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  #1  
Old 01-08-2011
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Stanchions - Yes or No?

Hello!

Is there anyone out there sailing without stanchions and lifelines?? If so, what type of boat? And what type of sailing do you do?

I ask because I recently met a guy who didn't have them on his boat. He immediately takes them off every boat he has ever owned.
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Old 01-08-2011
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America's cup boats don't have lifelines; everyone else should. They are required for offshore racing.
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Old 01-08-2011
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We sailed a Martin 242 (relatively hi perf day racer) without lifelines for nearly 15 years. We had no issues other than obviously having to be a bit more cautious moving about. I know many who refer to the so-called "lifelines" as 'deathlines' and they believe that you're far more likely to trip over them and go overboard than not.

That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but in reality on most smaller boats any lifelines that 'look' right for the boat size will tend to be rather low, e.g. knee height and unless you're rolling on your back they are not likely to prevent a fall overboard. They do, however, provide a last ditch 'grab point' that can help you stay on (or alongside) the boat. And that's as long as they don't fail when put to the test.

Stanchions are notorious for being under-engineered, poorly supported/backed and probably the most common cause of deck leaks, core and skin delamination due to water intrusion. Any force applied to the upper end of the stanchion (or upper lifeline) has a long lever arm and really stresses the stanchion base. Stress cracks in this area are commonplace, even if leakage or delam is not an issue.

Advantages of having some kind of lifelines is that they do tend to try to keep hanked-on sails on deck when dropped, and of course when properly fitted with webbing or lacing they are indispensable when sailing with children.


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Originally Posted by speciald View Post
...... They are required for offshore racing.
True... we once sailed on a sistership to our own M242 in a distance race that required lifelines.. it was awful, seating positions in the cockpit were really compromised from normal... but 'thems were the rules'....

EDIT... I should qualify the above by saying that we have, and have no intention of removing, the lifelines on our current boat!
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Last edited by Faster; 01-08-2011 at 01:12 PM.
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Old 01-08-2011
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Some sailors disapprove of them thinking that they give a false sense of security and encourage carelessness among the crew. This is, I think, foolish in the extreme, like saying seatbelts encourage careless driving. Lifelines and stanchions won't always keep you aboard but they help.
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Old 01-08-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SailingWebGuy View Post
Hello!


I ask because I recently met a guy who didn't have them on his boat. He immediately takes them off every boat he has ever owned.
What type of sailing was he doing?
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Some folks ride their motorcycles without helmets. Some people remove their lifelines.

on my old 26 footer, with narrow side decks, the stanchions were in the way, causing a tripping hazard so I removed them.

On our Catalina 309 they will remain.

It's true, as a previous poster mentioned, that many stanchions are too low to be effective, as they're about knee height. Equally true is that as one goes forward under rougher conditions, one is likely to be very low to the deck. And maybe tethered. So when traction fails and you fall to the low side, it's nice to have the lifelines act as a safety net, rather than finding yourself next to the boat, tethered.

To each their own.
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What type of sailing was he doing?
He sailed the Chesapeake every summer. By that I mean he was a liveaboard in the summer and moved back on land during the winter. This summer he moved aboard full time and sailed down to FL then the Bahamas in the fall.
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For inland and near-coastal racing, you might get away with no stanchions / lifelines.

For anything else you want some means of keeping "stuff" on board. I would not trust my life to lifelines; that what tethers are for.

Even in calm conditions when I walk forward / aft I slide my hands along the lifelines as a minor assist to balance.
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I race and cruise a 22 footer without lifelines. I've sailed 22 and 25 footers with lifelines and found them to be a real nuisance...they just take up valuable space on side decks that are already pretty narrow. In my opinion, jack lines and harnesses are a better solution on small boats.
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Hmm...

Thanks for all the responses. Mine is a C30. The stanchions and lines are off now. They were leakers so the holes were filled with epoxy. I guess I could always launch in the spring without and then decide whether to put them on or not.
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