[4]

Lifeline fittings for my sailboat

[3]
[10] Like what you see?
Click here to donate to this forum and upgrade your account!

mickri

Brass
Registered
Joined
Oct 31, 2016
Messages
613
I am replacing the lifelines on my sailboat. Current lifelines are plastic covered wire and are very expensive to replace. You have to have a hydraulic sewaging tool (very expensive) to sewage the fittings onto the wire lifelines. So I am converting over to dynema lifelines and need to convert four of the wire fittings to be usable with dynema. Dynema is a synthetic rope that is stronger than steel yet can be spliced like any other rope. No special tools required. Here is one of the fittings.

IMG_3629.JPG

IMG_3630.JPG

The hole is threaded for 14-28 LH thread that the wire lifelines screwed into. This is how it fits on the boat.

lifeline.jpg

In order to convert to dynema I have to have an eye on both sides of the stanchion. I can think of several ways to do this. I am looking for feedback on the pros and cons of my ideas.
First idea is to get an eye bolt and rethread the shank of the bolt to 1/4-28 LH thread. Because of the way eye bolts are made I would have to buy 5/16 eye bolts and turn the shank down to .25 then thread it for 1/4-28 LH.
Second idea is to buy .25 stainless steel rod, thread one end for 1/4-28 LH and the other end for 1/4-20 RH and put an eye nut on this end.
The third idea that I can think of is to bore out the fitting that I have and thread it to 5/16-18 RH for a 5/16 eye bolt. This would require tapping a blind hole. This seems to be the easiest solution. I worry about breaking off either the drill or the tap in the blind hole.
All of the parts will be 316 SS.

Suggestions please.
 

P. Waller

Brass
Former Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2018
Messages
921
An eye splice in each end than a cascading loop of smaller line to adjust the tension where it terminates on the hard fittings, you may also include snap shackles at gates
This is common practice with fiber rope lifelines.
As explained by the USSailing guidelines seen here. https://www.ussailing.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Dyneema-Spectra-Lifeline-Revision-Jan-2014.pdf

Above all protect these materials from sunlight.

In the distant past I worked in the racing sailboat industry, I still race weekly during the season, have made machined parts for manufacturers recently but have not worked directly in that business for 35 years.
 
Last edited:

mickri

Brass
Registered
Joined
Oct 31, 2016
Messages
613
My main hobby since college has been crewing on ocean racing sailboats off Southern California and Mexico. Have tens of thousands of miles out on the ocean in all kinds of weather. Then I went cruising for seven years and never got past Mexico. Life was too good and the living too easy in Mexico. My sailboat is tired and I am just starting to bring it back. Lots to do. Replacing the lifelines is the first of many projects.
 

CluelessNewB

Active Resistor
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
1,208
Check the major and minor diameters for the threads you are considering. There may not be enough fat there to do what you want safely.

If you have only 4 fittings might it not be easier and possibly less expensive (considering buying a new HSS tap or die ) to just buy threaded eyes to match the eye bolts you are purchasing anyway? Sure it's less fun but...

BTW when I replaced mine about 10 years ago I went with uncoated 1x19 wire and paid the rigging shop to do the swaging, IIRC the swaging costs accounted for about 1/3 of the total. I'm still very happy with them, they still look like new.

For my standing rigging I used Sta-Lok fittings that I did myself.
 

mickri

Brass
Registered
Joined
Oct 31, 2016
Messages
613
These pieces are at the lifeline gates. The one I showed is just the eye but the other side of the gate is a joined gate eye with a short piece of wire that connects to the pelican hook. Those parts are over $200 for both sides. I am looking at the Sailrite catalog for prices. I don't want to replace all of those parts. Prices have gone up on lifelines. I can remember back in the day when West Marine had the sewaging tools in the store and you could make your lifelines. Not any more. I checked into wire lifelines and the cost with all the new fittings and pieces was in the $750 range give or take for my boat. The dynema lifelines will be a fraction of that cost.

Still looking for feedback on how to connect the eye bolts to the eyes that I have.
 

westsailpat

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Feb 14, 2016
Messages
619
My buddy striped off the plastic jacket on his life lines . Looks pretty good , there was a little rust on the wire but that was easy to get off . What kind of boat do you have ?
 

mickri

Brass
Registered
Joined
Oct 31, 2016
Messages
613
I have a Gulfstar 37 that I have extended the transom 30".

IMG_3428.JPG

I stripped off about a foot of the plastic covering and the wire strands were starting to break. Lots of meat hooks just waiting to tear your hands apart.
 

Halfnuts

Active User
Registered
Joined
Oct 10, 2013
Messages
46
And there's the oddly named Morro Rock in the background. Never got any traction explaining to people that to name a rock "Morro" is nonsensical. Of course it's a rock! (Morro is the Spanish word for rock)
 
Last edited:

matthewsx

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Jan 2, 2019
Messages
349
Very nice boat!!!!

I'm assuming you have thoroughly inspected the fittings you have for crevice corrosion. It might be worthwhile to take some of the money you're saving on cable and replace the fittings with new. I've had friends take a swim when lifeline fittings failed. Not too big a deal on a warm summer day, but in rough conditions you'll want to know everything is right with these critical parts. JMHO.

John Matthews
ABYC Electrical & Marine Systems

masse.jpg
 

SlowDave

Newbie
Registered
Joined
Jan 22, 2019
Messages
6
In my misguided youth I spent a lot of years sailing and what I did when relplacing lifelines was to use coated stainless wire rope and nicopress eyes with thimbles where needed. You don't need the large handled nicopress tool to crimp the sleaves. There is also a press that looks like a tubing flaring tool that is relatively cheap. I actually stumbled into my old one from the 70s while cleaning the shop the other day. Using the cheap tool takes a bit longer but it isn't like you are replacing the lifelines everyday. I just googled nicompress and saw an ad for the cheap tool at $27. I hope this helps. Maybe I am just old fashion but I wouldn't trust plastic materials exposed to sunlight in the long term.
 

mickri

Brass
Registered
Joined
Oct 31, 2016
Messages
613
I never trust the life lines on any boat. I mostly single hand my boat and rarely have more than one guest on board. I have some rather strict rules on my boat regarding staying on the boat. First nobody leaves the cabin without wearing a safety harness and hooking on. Nobody leaves the cockpit without a lifevest and again being hooked onto the jack lines. Third if going forward of the mast you have to hook a halyard to your safety harness. I have a dedicated halyard just for this. If you should somehow go over the side the halyard will keep you mostly out of the water where you can climb back onto the boat. There are more than couple of reports where people went over the side with just a safety harness and tether and drowned because they could not get back onto the boat. I always wear a lifevest when on deck even in the harbor/anchorage. Same goes for my dinghy. I always wear a lifevest.

The only fittings that I am reusing are the fittings at the gates. As I stated above the cost of these fitting is over $200. Not in my budget.
 

matthewsx

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Jan 2, 2019
Messages
349
Well....

You identified the most likely machining options in your first post, let us know which one you choose and how it works out.

As for the budget, I can't help you there.

Cheers,

John
 
[5] [7]
Top