MangoCats

Dyneema lifeline experience?

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From anyone who has replaced their lifelines with Dyneema more than a year ago: how are you liking the change now?

I got some of the NER 3mm STS-WR ² Dyneema SK75 to replace an aging line on a spinnaker pole car, and really love working with the stuff - used some of the extra to replace the drawstring in my compass/wheel cover canvas - very easy to work with, and maybe it will prove me wrong, but so far it seems to not be slippery when knotted - the jacket is slick, which really helped feeding it through the cover drawstring slot, but once knotted with a reef or bowline it seems to hold very securely.

Back to the lifelines, I suppose there's a whole new set of hardware required to attach the soft line to pelican clips, turnbuckles, etc.?

 

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No turnbuckles needed. Just lash them

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2 hours ago, mgs said:

No turnbuckles needed. Just lash them

Yes.  Eye-splice them with a 4 or 5-pass McDonald brummel with a good bit of tapered bury, and lash 'em up as tight or loose as you like with some lighter spectra, using plenty of locking wraps to finish the lashing.  If they're loose to help hiking, regularly inspect for chafe at the stanchions.

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I put them on 10 years ago. Still fine. Eye spice them, keep in mind that the construction stretch will lengthen them a bit so leave room in your lashings. The lashings are easier to get tight if you eye splice a low friction ring to pass the lashings through. 

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Loved them on our boat for 8 years. Leave 12" or so for construction stretch on a 40' boat.

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Dyneema is great for backstays and life lines. So much cheaper than stainless and weighs nothing compared to stainless. I just lashed the lifelines to the aft pulpit for tension. But if you really want pelican clips for gates, they do make them specifically for dyneema lifelines. 

I replaced about every four years. They really did not show wear and tear or deterioration. Cost was minimal and I felt that was a reasonable amount of time of constant sun exposure to avoid any issues. 

 

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How well do they deal with friction from, say, a jib sheet with an unfair lead?

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If you plan on racing, check the rules if it's allowed. 

Dyneema lifelines obviously have their strengths, but also some weaknesses. The one that perhaps is most actual, and a reason why they are sometimes not recommended, is that they can get accidently cut by sharp objects, let's say knifes, which the stainless won't.  Neither are perfect. For most purposes dyneema is probably perfect. 

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2 hours ago, IStream said:

How well do they deal with friction from, say, a jib sheet with an unfair lead?

My guy gets caught on them occasionally and I don't see more chafing there.  I think low speed contact is fine, but I'd want to avoid letting a highly loaded sheet or guy rip across them at high speed for a long time.  

I've had them on two boats, and they've been on my current boat for 2.5 years. They work great for me, the price can't be beat. 

I saw a boat where all an accident caused all stanchions to be bent, both pelican clips failed, and the dyneema lifelines had no observable wear. 

It is really important to smooth the interior of the holes on stanchions or you will get chafing there. I used a dremel with a sanding drum and then a deburring tool. If you really want to get fancy you can splice another piece of dyneema over the lifelines at the stanchions. I did this on one side, but got too lazy to do the other. 

I just use 1/4" sk78 dyneema. 

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22 minutes ago, Alex W said:

My guy gets caught on them occasionally and I don't see more chafing there.  I think low speed contact is fine, but I'd want to avoid letting a highly loaded sheet or guy rip across them at high speed for a long time.  

I've had them on two boats, and they've been on my current boat for 2.5 years. They work great for me, the price can't be beat. 

I saw a boat where all an accident caused all stanchions to be bent, both pelican clips failed, and the dyneema lifelines had no observable wear. 

It is really important to smooth the interior of the holes on stanchions or you will get chafing there. I used a dremel with a sanding drum and then a deburring tool. If you really want to get fancy you can splice another piece of dyneema over the lifelines at the stanchions. I did this on one side, but got too lazy to do the other. 

I just use 1/4" sk78 dyneema. 

Thanks, Alex. I've had the plastic covering on my wire lifelines wear through in a couple of places so the clock is ticking on replacement with either bare stainless or dyneema. But first, I gotta take a jigsaw to my hard dodger...

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I also wanted to add that you don't need to buy all new pelican hooks to replace your lifelines.  CS Johnson sells just the threaded stud with a dyneema splice end in 3 threadings, so you can retrofit those to most pelican hooks.

https://www.fisheriessupply.com/johnson-marine-splice-line-lifeline-threaded-stud

Overpriced for a bolt, but 3x cheaper than a new hook.

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1 hour ago, Alex W said:

I also wanted to add that you don't need to buy all new pelican hooks to replace your lifelines.  CS Johnson sells just the threaded stud with a dyneema splice end in 3 threadings, so you can retrofit those to most pelican hooks.

https://www.fisheriessupply.com/johnson-marine-splice-line-lifeline-threaded-stud

Overpriced for a bolt, but 3x cheaper than a new hook.

For a gate I once used a Wichard snap hook with a long tail buried in the splice. along the lines of soft shackle. the hook went to a ring. you wont be able to get it super tight, and it is a little slower to open and close, but it looked better than the CSJohnson rope fittings.

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I'm a cheap bastard and when I was doing dyneema lifelines on my old Catalina 27, I found that the tubes from the Bic pens I swiped from work worked quite well as chafe guards by stanchions.

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Single braid Dyneema is probably fine.  But. Go for the Double Braid Dyneema. We used Amare Supercable 78 https://www.armare.it/en/linee-prodotti/rigging-line/prodotto/supercable-78

Light weight.  Easy on the Hands.  Looks great.  And the best bit is; if the lifelines need to be removed to maintain stanchions, simply pull the line through.  No cutting swaged wire rope... 

Tricky to splice at that size though.  

In lil' of New Zealand Supecable78 fully compies with YNZ Safety Regulations for use as a fibre lifeline.

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8 hours ago, NORBowGirl said:

If you plan on racing, check the rules if it's allowed. 

Dyneema lifelines obviously have their strengths, but also some weaknesses. The one that perhaps is most actual, and a reason why they are sometimes not recommended, is that they can get accidently cut by sharp objects, let's say knifes, which the stainless won't.  Neither are perfect. For most purposes dyneema is probably perfect. 

If you do any racing under ISAF regs, only Cat 4 permits them.  Cat 3 and up are ss only.

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17 minutes ago, 12 metre said:

If you do any racing under ISAF regs, only Cat 4 permits them.  Cat 3 and up are ss only.

and...

 3.14.6 b) The minimum diameter is specified in table 8 below

 3.14.6 c) Stainless steel lifelines shall be uncoated and used without close-fitting sleeving, however, temporary sleeving may be fitted provided it is regularly removed for inspection.

 3.14.6 d) A lanyard of synthetic rope may be used to secure lifelines provided the gap it closes does not exceed 100 mm (4”). This lanyard shall be replaced annually

3.14.6 e) All components of the lifeline enclosure system shall have a breaking strength no less than the lifeline 

3.14.6 f) When HMPE is used, it shall be protected from chafe and spliced in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommended procedures

LH Wire HMPE rope (Single braid) HMPE Core (Braid on braid)

under 8.5m (28') 3mm (1/8") 4mm (5/32") 4mm (5/32")

8.5m - 13m 4mm (5/32") 5mm (3/16") 5mm (3/16")

over 13m (42' 8") 5mm (3/16") 5mm (3/16") 5mm (3/16")

 

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1 hour ago, 12 metre said:

If you do any racing under ISAF regs, only Cat 4 permits them.  Cat 3 and up are ss only.

Unless the races that you do provide an exception for that rule.  In our area Swiftsure normally does.  

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15 hours ago, Alex W said:

Unless the races that you do provide an exception for that rule.  In our area Swiftsure normally does.  

Swiftsure still allows vinyl coated wire. Hopefully this will not be a decision leading to a bad outcome

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50 minutes ago, ctutmark said:

Swiftsure still allows vinyl coated wire. Hopefully this will not be a decision leading to a bad outcome

Vinyl coated wire is only good for one thing.  Laundry drying lines in the back yard.  It's the best.

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On 3/12/2019 at 4:41 AM, IStream said:

How well do they deal with friction from, say, a jib sheet with an unfair lead?

What's a jib sheet? :)

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12 minutes ago, DDW said:

What's a jib sheet? :)

It's kinda like a hydraulic ram but it doesn't leak. :D

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I had Dyneema lifelines for a few years and across the Pacific. They work, but I don’t like them. Switching back to steel. They are always loose, especially so after some strain like from the jib sheet, lashing a sail, or some dinghy abuse. Chafe was not a big issue. Liked the weight and convenience. I don’t like how they are seem so soft when you need them for the lifeline function. My rule is to never use them underway...it being a personal foul to grab one. But daily use at anchor or the dock soured me on them. Just not reassuring: Like a loose handrail on a stairway. Or a cheap discount store ladder. They creeped about 6 inches in five years...about 40 feet in length. Switching back.

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I did WR2 on Laser 28 lifelines uppers and lowers in 2017.  Replaced coated wire.  I have not had chafe issues at the stanchions, but my entries to the stanchions are smooth.  It's fairly easy to adjust the tension with my simple system, but I do find myself doing it a lot.  Rain, then hot sun seems to change the tension quite a bit.  Thats a frequent occurrence in an Ohio river valley summer.  Crew hiking have not complained about them, but they are not out there more than a few minutes on a river beat.  

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Had them for a couple years on my last boat. Liked them just fine.  Didn't have  much wear, but then didn't race that boat, either.

On the new boat, which we race (J/35) we use stainless but I've replaced a bunch of the cable bits, like the cables connecting the trucks for the jib sheets to the trucks for the genoa sheets, with spliced in Amsteel.  Love it - it's light, easy on the feet and deck if you step on it, and about a hundred bucks cheaper for every single fitting.  Wouldn't replace the lifelines with dyneema though... the guy and spin sheet  saw away on the lifelines sometimes and we often have to rig barber hauls and twings that would rub pretty chronically. 

I rely on various Brummel lock splices and would caution that it's not good to even use the word bowline in a sentence with dyneema, much less to use a bowline on the boat with dyneema.  Otherwise good knots unwind under load with this slippery rope.  Strongly suggest learning a few new knots that get tighter with strain, like a buntline hitch, and checking out L-36.com and the some of the threads here for knots that don't slip.  We're transitioning to soft shackles this year for the genoa sheets - another caution is that even with a non-slip stopper knot, you need to set the knot with a vice, or your primary winches.  With most knotted dyneema bits, the knot will fail well before the dyneema  breaks. Again, there's a lot of discussions in the archives here...

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On 3/15/2019 at 9:52 AM, Lex Teredo said:

Had them for a couple years on my last boat. Liked them just fine.  Didn't have  much wear, but then didn't race that boat, either.

On the new boat, which we race (J/35) we use stainless but I've replaced a bunch of the cable bits, like the cables connecting the trucks for the jib sheets to the trucks for the genoa sheets, with spliced in Amsteel.  Love it - it's light, easy on the feet and deck if you step on it, and about a hundred bucks cheaper for every single fitting.  Wouldn't replace the lifelines with dyneema though... the guy and spin sheet  saw away on the lifelines sometimes and we often have to rig barber hauls and twings that would rub pretty chronically. 

I rely on various Brummel lock splices and would caution that it's not good to even use the word bowline in a sentence with dyneema, much less to use a bowline on the boat with dyneema.  Otherwise good knots unwind under load with this slippery rope.  Strongly suggest learning a few new knots that get tighter with strain, like a buntline hitch, and checking out L-36.com and the some of the threads here for knots that don't slip.  We're transitioning to soft shackles this year for the genoa sheets - another caution is that even with a non-slip stopper knot, you need to set the knot with a vice, or your primary winches.  With most knotted dyneema bits, the knot will fail well before the dyneema  breaks. Again, there's a lot of discussions in the archives here...

I agree on the knots.

 

Just FYI when you're setting the soft shackles, make sure you set them "open" and not closed. You will get a stronger and more aesthetic knot than if you set it closed. Attach the eye of the shackle to something, shove a fid through the tails of the knot, pull 'till you're scared, then a little bit more.

 

HW

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On ‎3‎/‎16‎/‎2019 at 11:47 AM, Haligonian Winterr said:

I agree on the knots.

 

Just FYI when you're setting the soft shackles, make sure you set them "open" and not closed. You will get a stronger and more aesthetic knot than if you set it closed. Attach the eye of the shackle to something, shove a fid through the tails of the knot, pull 'till you're scared, then a little bit more.

 

HW

Thanks HW.  That's some good dope.  Much appreciated!  Hopefully you guys are thawed out and in the water soon. 

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Had them for about 7 years now.  Made from  3/16” Amsteel with Dyneema chafe cover, luggage tagged at the bow pulpit and eye splices/sailmaker thimbles lashed at the stern pulpit.  The eyes are left uncovered.  We have a gate port (dock) side with pelican hooks fastening into eye splices with sailmaker thimbles in them.  I take them off the boat every winter and examine them and I’ve seen no abrasion.  I just coated the uncovered eyes with Maxijacket for the first time.  The white chafe sleeve looks good and has stayed very white - it seems to shed bird plop stains over time.  The system is incredibly strong - we had an “undocking” incident on lift out day in the fall, catching two stanchions on a dock post which bent both of them.  The lifelines held and bent the bale on the stern pulpit into a pretzel shape.  

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Dyneema has a particular benefit for singlehanders, as I wrote in my tips book. If you fall overboard with a harness, and are getting dragged beside the boat, the biggest problem in getting back on board is that you can't squeeze under or over a steel lifeline.  It would be easy to pull out your trusty knife and cut a dyneema lifeline and crawl back on the boat.  This is from actual experience from a Mini skipper off the French coast. 

One other thing, I didn't buy new Dyneema line for my lifelines. I just stripped the cover off of an old halyard and had lots of line to use.

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