Got rusty lifelines? No worries, you can redo them… It’s the circle of lifelines!
Replacing our lifelines on board was one of our highest priority items that we HAD to do before leaving Portland, taking on the big blue Pacific and sailing south. It turns out, this was one of our simplest boats projects to date! Follow allow to see the process, from start to finish.
Varuna came with old, vinyl-coated, corroded lifelines that looked like they were ready to fall off at any moment. We decided to replace them with bare stainless steel wire. We debated back and forth between different grades of steel and different strand types of wire. In the end, we settled on 304 stainless, 7/19 strand 3/16in wire. This is was cheaper than the 316 grade and has a much higher breaking strength, and although it is more prone to corrosion that the 316, we don’t think this will be as much of an issue since it is not coated, allowing us to inspect it regularly and keep it clean.
The first step was to cut off the old lifelines with bolt cutters and measured the total length. Next, we added up how much total wire we would need. Once we got our new wire and fittings, it was time to swage! We used a hand swaying tool that we rented from the chandlery down the street, and were surprised at how easy it was. You slide the wire into the fitting and measure ⅛ inch from the open end, where the wire first enters the fitting. This is your first crimp. Next, measure ⅛ inch from that crimps and put in another, repeat one more time and you have 3 crimps and you’re done! The tricky part is making sure your crimps are perfectly lined up horizontally along the fitting, because if you put them in at different angles, you risk weakening the other crimps.
Once you get a process down, it’s pretty easy and fun! We still need to tension them a bit more and put some lock-tight in the fittings, so they can’t some unscrewed easily, but we’re very happy to have checked this big project off the list!
And don’t worry, it’s not all serious work around Varuna right now… Stayed tuned all the way til the end to check out some of the awesome gear we’re outfitting Varuna with right now!