3/5/2014 – Renewing the lifeline lashings

As reported earlier, when we got back to Siempre Sabado from our trip to the U.S., something just didn’t look right.  Then I saw it:  the upper lifeline was no longer attached to the stanchion.  There were a few strands of nylon left on the stanchion ring but that was it.  Then, a couple days later we were visiting with some friends on the dock.  Lulu was sitting on the cabintop and put her feet up on the lower lifeline.  Guess what?  Yep, that was enough to break through what remained of the lashing on the lower lifeline.  I suspect that the degradation that led to the final failure probably happened in the last 6 months or so.  Last time we were out was when we were coming back to La Paz last May (Jeez! Has it been that long?).  During that trip we didn’t notice any issues with the lifelines in spite of abusing them with the dinghy every time we launched or retrieved it.  Nevertheless, I’ve added replace lifeline lashings to my annual to-do list.  

It’s been almost exactly two years since I replaced our lifelines in Mazatlán.  At that time, I didn’t really document the lashing process itself so I thought I’d take care of that today.

This time, instead of white 1/8″ nylon braid, I used black 3/32″ nylon braid.  The main reason for the change was that I though black might be a little less susceptible to damaging UV rays, but mostly because we have a huge spool of it we bought at a commercial fishing outfit in Puerto Peñasco.  Not sure what the fishermen use it for but they must use a lot since the huge spool we bought was the smallest one they sold.

The first step is to tie the line to the ring on the stanchion.  I used a fisherman’s bend.

IMG 2235

Then just start wrapping line between the ring and the lifeline, pulling it as tight as you possibly can each time.

IMG 2236

I suggest using pliers to pull the line tight.  I figured this out a little too late.

IMG 2244

Once you have as many wraps as you think is appropriate (I used 6), pull it tight and tie it off with a half-hitch pulled mondo-tight with the pliers.

IMG 2239

Now, just keep tying half-hitches, always in the same direction, until you reach the other end.  

IMG 2240

When you reach the end, you can finish it a couple of ways.  Last time I just tied a last half-hitch and then tied an overhand knot up close in the end.  This time I decided to tie the end off with a clove hitch on the stanchion ring followed by the pulled-very-tight overhand knot.  I didn’t get this overhand knot as close to the ring as I would have liked but I suspect it’ll be just fine.  As soon as the wind dies down, I’ll apply some heat and fuse the overhand knot to itself so it’ll never ever come loose.

IMG 2243

Personally, I don’t think these look quite as nice as the white ones did but they look a LOT better than the parted ones laying on deck.

IMG 2234

IMG 2246

If you have a gate in your lifelines, be sure it’s closed before you start lashing.  You can put incredible force on the stanchions when you pull the lashings tight and you don’t want to bend a stanchion.  I didn’t put the slight bend in this stanchion, it was that way when we bought the boat.  Although it’s open now, I did have the gates closed while lashing.

So there you have it.  Change your lashings at least yearly.  It’s too easy and cheap to do to take a chance on the line lasting any longer than that.

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About sryoder

Steve & Lulu... retired. Had enough of the cold wet dreary fall/winter/spring in the Pacific Northwest. Bought a boat, fixed it up, sold our home and sailed to Mexico in November, 2010. Been here ever since except for occasional forays to the States (summer only, thank you) to visit the kids, parents and siblings. If you're looking for a sailing blog, this is the wrong place. This is a traveling, hunkering in, eating blog. Sailing is just how we get from place to place when we can't walk.
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10 Responses to 3/5/2014 – Renewing the lifeline lashings

  1. Barbara Reid says:

    are you the Steve Yoder who sold your Lake Louise house in Tacoma and boat a boat in Hawaii? if so email me Barbara Reid. I bought your house adter I sailed from Hawaii to Tacoma 1982

  2. Ken says:

    Steve, I noticed in your picture you wear your wedding ring aboard. While working ER in Houston I saw three ring finger deglove injuries. Google it for a picture. On sailboats it does happen all too often. Ken

    • sryoder says:

      I know and thanks, but I think I’ll skip the gruesome photos. I also wear it when working around electrical circuits, even the 440 VAC ones I used to work on back when I had to work for a living. I know I should take it off before it’s removed for me in some nasty way. Quick funny story, though: Once when I was working, I decided that it was just too dangerous to wear my ring. So, I decided to remove it. However, the only way that was going to happen was if I cut it off. This was before I had access to a ring cutter as an EMT, or even knew such a tool existed for that matter. So, I figured a Dremel would be just the ticket. Now, I’m not an idiot so I knew I should put a shield between the ring and my finger for when the cutter broke through. Let’s see, something resistant to cutting at least for a little while but still thin enough to fit between ring and finger. Hmmm. What to use? I know! I’ll just cut a shield out of the side of a tin can. Worked great. Fit nicely between the ring and finger and gave me a feeling of safety as if I had a little piece of armor on. So, I start cutting. About halfway through, I suddenly realized my mistake. Cutting creates heat and a tin can is a great heat conductor. YEEEOWWWWWWWWWW!!!!! I was running for the faucet and fortunately cooled things down before I had a bad burn. Whew! Lesson learned and boy, did I feel stupid!

      I’ll take your well-meant advice under advisement. Of course my wedding ring is the only thing that keeps me from being overrun by hordes of babes.

  3. I don’t know, anymore, if I fall over laughing with you posts more than with you comment replies.
    Always luvin the Yoder blog. And since the refer has held up for 3 days (great info on the fixin’ bytheway), I’ll be over for a cold one at 7. Am, pm, whatever…

  4. SA-ET says:

    I’m not sure I understand. Are your lifelines connected to your stanchions with braided twine?

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