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PaulinVictoria 02-17-2013 05:28 PM

Double or single lifelines?
I need to replace the lifelines on my boat, and I am considering getting rid of the lower set and just having a single lifeline each side. Thoughts?

travlin-easy 02-17-2013 05:41 PM

Re: Double or single lifelines?
Neither would likely prevent anyone from falling overboard if they lost their balance and was not hanging on. On every boat I've seen they lifelines are at mid-thigh level at the most, which is well below the body's leverage point. The top one is good for hanging onto when negotiating the decks, and provides some stability while traversing from point A to Point B. For safety purposes, I have a 1-inch nylon webbing jack line that runs the full length of the boat and firmly attached to the mast as well.

The one benefit of the lower lifeline is that it may prevent a small child from falling overboard, and you can string safety netting to both lines, which provides a fair amount of security for children and pets alike.

Good Luck,

Gary :cool:

chef2sail 02-17-2013 06:48 PM

Re: Double or single lifelines?
I never looked at my lifelines as being able to hold me in. but as the last thing I would grab as I slipped and was heading for the water ( like Wile E Coyote) or something to hold onto when moving toward the bow although I beleive in keeping your center pointed at the the center and leaning into the center

Look at its height in terms of a 10 year old ( 4"6'), a small woman (5') and not as a 5'9"-6'4' male. Besides who says you are upright when headed overboard. Ive seen people slide right under a double lifeline

Personally ( I replaced my own 4 years ago) I put both back on as the more to reach and grab at as you head overboard, the better.:)

msmith10 02-17-2013 06:49 PM

Re: Double or single lifelines?
While it's true that lifelines might not keep a person from going over IF they're standing up, most of the time you aren't standing up. A lower lifeline may keep you on board in a knockdown, while you may just slide under the lifelines if the lower one isn't there. The lower one will also give more security to rail meat. That being said, in my last knockdown, I still managed to slide under the lower one and ended up in the drink.
For a long-distance single-handed race next year, I'm planning on adding netting, which is actually required by the sanctioning body for the race.
I also think it can't help but strengthen the whole system.

PaulinVictoria 02-17-2013 07:39 PM

Re: Double or single lifelines?
No kids, no racing, if that makes any difference :) The other alternative was to do away with them entirely, they are next to useless now and mostly just act as a way to trip me up getting on and off at the dock.

blt2ski 02-17-2013 07:49 PM

Re: Double or single lifelines?
Sounds like it is time to add a door way to your lifeline system if you do not have something equal. Not sure I would do away with them frankly, even if I could, I can not do to the amount of racing I do, rules etc.

I would also keep both the upper and lower as the lower might be what keeps you in vs the upper. I also find it helps keel the jib in bound when hoisting, taking down etc a bit easier, along with a bit more to tie the jib down when coming in etc. Then again, if you have something called a roller furling headsail......not sure what that is personally, maybe you do not need the lifelines to control a downed jib!

With that in mind......I've rambled enough!


I would look at one of the rope style setups vs wire rope personally if I had to redo my setup!

msmith10 02-17-2013 07:59 PM

Re: Double or single lifelines?

Originally Posted by blt2ski (Post 991587)
Then again, if you have something called a roller furling headsail......not sure what that is personally, maybe you do not need the lifelines to control a downed jib!


Like you, Marty, I'm waiting to install that new-fangled roller furling headsail system until I see if it catches on.

PaulinVictoria 02-17-2013 08:05 PM

Re: Double or single lifelines?
I looked at prices of amsteel vs stainless and there isn't really much in it by the time I've bought new fittings so I don't really see a compelling argument either way for line or cable.
I can unclip the lifelines on one side easily enough, but that just leaves the lifelines down on the deck and ready to trip me up, there isn't really room for a gate. If it were just me on the boat all the time then I would have them all fixed and just step over them, alas the occasional visit from the Admiral and the mutt means there has to be an easy step on/off.
I also noticed that the upper and lower lines are different diameters.
Anyone had any experience with the Suncor Quick Attach fittings?

svHyLyte 02-18-2013 08:38 AM

Re: Double or single lifelines?
Despite misapprehensions by many, the strength of life-lines does not come from stanchions, which merely hold the life-lines in position, but from the end connectors when the life-line goes into tension as a load is placed on it alone it's length, in a manner similar to the load a bow string when an arrow is drawn or the supporting ropes of a hammock. It is the tension in the line, not the bending resistance in the stanchions, that keep one aboard. (The stanchions do help of course, but their strength in bending is nothing compared to the tensile strength in the wire/rope.) By eliminating the lower life-line, you will significantly reduce the strength of the entire life-line "system". As pointed out elsewhere herein, at a height of 24 to 30 inches, a person standing full height is not going to be stopped from going over the side. But, when does one ever really see someone out for a stroll standing up-right when conditions get crappy? Most people are crouched over, if not on their knees, and a lurch coming off of a wave, or the misfortune of a wave breaking over one while on deck (BTDT), can throw one into the life-lines, at which point one wants all the strength they can offer (to say nothing of blocking one from sliding under the upper life-line). Eliminating the lower life line will significantly degrade the performance potential of your life-line system. (They ain't called "life-lines" for no reason!)


pdqaltair 02-18-2013 08:59 AM

Re: Double or single lifelines?
I've watched video of sailors sliding under the upper lifeline, because they remove the middle line to save weight. A plain silly thing to do. Lifelines are most effective at stoping sliding bodies--they were never intended to help standing sailors--and removing the middle line ruins that.

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