Replacement of vinyl lifelines - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 43 Old 08-07-2012 Thread Starter
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Replacement of vinyl lifelines

My C&C 30 life lines are sagging and the vinyl is discolored. Is it the best thing to replace with the same type with the vinyl or just s/s wire? I only have one adjustment on my boat and its adjusted all the way out. Can i add like a turnbuckle some were to tighten it up? I found that I could put covers from west marine that would make them look better but will not help the sagging problem. I don’t see much rust at all. Your thoughts?
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post #2 of 43 Old 08-07-2012
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Re: Replacement of vinyl lifelines

Replace them if they are more than a decade old regardless of how nice they appear.

Many people are going with uncoated 1x19 wire because they feel that the vinyl hides potential problems. The truth is that the vinyl does hide problems but only if the wire is past it's usable life anyway. Even uncoated wire should be replaced every ten to fifteen years.
If you do decide to use uncoated wire, make sure not to use 7x19, the flexible stuff usually used for halyards or 7x7, the kind that is usually coated with vinyl. Use 1x19. The stiff stuff that is usually used for shrouds and stays.
The smaller strands of wire in the 7x7 or 7x19 will break a lot sooner without the vinyl and you'll end up with "fishhooks".
Personally, I like the look of vinyl coated lifelines.

The sagging is almost certainly a result of the stanchions being bent inwards. People leaning on them, hanging fenders on them and just simply over-tensioning them will cause this.
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post #3 of 43 Old 08-07-2012
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Re: Replacement of vinyl lifelines

lt, as knothead said. The sagging probably is from bent stanchions not stretched wire. Vinyl coated wire has been banned by racing rules for some years now, because you can't tell if the wire has corroded under the vinyl, and even clear vinyl traps moisture and corrodes the wire. The typical choice now is bare wire. Folks say they want vinyl to protect them from meathooks--but wire wire, if you find even ONE meathook, that means the strands are breaking and it is time to replace the wire anyway!

You can certainly cut the existing wire and fit a new fitting to take up the slack, but I'd check the stanchions first and repair them as needed. If you don't want steel wire, there are also synthetics (pricey) or you can use coated wire again, as long as you don't have a problem with offshore racing rules. Just remember, they banned it because it is unreliable.
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post #4 of 43 Old 08-07-2012
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Re: Replacement of vinyl lifelines

Correct me if I am wrong here but I believe coated lines are OK as long as the coating is removeable.

Yeah verily to replacing them now whatever the condition, if old. Me i'd go line rather than wire but yes it is more expensive and you have to remember to replace the lashing each year. Indeed if your wire is lashed rather than rigging screwed, the lashing still should still be renewed every twelve months. (not that I, he blushingly admitted do so).

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“Life is a trick, and you get one chance to learn it.”
― Terry Pratchett, Nation

Malo 39 Classic

Last edited by tdw; 08-07-2012 at 06:11 PM.
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post #5 of 43 Old 08-07-2012
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Re: Replacement of vinyl lifelines

Coated wire lifelines are frankly dangerous, which is why they have been banned from offshore racing for almost a decade now.

Uncoated is fine, but can pull hair, and is typically small enough that it can be painful if you fall against it.

Synthetic, specifically dyneema is much cheaper, safer, and lighter than wire. I am not sure why people think it is more expensive, I redid the lifelines on my Olson 30 for $120, and on the Beneteau 381 for $160.

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post #6 of 43 Old 08-08-2012
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Re: Replacement of vinyl lifelines

I'm guessing the cost of dyneema has come down while steel has gone up. But in rigging, it is still way more expensive. NavTec offers it at around 3x-4x the price of their rod rigging. Ignoring the duty cycles and life expectancies, that's still damned expensive. (Maybe riggers just take a higher profit than lifeline makers.)
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post #7 of 43 Old 08-08-2012
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Re: Replacement of vinyl lifelines

Some insurance co's require lifelines that are not vinyl coated wire. Stripping the coating and reinspection by a surveyor was sufficient.
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post #8 of 43 Old 08-08-2012
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Re: Replacement of vinyl lifelines

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Just remember, they banned it because it is unreliable.
I'm stubborn I know, but I'm going to keep trying to drive this point home.

Vinyl coated wire is NOT unreliable UNLESS it's older than it's usable life span. The only reason that it is considered unreliable and was banned by the racers is that some people do not replace it when it's due to be replaced.

With bare wire and exposed meat hooks and rust and such, it's a bit harder to ignore when the wire has reached the end of it's life. Vinyl will often hide the problems in wire that should be replaced.
But whether or not it is coated, it still has a limited lifespan. And it's just about the same afaik for coated or uncoated.
That's why it's rather important to know how old stuff on your boat is. Standing rigging, chainplates, lifelines etc.
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post #9 of 43 Old 08-08-2012
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Re: Replacement of vinyl lifelines

Uncoated lifelines are required by ISAF/ORC races. It is highly unlikely that your local PHRF has such requirements. Usually all that is required is that they are "taut". There are way too many boats out there with vinyl covered lifelines to require such a wholesale change. I personally think uncoated is better, but no one is going to stop you from entering your local club races without them.

As for insurance requirements, I could certainly be wrong, but I have never heard of any major insurer having such a requirement, and I am fairly knowledgeable about the marine insurance business.

Last edited by jgeissinger; 08-08-2012 at 05:33 PM.
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post #10 of 43 Old 08-08-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Replacement of vinyl lifelines

Being new to the sailing arena i have learned a lot.
this is a 31 year old boat. I dont know if the are the ones installed at the factory. C&C yachts seamed to do a good job on the rest of the boat. I see no rust. There is a bent stanchion on the starbord side and that is the side I have that saggs the most. The stanchions havelapped the toe rail with 3 fasteners. I Do want to race this fall and winter in the PHRF local clubs. I want to do it right but dont want to spend a fortune.
I think cut all the vynal off and check for damage meet hooks and rust, If I find even one I will replace it with SS wire. If I find it to be in good condition under the vynal I will biuy a swegger and a turn buckle and repair so as to tighten it up.
Thanks for all your help. some great insite into this topic. I just want to be safe and race legal. I want to race in the Charleston off shore Racing Assocation oe C.O.R.A and the S.A.YR.A and the South Atlantic Yacht Racing Association
Thanks again
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