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Old 02-28-2011
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Question about lifelines

Given that stanchions are relatively narrow at their base for their height, what's going to happen when a 200+ pound sailor loses balance and falls against that tall lever? Seems to me that the stanchion is going to come out of the deck no matter how well-bedded it is.

So is the real purpose of the lifeline just to give an overboard sailor something to hang on to? It sure doesn't seem as though it's going to keep him or her on board -- being tethered to a jackline will do that a lot better.

Just a random ponder.
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Old 02-28-2011
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look at the following ISAF document and search for "stanchions" to get an idea of what the design specs are. The lifelines are part of the supporting system, so the full 200lb accelerated load won't go straight across one stanchion, and if it does it will deform to absorb the energy but not break, and if it does break there are still 2 lifelines through it that can each hold a multiplie of the forces involved.

http://www2.sailing.org/offshore/200...Mu4_270607.pdf
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Old 02-28-2011
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True on all accounts. A lifeline is meant to act as a reminder of where the edge is and as a handhold for walking. They also keep large items on deck (e.g., sails). I recall reading that the criteria is something like 50 lbs of lateral pressure before it fails. Not much.

In reality, a properly through bolted stanchion base will probably hold the weight of a falling crew member, but the stanchion will probably fold over.

The relative fragility of stanchions is why I strongly discourage people attempting to hoist themselves onboard by grabbing the thing. My wife also has a habit of grabbing it to pull the boat in closer to the dock. I cringe when she does that but her name is on the boat, so what can I do?
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Old 02-28-2011
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The force would be distributed to all of the stanchions by way of the lifelines. If your lifelines are attached to the bow and stern like most boats you might end up with a bent stanchion or two but you're not going to break that SS lifeline (if it's in good shape, no corrosion, etc).
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Old 02-28-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabreman View Post
My wife also has a habit of grabbing it to pull the boat in closer to the dock. I cringe when she does that but her name is on the boat, so what can I do?
Brace the one she grabs? Been there.

Actually, my wife has arthritis and we do make adjustments. I carry a small tackle that I use to pull the boat to the dock and to hold it steady. It goes from cleat to piling/cleat, so there is no strain. In fact, I find it very handy when I'm loading and unloading too. I have been careful to chose a loop for one end that will snap should I forget to release it and the tide changes!
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Old 02-28-2011
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Our stanchions are connected to the anodized toerail ( an 80s C&C design )thus little to worry about interms of rebedding the deck or having them become wobbly. It is a good design EXCEPT they tend to get hung up on pilings when docking if you are not careful. They will handle the load (since the lifeline is swaged on and adjusted correctly with adjustable barrels) of a 250 lb man easily.

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Old 02-28-2011
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Lifelines are just a reminder that you're about to go overboard. In many cases, you can't rely on them to keep you aboard, especially if they're coated with vinyl, since the stainless steel may be corroded badly beneath with no real visible signs of it. Also, on many boats, the stanchions aren't tall enough to prevent a taller person from going overboard.
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Old 02-28-2011
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Quote:
The force would be distributed to all of the stanchions by way of the lifelines. If your lifelines are attached to the bow and stern like most boats you might end up with a bent stanchion or two
I forgot about that. Since the wire is attached at both ends, the stanchion can't fold completely over. The strength or the wire & fittings will stop it from happening.
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Old 02-28-2011
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I was told once that, when you are at sea, treat the edge of the boat like it was a 1000 foot cliff face and treat the lifelines like they had 10,000 volts on them.

Obviously neither are true, but you get the idea. The lifelines should be the last in a long line of safety layers designed to keep you on the boat.
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