Lifeline replacement and set up

patrscoe

Member II
Due to signs of rust, corrosion and the PVC cover cracking, I have decided to take on another project this winter and replace my lifelines.
For many reasons, I have ruled out replacing the lifeline cable with the same PVC cover cable. I think to use a PVC cover cable or bare cable or Synthetic is a personal preference and no one will ever agree.

I am keeping my current layout, which is lifelines top and bottom from the bow pulpit to a gate opening towards the stern on each side, and lifeline top and bottom from the gate opening to the stern pulpit. Fairly simple that has worked for me.
For the long run, from the bow pulpit to the gate post, I am planning to run 3/16" 1x19 bare cable with a turnbuckle at the bow pulpit for tensioning and a stud and eye at the gate post.
At the gate, I am using a synthetic line attaching to the eye at the post gate with a splice and thimble and a pelican with a thread / splice eye by Johnson designed for synthetic line splicing.
From the other side of the gate posts to the stern pulpit, I will be putting in a stud / eye which is the receiver for the pelican and back to the stern pulpit with a tensioner end. This section will also be synthetic lifeline.

So I have bare cable on the long run from the bow to the gate and from there to the stern, I have synthetic lifelines. Two different lines. Synthetic lifelines will be easier on my hands towards the cockpit and gate, and the bare cable will not chafe from the sails or dock lines or headsail sheets up towards the mid-section and bow area. I have experience synthetic lines and splicing, and would prefer synthetic lifelines throughout but that I read the only downfall of lines is chafing / heat generated from two lines.

Any thoughts on the above?
thanks
 

Slick470

Member III
I went through this a few years ago and was very interested in the synthetic lifeline option. Then synthetic lifelines became questionable for racing and turned out to not much of a cost savings. So, I ended up getting a few quotes and in the end I removed my old ones and sent them to Rigging Only to be replicated. They were great to work with and I'm very happy with how they turned out.

I did take the opportunity to upgrade the pelican hooks at the gates, but then had an issue with the eye on the stern pulpit being too small to accept the new and slightly larger hooks. Oops, completely my fault, but RO worked with me to come up with a workable solution.
 

Slick470

Member III
Yes. Other than the pelican hook issue I mentioned, they were ready to install out of the box.

I did label the ones I sent them to copy and they matched the labels on the ones they sent back so I knew exactly where they would go. The lengths were a little different side to side...

I had them do uppers and lowers P&S with gates on both sides of the cockpit, and upper and lower gates at the stern opening.
 

frick

Member III
This last year I replaced my rusting life lines on my E29 with 5MM Silver Dyneema. I also picked up a fid to help with the locking bromel splices. I used low friction rings and dyneema lashings to pull them tight. Cost of the total Project $120 Dollars. The splicing was fun to learn and easy to do. To replace with SS and the fittings it would and been over $500. and the Dyneema is twice the strength of the SS.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Among other relavent threads, here is one with a 'deeper dive' into the world of lifelines.
 

nquigley

Member III
Patrick - I replaced mine with dyneema two years ago, following the same plan as frick above (Brummel locking splices and low-friction rings for the dyneema to turn around). Instead of 5mm dyneema (rather expensive per ft) I went with 3mm (less than half the cost, but still plenty strong enough a a lifeline) but I fed one piece of 3mm through the inside of another 3 mm piece to achieve a line that's more comfortable to grab. This made the end splicing a bit more complicated. My problem is that I didn't use heat-set (pre-stretched) dyneema and the final products stretched to far for my adjusting turnbuckles to accommodate - so I went with small dyneema lashings to tension them (like frick did).
But, doing it all again, I think I'd do like you did: uncovered 19:1 wire for the long runs forward of the gates (and for the gates?) and 5-mm dyneema for the gate(?) and around the cockpit. The uncovered wire would want to be one size thicker than the wire that's in the original covered wire to make it more comfortable to grab.
 

Gaviate

Member II
Having installed cabled railings on decks for differing customers over the years, it was an easy decision to replace lifelines on Emgee after purchase a couple of years ago. The vinyl coated lines were in terrible shape and I wanted to install taller stanchions with a double rail set up. (The 27's have a single rail originally). The stanchions all needed re-bedding as well so....

I used SS, uncoated wire, did my own swaging (hand hydraulic tool), parts acquisition online and re-used tensioners and pelican hooks where able. Without considering my time, I have my cabling cost, with parts, recorded at less than 200.00. Twice that for re-purposed pulpit and stanchions from a salvage vessel. With the right tool, you can do about anything.

I also estimate that the forces on a lifeline system are nothing compared to the standing rigging onboard. For that work I definitely went to a rigging service because....they had the right tool.

Loren, thanks for posting that link to previous thread. Now having seen those new style pelican hooks in action, my mouth is watering!!
 

patrscoe

Member II
Reviewing the US Sailing regulations for racing 'Coastal' and 'Offshore', it appears that from 2016 to 2018, they removed allowing synthetic lifelines. 2016, they stated bare cable or synthetic lifelines but not in 2018. Is this everyone's understanding, that they only allow bare cable?
 

Slick470

Member III
Patrick, yes. My understanding is they changed the rules after a few issues with chafe at stanchions caused breaking with synthetic lifelines and some crew getting dumped. Local PHRF regions update and revise the regulations as needed and I think PHRF of the Chesapeake still allowed them (last time I looked) but with US Sailing not allowing them, I figured it was only a matter of time before they were disallowed locally.

As far as materials costs, because at the time I intended to use our boat for fully crewed racing, I was primarily looking at the sheathed synthetic options like the NE WR2 and associated hardware instead of splicing on uncoated. This would have helped with chafe at the stanchions as well as chafe from lines dragging across the lifelines. I agree that just doing uncoated dyneema without or with minimal fittings would be cheaper.

On another random decision point for me was, my wife really wanted me to put up lifeline netting to help keep our kids on board and that just seemed easier to deal with with the wire lifelines. Installing that stuff is a HUGE PIA, and I didn't want to go through that effort and then need to undo and redo any of it if there was an issue with the dyneema.

In the end it just seemed like less of a hassle to go to uncoated SS and the Rigging Only option at least made me feel like I was doing some of the work myself with measuring, uninstalling, and reinstalling myself. 3 years ago the costs were in the $700 range which was cheaper than having a local rigger do it, or having APS build them.
 

JSM

Member III
Four years ago I was thinking about replacing our discolored and cracked lifelines. Before removing the old lifelines I stripped the PVC coating off of the lines to see how the boat would look with bare cable.
Turned out that the cables were in good shape so I left well enough alone and replaced the older corroded turnbuckles and pelican hooks with shinny new ones.
 

frick

Member III
Patrick - I replaced mine with dyneema two years ago, following the same plan as frick above (Brummel locking splices and low-friction rings for the dyneema to turn around). Instead of 5mm dyneema (rather expensive per ft) I went with 3mm (less than half the cost, but still plenty strong enough a a lifeline) but I fed one piece of 3mm through the inside of another 3 mm piece to achieve a line that's more comfortable to grab. This made the end splicing a bit more complicated. My problem is that I didn't use heat-set (pre-stretched) dyneema and the final products stretched to far for my adjusting turnbuckles to accommodate - so I went with small dyneema lashings to tension them (like frick did).
But, doing it all again, I think I'd do like you did: uncovered 19:1 wire for the long runs forward of the gates (and for the gates?) and 5-mm dyneema for the gate(?) and around the cockpit. The uncovered wire would want to be one size thicker than the wire that's in the original covered wire to make it more comfortable to grab.
I left a 6 inch gap for the lachings, expected about a 2% creap of the line. By the end of the first season with the Dyneema my 6 inch gap is down to 3.5 inches
 

Kenneth K

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
I stripped the PVC coating off of the lines to see how the boat would look with bare cable.
Turned out that the cables were in good shape so I left well enough alone......

Good to know! The PVC coating on my lifelines is starting to get discolored from rust in several spots. When I peeled off the coating in one area, the cable below looked fine. Maybe I'll tear it all off.
 

nquigley

Member III
Good to know! The PVC coating on my lifelines is starting to get discolored from rust in several spots. When I peeled off the coating in one area, the cable below looked fine. Maybe I'll tear it all off.
I think you'll end up with lifelines that are uncomfortable (too small) to hold - if you have to grab them firmly to prevent a fall, you could cut your hand. When people replace covered lifelines with new uncovered wire, they go up a size or 2 just for this reason.
 

Slick470

Member III
Another thing to think of is the wire for the coated lifelines is different wire than the uncoated type and is more likely to pinch skin or grab arm or leg hairs.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Another thing to think of is the wire for the coated lifelines is different wire than the uncoated type and is more likely to pinch skin or grab arm or leg hairs.
That could happen if the "twist" in the wire bundle was loose enough to allow a hair to enter the strands, I suppose. But our wire has always been too tight to allow anything like that. Same for shrouds. Interesting to think about, tho.
The only place on the perimeter that we routinely hang an arm over the lifeline is beside the cockpit, and we have had larger-diameter canvas covered "cushions" on those parts, whether with or without vinyl, for 20 years. (At the request of crew persons initially, and I like it also.)
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Coated lifeline was rejected because it prevents inspection. Personally, I find properly sized stainless wire quite comfortable to the hand.

Lifeline cushions are easy to make or buy. I use foam pipe insulation from a hardware store, covered in a Sunbrella sleeve (buried under the flap for the weather cloth in the photo below). The pre-made cushions available for sale are somewhat better since they have a tube inside the foam to protect it from the wire. One benefit of homemade is perfect sizing to the lifeline section, unlike in first photo.

IMG_0442.JPG..weather cloths.JPG
 

p.gazibara

Member III
We replaced the lifelines on Cinderella prior to racing the Swiftsure Lightship Classic in 2017. I went with dyneema, and I’m so glad I did. When we lost our lower shroud on passage from the Marquesas to the Tuamotus we used the lifelines (among other lines) to jury rig and sail the remaining 350nm to Tahiti.

It’s so easy to splice, can be spliced together to make longer lengths, shows visible signs of wear, and is much cheaper.

On the aft end I have pelican hooks for an opening gate. On the foreword end I have thimbles which are connected to the pulpit via lashings. You can buy expensive fittings, but lashings do the job and are stronger.

-P
 

Kenneth K

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
WM and others sell split-PVC covers used as anti-chafe devices on shrouds/stays. I suppose these would work for lifelines, too. But, stainless steel seems to do best uncovered.
 

goldenstate

Member III
Blogs Author
I'm in the midst of this lifeline project right now. I'm replacing my SS cable with 1/4" Amsteel Blue I bought from Defender: https://www.defender.com/product.jsp?id=3507696

I like being able to tighten my standing rigging with turnbuckles, so I decided to also avoid the lashing approach for my lifelines.

I plan to re-use most of the closed-body turnbuckles that I have on my existing SS lifelines, replacing the swaged cable end with toggle pin bolts: https://www.defender.com/product.jsp?id=212763 and then putting the eye-splice though the pin.

A thimble to hold the lines in the gate space, and then these splice-able pelican eyes for the gate clasps:

Just waiting for everything to arrive.
 
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