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Old 18-06-2013, 22:29   #16
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Re: Why do sailboats have wire lifelines?

Dyneema/Spectra is very easy to splice:

But it is expensive.

Nylon stretches much more than Dyneema/Spectra. Nylon is used for rock climbing because it absorbs the dynamic loads when you fall by stretching. That would be good for jackstays because they do function much like a climbers rope. Dyneema/Spectra are used as direct replacements for stainless steel rigging. They are also incredibly abrasion resistant.

I'm not an engineer but I do know that the typical stanchion & stainless steel cable lifeline system is designed with a minimal amount of 'stretch' as a parameter - it's a system of parts after all. If you alter the stretchiness of the lifelines the stanchions won't perform as expected. They may well buckle or tear out at the toerail as you pop over the side....

Dyneema/Spectra isn't used in lifelines because people love spending money. It's used because it's an appropriate substitution for stainless steel from an engineering standpoint.
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Old 18-06-2013, 22:30   #17
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If you intend to sail rope lifelines allow the running rigging some room to run fair. A solid rail might bend or torture the stanchions. Rope lifelines allow race crews to hike, also. Windage might be a consideration. Stanchions get mangled often enough that their simple replacement / repair would be an advantage. Weight penalty too.

Spectra is a great way to go. Nylon ?? Must be a special application as the stretching nylon is way too much for a typical lifeline.
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Old 18-06-2013, 22:33   #18
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Re: Why do sailboats have wire lifelines?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
The quality I valued in the spectra was the lack of stretch.

It's not terribly UV resistant, though. I'm not sure how long it will last.
If you buy it with the grey UV coating it's very durable. I've had a UV protected trampoline on my cat since 2007 which is still in perfect condition. Our climate here is pretty much like Florida - lots of sun & humidity.
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Old 18-06-2013, 23:16   #19
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Re: Why do sailboats have wire lifelines?

We have railings in the aft section of our boat, about a good 1/3 of the vessel. and wire with the fiberglass covers the rest of the way !This allows us to get to both masts and riggin with greater safety, and as we very seldom ever need to go forward, except for anchoring. It fits me at 6ft2 and makes Connie feel real safe at 5 ft nothin LOL Also the higher larger railings make a great set up with the heavey davits we have for the 12 ft fiberglass sailing dink, which the PO had made for him by some fancy bilder in washington st. Heavey ole thing but a sweet sailor! So put us down for prefering railings I guess?
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Old 18-06-2013, 23:47   #20
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Re: Why do sailboats have wire lifelines?

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Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
I use three strand nylon. The spectra craze is a little weird.

Use solid metal where you need it.
I'm with you...where you need it. Lifelines are a joke on 90% of the sailboats I see. One of the posters was worried about breaking bones. Pleeeease! If you were thrown at the same force against lifelines as to a solid rail that would break a bone...you would bust out the stations, line and end up in the drink. Furthermore, if you were in conditions that produce that kind of calamity. you'll never get back onboard.
Mine is a combination. Solid 1" rail up to the front of the cockpit. It also hold some of my panels and makes it a breeze to mount weather cloths. I'm sorry but my boat is functional. I'm not waiting for cruising world to do a centerfold on "Joli Elle". There is beauty in function.
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Old 19-06-2013, 00:03   #21
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Re: Why do sailboats have wire lifelines?

Plenty of boats with solid railing out there, I see 1 1/2" all the time. Just gotta get away from the small boats. Mine has a very beefy teak handrail all the way around instead. One of the few bits I've left bright. Nice to have a rail you can stand on.
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Old 19-06-2013, 04:57   #22
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Re: Why do sailboats have wire lifelines?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
You forgot to mention:

a) harder to splice
b) more expensive

With three strand you can run much thicker, the stretch is negligible, and it's easier to grab. The "advantages" of spectra for lifelines are on paper; it's a distinction without a difference. If people want to spend more money and work harder to do a "better" job that offers no material benefit I certainly won't stand in their way.
Spectra is easier to splice than double braid or than 3 strand. It is about the easiest splice around. A long core bury with some cross stitch is as strong as any other splice.
It is very low chafe.
It is cheap. This is not some high tech, blend line. It is sold in for lots of uses and is available online for very reasonable.
It is low stretch
It has good UV resistance (without any special coatings)
It is way strong

The low chafe makes it great for things like lazy jacks, even when strength isn't needed.
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Old 19-06-2013, 05:28   #23
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Re: Why do sailboats have wire lifelines?

Not sure anybody mentioned maitenance... The solid bars all add to the routine maintenance schedule with polishing, where the wire or spectra lines are virtually maintenance free
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Old 19-06-2013, 05:50   #24
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Re: Why do sailboats have wire lifelines?

With bare wire not only can you see problems developing it is very easy to set up an electric fence security system using a 12v electric fence charger
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Old 19-06-2013, 06:39   #25
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Re: Why do sailboats have wire lifelines?

WIRE. Another one of those incomprehensible, illogical, unsafe, insecure traditions that we stick to. BTW, I have PVC coated wire.
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Old 19-06-2013, 07:13   #26
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Re: Why do sailboats have wire lifelines?

Hmm....

Never really thought of NOT having railing???? Tradition I suppose.... Plus... we get to initiate the new with just a few more terms to learn! (pulpits) (edit- I guess you would still have pulpits with full railing?)

I suppose it make sense on anything big like 45+... Aesthetically, I think it would be hideous to have full railing on anything small.... 20-30'
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Old 19-06-2013, 07:17   #27
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Re: Why do sailboats have wire lifelines?

Quote:
Originally Posted by muskoka View Post
Dyneema/Spectra is very easy to splice:

But it is expensive.

Nylon stretches much more than Dyneema/Spectra. Nylon is used for rock climbing because it absorbs the dynamic loads when you fall by stretching. That would be good for jackstays because they do function much like a climbers rope. Dyneema/Spectra are used as direct replacements for stainless steel rigging. They are also incredibly abrasion resistant.

I'm not an engineer but I do know that the typical stanchion & stainless steel cable lifeline system is designed with a minimal amount of 'stretch' as a parameter - it's a system of parts after all. If you alter the stretchiness of the lifelines the stanchions won't perform as expected. They may well buckle or tear out at the toerail as you pop over the side....

Dyneema/Spectra isn't used in lifelines because people love spending money. It's used because it's an appropriate substitution for stainless steel from an engineering standpoint.

Dyneema and Spectra are stretch resistant, but I disagree about the resistance against abrasion. In fact they will break more quickly from chafe than many other lines. I use a trucker's hitch to hold it into place because it can be tightened so well.
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Old 19-06-2013, 07:22   #28
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Re: Why do sailboats have wire lifelines?

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If you buy it with the grey UV coating it's very durable. I've had a UV protected trampoline on my cat since 2007 which is still in perfect condition. Our climate here is pretty much like Florida - lots of sun & humidity.

Can't put a value on this place!!
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Old 19-06-2013, 07:23   #29
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Re: Why do sailboats have wire lifelines?

its just tradition, to my mind there should be solid 1" stainless guardrailsils all the way round on a blue water boat, the stanchion/lifelines are nothing of the sort, it must be one of most stupid things on a boat.

Ive sailed Amels, and it a great security, Ive also taken serious mobs out in big seas, proper guardrails are very useful.

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Old 19-06-2013, 07:24   #30
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Re: Why do sailboats have wire lifelines?

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Originally Posted by minaret View Post
Plenty of boats with solid railing out there, I see 1 1/2" all the time. Just gotta get away from the small boats. Mine has a very beefy teak handrail all the way around instead. One of the few bits I've left bright. Nice to have a rail you can stand on.

I saw a 40' Creekmore with all stainless railings. The railings were off but the whole design of the boat was so clean that the stainless would enhance it.

Still not sure what the benefits are, but that's one boat it would have looked good on.
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