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Old 09-10-2014, 11:15   #46
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Re: Death Lines!

I knew I couldn't have been the first person to think of temporary lines at chest height - the Pardey's said it long before I thought about it, I'm sure.

I could see running mine from the back stay, around the mizzen gallows, around the mizzen mast shrouds, to the mainmast shrouds and finally downward to the bow fitting. Mostly at about waist height for me, which could be upper abdomen for my wife. I could see it mostly as an upright hand hold for balancing whereas the hand holds on the cabin would be for the kind of crouching/walking done in heavier weather. Maybe thru rings lashed to the shrouds using low stretch line.

Mid-line jack line, tethers and PFDs w/harnesses would be required in weather situations and ANY TIME one is on deck alone. I really don't like the idea of being kept w/the boat while being dragged at 6kts. I would much rather be prevented from leaving the boat altogether - rigging a mid-line jack line will not be easy but I think it is paramount to keeping the crew on board. I am not a small man and the thought of my wife trying to get me back on board in a heavy seaway is quite troubling.
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Old 09-10-2014, 17:33   #47
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Re: Death Lines!

Note that the standard 24 and 30 inch stanchion height is not 'legal' for commercial operation. CG recognizes they re too short for commercial/inspected. The implicit suggestion is that one might consider taller (42") stanchions with triple cables.

Our 30" lined mounted at the deck are anchored just inside the 8" high thwart. We have a particularly busy deck so there is lots to hang onto going forward.

Has anyone else noticed how most guests/newbies want to go forward on the lee side? The safest is windward with much more to catch. A harness fastened high will prevent you from reaching the lee rail.
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Old 09-10-2014, 18:56   #48
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Re: Death Lines!

Even after 50 years of sailing I will think of going on the lee side instead of the windward side. Bad habit.
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Old 09-10-2014, 20:19   #49
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Re: Death Lines!

I can give you some first hand advice on your specific life lines. Back in the early 1980's we had an O'Day 20 that I'd take out by myself all the time. One day I was moving the boat up to Huntington Harbor from Newport Beach, CA by myself in December and was a mile or so off the coast when I tripped while doing something on the rather small forward deck and tumbled into the lifelines. I was also wearing a safety harness but the lifelines did the job of keeping me on the boat. Good thing, because the water temperature was probably in the mid 50's.

Keep them, they work.

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Old 10-10-2014, 06:31   #50
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Re: Death Lines!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ukeluthier View Post
Get a catboat!

Catboats traditionally don't have 'em. No reason to go forward while under way. Many less potential deck leaks.
How much "forward" is there on a 20' catboat??? 6"???? A foot???

Love 'em man!
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Old 10-10-2014, 06:46   #51
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Re: Death Lines!

"life lines" are only to show ye where the edge of boat is.
they are not to save your or any life. merely show where is edge of boat.
have fun.
i learned without life lines, and i still dont trust em---seen stantions bend under weight of heavy person... good positioning for major bodily damages....
real life lines you place at a reasonable height for use in walking forward are something you add your self. i have a ketch--is easy to add lines at a reasonable height , say chest height-- for use in going forward in a heavy sea.
mine are above level of my head.. to be rearranged before i set sail..

what i learned to sail on....... what i have now.. as you see, i added line in my rig, and i use lifelines for stowage of items not on deck, in conjunction with shrouds. my plan is to add stainless rails instead of lifelines, at the same height as the lines for stowage of fuel and equipment.
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Old 10-10-2014, 08:54   #52
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Re: Death Lines!

On a small boat like an ODay 22 lifelines are no more than a design element. Our wire lifelines and stanchions are 36 inches and strongly mounted and braced. Still, I'd like to replace them with solid rails one day. I wonder why almost all power boats have rails and sailboats still have wire?


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Old 10-10-2014, 09:04   #53
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Re: Death Lines!

rails are a weight concern as well as a stiffening the boat concern.
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Old 14-10-2014, 10:03   #54
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Re: Death Lines!

Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyMdRSailor View Post
How much "forward" is there on a 20' catboat??? 6"???? A foot???

Love 'em man!
Heh!... about a foot. No reason to go to the "foredeck" except for anchor handling. Might have to go to the vicinity of the mast, though, for furling and tying in reef points. Everything is led aft.
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Old 14-10-2014, 10:12   #55
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Re: Death Lines!

Keep low, one hand for you one for the ship. I'm been saved from swimming a few times by lifelines, and have seen others saved also. But the usual problem is not simply hitting them knee high... it's falling to the deck or falling slipping and sliding across. That's when they pay for themselves.
I like rails, but one nice thing about lines is they flex.. absorbing some of the energy instead of bending the rails or cracking the deck.
Of course you could say the bad thing about lines is they flex!
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Old 14-10-2014, 11:57   #56
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Re: Death Lines!

They are lifelines, not grab rails. They are there, as previously mentioned, to aid in preventing you going overboard should you trip/fall etc. Get in the practice of not using them to move about the boat.

Most racing boats go with the 18"-24" tall stanchions, and you scramble around with your knees bent most of the time which makes them "grabbable" to steady yourself, if necessary. But for real offshore work they're next to useless.

They should be as tight as you can make them without risking damage to your pushpit/pullpit/stanchions. Not only does this in fact help provide support to all the parts, but it increases the likelihood that should you need to grab them to prevent a fall that you'll get adequate support.

Friends don't let friends use dyneema lifelines, which are all the rage these days, particularly on racing boats. Even pulled super taut they don't provide much stabilizing support at all when you grab them. It's like hanging on to a wet noodle.
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Old 14-10-2014, 12:07   #57
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Re: Death Lines!

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
... my plan is to add stainless rails instead of lifelines, at the same height as the lines for stowage of fuel and equipment.



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Old 14-10-2014, 16:17   #58
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Re: Death Lines!

My thoughts on lifelines……..

I would not want a boat without lifelines and I am especially cautious when sailing on a boat without them (and I have raced on boats without them). My exception would be dinghies and similar craft.

In years of sailing (often before the mast, during races on big boats) in 20+ knots and cold water 53 F (12 C), I developed a great appreciation for lifelines and also a wariness of them too. Because I have experienced some long distance offshore sailing during a strong gale (45+ knots), and much sailing in 20+ knots winds (racing in San Francisco Bay), my feelings are formed by those experiences and my plan to do more offshore (blue water) sailing. However, I have seen the same utility of lifelines in coastal sailing and near-shore (bay or even lake sailing) too.

While I use lifelines when needed to steady myself when going forward, I much prefer to use solid handholds (usually on the cabin top) and jacklines.

Lifelines Can Break, even with little pressure!
I have also used a typical stainless wire lifeline for some partial support (holding it in my hand) and had it unexpectedly give way (break) under very little pressure while I was in a precarious position (with my head over the rail), almost causing me to go overboard. This was not my full body weight applied at the time, in fact very little weight at all. Due to this experience, I would carefully examine and test the lifelines of any boat I buy, and consider changing from plastic coated stainless wire to Spectra or Dyneema lines. Thereafter, I would regularly inspect and check the condition of the lines. I would also NOT depend on them solely while offshore during challenging conditions where a jackline and harness would be my preference (in addition to lifelines). That said, I think a lifeline is a good thing to have in addition to jacklines.

Lifelines May Not Always Prevent Going Overboard
I have also been tossed overboard (from the foredeck) due to an accidental jybe and broach, during which I instantly slid UNDER the lifelines while trying to get a grip on anything on the steeply heeled and slippery deck. In the blink of an eye I was over the side and in the water, despite having good boat shoes and gloves on. This taught me that even when using caution, good posture (low COG) and good gear, bad things or accidents can happen, even to experienced crew. Going overboard while the boat is in full sail brings a sudden awareness that sailboats move much faster than people can swim, and the sight from water level of your boat going off in the distance while you tread water is not one I want to ever repeat. It does change ones perspective.

I have also raced on boats without lifelines and always felt a much higher level of caution when moving forward on the boat (usually to change headsails or to fly a spinnaker). Crew on the helm or in the cockpit have a MUCH different perspective of the difficulty of working on the foredeck during higher winds as the foredeck can be pitching (sometimes it was like riding a horse, with the foredeck going up 6+ feet and then down six feet or more), greatly heeled at a steep angle while close hauled , rolling, wet.. The cockpit crew is often seated or holding on to the wheel and much more secure in their places. Remember, I am talking about conditions that are not flat calm or light winds and no roller-furling. The usual condition was cold water (almost constant spray), steep chop, and high winds over 20 knots.

Going overboard can be deadly in just a few minutes, and even when close to other boats.
I have witnessed two people (very experienced sailors) die during a race in SF Bay when they were thrown overboard (without a PFD) during a race I was in (I was in a boat about two hundred yards behind them). They both died from hypothermia in a very few minutes, while other race boats were all around, as they treaded water waiting for the return of their big boat. It only took a few minutes for them to succumb, and their boat was crewed by VERY experienced sailors (semi-pro and pro) and had a large crew (about 10 men). One of the sailors who died was considered one of the best in SF.

Keep Your Center of Gravity Low and Crawl Forward if you have to!

My feeling is that many lifelines are lower than I would like on my own boat. I would prefer 30 inch or higher on my future boat.

I like the solid ones (top hand rail) often seen on steel boats and on some motor sailors (see a Nauticat 44 for example).
1984 Nauticat Motorsailer Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

I also like bulwarks (seen in the photo above) or practical toe rails on boats without bulwarks. Those plus good nonslip (e.g. Treadmaster) provide a very good footing for the foredeck.

Netting for Offshore
In addition to lifelines, I would put netting on the lifelines when on an offshore cruise (or long term cruising). Why? Netting provides additional "catching" ability of people or things. That can also include very useful or even essential things that would not be quickly or easily replaceable when on a long passage, such as winch handles, binocs, or other things likely to go over the side. In other words I do not see netting as solely for boats with little children or pets. In fact, netting would have kept me from going overboard (under the lifelines).

An excellent example of solid lifelines (tubing handrails) AND netting is shown in a very fine boat refit done by Panope (a member here). Here is a link to a photo he posted in a different thread on this forum:

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...6&d=1371610814
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Old 14-10-2014, 16:51   #59
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Re: Death Lines!

Quote:
Friends don't let friends use dyneema lifelines, which are all the rage these days, particularly on racing boats. Even pulled super taut they don't provide much stabilizing support at all when you grab them. It's like hanging on to a wet noodle.
This is not in agreement with my experience, which is a polite way of saying "rubbish"!

We've had Dyneema lifelines for a few years now, and can report that at least on this vessel they can be made just as firm as their s/s predecessors were. At the sort of tensions and dimensions involved in lifelines, the stretch characteristics of Dyneema are essentially the same as s/s cable, but without the corrosion issues of the latter.

On most boats deflection of the stanchions is the limiting factor in taughtness, not stretch in the line itself.

So, IMO and in my practice, I've advised real life friends to make the switch, and I don't think that this was a disservice.

Jim
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Old 26-10-2014, 23:24   #60
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Re: Death Lines!

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Originally Posted by Alan Mighty View Post
1. to consider the practices of the Pardeys and others of erecting temporary lines at hip or shoulder height (from memory, the Pardeys sometimes ran lines from their boom gallows to their shrouds when offshore, giving them a temporary fence line close to shoulder height).

2. to adopt jacklines and harnesses routinely.

Al
This is actually a very good suggestion. Running a jack line from bow to stern pulpit, and whipping it off at shoulder height amidships at all the shrouds provides an excellent additional handhold when going forward. Also enhances the lifelines. After all, the purpose is to assist your balance and grip when working on the deck.

Absolutely setting up jack lines along the deck, which one can clip into while wearing a chest harness is a required safety measure on most if not all ocean race requirements.
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