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Old 20-09-2006, 20:33   #1
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Lifeline replacement

In need to replace the rusted, vinyl coated lifelines on our Tartan 40. It's been suggested that I use uncoated lines for the replacement, or even Spectra. The old vinyl coated ones have lasted for about seventeen years, so I'm not sure I have a problem going with that for the replacement. The current use is near shore, but hope to see some offshore in the next year or so. Anybody have some wisdom to share on the subject?
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Old 20-09-2006, 20:46   #2
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I think some folks believe that if you are in saltwater, uncoated lines can be advantageous in that you can see very easily if they begin to corrode or rust...

thats about it though...truly, the coated lines should give you many years use.
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Old 21-09-2006, 05:25   #3
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The reason for the uncoated recommendation is that stainless does not like standing stagnant water, with coated lines the water can/will wick up the stainless but the end of the coating and begin a slow process of crevice corrosion there. This can/will at some point weaken the lines. That's why most recommend that you use non coated wire so there is no chance of crevice corrosion.
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Old 21-09-2006, 08:39   #4
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I recently replaced my coated lifelines with bare stainless, since this was a safety requirement for an off-shore race. My existing lifelines were only a few years old, and didn't look that bad, but out of curiosity I stripped off some of the vinyl, and the wire was rusty and even had some broken strands -- not enough to be dangerous, I guess, but I am now quite glad that I made the change.

Besides, the old lifelines kept getting sticky.

Some people do use a kevlar or equivalent lifeline, but the racing rules that applied to me don't allow this. I believe that they are worried about accidental kniife cuts to the line. People also use line lashings at the lifeline ends, instead of turnbuckles -- this to allow quick disconnect of the lines in an emergency situation. There is debate on the need for this, though.

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Old 21-09-2006, 11:25   #5
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Recently I also replaced my lifelines with bare S/S and am very happy with the results. A friend of mine used high modulus line and discovered that he had to prestretch the line under load before installing it else sag would develop over time and still become excessive. It just doesn't take much stretch in terms of a percentage for the lines to look and feel slack. As a result of that, along with the "problem" of just how the ends are made up and how they look, I avoided the high modulus line although I believe it is good in other applications.

As Paul mentioned various offshore boating standards do not accept the use of high modulus line or coated S/S for safety lines.

Because I often launch my aluminum bottom RIB and kayacks over the fordeck it is unavoidable in having some contact with the safety lines although I try to minimize that always. I cut sections of cloth rollup garden hose and fitted them over the forward sections of the safety line to help against such chafe and that has worked very well. I found some unusual large grommets that would fit over the lines and that the hose would fit over as well and tie-wrapped the hose to the grommets. It looks spiffy too with a decent choice of hose material color. Those hoses are a pain in the butt to use for getting water anyway.
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Old 21-09-2006, 12:14   #6
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We were given some 1x19 rigging wire from a rerig. Used Norsman terminals and did the whole thing ourselves. They've worked well and believe they are still on the boat 30 years later. The wire OD was at least 5/16" diameter which was about what the coated wire would have been so comfort was no less than the coated wire. It is/was tremendously stronger, however.

I'm getting ready to redo the lifelines on my new old boat the same way.

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Old 21-09-2006, 15:05   #7
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ORC and other regulations now ban the coated stainless lines, and that change was part of their ongoing review of safety failures and problems. So...while coating lines prevent meathooks from tearing you, the point is that if you HAVE those meathooks AT ALL it is past time for replacing the lines, no matter how good they look or feel.

Heck, if it is good enough to keep your mast standing, it probably is good enough for your lifelines.<G>
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Old 21-09-2006, 15:07   #8
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i have bare SS for lifelines and they don't get sticky and dirty .. and they really look good
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Old 21-09-2006, 15:13   #9
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"they don't get sticky and dirty"
A monthly wipe down with a wax/polish/lube rag will help keep them that way...AND find those meathooks before bare flesh does, too.<G>
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Old 21-09-2006, 18:08   #10
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Thanks for all the input, bare stainless it is!
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Old 22-09-2006, 09:00   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor
"they don't get sticky and dirty"
A monthly wipe down with a wax/polish/lube rag will help keep them that way...AND find those meathooks before bare flesh does, too.<G>
I need to replace mine and based on this thread, I'll probably go with uncoated stainless. Any thoughts on what to do about the meathooks once you find them, other than replacement?
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Old 22-09-2006, 09:42   #12
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Speedoo, AFAIK the meathooks mean that strands are failing, i.e. the wire has degraded and it is time to REPLACE it because you can't tell how many more internal strands have already failed. Think of the meathooks as an early warning system.<G>

I'm sure some sanding or crazy glue or epoxy and a bit of tape over it would buy you time but the info I keep getting (consistantly) on rigging is that even one meathook means "Danger Will Robinson".
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Old 22-09-2006, 09:45   #13
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If you use 3/16 inch or 5mm or larger 1X19 wire any meathook development indicates replacement of that broken section. The individual strands are sufficiently large that if you break even one you have a problem that needs to be fixed.

Naturally if the wire passes through the lifeline stanchions in stead of terminating at each one then you must endeavor to make sure that there are fair leads for the cable else you invite a break due to abuse from those gorillas who insist on forcing loads onto your lifelines. You must abuse those gorillas.
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Old 22-09-2006, 18:23   #14
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I think you will find you are allowed to have 'covered' SS lifelines but not 'coated'.

Coated being something bonded directly onto the wire and covered being thru a tube of some sort. If you do use a tube make sure you put a small hole/s at the lower points so there is no water standing inside.

Any meathooks in any wire means it's on it's way out and needs to be replaced. Even dropping 1 strand in a 1 x 19 wire gives a big strength loss.
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Old 23-09-2006, 01:30   #15
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Hi Gmac. No the covered lines are not allowed. That's the stuff that looks like clothes line.

Rick, a small SST turnbuckle would keep the tension on. Actually the rules require a pull test of (argh I haven't got my rule book here) so many Newtons of right angle pull to the lifeline and the line is only allowed to deflect a certain measurement.
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