Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 25

Thread: Lifeline question (and hello)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2022
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    13

    Default Lifeline question (and hello)

    Hello; this is my first post. Apologies if I am slow on the posting etiquette.

    I need new lifelines; Svendson's quotes $1.5k just for the hardware/lines (I install). At that price, I'd like to get it right, not end up doing it twice.

    I hear that bare wire is required for the SHTP (to which I someday aspire). I also hear bare wire eats your sails / is a chafe issue, and is generally a bummer on the skin.

    Is it possible to get coated wire, and then, on that glorious day one does some SSS offshore thing requiring bare wire, one goes around with a knife and removes the vinyl? Or is there some other way to avoid chafe (I thought of just using PVC tubes, but don't want to reach to grab a lifeline and have my hand roll...)

    I did search the threads, but the last post is 2+ years ago, and regulations seem to keep changing. I would tend to prefer (coated) wire to spectra/HMPE just since it seems like I'd need to inspect it/deal with it less. But not if I then can never race with it without dumping another couple of $k.

    Advice/current requirements would be appreciated.

    Most recent related post:
    https://www.sfbaysss.org/forum/showt...ight=lifelines

    Boat: Ericson 34-2, which I am slowly getting set up.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Capitola,CA
    Posts
    3,004

    Default

    Welcome! You are correct that bare wire lifelines are unfriendly to human flesh, both when thrown into them like a cheese slicer on the foredeck, or getting your skin pinched at a stanchion. I much preferred coated lifelines and was dismayed when they were outlawed on the theory you can't check what is happening to the wire under the coating.

    I've yet to see a coated lifeline fail, and it takes about 10 years in the sun to develop cracks in the PVC coating, which may then cause rusting underneath in the flexible wire rope. I have seen wire lifelines fail when a piece of running rigging breaks off the ring-a-ding cotter in a terminal clevis, and much prefer lashings at both ends.

    I do NOT recommend ring-a-dings used in lifelines. Many do.

    For pennies, you can make your own lifelines, using thimbles and nicropressed swadges rather than hundred dollar exotic turnbuckles. The swadged eyes also allow lashings.

    I was recently a party to new HMPE lifelines built and installed by the owner on his O-29 for the SHTP. They turned out exceptionally well.

    What would I do? I am not an official of the SSS, but would go for the coated wire if you are happy with that. If down the road some well meaning inspector denied the coating, then leave the coating alone and temporarily run HMPE rope parallel to the coated wire rope using clove hitches at the stanchions.

    My 2 cents...

    Your due diligence is commended. ~sleddog
    Last edited by sleddog; 02-19-2022 at 08:42 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Posts
    15

    Default

    In April 2018, I had my lifelines replaced by South Beach Rigging with 3/16" 316 bare wire, to meet and exceed the offshore requirements for a 35" J/109. No meat hooks whatsoever, no real rust, no wear at all, just fine. Total was around $1500, installed, but that was 4 years ago. Once a year or so I'll have to do an extra little metal polish here and there (above an approximately 18 month polish cycle) to remove some surface rust. I hose down all the metal after every sail.

    I'm sure there are some other racing boats that have had bare metal lifelines longer than I have. I've never paid much attention to them though, even though they're staring / hitting me right in the face when partially hiking.

    FWIW: the OYRA rules say that US Sailing does not allow HMPE, but OYRA does.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Posts
    15

    Default

    I will say, however, getting your hand pinched between a bare metal lifeline and the stanchion hole hurts like you wouldn't believe.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2022
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    13

    Default

    Note: I wanted to reply, so folks knew I was paying attention (and grateful for the responses), but remain open to any further posts by anyone up until I pull the trigger on some form of new lifelines, probably in the next month or so -- which is to say, continued opinions welcome.

    Many thanks! I may well check out South Beach Rigging, though the installation part does not seem too complex so I'm not daunted by that.

    My inclination is to get the coated wire, at the recommendation of the sailmaker (and SSS member, who steered me here), and do as @sleddog suggests and drop some HMPE on over top as necessary to conform if it becomes an issue later. May lash as sleddog suggests... I feel like I've typically seen tape on cotter pins/rings in the past, when chartering from good outfits, but can't remember for sure. If so, maybe the reason is exactly what sleddgo refers to. The fact that the handle on the primary winches bangs my hand into the lines every time I go 'round make me that much more inclined to coating of some sort.


    PS: My understanding is that the issue with coating is twofold: 1) hard to inspect and 2) the stranded nature of the cable means that even without cracking of the vinyl cover, water can wick in under the cover. I am told that salt water, evaporating off stainless steel in air, is not so big an issue, but that salt water in long contact with SS in low-oxygen conditions (e.g. under a vinyl cover...) presents some significantly worse corrosion/metal degradation issue. It seems to me that replacing the lifelines every 10 years (like standing rigging) is not so crazy a way to deal with that, especially if coated ones increase the life of the (more expensive) sails, but anyway for those that care the added corrosion effect of the low-oxygen environment was given to me as part of the explanation for why bare wire is required.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    3,582

    Default

    The soon-to-be-published SER for the 2023 Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race will (probably*) allow HMPE one more time, but is currently worded as follows:

    "Lifelines may be either uncoated stainless steel wire or high molecular weight polyethylene (HMPE) line with spliced terminations or terminals specifically intended for the purpose. A multipart-lashing segment not to exceed 4" per end termination for the purpose of attaching lifelines to pulpits is allowed. Lifelines shall be taut (see appendix for requirements). When HMPE is used, the load-bearing portion (core) shall meet or exceed minimum diameter requirements. HMPE Lifelines should be carefully inspected at least twice per year. SSS Change: US Sailing does not allow HMPE. NCORC will transition to Stainless Steel in 2023. If you are changing lifelines be aware that NCORC will require stainless steel lifelines and that SSS will likely adopt this for the 2025 SHTP."

    * "probably" added by me to allow the SHTP RC some flexibility.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    3,582

    Default

    My own commentary: The ORC in its OSRs, US Sailing in its model SERs and in turn, local OAs have moved back to wire from HMPE because of chafe concerns.
    Chafe comes from tensioned lines laying across and "sawing" on the lifelines, and also from poorly prepared or maintained holes in the stanchions. Metal wire can tolerate these points of chafe, HMPE cannot.

    Regarding the vinyl coating, stainless steel is protected from corrosion by exposure to oxygen (Google it). When coated, the oxygen is cut off and the metal corrodes. This happens under the coating where it can't be inspected. There are boats on my dock with vinyl coated lifelines. Significant rust is visible at the ends of the wire where it exits the coating. I would not want to rely on them to keep me on the boat.

    SHTP veteran Tom Burden covers many of the issues in this article. Also, Suncor and others sell D-I-Y (hand-crimp) kits with the fittings you'll need. Just add your chosen wire.

    https://www.westmarine.com/WestAdvis...Your-Lifelines
    .
    Last edited by BobJ; 02-20-2022 at 04:23 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Capitola,CA
    Posts
    3,004

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BobJ View Post
    Regarding the vinyl coating, stainless steel is protected from corrosion by exposure to oxygen (Google it). When coated, the oxygen is cut off and the metal corrodes. This happens under the coating where it can't be inspected. There are boats on my dock with vinyl coated lifelines. Significant rust is visible at the ends of the wire where it exits the coating. I would not want to rely on them to keep me on the boat.
    Most boats at RYC and other marinas have rust at the junction of standing and running wire-rope rigging despite being swadged terminals And yes, most wire-rope fails at these rusty terminals. I had the same vinyl covered lifelines on WILDFLOWER for 20 years. They were two sizes larger than required and never cracked (and, as an aside, the solid aluminum rod stanchions were 4" taller than required, were set 6" into below-deck sockets, and could take hundreds of pounds of sideways force. 24" legal stanchions hit you at the knee, perfect to send one somersaulting overboard. Don't ask me about 18" stanchions. Better than nothing, but not by much.) How many SSS'ers and other local sailors have been pitched over lifelines? I don't have enough fingers to count. There's even a SHTP trophy in memory and another at our local yacht club.
    Last edited by sleddog; 02-20-2022 at 04:33 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    3,582

    Default

    I did some research about this when preparing the SERs for the 2010 SHTP. It turns out that most documented MOBs slipped out under the lifelines. Sailors of boats with single, 18" high lifelines were therefore the most vulnerable.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Capitola,CA
    Posts
    3,004

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BobJ View Post
    I did some research about this when preparing the SERs for the 2010 SHTP. It turns out that most documented MOBs slipped out under the lifelines. Sailors of boats with single, 18" high lifelines were therefore the most vulnerable.
    Lace-line (netting) zig-zagging fore and aft on foredeck lifelines not only keeps sails, sailbags, and spinnaker poles aboard, but sliding bodies as well..If anyone wants to learn, feel free to get in touch.
    Last edited by sleddog; 02-20-2022 at 04:46 PM.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •