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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks!

I'm not racing, and I'm not sailing, but I am redoing my lifelines for comfort, appearance and safety. I'm turning a Pearson 26 into a solar electric cruiser.

As part of this I want to move my lifelines from inside the toe rail to on to the toe rail. They are too low, and it is way hard to go forward with the lines pitching you over the cabintop. I figure I will need to do some reinforcing below, but that is well within my capabilities.

I was looking at the load rating recommendations for lifelines when I came across this:

"A boat's stanchion and pulpit bases shall be within the working deck."

Is the toe rail part of the working deck? Is the purpose of this rule to make sure that bases aren't outside the rubrail where they could damage other boats? Is there another reason?

I like to understand safety rules before I break them.

Thanks!

-Jeff
 

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Lots of boats have the lifeline stanchions incorporated into the toe rail, if they even have a toe rail. You just don't want to angle the stanchions out so that the lifelines are wider than the deck. I suspect that's what they mean by "within the working deck".

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Where does this rule come from?
Lifelines are safety features. The are supported on stanchions which in turn are supported by the hull. Different boat designs have different location/attachment points for the stanchions. Best practice is that the stanchion bases be through bolted to the structure. Obviously if the base as at the outboard edge of the gunwhale or toerail attachment means they would have to be some distance inboard. Higher life lines are safer than lower ones. Height of the top line is often determined by the height of the bow pulpit and stern pushpit.

Here a good rule: Safety features should be as safe and mechanically secure as possible.
 

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Cruising World will be publishing a long article by me about lifelines, but not until the December edition, so I can’t share it here.
The article is about changing lifelines on non-racing boats from wire to Dyneema, which I have now done on my schooner. Before doing it, I had two of my Dyneema splices—connecting the rope to turnbuckles and pelican hooks—professionally tested by a leading rope manufacture.
Here is a summary of the strength test, for which I have a certificate.
“A 10’ foot long 1/4” Dyneema test rope with eye splices at both ends was attached to the hydraulic ram, and the machine stretched the line to an incredible 7596lbs., whereupon the actual rope snapped, yet both splices held!”
This shows that stanchions will be the weakest link in any serious sideways load on a Dyneema lifeline, (and probably wire as well), so they should be as strongly mounted as possible. In which case, the actual tube will probably bend, before any lines break.
Mounting stanchions on top of a toerail is standard practice on many production boats, which has the advantage of offering the maximum width down a companionway, or deck.
By the way, I agree with SanderO.
JR
 

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This originated in the World Sailing Special Offshore Regulations.

3.14.1

*e) The outside of pulpit and stanchion base tubes no further inboard from the edge of the working deck than 5% of maximum beam or 150 mm (6”), whichever is greater, nor further outboard than the edge of the working deck. * f) Stanchions straight and vertical except that: ** i within the first 50 mm (2”) from the deck, stanchions shall not be displaced horizontally from the point at which they emerge from the deck or stanchion base by more than 10 mm (3/8”) ** ii stanchions may be angled to not more than 10° from vertical at any point above 50 mm (2”) from the deck.
 

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BTW, standard lifelines are obviously not intended to keep you board when you are standing, they are to prevent sliding off. Get low!
 

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My recollection of the P26 is that the "toerails" are really a raised section of the deck at the edge. Deck and hull are joined with out turning flanges covered by a U-shaped rubber cover. Not sure what is inside that raised section or if its hollow. Most P 26s have single lifelines. I think going to double lifelines and reinforcing and rebedding the bases in the current locations would make more sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks everyone!

@Jolly Roger Yeah. I want that extra space. The idea that the stanchion is the weakest link is a good one. I was thinking of putting the stanchion through the deck and connecting it to the hull 4" to 6" below the deck to resist the outward bending load.

@pdqaltair - That change in purpose is a good point. This boat won't be heeling in the wind, but will have an active 5 year old and a nervous admiral. I want people to be able to walk to the (to be added) bow seating comfortably and safely. So I need to raise it and add extra lines.

@JimsCAL Correct. The toerail looked hollow to me. The good news is that I have good access to the underside so adding in some more fiberglass (say a coosa insert and some roving under it) is doable. It may work better to keep the bases on the deck though, but I will certainly need to change them. They currently lean in making walking needlessly awkward. I can also move them outward a bit.

I forgot I have a picture:

139573
 

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That picture would have explained a lot. It looks like the existing stanchion bases won’t fit properly on the small toe rail, so maybe you should get some different ones made, which wrap around the edge and bolt into the side of the rail as well as on top. Either way, in a full force emergency, if the bases hold, your stanchion tubes will bend long before your lifelines give way.
JR
 

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The solid raised edge of the boat is called a bulwark, not a toe rail. Personally, I like the look of a bulwark, better than an applied rail. I'm only guessing, looking at the pic, that it's integral to the deck-hull joint. I think moving the stanchions would be far more trouble that it would be worth, in my book. The next owners surveyor may take a keen interest in the modification and they may want to know more about the deck joint integrity. I only wish I ever had a boat that was so current on projects and maintenace, that I had time for something this optional. Not saying it can't be done. Captain's call.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Agreed I would need to replace the bases. That's the plan anyways as the angle is wrong and the stanchuons aren't high enough. I will be selling them to raise cash for supplies, along with the rudder, mast, sails, and all sailing hardware.

The resale value of the hull is negative and not a concern I've had the cast iron keel pulled off and will be replacing it with a fiberglass keel only deep enough to key into the trailer bunk slot and provide some directional stability.

I will be adding ballast back as needed based upon the roll period test and simplified stability test.

I like the idea of having them custom fabricated. That is likely to be less expensive than some of the bases and stanchions I've been seeing! (I have lots of experience designing and sourcing fabrication.)

Thanks everybody!
 

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I've had the cast iron keel pulled off and will be replacing it with a fiberglass keel only deep enough to key into the trailer bunk slot and provide some directional stability.

I will be adding ballast back as needed based upon the roll period test and simplified stability test.
Yikes. The keel is not solely about ballast/stability, it's about surface area that prevents the boat from slipping to leeward. Since you don't have the longer lever arm of the original keel, for the ballast, you may need to overload the boat, with the ballast up higher. Shorter keels usually accomodate this need for more weight on a shorter lever, by adding a weighted bulb at the bottom of the shorter keel, not by filling the bilge. Are you doing the math or just trial and error? Seems like a real project boat. Good luck.
 

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You’ll need to remove the mast; without a weighted keel, you’ll be a serious risk of capsize if you attempt to sail. Bin the boat and idea before someone gets hurt or worse.

I read your blog/plan which indicates “8 guests for cocktails” on the water, you’ll be seriously top heavy and overweight. You’ll capsize.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You’ll need to remove the mast; without a weighted keel, you’ll be a serious risk of capsize if you attempt to sail. Bin the boat and idea before someone gets hurt or worse.
Read the project thread. The mast is off and will stay off. (Want to buy it?) It is clear to me that the stability is a straightforward issue to solve. I will be doing a roll period test at the dock to verify before going anywhere. I may need to add some internal ballast to sink the boat to / near her lines, but the weight does not need to be underneath the hull. In the bottom of the hull is fine.
 

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You’ve been warned. Eight people on a 26ft hull designed to sail minus its weighted keel equals a disaster looking for a place to happen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I agree that I may need to up the displacement to gain that capacity (to gain stability of wider waterline beam and limit effect of passengers on COG movement), and I will do a simplified stability test at the dock with simulated passenger weight before going to that capacity. I don't see anything that indicates this isn't a straightforward problem to solve that can be verified with testing.
 

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Passengers move around while on the boat and I expect they’ll do this during cocktail hour. What happens to your plan when everyone on board decides to head over to the same side of the boat to get a better look at something in the water or to take a picture of a beautiful sunset?

i generally don’t get involved in these sorts of discussions unless I can see that there’s a very real safety issue.
 
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