Dyneema Lifelines

Quickstep192

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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? 
 

 

yoyo

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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.

 

Rain Man

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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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SloopJonB

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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.

 

SloopJonB

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

 

Rain Man

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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.

 

IStream

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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).

 

Rain Man

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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).
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.

 

Rain Man

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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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IStream

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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.

 

Rain Man

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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.

 

Rain Man

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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".  

 

SloopJonB

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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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Zonker

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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!




 

Rain Man

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Wet coast.
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.

 

Rain Man

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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.
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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