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I was surprised when a search didn't reveal discussions about dyneema for lifelines.
 

What I've read indicates some advantages like you can use larger diameter without substantial weight increase, easier on the hands, maybe more comfortable on the back. 

It does seem that even though it's extremely low stretch, it's PROBABLY still stretchier than SS.

Opinions, please? 
 

 

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If you are racing I believe lifelines need to be uncoated stainless.  You can use dyneema lashings at the ends.  I don't remember the rule on wire size or allowable lashing gap.

On a light use bay cruiser day sailor I replaced the old crappy rusty vinyl coated wire with uncovered dyneema.  The top line is thicker than the original wire and is easy on the hands/back.  The stanchion holes do need to be smooth to prevent chafe.  Used CS Johnson gate hook splice fittings and a sailmakers thimble for the gates.  Simple eye splice (no thimble) and lashings at the ends so a lot less metal parts.  There is a little bit of stretch (splice set and creep) you need to account for.  After re-tensioning the lashings a couple of times they have been good to go for quite a few years now. 

If the boat was going to be used harder and I was worried about chafe from running lines/sheets I would have gone with wire and dyneema lashings.

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Check with your local racing rules.  Some places allow them, some don't.  They are allowed here in BC in the PNW. 

I think they are superior to SS because they are lighter for the same strength, more comfortable to lean on, and you can make them yourself.  Properly made uncoated SS lifelines need to be swaged, and are considerably more expensive.

However, you need to be obsessive about making sure the leads through the stanchions are smooth, and you need to replace them from time to time.   The replacement time varies, up here with not much UV three years is about right.   I let mine go for 4 years on my racing boat once and they seemed to be fine - I used one of them for a backstay on my new smaller racing boat and it survived for a year.  Down south with more UV every two years would make sense.

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2 hours ago, yoyo said:

The stanchion holes do need to be smooth to prevent chafe. 

I put short pieces of heat shrink tubing on the lifelines where they pass through stanchions. I also did it at the seam between vinyl coating and swaged fittings on coated wire to seal the only entry point for water.

That and an occasional wipe with vinyl conditioner kept them looking new for many, many years.

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Just now, Rain Man said:

Check with your local racing rules.  Some places allow them, some don't.  They are allowed here in BC in the PNW. 

I think they are superior to SS because they are lighter for the same strength, more comfortable to lean on, and you can make them yourself.  Properly made uncoated SS lifelines need to be swaged, and are considerably more expensive.

However, you need to be obsessive about making sure the leads through the stanchions are smooth, and you need to replace them from time to time.   The replacement time varies, up here with not much UV three years is about right.   I let mine go for 4 years on my racing boat once and they seemed to be fine - I used one of them for a backstay on my new smaller racing boat and it survived for a year.  Down south with more UV every two years would make sense.

I was told by my rigger (Pro Tech) that they are not legal for racing.

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10 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

I was told by my rigger (Pro Tech) that they are not legal for racing.

Unless things have changed, I raced my Dash with dyneema lifelines up to 2019 when I sold the boat and as far as I know always complied with the rules.  The only issue we had was 2018 Swiftsure - the SI's initially said you couldn't, and I was in the process of having uncoated SS ones made (still have the wire in my basement if anyone needs lifeline wire) when, two weeks before the race they relented and allowed them.  

When we were going after VIRS in 2018 I was super careful to read the safety rules for each race - I didn't want to be caught out on a technicality.  

There hasn't been any racing for a while, so looked up the OSR's to see if they have changed.  VARC, for example, uses Category 4.  Clearly, they are allowed in this category, look on page 6:

https://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/mo42021-[26831].pdf

I think your rigger needs to do some research.

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How much wire you got? Replacing my vinyl coated lifelines has been on my punch list for several years now. Figure I need about 200' (50' boat, uppers and lowers).

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7 minutes ago, IStream said:

How much wire you got? Replacing my vinyl coated lifelines has been on my punch list for several years now. Figure I need about 200' (50' boat, uppers and lowers).

Not quite that much.  I have enough to do four lifelines on a 34' boat.  There is enough to maybe do three of them for your boat.

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49 minutes ago, Rain Man said:

Unless things have changed, I raced my Dash with dyneema lifelines up to 2019 when I sold the boat and as far as I know always complied with the rules.  The only issue we had was 2018 Swiftsure - the SI's initially said you couldn't, and I was in the process of having uncoated SS ones made (still have the wire in my basement if anyone needs lifeline wire) when, two weeks before the race they relented and allowed them.  

When we were going after VIRS in 2018 I was super careful to read the safety rules for each race - I didn't want to be caught out on a technicality.  

There hasn't been any racing for a while, so looked up the OSR's to see if they have changed.  VARC, for example, uses Category 4.  Clearly, they are allowed in this category, look on page 6:

https://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/mo42021-[26831].pdf

I think your rigger needs to do some research.

Just checked and Straits is an exception - last sailed in 2019 they wanted PIYA SER Coastal, which requires SS lifelines.  That would make Straits the only race in BC that requires them AFAICT.  My last Straits was '05 and we were both miserable in the last half of the race and lucky to get back to the dock in one piece so I have sworn off them. I can't find the Swiftsure documents to see what they did in 2019, but they certainly allowed dyneema lifelines in 2018.

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31 minutes ago, Rain Man said:

Not quite that much.  I have enough to do four lifelines on a 34' boat.  There is enough to maybe do three of them for your boat.

Okay, thanks for checking. Since it's not a slam dunk and because I believe we're on opposite sides of the cheese curtain, I'll keep this one on the back burner. I do plan to take the family up north when the border opens and will reach out then.

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3 minutes ago, IStream said:

Okay, thanks for checking. Since it's not a slam dunk and because I believe we're on opposite sides of the cheese curtain, I'll keep this one on the back burner. I do plan to take the family up north when the border opens and will reach out then.

I am positive they will still be in my basement when that happens!  Plan a stop in Nanaimo, there will be beer and/or rum.

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2 hours ago, Rain Man said:

Just checked and Straits is an exception - last sailed in 2019 they wanted PIYA SER Coastal, which requires SS lifelines.  That would make Straits the only race in BC that requires them AFAICT.  My last Straits was '05 and we were both miserable in the last half of the race and lucky to get back to the dock in one piece so I have sworn off them. I can't find the Swiftsure documents to see what they did in 2019, but they certainly allowed dyneema lifelines in 2018.

One more: R2AK, but only if you go "outside".  

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4 hours ago, Rain Man said:

Not quite that much.  I have enough to do four lifelines on a 34' boat.  There is enough to maybe do three of them for your boat.

I'll take it - I need about 100' to do my 30'.

I'm in Horseshoe Bay so we could meet here or Departure Bay as walk-ons.

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I tested my 1/4" dyneema ones that had been in the tropical sun for 5 years. Attached them to a #46 winch with double handle. Tensioned as much as I could. This thread suggested I was applying at least 3200 lbs. I didn't break it. The breaking strength of 3/16" 316 s.s. is about 4000 lbs. So I conclude that replacing them every 3 years in BC level UV is nuts!

 

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1 hour ago, Zonker said:

I tested my 1/4" dyneema ones that had been in the tropical sun for 5 years. Attached them to a #46 winch with double handle. Tensioned as much as I could. This thread suggested I was applying at least 3200 lbs. I didn't break it. The breaking strength of 3/16" 316 s.s. is about 4000 lbs. So I conclude that replacing them every 3 years in BC level UV is nuts!

 

I agree that the UV isn't much of an issue - chafe is more of a problem.  Spin sheets and foreguys rubbing on them, people hanging fenders from them even though I asked them not to, velcro on crew jackets, rubbing on the "almost" perfectly smooth stanchion fairleads etc.

When they start to get fuzzy, that is the time IMHO, and on my boat it would be around 3-4 years.  We raced a lot though.

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Martha had all her life lines switched over and when they got to California had to go back to wire.  That is one boat that crosses every T and dots every I.  It's was all race rule stuff.  I think there are great benefits to single braid twelve strand but it's grey at best.  Colligo is maybe not helpful and tends to push a questionable DIYS mentality that may not be accurate. I really think the best approach for anyone is to find a reputable rigger and ask for advice.  The materials trends change fast.

 

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3 hours ago, SASSAFRASS said:

Martha had all her life lines switched over and when they got to California had to go back to wire.  That is one boat that crosses every T and dots every I.  It's was all race rule stuff.  I think there are great benefits to single braid twelve strand but it's grey at best.  Colligo is maybe not helpful and tends to push a questionable DIYS mentality that may not be accurate. I really think the best approach for anyone is to find a reputable rigger and ask for advice.  The materials trends change fast.

 

Nothing wrong with having two sets, one SS and the other dyneema.  I know which ones I would prefer to have on the boat all the time, and which ones I would only put on when I had to.

The OSR rules are quite specific on the sizes you are required to use.  Splicing dyneema is dead easy.  I question the "questionable DIYS mentality" comment.  I have had to re-do the work of professional riggers when they screwed up on several occasions, most recently this spring.  

Then we have SJB's rigger telling him SS lifelines are required for racing, when they clearly are not with a few exceptions.  It is always a good idea to consult a professional, but one should not abandon common sense.

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22 hours ago, Quickstep192 said:

I was surprised when a search didn't reveal discussions about dyneema for lifelines.

Here's a thread from last year:

 

 

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13 hours ago, Rain Man said:

Then we have SJB's rigger telling him SS lifelines are required for racing, when they clearly are not with a few exceptions.  It is always a good idea to consult a professional, but one should not abandon common sense.

Here in Australia stainless steel lifelines are mandated for all categories where lifelines are fitted. Having said that you are allowed carbon stanchions! Go figure... ^_^

Edit: Looks like World Sailing says SS wire for Cat 3 and above, dyneema okay for 4 and down. (ref 3.14.6.a)

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7 hours ago, Jethrow said:

Here in Australia stainless steel lifelines are mandated for all categories where lifelines are fitted. Having said that you are allowed carbon stanchions! Go figure... ^_^

Edit: Looks like World Sailing says SS wire for Cat 3 and above, dyneema okay for 4 and down. (ref 3.14.6.a)

Yeah, but you folks sail in real breeze all the time down there.  Up here in the PNW we get a puff over 15 kts every now and then.  A 3' chop is considered "waves".  

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I was thinking about the whole coated/uncoated wire thing and the reasons for banning coated wire.

Does anyone here have personal knowledge of anyone going over the side because a lifeline corroded undetected under the coating?

I don't.

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When my mast came down, the SAR folks quickly cut my lifelines on the starboard side, and they also cut my tangled halyards and rod rigging.   In all three cases they could have been saved with a little untangling.  But I wasn't about to question them after just towing me in. 

So, I did the sensible thing and stripped the outer layer from my halyard and made lifelines for the starboard side.  Good point is that if I fall overboard with my tether, I can cut the lifelines to crawl back on board.  (If you read the adventure of falling overboard on a Mini you'll understand the need for this.)  On the negative side, I can't seem to keep them tight. It's not that they are stretching, but I can't find any knot that will hold Dyneema without slipping a bit. 

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On 5/2/2021 at 10:49 PM, SloopJonB said:

I was thinking about the whole coated/uncoated wire thing and the reasons for banning coated wire.

Does anyone here have personal knowledge of anyone going over the side because a lifeline corroded undetected under the coating?

I don't.

No, and seen some in obvious distress.  I think on my boat I will go to rope and eliminate the coated wire (just incase they are a death trap) like offset hatch, oh, wait, my hatch is very slightly off center.  I better buy some insurance for the Admiral as my days are limited.

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13 hours ago, Foolish said:

but I can't find any knot that will hold Dyneema without slipping a bit.

Any particular reason why you're not splicing the lifelines and tighten them with a more conventional lashing?
It does not look quite as neat  but is still fairly minor.(while at no expense or weight a metal adjuster would bring)

About the mini adventure. The link I bookmarked is currently offline. But you are referring to the difficulty of both pulling oneself up and that squeezing through the lifelines with an inflated lifevest isn't going to happen?

Guess I never thought much of it on account of not having lifelines on the h-boat. And never being truly far off shore...
Though I did worry about how to clamber back on board.(really considering the (pulley type" tether) In bad conditions I don't fly a spinnaker on my boat and then bring back the free spinnaker halyard that I can clip into my harness. Keeps the body high should I ever slip.

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7 hours ago, allweather said:

Any particular reason why you're not splicing the lifelines and tighten them with a more conventional lashing?

About the mini adventure. But you are referring to the difficulty of both pulling oneself up and that squeezing through the lifelines with an inflated lifevest isn't going to happen?

I've tried all kinds of ways to keep the dyneema lines tight, but to no success. The line itself is just to slippy.  Do you have a photo of how you've done it.

Yes, I'm talking about the difficulty of pulling yourself over/through the lifelines. But the problem is real with or without a pfd. this is a key reason why I like dyneema lifelines, because you can easily cut them to climb back on board, and then just retie them again.

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12 minutes ago, Foolish said:

Do you have a photo of how you've done it.

No lifelines on my small boat and I don't have a pic for one in the marina with it. But looked up a website of someone describing their own switch to synthetic. Scroll down a little and you'll see how they used a smaller diameter line to tighten the lifeline. That is how I did it in aforementioned case and it held up perfectly fine.

https://mosaicvoyage.com/2021/02/16/replacing-standard-cable-lifelines-with-dyneema-synthetic-lifelines-on-a-cruising-sailboat/

half-hitch-2.jpg?w=676

lashing-the-lifeline-to-the-stanchion-wi

I can see how rope is easier to handle compared to the standard wire considering we all tend to carry a knife of some sort but not bolt cutters while on deck. Makes sense too considering they're supposed to prevent one from slipping out between them. Of course it would be difficult to squeeze in.

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image.thumb.jpeg.7b5c896e6a70d64c7ff2800721fbb14f.jpeg
 

this is WR2: covered UHMWPE lifeline from NERopes. I’m trying to remember what year my wife built them. Probably 2013 or-14. I never go north of 30, and they are still doing well, although the lashings probably need some love, and the whippings have been failing.

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One thing people don't get is that as UHMW ropes get cold - they expand. Thus your lifelines get loose as it gets colder. Seasonally, depending on temperature swings you might have to adjust.

A lashing is a good thing to adjust your synthetic lifelines and will hold without slipping. Maybe not QUITE so many half hitches required. Allweather's lashing connected to an eye is how we did ours.

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3 hours ago, Foolish said:

I've tried all kinds of ways to keep the dyneema lines tight, but to no success. The line itself is just to slippy.  Do you have a photo of how you've done it.

I get the tension close with lashings (as shown in the photos above), and then use the turnbuckle in my pelican hooks to fine tune them beyond that.  

I made the simplest possible lifelines, they are just a single run from bow to stern with a fixed lashing at the bow and a pelican hook at the stern.  A nice thing about this is that you can temporarily push the lifelines down and out of the way when putting heavy things on the deck, like when bringing the dinghy aboard to lash it down on the foredeck.  I mention this because I've seen a lot of much more complicated dyneema lifeline setups with gate hinges and other unnecessary hardware that also take out the chance to use those turnbuckles.

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I saved my turnbuckles from the old wire lifelines.   When building my Dyneema lifelines, I build them too short by about 12-14" and use a lashing.  After they stretch they will come within range of the turnbuckle, so I just replace the lashing with the turnbuckle.  If I get it wrong I just stick with the lashing. 

It is a bit faster to adjust a turnbuckle than adjust a lashing, and I think the turnbuckles look better, but YMMV.

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I am making up new lifelines now in  7mm WR2.  The challenge I find is getting exact lengths and not wasting alot of expensive line or cutting it too short.

For instance, if I do a brummel eye at one end and then want say 21' to the other brummel eye, how do I compensate for the amount lost in the splice versus the amount gained through creep when loaded to figure out where to cut the line off the spool before splicing?  This gets extra critical with gate openings where the the lengths are short and you are for instance, using a cow hitched eye to an eye fitting that goes through the stanchion (no room for adjustment) and then eye splice or eye splice for cow hitch to a pelican hook - the whole thing being only a couple of feet long?

I'd be interested to hear anyone's insights on this-it seems to me that getting exact bearing point to bearing point lengths after two splices,  compensating for splice loss and creep gain is pretty difficult or pretty imprecise?

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On your first Brummel Eye, before you cut anything from the whole roll, place a mark 2 meters from the end. Make your first eye to specification. When done and tightened measure from the mark to the end of the eye. Subtract that from 2 meters. That is your "take-out." Your technique need to be repeatable. Counting picks and eye size, etc.

I wouldn't be so sure that turnbuckles are faster to adjust than lashings considering fussing with Ring-Dings, pins and the little splashes they make from time to time.
 

I'd test fit before making the second eyes because there are so many variables.

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hmmm:

World Sailing OSR's = dyneema allowed for multihulls and cat 4 monos.  Only SS for Cat 0,1,2,3, monos. Local races and national authorities can modify that, but that's the baseline world racing standard.

There are in fact a few knots which will not slip in dyneema (like the water bowline and the estar).  But you want to use all splices in dyneema lifelines (in fact splices are requited by the WQ OSRs).  Don't use Brummel's, they weaken the splice and make it easier for DIY to screw it up. Pretty much no-one in commercial heavy lifting, where consequences are serious and stuff is actually proof tested uses Brummel's.. Find some instruction on lock stitching the bury and do that - just be careful, dont pull the stitches too tight, dont distort the weave and dont split strands.

Lashings at one end are the usual/normal way to adjust length and tension.  There are better and worse lashing techniques - the ones used by most 'yacht-ies' (and most yachting riggers) happen to be are near the worse end. But if they are made over strength it does not matter.  Just realize that the strength of the lasting is NOT = number of legs times cord strength.  It is way lower than that because of uneven tension on the legs.  Testing of actual lashings suggest you should assume only half that strength.  The WS OSR's do require the lashings to be replaced every year - and they cannot be longer than 100mm.

There are two primary failure modes - being cut by rough passages thru the stanchions and being burned by sheets zinging out over them.  The later is more a concern on bigger high performance boats - the crew on Comanche refused to use dyneema for that concern.

The OSR's do state minimum diameters - and they refer to the core alone.  So for instance if you are using a double braid like WR2 they core alone needs to meet these minimums.  And these are minimums - for the top lifeline in particular using a few mm bigger would be quite smart in most cases.

 

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33 minutes ago, someoldsalt said:

I am making up new lifelines now in  7mm WR2.  The challenge I find is getting exact lengths and not wasting alot of expensive line or cutting it too short.

For instance, if I do a brummel eye at one end and then want say 21' to the other brummel eye, how do I compensate for the amount lost in the splice versus the amount gained through creep when loaded to figure out where to cut the line off the spool before splicing?  This gets extra critical with gate openings where the the lengths are short and you are for instance, using a cow hitched eye to an eye fitting that goes through the stanchion (no room for adjustment) and then eye splice or eye splice for cow hitch to a pelican hook - the whole thing being only a couple of feet long?

I'd be interested to hear anyone's insights on this-it seems to me that getting exact bearing point to bearing point lengths after two splices,  compensating for splice loss and creep gain is pretty difficult or pretty imprecise?

Roughly speaking, on a 30' lifeline I would expect about 6" of creep after the crew had been leaning on it for a regatta or two.  One solution is to load the line for a few cycles to remove the construction creep, then build your splices, but I suspect you will still get some creep after that as the splices settle in.

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9 minutes ago, Rain Man said:

One solution is to load the line for a few cycles to remove the construction creep, then build your splices, but I suspect you will still get some creep after that as the splices settle in.

there is some line constructional elongation, less in some lines than in others (like the heat set ones), but most of it comes from the splices settling in.  

If you have worked with a particular line you will know how much constructional stretch is in the line.  If you do not, take a piece, measure it carefully stretched out but not tensioned with any real load - then pull it (with a big winch or come along or hydraulic autobody puller - which are easy and cheep to get) to near working load (or by feel) let it set for 30 minutes and tension again after it has stretched, do that a few times.  Measure again and you now know the constructional stretch (it will be a hair more stretch than this over longer time period so just add a percent or so).

Then make a splice in one end of a line you have stretched - measure it before and after the above same procedure - then you know how much your splices stretch - obviously x2 for splices on each end.

This is a bit of upfront work, but you can get done pretty quick if you are efficient and then you know all you need to know to make perfect lengths (from this one line brand)

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US Sailing SERs require uncoated stainless for Ocean or Coastal races but are silent on Nearshore. And of course cruisers can do whatever they want. 

Splicing dyneema is simple enough that you can just build the lifelines on the boat to make sure you get the length right. Do the first eye splice, attach one end, string through stanchions & then measure out where the other eye should be. Expect some construction creep as the splices work themselves in so a little short is better than a little long - you can always snug up the lashing.

I luggage tagged one end and used a lashing on the other. Better to luggage tag around the the pulpit tubing rather than the steel loop provided for attaching wire lifelines so the bend radius in the dyneema luggage tag is larger. And use a thimble in the lashing end for the same reason. 

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Public Service Announcement - They call this a Lifeline for a reason - don't skimp here and do it properly.

I love Dyneema but it blows for lifelines unless done correctly.

Firstly, it usually isn't legal for Coastal and Offshore racing. Mainly for the reason stated above.

Next, everyone and their cousin thinks they can splice up a Safe/Strong/Accurate lifeline which usually is not the case. Many owners fit diameters too small or too stretchy to do any good or the splices are loose and sloppy, frayed, and rarely pre-stretched. The splice needs to be stretched as well.

Lashing is even more of an issue. Learn to do this properly or do not do it at all. I've seen too many people go in the water due to bad lashings coming apart.

Do it right or even better, stick with cable.

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Thanks for the salient thoughts - estarzinger-I hear you on the long bury splice versus brummel, but then the use of WR2 maybe makes less sense as I don't think it would be possible to milk the cover over that long splice?  The cover would then terminate about 20" or so from the eye, maybe that is fine although less attractive?  NER recommends a brummel splice with a bury for the cover that ends up with about 11'' of exposed core before the cover.  The tightly woven dyneema cover makes for a pretty nice hand and of course helps at stanchion chafe points as well-seems like pretty good stuff.  I'd guess that the long bury spice would also shorten the rope more than a brummel?

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While I am at it, another question for you, e, would you recommend the long bury for running rigging/standing rigging as well? I am adding a dyneema innerforestay and runners to my rig (Hood 38) and wonder if you reckon the long bury is superior there.  If that is so, why is everyone (Colligo) etc recommending the brummel splice...? Thanks in advance-hopefully this is helpful to all

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3 hours ago, Irrational 14 said:

Public Service Announcement - They call this a Lifeline for a reason - don't skimp here and do it properly.

I love Dyneema but it blows for lifelines unless done correctly.

Firstly, it usually isn't legal for Coastal and Offshore racing. Mainly for the reason stated above.

Next, everyone and their cousin thinks they can splice up a Safe/Strong/Accurate lifeline which usually is not the case. Many owners fit diameters too small or too stretchy to do any good or the splices are loose and sloppy, frayed, and rarely pre-stretched. The splice needs to be stretched as well.

Lashing is even more of an issue. Learn to do this properly or do not do it at all. I've seen too many people go in the water due to bad lashings coming apart.

Do it right or even better, stick with cable.

I really liked the idea of Dyneema lifelines for their "hand" but talking to my rigger, this thread and a serendipitous find of 1X19 has convinced me to go with uncoated wire.

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On 5/1/2021 at 5:17 AM, Quickstep192 said:

I was surprised when a search didn't reveal...

That shouldn't be a surprise, even if there are several threads...

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2 hours ago, someoldsalt said:

 would you recommend the long bury for running rigging/standing rigging as well? I am adding a dyneema innerforestay and runners to my rig (Hood 38) and wonder if you reckon the long bury is superior there.  If that is so, why is everyone (Colligo) etc recommending the brummel splice...? Thanks in advance-hopefully this is helpful to all

yes, long bury here. The Brummel is a 10% strength loss when done correctly (more if diyed a bit wrong with say more distortion to braid).  That's not a huge issue with stays sized big for creep reduction, so really 'whatever' is the technical answer, but the long bury is just 'proper' because it is technically superior.  The brummel was very trendy when sailors started using dyneema - it was a bit unknown, so gave you some 'secret handshake cred' and it solved the 'low load slipping' problem.  But after people examined and tested the options, anyone serious has moved any from it except for a few particular situations.

2 hours ago, someoldsalt said:

 then the use of WR2 maybe makes less sense as I don't think it would be possible to milk the cover over that long splice?  The cover would then terminate about 20" or so from the eye, maybe that is fine although less attractive?  NER recommends a brummel splice with a bury for the cover that ends up with about 11'' of exposed core before the cover.  The tightly woven dyneema cover makes for a pretty nice hand and of course helps at stanchion chafe points as well-seems like pretty good stuff.  I'd guess that the long bury spice would also shorten the rope more than a brummel?

I'm personally not a huge fan of WR2.  I would rather the dyneema I pay for is all actually load bearing, and half that line (the cover) is not load bearing. And that half does not provide very good UV protection either.  It does provide decent chafe protection . . but if it was all load bearing in the first place you would have more meat to absorb little nicks and dings - and if you wanted you would then just provide little covers for the stanchion passages - but if you polish those they dont need sleeves.

IDK much about splicing options for it.  I've done it only a few times. You can in fact milk the cover back over a well tapered long bury, but it can be a bit of work. I have not tested the splice alternatives.  So I can't really add anything factual information around splicing it. 

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You're better off with stainless tops , Unless you sleave the top line to prevent Genoa chafe and sheet burns 

 

fabric is wothwhile for the protected lower lifelines 

black singlebraid   technora  works well ,,its stable   long lasting and easy to splice 

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Regarding strength, there was a study done by the Naval Academy that found that when a lifeline system failed it was pretty much always the pulpits that gave up first. I suspect this would be true even with less-than-perfect dyneema splices or lashings (assuming no chafe, which I know is a big assumption but is at least readily inspectable). 

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23 minutes ago, slug zitski said:

black singlebraid   technora  works well ,,its stable   long lasting and easy to splice 

The only textile allowed by the OSR's is HDPE (eg dyneema).

 

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10 minutes ago, TJSoCal said:

Regarding strength, there was a study done by the Naval Academy that found that when a lifeline system failed it was pretty much always the pulpits that gave up first. I suspect this would be true even with less-than-perfect dyneema splices or lashings (assuming no chafe, which I know is a big assumption but is at least readily inspectable). 

You have a link/copy to the study? I can imagine that would be true with new dyneema in a test lab environment.  But we know it is NOT true out actually on boats racing in the real world.

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19 minutes ago, estarzinger said:

You have a link/copy to the study? I can imagine that would be true with new dyneema in a test lab environment.  But we know it is NOT true out actually on boats racing in the real world.

Don't have a link to the actual study but below links to a Practical Sailor article. 

Granted a bit dated (2012) and may be unique to stern pulpit designs similar to the Navy 44. But their finding was that the solid structures failed significantly below the breaking strength of 1x19 wire. 

I don't know but would suspect that real world failures are mostly as found in the study or a result of compromised swage fittings. Are there any cases of wire lifelines parting in the middle of a span? 

 

https://www.practical-sailor.com/safety-seamanship/usna-lifeline-test-reveals-weak-spots

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15 minutes ago, TJSoCal said:

I don't know but would suspect that real world failures are mostly as found in the study or a result of compromised swage fittings. Are there any cases of wire lifelines parting in the middle of a span? 

There certainly were many when we used coated wire. There are way fewer with bare wire, but there are a some - bend fatigue failure leading to stranding at stanchions (quite a few caught before the wire actually gives way because stranding is not hard to spot if you are doing actual inspections).  But yea, the end failures have been a continuing majority - mostly operator/installer error, but also some 'aging/corrosion'.

I'm aware of way more wire (and HDPE) failures than I am of pulpit failures.  The pulpit failures I am aware of are I think all due to using small tabs or wire loops welded to the pulpit, without much weld meat.  I dont believe I have ever seen a pulpit failure where the life lines that have been attached to the full pulpit tubes  (eg as in lashed with dyneema right around the full tubes).

Both new wire and new dyneema of lifeline spec are pretty strong.  The specs are designed so that the lifelines can take a 50% strength reduction and still do their job. Failures tend to be due to aging or operator error rather than raw load failure.

I have seen this sort of pulpit/stanchion crimping failure when the boat brushes something - a concrete fuel dock or a trawler you are rafted to for instance. But I dont remember having seen it with simply human loaded (hiking) lifelines.

 

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Sounds like the USNA experiment was done with shock loading - "several crew being hurled against the lifelines." 

They also noted that the leg of the stern pulpit was vertical, at a right angle to the deck where the bow pulpit was angled and survived better. 

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1 hour ago, TJSoCal said:

Sounds like the USNA experiment was done with shock loading - "several crew being hurled against the lifelines." 

They also noted that the leg of the stern pulpit was vertical, at a right angle to the deck where the bow pulpit was angled and survived better. 

That is the expected scenario ....full crew  against the lifelines 

 

 

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11 hours ago, TJSoCal said:

Sounds like the USNA experiment was done with shock loading - "several crew being hurled against the lifelines." 

I guess my interpretation is that what that study shows is:

#1 that, when new and properly installed/constructed, the current strength specs for the system are satisfactory (including under dynamic loading) . . . because the failure mode is those crimped tubes, which we dont really see in real life.

#2 what we need to be careful of is aging and improper methods. 

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2 hours ago, estarzinger said:

I guess my interpretation is that what that study shows is:

#1 that, when new and properly installed/constructed, the current strength specs for the system are satisfactory (including under dynamic loading) . . . because the failure mode is those crimped tubes, which we dont really see in real life.

#2 what we need to be careful of is aging and improper methods. 

Lifelines fail at the terminals 

almost always bad engineering 

lifeline. terminals must articulate ...toggle and tee .. or the stud will  bend , fatigue and fail 

the  pictured fabric lifeline termination is poor 

the stud will bend and fail 

 

AFF614B3-24A9-4415-B55B-B3DFD37E16EE.jpeg

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2 hours ago, slug zitski said:

Lifelines fail at the terminals 

almost always bad engineering 

lifeline. terminals must articulate ...toggle and tee .. or the stud will  bend , fatigue and fail 

the  pictured fabric lifeline termination is poor 

the stud will bend and fail 

 

AFF614B3-24A9-4415-B55B-B3DFD37E16EE.jpeg

Agreed, this is a really bad design.  If the crew leans on the lifelines hard  a few times that toggle will be toast.  

It isn't hard to do this correctly though.  One of the key things to keep in mind with dyneema is that the bend radius of the spliced loop has a minimum.  There are special thimbles made for dyneema for this purpose.  A lot of people don't use them, and that is a problem.   In addition to the problem SZ points out, in the picture above it looks like the radius is below the minimum.  

 

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1 hour ago, Rain Man said:

Agreed, this is a really bad design.  If the crew leans on the lifelines hard  a few times that toggle will be toast.  

It isn't hard to do this correctly though.  One of the key things to keep in mind with dyneema is that the bend radius of the spliced loop has a minimum.  There are special thimbles made for dyneema for this purpose.  A lot of people don't use them, and that is a problem.   In addition to the problem SZ points out, in the picture above it looks like the radius is below the minimum.  

 

The correct engineering is a welded tang and toggle 

 

the bottom lifeline  could be inferior spec because it is subject to  lower loading 

EAFDBDAF-B7F8-46D4-A323-06E94FF36635.png

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18 hours ago, estarzinger said:

The pulpit failures I am aware of are I think all due to using small tabs or wire loops welded to the pulpit, without much weld meat.

Yes, this.

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31 minutes ago, slug zitski said:

the bottom lifeline  could be inferior spec because it is subject to  lower loading 

Not when hiking out during racing.  

 

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On 5/6/2021 at 7:14 AM, slug zitski said:

Lifelines fail at the terminals 

almost always bad engineering 

lifeline. terminals must articulate ...toggle and tee .. or the stud will  bend , fatigue and fail 

the  pictured fabric lifeline termination is poor 

the stud will bend and fail 

 

AFF614B3-24A9-4415-B55B-B3DFD37E16EE.jpeg

I did this.  It was for a for a friend who is a retired yachtsman who has more miles on the water than 95% of the people here!  He and I discussed the pros and cons of the project. He was in the South Pacific and his vinyl coated wire lifelines were bleeding rust.  There were several factors in the decision to go with Dyneema.  One of the reasons I agreed to do it was that nobody will be hiking on these lifelines!  His Genoa and staysail are high clewed, and don’t touch the lifelines.  The lifeline holes through the stanchions are smooth, but we added chafe protection as an extra step.  It’s on a heavy 56’ cruiser, with an electric furler for the Genoa and a line furler for the Staysail.  When offshore, nobody leaves the cockpit without being harnessed and clipped in!   The studs are 1/4”, and were assembled with thread lock.  Aft of the gate is a sold rail.  I don’t loose any sleep over this job!  
 

All of this said, I don’t like Dyneema lifelines on raceboats, and agree with the revision of the rules to prohibit them!  

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46 minutes ago, Mulligan said:

All of this said, I don’t like Dyneema lifelines on raceboats, and agree with the revision of the rules to prohibit them!  

They are only prohibited in SER Offshore and Coastal, not Inshore or OSR Cat 4.   I used them for years without problem and would do so again, with proper care and frequent replacement.  It comes down to your ability to correctly splice vs. the quality of the rigger's swaging machine.  I had a local outfit refuse to build me SS lifelines because they didn't trust their swaging machine.  

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3 minutes ago, Rain Man said:

I had a local outfit refuse to build me SS lifelines because they didn't trust their swaging machine.  

What did they use it for if they didn't trust it for making lifelines?  Hopefully not standing rigging or high deck railings...

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1 hour ago, Mulligan said:

I did this.  It was for a for a friend who is a retired yachtsman who has more miles on the water than 95% of the people here!  He and I discussed the pros and cons of the project. He was in the South Pacific and his vinyl coated wire lifelines were bleeding rust.  There were several factors in the decision to go with Dyneema.  One of the reasons I agreed to do it was that nobody will be hiking on these lifelines!  His Genoa and staysail are high clewed, and don’t touch the lifelines.  The lifeline holes through the stanchions are smooth, but we added chafe protection as an extra step.  It’s on a heavy 56’ cruiser, with an electric furler for the Genoa and a line furler for the Staysail.  When offshore, nobody leaves the cockpit without being harnessed and clipped in!   The studs are 1/4”, and were assembled with thread lock.  Aft of the gate is a sold rail.  I don’t loose any sleep over this job!  
 

All of this said, I don’t like Dyneema lifelines on raceboats, and agree with the revision of the rules to prohibit them!  

A high load situation for top  lifelines   is when tied alongside a wall with Onshore wind and a rising tide 

the fenders and fender board become trapped and heavily load the life line as the boat rises 

additionally,    when a human stands on the lifelines,  it’s seldom in the middle of a span.. their foot is almost always on top of the stanchion   head , stud assembly 

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5 hours ago, slug zitski said:

  when a human stands on the lifelines

???

They deserve whatever happens to them.

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8 hours ago, slug zitski said:

A high load situation for top  lifelines   is when tied alongside a wall with Onshore wind and a rising tide 

the fenders and fender board become trapped and heavily load the life line as the boat rises 

additionally,    when a human stands on the lifelines,  it’s seldom in the middle of a span.. their foot is almost always on top of the stanchion   head , stud assembly 

Never let the crew tie fenders or fender boards to dyneema lifelines, or stand on them.  If switching to dyneema lifelines it is necessary, and it isn't hard to get used to.

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7 hours ago, estarzinger said:

Bonus points if they are wearing high heels while standing on the lifelines.

Exactly - the only circumstance where it is permissible, desirable even.

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On 5/5/2021 at 9:16 AM, estarzinger said:

hmmm:

World Sailing OSR's = dyneema allowed for multihulls and cat 4 monos.  Only SS for Cat 0,1,2,3, monos. Local races and national authorities can modify that, but that's the baseline world racing standard.

There are in fact a few knots which will not slip in dyneema (like the water bowline and the estar).  But you want to use all splices in dyneema lifelines (in fact splices are requited by the WQ OSRs).  Don't use Brummel's, they weaken the splice and make it easier for DIY to screw it up. Pretty much no-one in commercial heavy lifting, where consequences are serious and stuff is actually proof tested uses Brummel's.. Find some instruction on lock stitching the bury and do that - just be careful, dont pull the stitches too tight, dont distort the weave and dont split strands.

Lashings at one end are the usual/normal way to adjust length and tension.  There are better and worse lashing techniques - the ones used by most 'yacht-ies' (and most yachting riggers) happen to be are near the worse end. But if they are made over strength it does not matter.  Just realize that the strength of the lasting is NOT = number of legs times cord strength.  It is way lower than that because of uneven tension on the legs.  Testing of actual lashings suggest you should assume only half that strength.  The WS OSR's do require the lashings to be replaced every year - and they cannot be longer than 100mm.

There are two primary failure modes - being cut by rough passages thru the stanchions and being burned by sheets zinging out over them.  The later is more a concern on bigger high performance boats - the crew on Comanche refused to use dyneema for that concern.

The OSR's do state minimum diameters - and they refer to the core alone.  So for instance if you are using a double braid like WR2 they core alone needs to meet these minimums.  And these are minimums - for the top lifeline in particular using a few mm bigger would be quite smart in most cases.

 

So for a product like WR2 which Max R posted a pic of up thread, how is an inspector supposed to measure the core of a line that is fully covered?   Guessing is not measuring

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4 hours ago, sinker said:

 how is an inspector supposed to measure the core of a line that is fully covered? 

I actually remember that question came up when dyneema was being debated, and there was an answer, but I dont remember what it was (Chuck H or Stan would know).  Since dyneema is now not used for monos 0,1,2,3 the inspection question probably does not come up much.

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I have what may be a dumb question: given possible chafe & UV degradation issues with dyneema lifeline, would it be a good idea to use 3/8" (1/4" ID) polypropylene tubing as a cover over the full length? I thought it may give a better "feel" to the line, as well

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1 hour ago, Pilott said:

I have what may be a dumb question: given possible chafe & UV degradation issues with dyneema lifeline, would it be a good idea to use 3/8" (1/4" ID) polypropylene tubing as a cover over the full length? I thought it may give a better "feel" to the line, as well

It won't be as nice to lean on for the crew, and you would have to cover the splices as well somehow to completely solve the UV issue, but sure, why not?  This assumes you are using some kind of solid tubing.  Have you worked out a way to get the line through the tubing? 

Split tubing (aka shroud covers) won't work because the tubing will separate from the line as soon as you lean on it the wrong way, unless you also tape it for the entire length.

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Thanks Irrational14 Duh - I meant to type polyethylene - but I suppose I could use polyurethane, or nylon instead.

Regarding the crew leaning on the lifeline : possibly not the best practice anyway, and should be discouraged:D

I had thought to use solid tubing, and thread the dyneema down it before splicing the ends. Thread it using a pull line? Thread the pull line through the tube using a ferrosteel needle on the thread and a magnet on the outside of the tube? 

Short lengths of larger tube at the ends for splice covers?

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6 hours ago, Rain Man said:

It won't be as nice to lean on for the crew, and you would have to cover the splices as well somehow to completely solve the UV issue, but sure, why not?  This assumes you are using some kind of solid tubing.  Have you worked out a way to get the line through the tubing? 

Split tubing (aka shroud covers) won't work because the tubing will separate from the line as soon as you lean on it the wrong way, unless you also tape it for the entire length.

Use grp or carbon tube 

smallest diameter

cute the tube length to the maximum span between stanchions 

wrap electric tape around the eye splice and dyneema lifeline  to increase diameter to match inside diameter of tube and guard against chafe 

grp tube is better ... carbon splinters when you drop a spi pole on it 

whipp the tube ends to prevent splitting 

paint or varnish for Uv protection 

avoid all that lashing and thimble crap...  like in the picture... and splice directly to the bow pulpit ... tension aft at stern pulpit 

Amidship, crew hike area ,  life line tubes are not a good idea .. don’t do it 

spi sheet burn or inside outside Genoa sheet leed  chafe  can be addressed with an extra soft cover  at the chafe zone 

 

60C7F862-AF89-4B06-B679-BC47EB34AFBF.jpeg

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