Please select your home edition
Edition
YY.com app (top)

Would you trust Dyneema with your lifelines?

by Kerri Robson 4 Feb 09:00 UTC
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

Reducing Weight Aloft with Composite Backstays
Simple replacement offerring superior performance over wire Reducing weight aloft is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing your boat speed and performance: every kilogram you take out of the rig is roughly equivalent to 4kg added to the bottom of your keel. Posted on 22 Apr
PROtect Tapes take on regatta plastic pollution
Biodegradable and compostable hull stickers available Experts at creating products designed to tackle chafing, abrasion, scratches, damages, ageing, and wear, PROtect Tapes have now honed their unique technical film know-how to create biodegradable and compostable bow and hull stickers Posted on 17 Apr
Fresh In - Tiller Extensions
From three big players: Spinlock, Harken and Ronstan We are excited to now introduce six ranges of tiller extensions on upffront.com, from three big players: Spinlock, Harken and Ronstan. Posted on 15 Apr
Dyneema Braided Cover
The latest addition to your tool kit Dyneema® is the strongest fibre in the world. Ten times stronger than steel, and seven to ten times lighter than a steel wire of equivalent size, Dyneema® is one of the most durable and sought-after materials on the sailing market. Posted on 8 Apr
Robline Rope: Dinghy Ranges
Extensive range specifically developed for dinghies and small sport boats Robline has an extensive range of lines specifically developed for dinghies and small sport boats. In this post, we discuss the different types of dinghy lines and their recommended applications. Posted on 3 Apr
Bjarne Lorenzen talks Top-Down Furling
Andy Rice interviews Bjarne Lorenzen of sailmaker Doyle O'leu In part three of this series, Bjarne Lorenzen of sailmaker Doyle O'leu explains the benefits of top-down furling, one of the big developments of the past decade which has trickled down to the cruising scene from the Volvo Ocean Race. Posted on 29 Mar
Lash Thimbles
What are they, and how do I use them? Lash thimble, ferrule, rope thimble, bobbin or low friction ring... whatever you call them, there's no denying they are the perfect (low cost!) solution for a multitude of applications. Posted on 25 Mar
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
YY.com app (top)