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Old 23-11-2015, 14:26   #1
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Using Towlines as Jacklines?

While I was out hunting with my son, we had to use a new towline he bought to assist a vehicle that was stuck.

It struck me that the construction is not only similar to my jackline, but the capacity for stress is larger on the towline. In addition, he bought it on sale, and it was 1/3 of the price of what I paid for my jackline.

Is there any reason anyone can think of why one would not buy a towline at a considerable saving, as opposed to a jackline from the marine suppliers? Same material, same stitching, but higher capacity for stress on the towline.

Currently I only have one jackline on my boat, and I feel it would be better to have two, one on each side.
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Old 23-11-2015, 14:45   #2
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Re: Using Towlines as Jacklines?

Some tow lines are Nylon so they can act as a bungee. Some webbing is polyester with no stretch. Nylon does not hold up in UV, polyester does... I'm using 4500lb 1"polyester webbing from the trucking industry at $2 yard. Who knows what it would cost at the boat store, probably $2 per foot.
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Old 23-11-2015, 15:01   #3
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Re: Using Towlines as Jacklines?

If it is polypropylene it doesn't hold up to UV well. I assume the end fittings are also readily rusting also? Nylon holds up quite well to UV.. like most anchor rodes.
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Old 23-11-2015, 16:01   #4
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Re: Using Towlines as Jacklines?

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If it is polypropylene it doesn't hold up to UV well. I assume the end fittings are also readily rusting also? Nylon holds up quite well to UV.. like most anchor rodes.
Good point, I'm not sure if it was nylon or not, although I THINK it was. The ends were not hooks, but designed exactly with the same loops as my jackline, which made me think it may be an option. I'll explore it when I get down to my boat next month.
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Old 24-11-2015, 09:34   #5
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Re: Using Towlines as Jacklines?

Nylon doesn't hold up to UV?

Better check all those docklines, anchor rodes, towboat towlines, etc...that sit in the sun all year.

Maybe not all nylon is UV resistant...but marine grade sure seems to do the job.
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Old 24-11-2015, 09:39   #6
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Re: Using Towlines as Jacklines?

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Some tow lines are Nylon so they can act as a bungee. Some webbing is polyester with no stretch. Nylon does not hold up in UV, polyester does... I'm using 4500lb 1"polyester webbing from the trucking industry at $2 yard. Who knows what it would cost at the boat store, probably $2 per foot.
Nylon holds up just fine to UV that is why it is used for docklines.
Nylon tow straps work well for jack lines.
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Old 24-11-2015, 09:50   #7
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Re: Using Towlines as Jacklines?

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Nylon holds up just fine to UV that is why it is used for docklines.
Nylon tow straps work well for jack lines.
So you think nylon is used for dock lines because of it's UV resistance?
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Old 24-11-2015, 10:25   #8
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Re: Using Towlines as Jacklines?

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Some tow lines are Nylon so they can act as a bungee. Some webbing is polyester with no stretch. Nylon does not hold up in UV, polyester does... I'm using 4500lb 1"polyester webbing from the trucking industry at $2 yard. Who knows what it would cost at the boat store, probably $2 per foot.
I think you just got this backwards. Nylon holds up well in the sun. Polypropylene, not polyester, does not. However, polypropylene is pretty cheap, strong & it floats so it's good for towing a dinghy if you keep it out of the sun as much as possible or replace it regularly. Nylon/polypropylene blends are becoming common because they are cheaper than nylon but they don't hold up & make poor dock lines.
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Old 24-11-2015, 10:43   #9
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Re: Using Towlines as Jacklines?

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So you think nylon is used for dock lines because of it's UV resistance?
That is one of the qualities that makes it good for dock lines. The others are elasticity, economy, and chafe resistance (durability).
If nylon was prone to UV damage, dock lines would not last very long. My experience has been that they will chafe trough long before they fail due to UV.
I have some dock lines that have been in the sun for 5 years and still serviceable.
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Old 24-11-2015, 14:38   #10
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Re: Using Towlines as Jacklines?

I'm not sure the priority should be around what is better for UV stability.

It's absolutely essential that a two line has elasticity. It's not only uncomfortable but it's damaging to the smaller of the two boats being towed if it's rigid.

Ideally, jack lines should have a little elasticity, but that's more to make it comfortable. I don't think it's really that important what you use as Jacklines. But it is important what you use for a towline.
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Old 24-11-2015, 22:00   #11
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Re: Using Towlines as Jacklines?

My boat came with wire cable set up to be used for jacklines. Has anyone used this type before? I thought maybe I should replace them with the type being discussed here.
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Old 25-11-2015, 10:05   #12
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Re: Using Towlines as Jacklines?

At REI (or online ar REI) you can get double wall 1-inch strapping of more than sufficient strength for jack lines at 36 cents per foot. I was turned on to it by one of my sons who is a rock climber.
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Old 25-11-2015, 10:10   #13
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Re: Using Towlines as Jacklines?

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Originally Posted by Franst8 View Post
My boat came with wire cable set up to be used for jacklines. Has anyone used this type before? I thought maybe I should replace them with the type being discussed here.
I used plastic coated wire jacklines on a boat. I think they are great, zero stretch. Depends on where they lay though, the down side is that they roll when you step on them, which is a bit dangerous maybe.
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Old 25-11-2015, 10:33   #14
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Re: Using Towlines as Jacklines?

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Originally Posted by dochip View Post
At REI (or online ar REI) you can get double wall 1-inch strapping of more than sufficient strength for jack lines at 36 cents per foot. I was turned on to it by one of my sons who is a rock climber.
My son in law is an avid climber also, and he also has suggested climbing gear should be able to be used on a boat. I completely forgot about it until you brought it up now again. There's no question that there's a lot of equipment climbers use that are as of high or higher quality then we as sailors use, however for some reason, and we all know because it's marine, it is more expensive to buy for boats.

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Old 25-11-2015, 11:00   #15
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Re: Using Towlines as Jacklines?

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Originally Posted by dochip View Post
At REI (or online ar REI) you can get double wall 1-inch strapping of more than sufficient strength for jack lines at 36 cents per foot. I was turned on to it by one of my sons who is a rock climber.
I tried that stuff. It lasted about 2 years. It rotted out along the fold lines for the tube. It's just nylon tubing about 2000 lbs or so. They have hi tech webbing to, about $10 per foot.
Take that nylon tubing and run a bit of 1/8 or 3/16" spectra down the middle and you've something.
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