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  #1  
Old 05-14-2008
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Ugly lifelines

Mine are cracked and I can't even get them close to being white. As ugly as they are, I believe they are still safe. Aside from living with the ugly lines, my options are:

A. Have the marina rigging shop do them at more money that I can justify
B. Buying lines and swaging myself. (I have access to a good swaging tool)

Years ago, I used Nicropress fittings to replace stays on my first boat and that held up fine. I've been told swage fittings are stronger than Nicropress. Since this is a safety issue, would you recommend leaving it to professionals (also leaving bucks to them) or doing it yourself?
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If you're going to replace your lifelines... replace them with uncoated stainless steel. The plastic coating traps water against the stainless steel and leads to crevice corrosion, and hides the problem from easy inspection.

Doing it yourself isn't really a big problem, since there are many ways to do it properly and make perfectly safe lifelines. Mechanical fittings, like Norseman, HiMod, StaLok and such will allow you to terminate the ends equally strongly as a swaged fitting, although at some slight price penalty.
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Old 05-14-2008
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Try...

Try a MR. Clean Magic Eraser first..!! They do amazing things to lifelines.. I'm a clean freak and these are my absolute favorite cleaning tool!

If you go new you want a real swage from a hydraulic machine not a nicopress or mechanical, bolt cutter type, swager..

Or you could try one of the new DIY kits like this one..

Quick Attach Lifeline Kit
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 05-14-2008 at 05:26 PM.
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Halekai-

While the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will clean up the vinyl coating, it will do little for the corroded stainless that is probably lurking beneath. If the stainless is corroded badly enough...the lifelines won't be safe, no matter how white they are or good they look.
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Strip the plastic off and have a look. If the wire is still good, keep the life lines you've got, free! If the are corroded, replace them.
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While using non plastic coated wire sounds like a good idea to me. Does anyone really know first hand of plastic coated lifelines failing ? Or is this just another way to sell some more product at marine prices ?
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I've seen it happen twice... once to me on a friend's boat, and once on a boat next to the one I was on... in a span of two weeks, about three years ago.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freesail99 View Post
While using non plastic coated wire sounds like a good idea to me. Does anyone really know first hand of plastic coated lifelines failing ? Or is this just another way to sell some more product at marine prices ?
A lot of folks are going with bright wire, (non coated). I think that there are some new rule in racing circles that call for non coated wire.

Having said that, there is really no safety issue with vinyl coated wire if it is replaced when it should be . I have been replacing and building lifelines for a long time and the only time I have seen the actual wire fail is either when it's been kinked or damaged in some way or when it is due to be replaced.
Life lines are no different than standing rigging or running rigging. they wear out and they corrode.
The swages will usually always crack before the wire fails.
When you see a cracked swage, that tells you that it's time to replace the wire.
When you see cracks in the vinyl coating and you see rust marks around the crack, that tells you it's time to replace the wire.
When your turnbuckles are frozen solid and the stud shears off when you try to tighten them up, that tells you it's time to replace the wire.

Vinyl coated wire is more comfortable to lean against and it provides a better grip in your hand.
It is usually a 7x7 construction which is a little less flexible than 7x19 but nowhere near as stiff as 1x19.
1x19 wire is, in my opinion better looking, but is much more subject to kinking.
Do not use 7x19 wire (the flexible stuff usually used for halyards.
You will start seeing broken strands (meat hooks) in a very short time.

I have on occasion suggested to my customers who are concerned with the appearance of the vinyl but don't need or want to replace their lifelines to use those dreaded white PVC shroud covers.
From a distance they look new.
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Damn it Dog You got it again

Listen to the Dog.
Take it from me those plastic coated lines look nice, but are an accident waiting to happen. They are the last thing you break when you go overboard. It happened to me. There I was, clipped to the jackline, feet dangling in the water, I felt like a piece of bait. If I had been hooked to the jackline on the same side of the boat I was on, I would of been bait. There is no way in hell you are going to pull yourself back onboard if more than your feet are dragging.

Fair Winds

Cap'n Dave
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Old 05-14-2008
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Since the OP started this thread be cause he life lines were dirty/ugly, I would recommend a product called "Awesome" (I didn't name it) from the dollar store. It is hands down the single best plastic/vinyl cleaner made. Best part, it is 100% natural and only costs $1.

I would investigate weather their is need to replace the lifelines. If any corrosion exists, replace 'em. If not clean with "Awesome" and go sailing.
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