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Jack lines


freewheelin

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I am putting together a to-do list to prep our boat for longer range cruising. Jack lines are obviously on my list, but I thought they were an easy one. However some friends I have doing something similar keep talking about having jack lines fabricated, and the cost associated. I always assumed I would just cleat off 1" climbing webbing to the bow and stern cleats, and run them down each side (with maybe another piece crossing the cabin top from the midships cleat). The webbing has a tensile strengh of like 4000lbs, so it seemed like enough to cleat that off. Am I missing something?

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That's a simple, easy way and it's certainly better than nothing. Just make sure you clip on and move forward on the high side when sailing upwind and use a shorter tether.

Jackline layout is kind of dependent on your deck layout and hardware. For example, I have a slotted aluminum toe rail which gives nearly unlimited attachment points. You can also drill and fit heavy D-rings to the deck at optimal attachment points.

My jackline layout is a large "Y".   I run from the toe rail adjacent to the port primary winch to the mast and back down to the toerail adjacent to the starboard primary winch. I run the next jackline from the mast to a fitting on the bow, along the centerline of the foredeck.

I have a double-tether. I move forward to the mast, and then clip the shorter tether to the centerline jackline, unclip from the side deck jackline and continue moving forward. This keeps me near the center of the boat with a short tether where the boat is narrowest, to keep me onboard.

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12 minutes ago, freewheelin said:

I am putting together a to-do list to prep our boat for longer range cruising. Jack lines are obviously on my list, but I thought they were an easy one. However some friends I have doing something similar keep talking about having jack lines fabricated, and the cost associated. I always assumed I would just cleat off 1" climbing webbing to the bow and stern cleats, and run them down each side (with maybe another piece crossing the cabin top from the midships cleat). The webbing has a tensile strengh of like 4000lbs, so it seemed like enough to cleat that off. Am I missing something?

We spent a little more on the Wichard Lyf'Safe lines for a couple of reasons.

1) They're reflective. Really reflective, so they're very easy to find in the dark. A big glowing line along the deck, can't miss it if you're using a light, and even in ambient light they're pretty easy to see. TIP: Red mesh lines are really hard to see if you're working with a red night light!

2) The end shackle blocks glow in the dark. Also handy when you're looking for the end.

3) It is a very secure connection, though they are a bit of a pain in the rear to take off and put on.

 

7 minutes ago, kevinjones16 said:

Rig them so it's next to impossible to go overboard. Boarding a moving boat from the end of a tether while you're being dragged through the water is so much harder than you can imagine.

Not always possible to do, but we try as best we can. There are some spots on the deck where if you're working on the low side you're just too close to the water.

You can also mitigate this a little by using the shorter clip on your Y-tether as much as possible when moving. And always move on the high side, and double clip to something else if you have to work on the low side to keep yourself on.

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I went though this a few years ago. Cleating the webbing can be a problem since it is kind of bulky and got in the way of using mooring lines. I also was not sure of the UV stability of the climbing stuff, although others may know more. I have no sewing skills or equipment. I ended up buying the jackline kit from Wichard. Kind of expensive, but very well made with pre sewn loops and good metal buckles. It is even a bit reflective for nighttime use.

 

Edit, See BJ above, I'm a bit slow.

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a lot of "climbing webbing" is nylon.

nylon is very stretchy.., and is even more stretchy when it's wet...

you should use polyester webbing for jack lines - it's both stronger and less stretchy than nylon webbing

the wichard jack lines mentioned by B.J. are polyester

you could run dynema inside nylon tubular webbing

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35 minutes ago, Ajax said:

I have a slotted aluminum toe rail which gives nearly unlimited attachment points.

I have a toe rail like this as well. What do you use to attach the webbing to the toe rail? I have been thinking cleats because of their inherent strength.

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The Wichard product is really nice. I've used it for a number of years. I might be overthinking it, but I would be worried about chafe on an alu toe rail or it point loading/asymmetrically loading the webbing (is such a thing possible? ) 

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25 minutes ago, B.J. Porter said:

1) They're reflective. Really reflective, so they're very easy to find in the dark. A big glowing line along the deck, can't miss it if you're using a light, and even in ambient light they're pretty easy to see. TIP: Red mesh lines are really hard to see if you're working with a red night light!

2) The end shackle blocks glow in the dark. Also handy when you're looking for the end.

3) It is a very secure connection, though they are a bit of a pain in the rear to take off and put on.

great points BJ. I would have never thought of the red issue. Stuff seems expensive, but if it is worth it, it is worth it. It wouldn't be the first expensive piece of marine safety gear.

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i don't like the buckles on the wichard jack lines - playing with them at the store, it seemed like you could feed the webbing incorrectly, and while it looked more or less okay.., it slipped.

i guess once you know how to do it.., and can recognize when it's done right, then it's okay.., but why add complexity where it isn't needed?

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55 minutes ago, us7070 said:

i don't like the buckles on the wichard jack lines - playing with them at the store, it seemed like you could feed the webbing incorrectly, and while it looked more or less okay.., it slipped.

i guess once you know how to do it.., and can recognize when it's done right, then it's okay.., but why add complexity where it isn't needed?

They screw down with those glowing brackets on top of them. That's the pain in the ass part. But it is not coming off once it's on.

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We use 1" webbing with big softies to padeyes on deck. It's definitely worth a little head scratching on the setup for your boat and worth while to put some time in before committing to anything system.  Tangle hazards low side and high side, chaff on whatever you are dragging down the deck etc.  We use ours pretty religiously when under way as practice and it was a small evolution to get it setup how we liked it.  I think it's one of those things you end up having to make some compramises on for some parts but that's way it goes.

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2 hours ago, us7070 said:

a lot of "climbing webbing" is nylon.

nylon is very stretchy.., and is even more stretchy when it's wet...

you should use polyester webbing for jack lines - it's both stronger and less stretchy than nylon webbing

the wichard jack lines mentioned by B.J. are polyester

you could run dynema inside nylon tubular webbing

jackline.jpg

APS used to do these. You could make them yourself!  Strong, no stretch, won’t roll under foot!

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14 minutes ago, silent bob said:

jackline.jpg

APS used to do these. You could make them yourself!  Strong, no stretch, won’t roll under foot!

 

those are nice - is the webbing stitched to the dynema at the ends?

i said above that you could use nylon webbing if you put dynema inside.., but i would still use polyester webbing - in addition to being stronger and less stretchy, it absorbs less water than nylon.

those would be pretty easy to make

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, freewheelin said:

I have a toe rail like this as well. What do you use to attach the webbing to the toe rail? I have been thinking cleats because of their inherent strength.

I weave the webbing through the toerail for a couple of feet using half-hitches on each weave point. I also rotate the webbing so it stands up off the deck along its length. Way easier to clip in when it's not glued flat to the deck.

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5 hours ago, us7070 said:

 

those are nice - is the webbing stitched to the dynema at the ends?

i said above that you could use nylon webbing if you put dynema inside.., but i would still use polyester webbing - in addition to being stronger and less stretchy, it absorbs less water than nylon.

those would be pretty easy to make

 

 

 

I made a set like this. The dyneema takes all the load and the ends of the webbing is stitched to the dyneema. I used tubular yellow webbing, but it does fade and attacked by the sun. Polyester would be better.

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16 hours ago, freewheelin said:

I have a toe rail like this as well. What do you use to attach the webbing to the toe rail? I have been thinking cleats because of their inherent strength.

I use heavy D-shackles and sieze them. You can also use heavy, locking caribiners.

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that guy in the video argues that he prefers simple, non-locking, hooks because they are easier and faster to use.., which is fine.., but they are not legal under the offshore special regs for any class of race

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We've made ours with 1/4" dyneema inside tubular webbing - found the webbing color does fade, so have had to replace it after about two years to keep things looking good, but the dyneema doesn't show any of the signs of wear/UV fading that it does when uncovered.  Doesn't roll underfoot, super strong, only thing that sucks is feeding 65' of dyneema through the tubular webbing - takes some dock space and patience.

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45 minutes ago, sshow bob said:

There was a thread somewhere in which someone (Evans, I think) talked about making spliced eyes in the dyneema line with webbing cover.  Does anyone remember where that was?  My google-foo is weak today.

Evans shut down his page a while ago.  Too bad, it was full of great info.

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For those interested:

Originally Posted by Delancey View Post
Hi Evans,

For our purposes the jacklines are for a delivery and will not likely be permanently rigged. I am at a bit of a loss to imagine the type of webbing cover/ single braid core splice you allude to except where the cover isn't actually spliced, but maybe hand sewn over the top of the loop?

It is essentially just like a 'core to core' splice, where the loop is covered but the cover is (usually) not buried (it is sewn/whipped down). To make it happen with webbing . . . . #1 you pull the tail out of a small hole in the webbing about 2" from the end of the webbing, #2 you pull a loop of the cord out of another small hole in the webbing where you want the base of the final loop, #3 you bury the end of the cord into the loop you have pulled out, #4 you pull the loop of cord back into the webbing. This pulls the two pieces of webbing together, forming the end loop you wanted. #5 you sew the webbing together for about 3" (2" after the splice/join and 1" before)

Maybe our needs would be met with exposed loops and the webbing covering the remainder, sewn in place as I suggested? Or maybe the simplest approach of extending the webbing the full length of the core and knotting would work?

The webbing around the loop is for UV and wear protection. If the jackline is not going to see months of UV/use then you can simply have the dyneema loops extend out the ends of the webbing and be uncovered. Because the loops are 'double strength' they can in fact loose a lot of strength without effecting the system strength. But if they are going to see a lot of UV or wear then covering them is just good practice and not that difficult.

Your feedback is always appreciated. Thanks!

I will be losing my internet this afternoon. Not sure when I will get a connection back.
 
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Use polyester webbing, not nylon

Soak the webbing  in a bucket of seawater for 10 minutes right before installation. Otherwise when it gets wet, it gets loose otherwise. When it dries it becomes tighter with a pre-soak.

Put a few twists in the webbing as you install. Prevents it from thrumming in the wind.

Take it off when you're not sailing to prevent UV damage.

Use a few wraps on a a cleat because webbing can be a bit slippery

End it at the front of the cockpit so you don't slide of the end or over the transom

If you buy bulk webbing, inspect it as it comes off the roll because sometimes manufacturers will put a join in the roll with a piece of tape connecting the ends (they assume people buying bulk webbing are only buying a few feet at a time)

And finally - just assume the edge of the deck is like a 2000' cliff and treat it that way in your mind. The lifelines and jacklines are just a last chance if you make a bad mistake. Move on deck like the ocean is trying to kill you. Because it is.

 

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25 minutes ago, Zonker said:

And finally - just assume the edge of the deck is like a 2000' cliff and treat it that way in your mind. The lifelines and jacklines are just a last chance if you make a bad mistake. Move on deck like the ocean is trying to kill you. Because it is.

This!

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I think someone mentioned above, but having good attachment points, where you will be working is important.  The A to B for jacklines is a safety but thought of as in transit.  At the mast or masts bow and cockpit we have something easy and close that can be clipped into.  At this point when you are working it's most likely two hands and your focus is not on transit like when moving forward or aft. Something we are grossly negligent on has been safety drills etc.  Using the harness for retrieval, Man overoard drills etc.  I have to drill all the time on the ship and muscle memory is very crucial. In most cases  people will default to their highest level of training in a crisis. A small portion will become imobalized and a small portion will not be effected at all, but the vast majority go into default training mode. 

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45 footer I find myself on often has a nice setup for a jack line IN the cockpit too.   One line stretched down the port side floor to the back corner then stretched across the back of the cockpit and finally forward on starboard.  Especially nice if your climbing aft of a big wheel.  30 footer might not need it, but I find it very convenient.  

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20 minutes ago, SASSAFRASS said:

I think someone mentioned above, but having good attachment points, where you will be working is important.  The A to B for jacklines is a safety but thought of as in transit.  At the mast or masts bow and cockpit we have something easy and close that can be clipped into.  At this point when you are working it's most likely two hands and your focus is not on transit like when moving forward or aft. Something we are grossly negligent on has been safety drills etc.  Using the harness for retrieval, Man overoard drills etc.  I have to drill all the time on the ship and muscle memory is very crucial. In most cases  people will default to their highest level of training in a crisis. A small portion will become imobalized and a small portion will not be effected at all, but the vast majority go into default training mode. 

Yeah, I'll usually connect to something else while working, both if they reach. A shroud, cleat, taught line, stanchion, etc.

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On 2/18/2020 at 4:02 PM, kevinjones16 said:

Rig them so it's next to impossible to go overboard. Boarding a moving boat from the end of a tether while you're being dragged through the water is so much harder than you can imagine.

Best to keep all jack lines as close to centerline as possible 

jack lines along the toe rail are man killers 

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1 hour ago, slug zitski said:

Best to keep all jack lines as close to centerline as possible .

I removed my dodger so I could run a single jackline in the middle of the deck. Direct from the steering pedestal base, past the mast, to a mid-foredeck padeye. One of the best offshore things I did. Going around the old dodger on the side decks was the most dubious part of going forward.

Interesting that sailors are using Dyneema jacklines. I rather like the bright yellow webbing because I’d hate to clip into the wrong line when things get sporty. 

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7 hours ago, sshow bob said:

There was a thread somewhere in which someone (Evans, I think) talked about making spliced eyes in the dyneema line with webbing cover.  Does anyone remember where that was?  My google-foo is weak today.

It's in there somewhere...

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10 hours ago, Cristoforo said:

Yes you will find similar points made in that video's comments.  A problem with novices like Sailing Uma and Sailing La Vag and other Youtubeers  is the specific safety videos they put out  are full of errors and bad ideas based on their unproven theories and lack of experience.  I prefer not to choose and rely on a piece of safety equipment that is meant to save my life  if it is ever needed,  on the basis it may save me $50 if I can stitch one up myself with Walmart webbing and non locking carabiners. Some things are better left to the pros. 

 

I disagree that sailors cannot fabricate their own safety equipment. That's basically what you're saying.

If you buy the proper materials, and stitch them properly, they can be as safe as commercially made equipment. Evans Starzinger sewed me up a set of custom jacklines for my Pearson 30. They were everybit as good as the "pro made" lines I bought for my Tartan, later on.

I'm not saying that Sailing Uma has all the answers but they have been sailing for years now and have safely crossed the Atlantic.  Yes, they sailed without lifelines for quite awhile, which I disagreed with.

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On 2/19/2020 at 4:06 PM, us7070 said:

that guy in the video argues that he prefers simple, non-locking, hooks because they are easier and faster to use.., which is fine.., but they are not legal under the offshore special regs for any class of race

"MoMu0,1,2,3 5.02.2 c) have self-closing hooks" I thought that meant just like the the ones in Uma video? Locking ones would need fiddling when you want to open them?

https://www.sailing.org/documents/offshorespecialregs/index.php

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The problem with hooks that don't latch is they can twist then open and come off.  There have been a few case studies.  Even some of the "locking" ones have been shown to not lock properly sometimes and then be quite weaker.  Same issue with rock climbing biners.  If they are open they are much weaker.

 

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5 hours ago, Ajax said:

I disagree that sailors cannot fabricate their own safety equipment. That's basically what you're saying.

If you buy the proper materials, and stitch them properly, they can be as safe as commercially made equipment. Evans Starzinger sewed me up a set of custom jacklines for my Pearson 30. They were everybit as good as the "pro made" lines I bought for my Tartan, later on.

 

I think Evans qualifies as professional and more so higher end of them.  Certainly support DIYS but do think the social media content without qualifiers is a little dubious.  People can make things that "look" like professional made gear but in fact may have none of the same qualities. This is probably most dangerous in rigging and safety gear, as it's very easy to mess things up and have them look correct. The "you can do this for super cheap" idea is more often than not a super annoying trait of cruisers.  

It's very gratifying to make your own gear, but there really should be alot of research on where the content is coming from and what if any qualifications and testing has gone into what's being shown.

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On 2/19/2020 at 6:06 AM, us7070 said:

that guy in the video argues that he prefers simple, non-locking, hooks because they are easier and faster to use.., which is fine.., but they are not legal under the offshore special regs for any class of race

... and for good reason.

 

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^^ And that is a supposedly locking Spinlock hook, failing a specific test it was said to pass! I believe it has been discontinued as a result of a number of problems.  They can fail as low as 500 pounds if side loaded (has caused one fatality), and they can jam on webbing (common). Why they have not be recalled I do not understand. The original Gibb design was strong, but these were redesigned for lightness.

For the record, it is jackline, not jack line. A jack line is a short utility line, for example, near the bottom of a sail to allow reefing.

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^^^ Yes. It also amplifies the importance of running jacklines so that the clips cannot bind or jam under things.

I am a firm believer that this is best accomplished by using separate jackline anchor points, rather than using cleats. This also makes it practical to run the jacklines farther inboard and to terminate them safely away from the extreme ends of the boat.

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16 minutes ago, thinwater said:

^^^ Yes. It also amplifies the importance of running jacklines so that the clips cannot bind or jam under things.

I am a firm believer that this is best accomplished by using separate jackline anchor points, rather than using cleats. This also makes it practical to run the jacklines farther inboard and to terminate them safely away from the extreme ends of the boat.

This makes a lot of sense. Jacklines should be solely for transit. "Work station" should have their own jackline and anchor point since that allows you to have a correctly sized tether. Since this is kruuzing anarchy, I also humbly submit that granny bars at the mast and bulkwards(what's the correct term?) on the foredeck make things a lot more secure. Granny bars are also great for short people like me as it makes it easy to get to the head of the mainsail. 

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