New lifelines. Any thoughts on my project? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 23 Old 01-28-2012 Thread Starter
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New lifelines. Any thoughts on my project?

"Fairhaven" came with some thoughtfully installed "lifelines" I say thoughtfully, because their height (just below the knee joint) would be so effective at propelling a sailor overboard head-first that the must have been purpose designed to do so.

This spring I plan to re-do my lifelines and I wanted to solicit advice on the project from the hive.

I have a few things going for me that I'll outline:
1. I have a nice, stainless bow pulpit with attachment points for double lifelines.
2: At the stern I have some decent stainless rails that I can use for attachment points as well.
3: I have access to an old-school marine store that has stainless tubing out in the junk pile as well as good stock to choose from. They will also cut to length.
4: All stanchion bases are separate from the posts, and the current posts are easy to remove.
5:Any thoughts on the correct height for the posts and the lines themselves? Covered, vs, uncovered wire? Amsteel vs stainless for the lines? Hardware choices for the posts?

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post #2 of 23 Old 01-28-2012
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Hi MedSailor,

I believe 24" is standard height, it's nice that you can remove the stanchions easily! I'd go with uncovered line myself, covered is a little nicer to handle but you can't see corrosion happening and I've read that the covering may even promote it. Since you're on a Formosa I'm guessing it's unlikely you have people hiking at the rail, but if you do you could always fashion a cover in that area out of some old firehose for comfort.

It's my understanding that 1x19 stainless wire rope is the standard for lifelines, it's about 25% stronger than 7x19 at the same diameter.

Adam Lein started this thread regarding Amsteel:

https://www.sailnet.com/forums/gear-m...lifelines.html

I've considered it for my boat, but I'm reserving judgement for now.

Sailing a '74 Challenger 40' Ketch rig out of San Francisco

Last edited by sfchallenger; 01-28-2012 at 07:17 PM.
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post #3 of 23 Old 01-28-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
Any thoughts on the correct height for the posts and the lines themselves? Covered, vs, uncovered wire? Amsteel vs stainless for the lines? Hardware choices for the posts?
The standard is 24 1/2". Uncovered stainless allows unrestricted view of any corrosion, damaged or broken lifeline. Garhauer makes good stuff like bases and stanchions, inexpensive and the standard of the industry. You can either buy a crimper or have a shop roll the wire to the fittings (swage rolled are nicer looking). We have a crimper as it allows us to make cable wire repairs while cruising. A good with multiple sizes is easily $300.00. Either way, measure and draw your design on paper with measurements based on opened turnbuckles. Good Luck.
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post #4 of 23 Old 01-28-2012 Thread Starter
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Yes, thanks for the tip on the crimper. I forgot to mention that I do have one of these:



Looks like the gerhauer stanchions, come with welded bases. It'll be much easier (and cheaper) to use my existing bases. Does anyone know of a seller of stanchion tubes without the bases?

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post #5 of 23 Old 01-28-2012
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I'm not going to weigh in on the vinyl v bright or the 24" v 36" stanchion debate.
I just wanted to say that when we went to offshore with the Nor'Sea, we tied a piece of 3/8" line about chest height on each side of the boat. We tied the line off fore and aft to the pulpit and stern rail with clove hitches around each of the shrouds. It really did make it more comfortable to go forward.
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post #6 of 23 Old 01-28-2012
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Anything less than 30 inches of the decks is just plain foolish, and bad seamanship.
I use all solid lifelines, stainless tubing 34 inches of the decks. This drastically reduces loads and movement on the bases, drastically reducing the odds of deck leaks on non metal boats.
I also have been using the temporary, chest high lifelines for offshore, a huge improvement in peace of mind.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Swain View Post
Anything less than 30 inches of the decks is just plain foolish, and bad seamanship.
I use all solid lifelines, stainless tubing 34 inches of the decks. This drastically reduces loads and movement on the bases, drastically reducing the odds of deck leaks on non metal boats.
I also have been using the temporary, chest high lifelines for offshore, a huge improvement in peace of mind.
The standard has been 24 1/2" since forever. Have you heard of a harness and jacklines. There is no appreciable difference between the standard height and 30" in terms of safety. That's why they're call lifelines, not handrails.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
Yes, thanks for the tip on the crimper. I forgot to mention that I do have one of these:

Looks like the gerhauer stanchions, come with welded bases. It'll be much easier (and cheaper) to use my existing bases. Does anyone know of a seller of stanchion tubes without the bases?
Garhauer has stanchion tubes as well.
Garhauer Marine Hardware -3646480
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post #9 of 23 Old 01-28-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
Yes, thanks for the tip on the crimper. I forgot to mention that I do have one of these:
Please, don't even THINK about using that tool on DIY crimped lifeline fittings - those things are to be used for stuff like Nicopress sleeves, only... If you're gonna go with the DIY fittings like those from Johnson, you really need to obtain or rent the proper tool...

IMHO, bare wire is the way to go... And, if you're using the crimped fittings, I think 1 x 19 is far superior to 7 x 19. Seems to me, with a crimped fitting, you want to use the wire that is least susceptible to being crushed... Dyform is very nice, the best IMHO, but is getting very pricey, and very difficult to obtain...

I'd also recommend prior to crimping, cutting a series of shallow "indents" in the wire that will lie inside the fittings, to give the resultant crimp a bit more "tooth" on the wire...

Then, when you've completed both ends of your first length of wire, give it the acid test... Mine was hooking one end to a tree, the other to the back of my car, and letting it start rolling down my driveway... When it snatched up the car without any failure or deformation, I figured I was good to go with the rest of the project... (grin)

Frankly, I amazed - in today's legal climate re product liability - that vendors like Hayn and Johnson continue to sell thise DIY fittings... Not that there's anything wrong with them, of course, it simply seems that the potential for a poor installation is so great, seems like it's just a matter of time before the inevitable lawsuit flies...
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post #10 of 23 Old 01-28-2012
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Go with stanchions tall enough that the lifelines follow a fair line from the top of the pulpit. In fact, go taller until it starts to look bad.

I needed a new pulpit on my boat and came across a used one that was 33" high - hip high for most people. I made new stanchion tubes, cut off the bases of the old stanchions and had them welded on my 33" tubes. They are SO much better than those skimpy little triplines used on most boats.

I used 3/8" coated wire for upper and lower lifelines because I got a reel of it dirt cheap. I'd probably go with bright 1 X 19 otherwise.

One trick I do with new coated lifelines is to put a couple of inches of shrink tubing over the joint of the swage fitting and the wire. That seals the only points of ingress for water, at least until the vinyl cracks or wears through somewhere. Works well and looks tidy - covers the crimp marks from the hand swaging as well.

By the way, DO NOT use one of those wrench style nicopress swagers - you have to use the big bolt cutter style ones. I got a pair at Home Depot for under $50 - the cost of 2 swages.

I, myself, personally intend to continue being outspoken and opinionated, intolerant of all fanatics, fools and ignoramuses, deeply suspicious of all those who have "found the answer" and on my bad days, downright rude.

Last edited by SloopJonB; 01-28-2012 at 10:09 PM.
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