sharp objects against rope.

However, IIRC the racing authorities will only accept steel wire.
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Old 09-01-2007, 11:17   #10
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Are there any boats other than Amels that have "solid" lifelines
I just was on a Tayana 52 at the SD boat show over the weekend it had Solid top and lower lifelines (rails)

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Old 10-01-2007, 00:52   #11
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No matter how abrasive resistant it is, any fibrous line made out there can be parted easily by putting it under tension and then hitting it with a shape edge. I think I would carry extra line with me if going off shore just in case there was a situation that caused damage. When I look at the plastic coating on my wire I can see a lot of places where it has been gouged, hit, cut twisted and lines dragged across them in the past 25 years. I'm not sure a fiber line would have held up this long.
Good point Del, I hadn't considered that eventuality.(Certainty?)

Hard not to agree with Louis Riel that tubing would be infinitely preferable as a thing to fall on and to save you. When I finish with the big white boats and build myself one of his brilliant steel boats it will most certainly have full life rails that I would trust my life to!
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Old 11-01-2007, 16:58   #12
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Just a thought. Since not too many agree that lifelines should be made of rope, due primarily to abrasion, does that also apply to jacklines, the lines which we do, and should rely on for life. It seems that jacklines are at least as vulnerable to sharp objects and abrasion, and we are seldom attached to more than one at a time.
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Old 11-01-2007, 18:33   #13
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I don't think that jacklines have quite the chafing issue as lifelines:

- Jacklines ought to be removed and inspected after a passage, so they won't see as much U.V. exposure and any wear and tear should be noticed before it gets too bad.

- Lifelines are (semi-)permanantly rigged under some tension, are constantly rubbing against the stanchion holes, and are in a location where sheets, sails, etc, can be in regular contact.

-Jacklines are under modest tension at best, so they are less prone to chafe.

For what it's worth, I have 1x19 SS uncoated lifelines, and they are holding up very well. I think they are a big improvement over my previous coated wire lifelines (which I discovered had become quite corroded under the covering). I use dacron webbing for the jacklines, and these have also held up well through two "California to Hawaii and back" round trips.
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Old 12-01-2007, 01:32   #14
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I suspect the racing rules stipulating wire lifelines is as much to do with possibly 99.9% of race boats wishing to keep wire - as it is to do with the ability to cut a connection piece of cord and drop them to retrieve someone from the water.

Whatever the reasons - unless I owned a big boat able to carry teak capped railings and still look good - not sure I'd want to consider an alternative to 1 x 19 ss uncoated wire anyway.

Such lifelines allow a headsail to be trimmed in without too much wear on the foot, are flexible enough to handle pressures applied if our spinnaker sheets etc are inadvertantly trimmed so's the lines run across the top wire, and despite now cruising, like to retain the ability to cut the short length of rope we always afix the aft end of the wire to our pushpit with, in the event we wish to drop the wire in an emergency situation.

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Old 12-01-2007, 13:51   #15
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We just put Spectra cored double braided lifelines on Estrella in Fort Bragg on our way down the coast.

I too struggled with the chafe issue especially since I have a fiberglass stitch and glue dinghy I drag over the lifelines at times. I decided to solve this problem by getting the covered stuff.

Once I started doing the core to core splices to make these lifelines I regretted getting the covered stuff. My sharp scissors had great difficulty getting through the spectra core. There are a bazillion strands per lay in the core. I later found out the cover is more for handling ease and putting around winches than it is for chafe resistance.

I no longer have any concerns whatsoever about chafe on my lifelines. The line cost me somewhere in the $150 range for the whole boat compared to $600 to have wire lifelines swaged and attendant hardware it was a no brainer.

I thought about doing nicopress fittings and hardware with wire but I didnt want meathooks that come with 7X7 and am told that 1X19 is not good in a nicopress as the hard bend weakens it much more than it does 7X7.

I know I invite all kinds of "safety" dogma for mentioning that cost was a factor but we are responsible for our own safety and lifelines are hardly our only line of defense.

happy lifelining!
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