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.