SV Cheeseburger in Paradise, my 46ft Creekmore CC sloop/cutter never has had lifelines. She has even sleeker decks than that beautiful Kettering.
I have given this careful consideration and firmly decided she never will.
My reasons are as follows:
I always harness when going forward.
I run two jack lines. Both originate at the mast
base and one goes to the Cutter
Stay Plate and one to the Forward Stay Plate. (I would never clip to a lifeline even when I have had them, more on this later) Thus the jack lines are directly centered on deck.
I run two lanyards off my harness, different lengths. The longer one allows me to the gunnel midships and the shorter one the same further forward.
The first advantage is of course the aesthetic appeal. (But not sufficient to discount safety)
The second is the clean sweep of even a gollywhomper when tacking. Stop and think, going forward under way is frequently an issue of head sails
entangled with lifelines. Seems like no matter how you attach the sheets
, they always find a way of snagging.
Lifelines have other disadvantages. First and foremost is a false sense of security
. While down low they can sustain an impact from a fairly large mass, the higher up the stanchion the point of impact is, the greater the leveraged force. Looking at how they are mounted and reinforced, they will not withstand a lot. However, few people tie off with a harness and center jack line because of this false sense of security
. Also at this point consider the efficacy of clipping your harness lanyard to a lifeline. That is high up. If you must, then to a stanchion base, not the lifeline.
Next is the line itself. You have lifelines and I have my harness, lanyard and jack line. We both slide from the windward to the lee side. I am brought up at the gunnel by a well fitted harness. You are sliced and diced by a 3/8 inch metal rope
Personal preference: No Life Lines