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post #1 of 21 Old 09-15-2012 Thread Starter
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3 strand nylon lifelines?

I've had a bunch (470 ft) of 1/2 inch nylon 3 strand kicking around in the shed for years and I've been trying to figure out what to do with it.

I was recently contemplating replacing my lifelines and it struck me, why not use 3 strand nylon for my lifelines? That would get rid of a big chunk of the line. I know some people use spectra/dyneema these days and I HAVE seen 3 strand nylon lifelines before but when I did a search here and on google I got very little info back on using 3 strand nylon to make lifelines.

Pros and cons anyone? From my perspective I have the following list of pros/cons:

PROS:
--Stretches when loaded thus adds some dynamic factor to the fall and might be less likely to fail.
--Can be cut in an emergency
--Easy on the hands
--Easier to catch/grip if actually trying to fall/slide overboard
--Repairable with parts at hand
--I got the stuff laying around
--I might finally remember once and for all how to splice when I'm done

Cons (vs uncoated stainless)
--Might be weaker?? Stretch might be bad if I have my physics wrong.
--Chafe on stanchions
--Chafe on poorly led sheets


What does the hive mind think?

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post #2 of 21 Old 09-15-2012
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Re: 3 strand nylon lifelines?

You forgot UV deterioration and I would say that the stretch is a negative. I replaced my lifelines on the previous boat with Dyneema lines (and Brummel Splices) and was happy with that.
There is a reason that the ORC rules stipulate only steel or Dyneema for lifelines and no other material is acceptable.


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post #3 of 21 Old 09-15-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: 3 strand nylon lifelines?

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Originally Posted by Zanshin View Post
You forgot UV deterioration and I would say that the stretch is a negative. I replaced my lifelines on the previous boat with Dyneema lines (and Brummel Splices) and was happy with that.
There is a reason that the ORC rules stipulate only steel or Dyneema for lifelines and no other material is acceptable.

How is the stretch a negative? It seems to me that anything that would reduce the multiplied loads at the ends would be a positive, but then again I'm thinking like a climber here....

Do you have a link to any commentary on why they ORC rules stipulate low stretch? I wonder if they just only had one type of line (stainless) and then, once petitioned, allowed Dyneema. I don't think too many racers would have tried 3 strand. It probably seems heavy to them...

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post #4 of 21 Old 09-15-2012
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Re: 3 strand nylon lifelines?

JMHO, but I think 1/2" line would look funny (too big), then get dirty and look worse.


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post #5 of 21 Old 09-15-2012
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Re: 3 strand nylon lifelines?

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Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
How is the stretch a negative? It seems to me that anything that would reduce the multiplied loads at the ends would be a positive, but then again I'm thinking like a climber here....
The stretch would be good at reducing loads but I think stretch will also allow you to "fall through" the lifelines if they give way enough. Nylon stretches a lot, I doubt you could get the lifelines tight enough to be useful.

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post #6 of 21 Old 09-15-2012
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Re: 3 strand nylon lifelines?

Remember, if a line stretches it also springs back. Falling against a stretchy line might well produce a very difficult to control "rebound", which in turn could both lead to injury and still cause one to go over the side. Probably best to have as stiff a material as possible for lifelines.

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Re: 3 strand nylon lifelines?

Stretch is just a word until you see (or calculate) it in action. I think it would help the OP to tie a length between 2 trees, 2 feet off the ground. Then put your foot on it and take it nearly to the ground.

True, it would be impossible to break a nylon lifeline because of the energy absorption and true it would put less strain on the rest of the system, but It would lack any security when used for balance and it would likely be easier to fall through.

Oversize polyester braid would likely work, but not nylon.

Coincidentally, I have a large pile of retired climbing ropes (8.5-11 mm nylon) and have also found only limited applications.

(when asked how he reached the starting holds on a difficult rock climbing problem that clearly favored taller climbers - he was perhaps 5'5")

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post #8 of 21 Old 09-15-2012
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Re: 3 strand nylon lifelines?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
How is the stretch a negative?...
MedSailor
I believe too much stretch is a bad thing. Even with steel lines that have no stretch (at typical stresses from a 250Lb body falling overboard and being stopped) the lifelines already have quite a bit of "give" from the stanchions flexing and the endpoints of the line giving a bit as well.

The ORC rule can be found here: ISAF Special Regulations

But I see a new addendum:
Quote:
e) RORC prescription to ISAF OSR: 3.14.6 e) has been deleted, removing the reference to HMPE (DyneemaŽ/SpectraŽ)
f) A taut lanyard of synthetic rope may be used to secure lifelines provided the gap it closes does not exceed 100 mm (4 in). This lanyard shall be replaced annually at a minimum.
g) All wire, fittings, anchorage points, fixtures and lanyards shall comprise a lifeline enclosure system which has at all points at least the breaking strength of the required lifeline wire.

TABLE 8
under 8.5 m (28ft) 3 mm (1/8 in)
8.5m - 13 m 4 mm (5/32 in)
over 13 m (43 ft) 5 mm (3/16 in)
So I stand corrected and not even Dyneema is sufficient for offshore racing; just any synthetic for the endpoints.


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post #9 of 21 Old 09-15-2012
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Re: 3 strand nylon lifelines?

Nylon also stretches when wet. Significantly.

So if you plan to use it for lifelines, you want to pre-wet the cord before you string it, and then get it good and snug while it is still wet.

Otherwise, they'll sag during normal use as they pick up splash, spray, or rain.
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post #10 of 21 Old 09-15-2012
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Re: 3 strand nylon lifelines?

The only way I could see an application for 1/2" nylon three-strand as a lifeline is if you wanted to rig a temporary chest level line when at sea. Even then, I would rather have something with less stretch.
Use it for docklines, anchor rodes, things for which it was designed. Or else make some salty rope mats.



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