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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Was wondering about peoples thoughts or recommendations on replacing wire life lines with rope. I have a 37ft ketch and one of my lines snapped in a storm while it was sitting at the dock. Thinking of replacing the current wire life lines with rope.

Everything I have seen strongly recommends dyneema. I was at a rigging shop that I like to buy my gear from and they recommended Dacron lines if I did not want to spend the money on dyneema. Its strong enough and already pre-stretched so the only challenge is getting the tension - which can be done.

Any thoughts or advice?
 

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While it‘s confusing whether it’s permitted by offshore racing rules, that’s the only guidance I’ve known that says (or said) anything restrictive. Therefore, Captain’s choice. Dyneema is less expensive and more conducive to DIY. You must be more careful with chafe or impact from sharp objects, but folks seem to manage. I think the rope lifelines look better, when done with proper fittings. I’ve seen pics of knots, instead of splices, and trucker hitch type of tensioning, instead of turnbuckles and the complex knits look a bit kludgy to my eye. Personally, I ultimately prefer the clean look of bare metal lifelines.
 
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I have just changed my schooner’s wire lifelines for ¼” inch Dyneema, and an extensive feature article will appear in November’s Cruising World magazine about it, including how to splice the ends, and including a test to destruction of the rope. There are many advantages in using Dyneema for lifelines, but I can’t publish it here, or on my own boating website, until after publication in the magazine.
If you send me a private message and your e-mail address, I will send you a draft of the article, provided you give me an assurance you will not show it to anyone else.
JR.
 

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Two quick points, normally 7mm dyneema is recommended for cruising boat lifelines. That corresponds more closely to 5/16" than 1/4".

Polyester (dacron) needs to be 1/2" to meet the minimum strength requirements for a lifeline and 1/2" dacron is more expensive, too stretchy, and won't fit through the holes in stanchions.

Jeff
 

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Was wondering about peoples thoughts or recommendations on replacing wire life lines with rope. I have a 37ft ketch and one of my lines snapped in a storm while it was sitting at the dock. Thinking of replacing the current wire life lines with rope.

Everything I have seen strongly recommends dyneema. I was at a rigging shop that I like to buy my gear from and they recommended Dacron lines if I did not want to spend the money on dyneema. Its strong enough and already pre-stretched so the only challenge is getting the tension - which can be done.

Any thoughts or advice?
Not likely.

1. every boating standard (ISO, ABYC, World Sailing) says the lifeline must be Dyneema or stainless, and about 5000 pound breaking strength. That would require 7/26-inch rope, which won't fit through the stanchions.
2. Non-boat standards (ANSI, OSHA) also require 5000 pounds for durability. Generally they ask for 1/2-inch rope.

If money is a factor, search for off-brand Dyneema. It will be the best value in pounds of BS/dollar. Better than polyester.

Dyneema single braid is far more abrasion resistant, UV resistant, and WAY easier to splice than polyester DB. And you will have to do the splices in place, because they will not fit through the stanchions. That's a real pain with double braid, but easy with Dyneema single braid.

Finally, polyester stretches a lot more than SS or Dyneema. They will look tight but deflect too much under load unless 5/8-inch or larger.

So as a practical matter, no.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks to everyone for the feedback, looks like it will be dyneema. A quick search revelas lots of different brands/options. I'm anxious to get this done, having a missing life line is unnerving.

I'll probably go with 5/16 (maybe consider 3/8) and I will let go of the $$$ worry - I know from other upgrades I am doing that you usually get what you pay for.

Cheers.
 

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One of the recommendations in my article is where to buy Dyneema, at much less than any marine store. Miami Cordage, Miami, Florida, make the stuff and ship worldwide. See www.Miamicordage.com. Ask for Jason and tell him Roger sent you – and no, I don’t get a cut.

JR.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
One of the recommendations in my article is where to buy Dyneema, at much less than any marine store. Miami Cordage, Miami, Florida, make the stuff and ship worldwide. See www.Miamicordage.com. Ask for Jason and tell him Roger sent you – and no, I don’t get a cut.

JR.
Nice - I will deifnitely check it out. Thanks again!
 

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I went with 6mm (1/4") single braid dyneema in a silver gray color. That is actually a size larger than that required by the racing rules and about the same OD as the coated SS it replaced. No need to go larger except for comfort. Cost was only about $1 a foot. Splice fittings were the big expense, but still overall much less than going SS.

There have been many threads here on this topic so do a search and you will find lots of advice. And it will save as old salts from repeating the same stuff again.
 

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Was wondering about peoples thoughts or recommendations on replacing wire life lines with rope. I have a 37ft ketch and one of my lines snapped in a storm while it was sitting at the dock. Thinking of replacing the current wire life lines with rope.

Everything I have seen strongly recommends dyneema. I was at a rigging shop that I like to buy my gear from and they recommended Dacron lines if I did not want to spend the money on dyneema. Its strong enough and already pre-stretched so the only challenge is getting the tension - which can be done.

Any thoughts or advice?
what are people using to prevent chafe at
Was wondering about peoples thoughts or recommendations on replacing wire life lines with rope. I have a 37ft ketch and one of my lines snapped in a storm while it was sitting at the dock. Thinking of replacing the current wire life lines with rope.

Everything I have seen strongly recommends dyneema. I was at a rigging shop that I like to buy my gear from and they recommended Dacron lines if I did not want to spend the money on dyneema. Its strong enough and already pre-stretched so the only challenge is getting the tension - which can be done.

Any thoughts or advice?
What are people doing to prevent chafe at the stanchions?
 

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Have had mine for 3 years now. No sign of chafe. I just checked all the stanchions for burrs or rough spots. The chafe issue with dyneema is way overblown.
 

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I have just changed my schooner’s wire lifelines for ¼” inch Dyneema, and an extensive feature article will appear in November’s Cruising World magazine about it, including how to splice the ends, and including a test to destruction of the rope. There are many advantages in using Dyneema for lifelines, but I can’t publish it here, or on my own boating website, until after publication in the magazine.
If you send me a private message and your e-mail address, I will send you a draft of the article, provided you give me an assurance you will not show it to anyone else.
JR.
I am just getting ready to replace the lifelines on my IP 495. The boat is 2009 and the lifelines are original and plastic coated. I would love to see a draft of your article. Love the idea of Dyneema vs open stainless but need to learn more.

Thanks
Bruce
SV Lilipad
 

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Was wondering about peoples thoughts or recommendations on replacing wire life lines with rope. I have a 37ft ketch and one of my lines snapped in a storm while it was sitting at the dock. Thinking of replacing the current wire life lines with rope.

Everything I have seen strongly recommends dyneema. I was at a rigging shop that I like to buy my gear from and they recommended Dacron lines if I did not want to spend the money on dyneema. Its strong enough and already pre-stretched so the only challenge is getting the tension - which can be done.

Any thoughts or advice?
My concern would be about chafe. If you can cut it with a knife, it will chafe. They’re not called “life” lines for nothing. I’m old school about this, but I’ve never had a 1/4” lifeline break, though I know with age they will. To me, the only question is whether the stainless lifelines should be jacketed or knot.
 
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