Please select your home edition
Edition
upffront 2018 Generic 728x90

Would you trust Dyneema with your lifelines?

by Kerri Robson 4 Feb 01:00 PST
Ultrawire Lifeline on 'Gloria' © upffront.com

Lifelines are typically made of wire, however, as the sailing industry modernises, more and more people have been converted to the use of synthetic composite lifelines, such as Dyneema®.

Although often overlooked and forgotten, lifelines are one of the most critical safety components on our boats. Whilst they are something to lean against whilst cruising, or hiked from when racing, their most important role is to act as the last and final attempt to keep your crew member safely onboard your boat.

Lifelines which are sometimes referred to as guardrails line the perimeter of the boat. They are designed to absorb and dissipate energy into the deck following the impact of a high dynamic load e.g. the weight of a crew member.

As a result, it is vital that lifelines are set up correctly: they must be properly tensioned (as taught as possible without bending your stanchion, to ensure energy is immediately transmitted to the strongest point in the system the pulpit/pushpit), fully adjustable and checked annually, with full replacement every 8 10 years.

What are the advantages of Dyneema® lifelines?

Dyneema® is an extremely lightweight and tough high-tech material that stands the test of time. Formed from HMPE (high modulus polyethene), Dyneema® offers incredible strength for its weight and size. For example, at upffront.com, we manufacture our lifelines from Gottifredi Maffioli's Ultrawire, and the resulting Dyneema® lifelines are up to 80% lighter and 4 times stronger than traditional wire lifelines.

On top of this, Dyneema® also boasts other benefits

Dyneema® is softer:

  • Easier to lean against when cruising, Dyneema® is far more comfortable to sit against than wire lifelines.
  • Kinder on the hands.
  • Not as abrasive on the sails a fibre on fibre interaction is far less harsh on your sail material than a wire lifeline, prolonging the life of your sails.

Dyneema® is safer:

  • Easier to inspect and monitor - when Dyneema® wears it is obvious, as it is possible to see chafe and fuzzing on the cable. Stainless steel lifelines are often coated in a plastic coating which makes it impossible to easily examine the condition of the wire and terminations underneath.
  • Safety is never compromised - for example, we use a double braid with a Dyneema braided cover on an SK99 core. Abrasion can easily be spotted in the cover without the integrity of the core being compromised and action can be taken in good time.
  • No corrosion issues - Dyneema® does not corrode or rust.
  • Dyneema® is also very abrasion resistant, resistant to UV rays and has a life equal to that of its wire counterpart.

As a boat owner, our Dyneema® lifelines can be really appreciated; whilst the grey colour makes them quietly under-stated, the moment they are touched they will pique the interest of passers-by in the marina!

Overall, transitioning to Dyneema® lifelines provides significant benefits and is a cost-effective and inexpensive upgrade. So, if time is coming up to replace your lifelines, why not give Dyneema® a try? Get in touch with us via our Running Rigging Enquiry Form.

Related Articles

How do I rig the bobstay of my Trogear bowsprit?
Reaping the benefits of a retrofitted removable bowsprit The bobstay is connected to the tip of the bowsprit and routed to a u-bolt, which is attached on the bow. Assuming the sails are deployed and the bowsprit is horizontal, the bobstay should achieve an angle of 45 degrees or more. Posted on 20 Mar
Ronstan Core Block Range
Significant time and effort invested in developing this range Ronstan invested significant time and effort in developing this functional and stylish range, for keelboat sailors. Posted on 15 Mar
Introducing the LOOP Products E-Furler
Gennaker furling at the touch of a button Launched at Dusseldorf Boatshow 2017, the LOOP® Products E-Furler 1500 brings push-button technology, safety and comfort to sportsboat gennaker furling. Posted on 11 Mar
Millionaires Tape - What is it?
No wonder it's the riggers choice PROtect Tapes produce a broad range of protective tapes for racing, cruising and super yachts, and have been providing effective solutions for chafing, abrasion and wear since 2008. Posted on 6 Mar
Ubi Maior Italia - The Unique Jiber Furling System
Breaking boundaries with a new patented product Florence-based Ubi Maior Italia are breaking boundaries with their patented Jiber Furling System – a structural furling forestay system with the benefits of a traditional furling system. Posted on 27 Feb
Torsional Furling Cable - What's an S-Splice?
Another cunning use for the 'Chinese finger trap' principle When it comes to furling cables, custom top-down cables (for loose luff, asymmetrical gennakers) and bottom-up cables (for code zeros and staysails) can sometimes be expensive. Torsional rope can often be a viable alternative. Posted on 22 Feb
Cousin Trestec Constrictor - A Textile Rope Clutch
Based on the 'Chinese finger trap' so is kinder to your ropes At some point in our lives, we have all experienced the vice-like grip of the 'Chinese finger trap'; when pulled, the cylindrical, woven braid is designed to contract and constrain the finger. Posted on 18 Feb
Choosing the Right Winch
An educated choice will save you from unnecessary spend Choosing a winch can be daunting. The main decision criteria may be size or power ratio, but style, speeds, material and grip are also of a consideration. That's without going into powered options (electric/hydraulic). Posted on 13 Feb
Basic Running Rigging Terminology
Dekanewtons explained If you are looking at upgrading your running rigging, before you delve into the manufacturers catalogues there are a few key terms you need to understand: Single Braid, Double Braid, Rope Strength measured in daN (Dekanewtons). Posted on 8 Feb
YY.com app (top)