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Old 05-10-2014, 10:00   #1
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Death Lines!

Ok.. they really are called "life lines".. but for me.. they just don't seem like life lines... more like death lines.

Is there some secret to using these to keep you safe? What I am finding on my boat.. is that they hit me at the absolute WORST spot on my leg.. so, any little movement in the ship, and I would flip right over the top of them. They actually seem more hazardous than NOT having them there.

The other thing is.. to hang onto them.. they aren't terribly tight.. so, they bow and bend.. and move around a lot.. making me even more unstable..

I truly hate them.

Can someone educate me on how to use these to actually SAVE my life rather than kill me?
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Old 05-10-2014, 10:11   #2
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Re: Death Lines!

When you trip and go sliding/flying across the boat the lifelines will hopefully stop you before you go swimming.
If you worry about going overboard the best solution is the judicious use of jacklines and a harness.
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Old 05-10-2014, 10:16   #3
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Re: Death Lines!

Sometimes a few inches makes a big difference. I find 30" lifelines/stanchions can catch an adult, but the 24" ones are most useful for little people.

I can unequivocally say that lifelines saved my life. When I was 19 and racing on a C&C 44, an unexpected jibe caught me on the side of the head. I was knocked out and thrown against the lifelines. I had a convulsive seizure and made a bloody mess of the deck. Others on the crew thought I was certainly going to die, and would certainly have if the lifelines hadn't stopped me from going overboard while unconscious.
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Old 05-10-2014, 10:20   #4
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Re: Death Lines!

If the lines are too loose there are two things that could cause this.

One the lines themselves are too slack and need to be tightened. Most boats will have a turnbuckle somewhere in the system to do this.

Second the stanchions could be wobbling. This is harder to fix. Could be just the bolts holding the bases down are loose. More likely they will need reinforcing in some way. The deck under the stanchions could be bad IE water leaked in and rotted the core inside the fiberglass. Usually this will show externally as cracks around the base plate. Or problem could be the stanchion bases were not mounted with good backing plates underneath. Look inside the boat under the stanchions where the bolts come through the deck (they are bolted and not just screwed into the deck, yes?). There should be a SS or Al plate a bit larger than the stanchion base that the bolts go through and nuts on the bottom. Kind of like a giant washer.

As far as the height, you could buy taller stanchions or just crouch when walking along the side deck.
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Old 05-10-2014, 10:23   #5
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Re: Death Lines!

[QUOTE=accomplice;1646124]Sometimes a few inches makes a big difference. I find 30" lifelines/stanchions can catch an adult, but the 24" ones are most useful for little people.

QUOTE]


I'm a little person. (5' 1") and I have the 24" ones.. they hit me just below the hip.. maybe the taller ones would feel safer. ..
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Old 05-10-2014, 10:27   #6
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Re: Death Lines!

Keep yer butt down low!
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Old 05-10-2014, 10:28   #7
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Re: Death Lines!

Quote:
Originally Posted by scarlet View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by accomplice View Post
Sometimes a few inches makes a big difference. I find 30" lifelines/stanchions can catch an adult, but the 24" ones are most useful for little people.

I'm a little person. (5' 1") and I have the 24" ones.. they hit me just below the hip.. maybe the taller ones would feel safer. ..
By little people I meant children. 4 of my 5 are under 5'.
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Old 05-10-2014, 16:54   #8
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Re: Death Lines!

Quote:
Ok.. they really are called "life lines".. but for me.. they just don't seem like life lines... more like death lines.
I would agree, 100%... On my old 45' I fixed that problem during one of the re-fits. New pulpit, pushpit, and stanchions. All constructed of sched 40 galv pipe with welded joints and 4x4 backing plates. 2 coats of zinc chromate primer, and 3 coats of 2 part epoxy. Cheap to build, and lasted over 10 years, when they were replaced by the exact same setup.

Stanchion height 34" Pulpit 38" Pushpit 40" (so the top rail hit me right in the bellybutton... Bottom rail spaced so I didn't splash my shoes when "pumping the bilges" aft). Sissy-bars at the mast hit you just below the small of the back. With your feet braced against the stick, comfortable (and safe) to use both hands working the gear. Notice the angle bracing on the lifeline termination points so you can crank down the turnbuckles without flexing the anchor stanchions.



Wish my new smaller boat had the space for the same type of setup.
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Old 05-10-2014, 17:03   #9
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Re: Death Lines!

In the conditions that they are useful, I an rarely standing upright, unrestrained by a harness where I could go over the top of them.

They've stopped me sliding over the side quite a few times when I had a low COG!

(Generally in racing conditions - when cruising, I don't put myself in those sort of situations so often)
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Old 05-10-2014, 17:19   #10
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Re: Death Lines!

They kept me on board when I fell from the high side, backwards into them in big conditions. As Stu said, I'm generally staying very low in bad conditions, so they work just fine.

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Old 05-10-2014, 17:29   #11
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Re: Death Lines!

Our lifelines are relatively high up and super strong. I can actually stand on them while working. I keep them very tight.

I like the way they are and they make me feel safer.

We added netting full length all the way to the cockpit/side canvas.

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Old 05-10-2014, 17:41   #12
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Re: Death Lines!

Hi, everyone,

Scarlet has a 22 ft. O'Day. She is new to sailing. She should CAREFULLY (like with carefully chosen light air days), remove the lifelines and try it all out while she is close enough to easily swim ashore. Yes, she might lose the boat, but sometimes experience is the best teacher. I am not actuallly recommending this, because of the risks, but it is an experiment she could undertake, and if she had someone who knows how to sail with her, maybe not even all that risky.

She could replace the stanchions and backing plates: the extra leverage of the taller lifelines if she fell against them could well make that necessary. But we're talking about a strange impression on the eyes, the 30" stanchions on a small day-sailer.

If the existing ones are loose, yes, of course tighten 'em, and if the bases need attention, obviously attend to them. We actually use lashings rather than turnbuckles; if scarlet's are lashed, it would be very easy to re-lash, with new line.

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Old 05-10-2014, 17:48   #13
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Re: Death Lines!

Sometimes being bruised from the lifelines is better than being lost overboard.
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Old 05-10-2014, 17:55   #14
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Re: Death Lines!

Quote:
Originally Posted by accomplice View Post
Sometimes a few inches makes a big difference. I find 30" lifelines/stanchions can catch an adult, but the 24" ones are most useful for little people.

I can unequivocally say that lifelines saved my life. When I was 19 and racing on a C&C 44, an unexpected jibe caught me on the side of the head. I was knocked out and thrown against the lifelines. I had a convulsive seizure and made a bloody mess of the deck. Others on the crew thought I was certainly going to die, and would certainly have if the lifelines hadn't stopped me from going overboard while unconscious.
our skipper, years ago, was batted by the loose main sheets on a jibe. He went between the upper and lower lines without touching them. Fortunately, he was wearing a float coat. Humbling for all.
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Old 05-10-2014, 18:02   #15
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Re: Death Lines!

It's safer to take them off if they are questionable so you don't rely on something when it breaks.
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