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SanderO 05-07-2019 10:28 AM

Jack Lines
My jack lines are heavy coat wire... attached to the bow cleat with a large shackle. They need to be cleaned but the are structurally sound...

I am thinking of replacing with webbing or high something else.

Would they be tied to the cleat?
What size and grade material?
Removed when not sailing?

Suggestions please.

Minnewaska 05-07-2019 10:46 AM

Re: Jack Lines
Good upgrade. Hard to know if coated wire is corroded underneath. No shock absorption either.

I use commercial purpose made jacklines, made of webbing. Helps to twist them a couple of times, as you install, so they are easier to pick up and attach your tether. Lying wet and flat on the deck is hard to grab, especially if you are wearing gloves.

We tie ours to the stern and bow cleats, as well as a hard point on our coachroof, to keep the lines as far from the side as possible. I believe the number one trick is to keep the line/tether from allowing you to ever reach over the lifeline. We accomplish this along about 70% of the run and focus on those sections that have fewer handholds, such as the foredeck.

We only install them for passages that warrant it, in our opinion. Very rough weather or anytime overnight. I might leave them on for a week or two at a time, when I'm away, as I'm more inclined to take what Mother Nature dishes out. For weekends, I don't typically volunteer to head off in conditions I might need them for. If I were singlhanded, I'd leave them on permanently.

pdqaltair 05-07-2019 10:56 AM

Re: Jack Lines
Jacklines. Jack lines are utility ropes used to last things down and the like. Different meaning.

The bow and stern cleats really are not the best locations, they are just convenient. In fact, it is better if the jacklines end 4-5 feet from the bow or stern so that you cannot go over (4-5 feet still allows you to stand) at the bow).

Material is a tough question, because there is no one answer. I've researched this, including impact testing, and published articles. Larger boats need higher strength and lower stretch than smaller boats. Webbing is nice, but if I can't leave them rigged because of UV, that makes them basically useless IMO (not there when I need them). I like covered Dyneema or oversized rope (if you can keep them out from underfoot--easy on multihulls, depends on the boat) because I can leave these rigged. There is nothing wrong with stainless cable, but I would skip the cover, go over strength (because they do not stretch), and make certain the tethers have some stretch (which is where you really need it anyway).

A few hardpoints at work stations (mast, helm) are good too.

olson34 05-07-2019 11:13 AM

Re: Jack Lines
Agree with pd....
we have pad eyes in the cockpit, at helm and just outside the companionway. Webbing jack lines that only see the sun for about a month a year. You do have to really tighten and retighten those lines after wetting and drying, and it takes some extra wraps when you make a 'cleat hitch' to make the ends really secure from creep.

SanderO 05-07-2019 11:57 AM

Re: Jack Lines
This for deck only on mono hull. cockpit is set up already.

Minnewaska 05-07-2019 12:09 PM

Re: Jack Lines
UV is a good point. Iíve never left them installed long enough for it to matter.

Iím not a fan of rope running underfoot. Iíve done my share of slipping upon it, as it rolls. If out of the way, it may work better.

Scandium 05-07-2019 12:12 PM

Re: Jack Lines
You clip yourself into the bow cleat with a ~4-6ft tether? So if you fall off you'll be hanging from it underneath the bow of the boat, or along the side? How do you get back up? Are you alone, or do you rely on someone stopping the boat and pulling you up? BoatUS did a test and I believe they found you have about 60-90 sec to stop before drowning becomes a risk, so I would make sure this is all clear and set up properly.

Jeff_H 05-07-2019 12:12 PM

Re: Jack Lines
I am of the low-stretch school of thought with the thought that low stretch is likely to keep me on board and with the hope that the length of the line combined with catenary action should result in more than enough stretch to cushion the fall and prevent internal injuries. My current jacklines are kevlar cored 9mm line run from a hardpoint on the foredeck to my aft stern cleats. I understand PD's point about the hardpoint being forward of the stern cleat, but I have thought that the aft most position might give me a chance reaching the stern ladder or the loops of line that I hang off the quarters to give me something to grab onto and put a foot into. The current jackline sits against the intersection of the cabin and coaming with the deck so is minimally a tripping hazard.

If I was taking my boat offshore, I would want more hardpoints in the cockpit and would change to something like dyneema inside a webbing cover. I would want the jacklines fixed to hardpoints rather than cleats. The webbing is only there as a sun screen and further minimize the tripping hazzard.


Minnewaska 05-07-2019 12:38 PM

Re: Jack Lines
My cockpit system consists of a homemade bridle that I afix around the base of the cockpit table. It has multiple attach points for each occupant, it provides full access to the helm and cockpit but physically prevents travel beyond the lifelines. I puked at midnight on last summers Gulf of Maine crossing and my head barely made it over the lifeline. Success. Sort of.

pdqaltair 05-07-2019 05:09 PM

Re: Jack Lines

Originally Posted by Minnewaska (Post 2051600528)
UV is a good point. Iíve never left them installed long enough for it to matter.

Iím not a fan of rope running underfoot. Iíve done my share of slipping upon it, as it rolls. If out of the way, it may work better.

^^ Absolutely right.

I've had two boats where this was not an issue: On the cat I could run it along the cabin chime, well off the deck and usable as a hand line, like a railing. On the tri, it runs over the inner tramp lacing; stepping on lacing is a bad idea to start with (there are holes--small enough to meet standards, but still poor footing).

But no, neither rope nor cable should be run on deck. only webbing.

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