The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and other regulatory bodies frown upon using PVC-coated 7x7 wire for lifelines. As you noted, this is because lifelines should be easily inspected for corrosion or other signs of possible failure. The corrosion that can take place under the coating is not just a saltwater issue. Air quality and other factors also can lead to corrosion. We suggest uncoated, 1x19 stainless-steel wire with swaged terminals—3/16-inch wire for upper lifeline and 1/8 inch for the lower. Uncoated 1x19 is easy to inspect, and even though the top wire is overkill from a tensile-strength perspective, it will be durable and almost as comfortable to lean against as the coated wire. It’s also more convenient to lash netting to than a smaller-diameter option.
When the forecast turns bad, and its time to find shelter in a new cove or harbor, questions arise about the holding ground, swinging room, and the influence of tide, current, and surge. But there should be little question about the ground tackle and whether or not its up to the challenge at hand. Its true that no anchor comes with a written guarantee to always set and hold, and there are conditions in which each may fail, but the more time one spends anchored out, the more overkill or ground tackle safety margin is warranted. During our acquisition of sea sense, we inevitably discover the range of conditions that our primary (working) anchor can handle, usually discovering its limitations the hard way.
A fairly common ailment with cored decks is the presence of soft spots where the outer skin has delaminated from the core material. Typically these areas are found around the mast and on the foredeck where heavy-footed spinnaker handlers have trod, but they are candidates to occur anywhere in a relatively large, flat span of unsupported deck.
First, we established baseline holding capacities for the 2-pound anchors by pull testing each anchor after...
Noted West Coast sailor Skip Allan - fresh from "falling" off the deck of Wildflower in our harness test (December 2006) - spent several days offshore again, this time tangling with sailing safety tethers. The results were shocking. Several major retailers continue to sell safety tethers with jackline snap hooks that might disengage themselves, and one of the two child safety tethers we tested broke - twice.
Rope Lifeline TerminalsYou have been a big help with maintaining my Catalina 27. I have been following the articles about lifelines and the reply...
For several years, Practical Sailor has peeked into anchor lockers at the Miami and Annapolis boat shows and recorded the good, the bad, and the just plain poorly designed. This photo essay highlights some of the highs and lows of locker design, and shows examples. If you're looking to buy a sailboat or to make sure your foredeck is properly set up, then checkout this report. A few points that we look at: all points of locker access should be able to be made watertight; cleat leads and opening the locker do not conflict; the bitter end of the chain is tied (rather than shackled) to a hard point; and on-deck anchor locker versus belowdecks anchor well.
Options abound, but Holt Allen has the best price, while Garhauer's and Schaefer's seem the most durable.
I don't know David Dumas, the owner of a lovely Kadey Krogen trawler named Kinship, but I like his style. Fighting against draconian anchoring restrictions on Marco Island, Fla., Dumas recently had his day in court, and the world is a saner place because of it. Dumas, his pro bono lawyer Donald Day, and local boating activists deserve credit for their perseverance. Thanks is also due to the National Marine Manufacturing Association (www.nmma.org), the Seven Seas Cruising Association (www.ssca.org), and members of BoatU.S. (www.boatus.org) whose lobbying efforts last year resulted in a new Florida law that clarifies anchoring rights in the state. Dumas anchored his boat in Marco Islands Smokehouse Bay last January with the intention of toppling a Marco Island ordinance that restricted boats from anchoring within 300 feet of a seawall for more than 12 hours. Similar ordinances, with equally shaky legal footing, are in place in many communities across the nation.