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Old 11-12-2014, 08:59   #1
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Dyneema Lifelines

I'm replacing my 40 year old wire lifelines finally. I'm tired of seeing the sagging old lines.

Has anyone used/madeup Dyneema Lifelines for their boat rather than use the traditional cable/wire type? If so, any complaints?

I'm thinking of going the rope route.
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Old 11-12-2014, 09:25   #2
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Re: Dyneema Lifelines

Not fond of lifelines that can be cut with something that is sharp.
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Old 11-12-2014, 09:30   #3
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Re: Dyneema Lifelines

did mine with New England's covered WR2, tickled to death. My stanchions are faired.

If you care, there is discussion at Sailing Anarchy in regards same. In 2015 the rulings will be, as I understand, that for multihulls in all race categories, textile lifelines are legal. For monohulls, only Cat 4 races.

I've got a serrated knife that will cut steel. In fact I bought it specifically for that.
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Old 11-12-2014, 09:31   #4
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Re: Dyneema Lifelines

Lots of people have done it though it is still not approved by most racing authorities. Biggest problem is chafe from sharp/rough areas in the stanchions or any place it impinges on something hard and sharp. A line that is thick enough to be comfortable would be so strong that you'd have to abrade it nearly all the way through for it to be an issue. Hopefully you'd inspect the lines often enough that any chafe issues would become evident well before they were a strength issue.

I did it to make a temporary life line while doing some work on the boat. Tried using 1/2 inch double braid initially but it had way too much stretch and was dangerous. Replaced with 1/4" Amsteel and it was as effective as wire and simple to make up. Will probably replace my lifelines with synthetic when I get the time to do it.

If you don't mind spending the money, Johnson makes some nifty end fittings for synthetic life lines http://www.csjohnson.com
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Old 11-12-2014, 09:32   #5
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Re: Dyneema Lifelines

Hi,

I believe there have been several topics started on this with lots of advice in them. If you do a forum search and find the best, may I suggest posting a link to it in this thread.

There was also a thread topic "Death Lines" that had a lot of input.

I myself have had a stainless wire life line fail on me, causing me to almost go overboard. They were typical in that they were coated in vinyl.

So, in my future boat I intend to change over to Dyneema, assuming I am purchasing a used boat of some age.

Hope that helps.
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Old 11-12-2014, 10:11   #6
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Re: Dyneema Lifelines

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
Hi,

I myself have had a stainless wire life line fail on me, causing me to almost go overboard. They were typical in that they were coated in vinyl.

.
+1. I had a topping lift fail once, and the spinnaker pole crashed through the wire lifeline, snapping it instantly. I suspect that a dyneema lifeline would have held in that situation, which would probably have cost me a spinnaker pole.
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Old 11-12-2014, 10:25   #7
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Re: Dyneema Lifelines

I, too, am converting to Amsteel. I will be using a whoopee sling as the tension adjustment with a secureable removable clip to secure the gateways.
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Old 11-12-2014, 10:45   #8
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Re: Dyneema Lifelines

I don't like 'em. Have been on race boats with them and think they suck.

My primary beef with them is that they have no rigidity. While you're not supposed to use lifelines as handholds, in all practicality you do on occasion and that is precisely when you want them to offer some support. Dyneema has no stiffness, so lifelines made from them offer no support. It's like grabbing a wet noodle. Crank them down so they are super taut, to try and improve that and you'll put undue stress on your stanchions. Lastly, the weight savings on your boat will be minimal, and you'll have to replace them in @5 years due to UV exposure anyway.

I'd go with new uncoated stainless wire. I would go up to 1/4" for the top lifelines as it has better "hand".

There are companies that you can send your old lifelines to and they'll fabricate new ones and have them back to you within a week. I've used Rigging Only in MA. and they were great.
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Old 11-12-2014, 11:37   #9
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Re: Dyneema Lifelines

They work for me. You can get as plain or as fancy as you like with fittings, depends on how much $$$ you want to part with. I try to keep it simple at the bow end with a simple locked brummel splice loop.

At the stern I have a thimbled eye with lashing. Pretty cheap and easy. Which means it's cheap and easy to replace if it ever becomes suspect. I have a neighbor who used it on his J-24 almost ten years ago, they're still fine.

Brummel | How to Make a Brummel Eye Splice | Splicing Knots
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Old 11-12-2014, 12:59   #10
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Re: Dyneema Lifelines

I just got mine back from the West Marine rigging shop in South Carolina and they did an amazing job and I'll be putting them on the boat on Saturday. I replaced my old yellow cracked rusty lifelines with new white plastic coated wire lifelines and new in fittings and they look perfect it's like having new sneakers with new shoe laces on it. Best 700 dollars I've ever spent in addition they should last 24 years just like the last ones did the problem with rope lines is they only last a couple years

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Old 11-12-2014, 14:35   #11
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Re: Dyneema Lifelines

There are rumors floating around about this. Many racing organizations changed a few years ago to allow dyneema lifelines. They have to be a minimum size and installed a certain way to meet the letter of the rule. Many boaters install them without much regard to the racing rules. Maybe they think that since the rules allow them any old installation method is ok.

Now the rumor mill is that some of the racing organizations are contemplating going back to the uncoated stainless steel wire as the only allowed material. I can't quote a web link as it's just a rumor. I have not heard why this rumor is out there either.

If you are thinking about doing the dyneema lifelines yourself read up on the current requirements. For example:

Offshore Special Regs Index

I have only seen a few boats with these but most of them were "wrong" as I read the rules. The issues revolve around the splice not being per the manufacturer's recommendation for radius and bury length. Also, the splice must be within a certain short distance to the stanchion and it should not be lashed or spliced to the same welded loop that the old wire lifelines probably used. There are commercially available terminations that say they are for dyneema lifelines but in my reading of the rules may not result in an OSR compliant lifeline.
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Old 11-12-2014, 14:52   #12
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Re: Dyneema Lifelines

Brummel splice is actually quite simple and does not require special tools. Tons of videos on Youtube. Materials cost for a forty foot boat is maybe $300 and takes a few hours. Good to develop some skills rather than being dependent on west marine if you are into developing skills and not into giving your money to west marine. To each his own.

I have had wire rope lifelines fail and I ended up in the drink as a result. Like anything it's all about maintenance, which should be obvious. You'll notice at the bow I use a loop around the pulpit tube rather than a shackle to the bail. Cheers.
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Old 11-12-2014, 15:49   #13
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Re: Dyneema Lifelines

Thanks for the input.

I'll be buying the line pretty soon and will probably just tie it on.

I normally step or jump over it anyway so there is no unhooking involved.
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Old 11-12-2014, 15:51   #14
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Re: Dyneema Lifelines

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bohemian17 View Post
white plastic coated wire lifelines
Come to think of it, the problem with this is that he white plastic coating traps water against the stainless, causing them to become rusty like the ones you just replaced.

Pretty sure uncoated is the way to go. Of course if you want to all out, nothin beats continuous welded tube railings....
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Old 11-12-2014, 15:52   #15
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Re: Dyneema Lifelines

Don't "just tie it on" fer crisakes
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