Features April 2007 Issue

Sailboat Jackline Test

Rope, webbing, and wire are commonly used for jacklines on a sailboat, but which is the most reliable? Once a crew goes over the lifelines and into the water, recovery becomes vastly more difficult. In addition to Practical Sailor’s close analysis of existing jackline materials and jackline installations, we dragged a 190-pound crew member astern from 25-foot jacklines made of 1-inch, 3,600-pound tubular nylon webbing, and 1-inch, 6,000-pound West Marine polyester webbing.

Whatever jackline system is used, it should be supplemented with fixed clip-in points in the cockpit, at the helm, and around the mast—wherever crew members work for extended periods. International Sailing Federation recommendations require that two-thirds of the crew be able to be simultaneously clipped on without depending on jacklines. Our top choice is a low-stretch Dyneema or Spectra jackline custom made by a professional with loops bartacked in place. For those on a budget, low-stretch polyester jacklines like those made by one of our recommended suppliers will suffice. In either case, routine inspection for wear and UV damage is imperative.

To continue reading this article you must be a paid subscriber.

Subscribe to Practical Sailor

Get the next 7 issues of PRACTICAL SAILOR for just $19.97. And access all of our online content - more than 1,500 evaluations, reviews and articles on sailing gear, equipment and boats - free of charge. That's a savings of more than $14 off the regular rate. Or double your savings and subscribe for 14 issues for just $39.94.

Get Practical Sailor Digital

Get 12 months of PRACTICAL SAILOR DIGITAL for just $34. You get unlimited access to everything on the site including each monthly issue as a PDF.

Subscriber Log In

Forgot your password? Click Here.

Already subscribe but haven't registered for all the benefits of the website? Click here.