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Thread: Stanchions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Walnut Creek, CA
    Posts
    136

    Stanchions

    Greetings,

    I have come across Stanchions ( 30") @ a good price and was thinking of adding some to Kuan Yin.

    West Marine has some that are 25 " and are listed for a 40ft plus boat.

    So 30" for a Ariel seems somewhat much using WM's gauge.

    Anyone have opions on adding Stanchions... pro/cons.
    helpful - in the way - a pain- lifesaver??

    Seems like it would be harder to launch and dock getting on deck...on the other hand it is not fun going forward with nothing to hold on to...
    To error is human
    To Sail is divine... Book of French

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Cape Cod, Massachusetts
    Posts
    132
    I was going to replace the original stanchions on #66 with the Matella aluminum stanchions. My thought was that because they are lighter, stronger and higher (I think you can get them up to 33" or 36") than the original, it would be a good piece of safety equipment.

    That was before reality hit.

    At about $100 a pop, they are a bit too pricey for my blood, especially since the wife (God bless her) said, "Let's just use jacklines."

    Whether or not we have lifelines, the kids will be secured to a jackline when going forward. Since my wife can do without stanchions, so can I, as it is one less thing I have to buy and install.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    San Rafael, CA
    Posts
    3,549
    Capt. French. sir.
    Are these 30" stanchions a catalog item?

    Can't recall if your boat has a push pit - what problems are there, if any, putting taller lifelines with standard heigth push pit?

    Seems very daring to me not to consider lifelines necessary. Especially with kids aboard. I mean I can see rigging netting so that nothing slips thru. Going forward, something is necessary to steady oneself getting out of the cockpit, no? Personally, I can see a 30 or 36" pushpit extended all the way to the companionway. S'matter with that? Except for the weight.

    Capt. Brent, I thought those Matella folks were going out of business, guess I'll go take a look...

    http.//matella.com
    no longer gets to them. Somebody gobbled them up, probably Suncor.
    Last edited by ebb; 06-03-2003 at 07:13 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Washington, D.C.
    Posts
    82
    I put Matella stanchions on my Commander a few years ago. They are truly works of art, easy to install, aqnd, according to Practical Sailor, the strongest ones made. It seems that S.C. Johnson, the lifeline folks, now sell them (at about twice what Matella charged). While price is an issue, 25" stanchions put the top lifeline at a perfect height for an adult to pivot over them into the blue. 30" are clearly preferable, but might look a bit odd on a 26' boat, though not as odd as the boat would look from the water.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Walnut Creek, CA
    Posts
    136

    Stanchions

    I figure I'll go for it...This is where...

    "we have brand new stanciones that are 30" high with two holes for life lines, $32.00 each, from gary at minneys ( sails)
    bases are included on the stanciones to order phone store at 949 548 4192 "
    To error is human
    To Sail is divine... Book of French

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Santa Cruz, California
    Posts
    454
    I installed a stanchionless lifeline system on my Ariel, hull #330, where no stanchions or lifelines previously existed. Again, no stanchions were used. Photos are available on my Ariel photo page:
    http://www.solopublications.com/sailarip.htm

    The first goal of the project was to design and install a safe and secure lifeline system that could be made of either coated wire or Dacron line. Dacron 3 strand braided 1/4 inch line was used for this installation.

    The second goal was to provide a system that would be safe to use for support, and as an attachment point for a safety harness.

    The third goal was to accomplish goals 1 and 2 without installing stanchions or drilling additional holes through the deck.

    A set of existing pad eyes at the bow just aft of the mooring cleat and a new through-deck eye bolt at the forward edge of the boarding step were used as the terminals for the forward portions of the lifeline system. A superfluous section of the Genoa track was removed to permit the installation of a boarding step on each side. Two of the existing holes for mounting that section of track were utilized for the eye bolts. The two eye bolts are tied together below deck by a teak compression plate and a stainless steel backing plate.

    The forward lifeline system also utilizes the pin rail, which is secured to the lower shrouds, and also a shackle at the turnbuckle on the upper shroud, which functions as the pivot point for the mast tabernacle. The lower forward lifeline section between the aft terminal (forward boarding step eye bolt) and the pivot point shackle also functions as a bridle to stabilize the aft lower shroud during the tabernacle operation.

    The terminals for the aft section of the lifeline system are the eye bolts at the aft edge of the boarding step and two points on the
    stern rail (push pit).

    Turning blocks are used so that lifeline tension can be adjusted from the cockpit.
    Scott

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    McHenry, IL, but sail out of Racine WI
    Posts
    626
    For my purposes, stanchions and jacklines have two different purposes - there is no either/or decision.

    The stanchions (with lifelines) give you something to keep you from going overboard, and stop you if you start or if you slip. They also give tie down points, etc. Jacklines, on the other hand, keep you from being separated from boat when you do go overboard - going overboard is a very serious situation, even with other members on board. It is life threatening if sailing solo. Thus, the primary line of defense are the stanchions and lifelines, not the jacklines.

    On Lake Michigan, I consider both mandatory, although I do not rig jacklines for the day sail. Rather, I clip on to the lifelines. The jacklines I use when cruising.

    My stanchions are Shaeffer 26" in length, and yes, I have tripped over the life line on occasion getting on board when I did not raise my leg high enough. I don't think I would want them any higher, and have even thought the 24" might be better.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Santa Cruz, California
    Posts
    454
    Theis,

    My Ariel does have both jacklines and lifelines, and I use both systems, particularly when single handing, but as I said earlier, I avoided using stanchions in my lifeline system, since none had previously been installed on the boat, and I did not want to drill more holes in the deck. I also used Dacron line rather than wire for the lifelines. This means that my lifelines have more stretch and give than lifelines spanning closely spaced stanchions. On the other hand I have no stanchions to break, pull out or the deck, leak, damage the deck, etc.

    My lifelines are double forward of the boarding step adjacent to the cockpit, and are also double aft of that same boarding step. They are attached to two points on the bow sprit and two points on the pushpit. They are also attached to the pin raild and shrouds and to through-deck bolted padeyes and eye bolts. In combination with the pin rails, which are attached to and through bolted around the lower shrouds, the lifelines provide a high level of protection when working at the mast base.

    The lifelines at that point are above waist level, and the pin rail affords the equivalent of a mast pulpit if one is standing on the side deck working at the halyard winch. The photos on Augustine's webpage, http://www.solopublications.com/sailarip.htm provide several views of the system.

    I have discussed the jackline system with boarding ladders elsewhere, and they are also featured on the same site, and no, I haven't jumped overboard at sea while single handing to find out if it all works.
    Scott

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Cape Cod, Massachusetts
    Posts
    132

    Lightbulb Genius

    Scott,

    This is genius!

    I'm not one to question the experience of Theis, but the whole lifeline/stanchion issue has had me scratching my head. I'd rather do without them because of the cost, trouble, looks, etc., but even with jacklines and good weather, I'm sure I'd feel better if there was something to keep the kids aboard.

    Scott, your solution seems perfect! I was thinking of pin rails anyway as a place to mount the running lights (The current lights need to be replaced with the rest of the electrical system, but their placement and style just doesn't appeal to me, and I don't want to run anything up the mast if I can help it).

    BTW...love the pics. You've given me a few more ideas...

    Brent

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Santa Cruz, California
    Posts
    454
    Brent,

    Thanks for the comments on the lifelines on Augustine.

    The concept came from a photo in Dan Spurr's "Boat Book" credited to Frank Mulville, who used a length of wire on each side run between pad eyes at the stem and stern and seized to the upper shroud at waist level on his Hillyard cutter "Iskra".

    I used U bolts and eye bolts secured to a home-made pin rail instead of seizing the line to the upper shroud, added a lower line secured to the upper shroud at the pivot point for the tabernacle rig that I use to raise and lower my mast. Also, I began the forward section of both the upper and lower lifelines just forward of my boarding step beside the cockpit, and the aft section just aft of that boarding step to prevent having to rig a gate. I also used Dacron line rather than wire.

    The downsides of this system are that Dacron line has more stretch than does wire, there is an unprotected section at the boarding step, and the lack of stanchions means a longer run between supporting hardware, and therefore a more springy and flexible system than one would expect from conventional lifelines.

    But if one compares it to what I had, which was a boat totally without lifelines or stanchions, but with a set of installed trough-bolted pad eyes for jack lines, it is quite an improvement. You have something to hold onto, something onto which to grab if you find yourself falling or sliding towards thee rail, and the lines might just keep you onboard. I still recommend the use of this system with jack lines, particularly when sailing alone or at night. This would also be my recommendation in any case even with conventional lifelines, which on small vessels tend to come to the approximate height of the knee, and offer little support. My jack lines attach to the pad eyes at the bow that are used by the lifelines. These pad eyes were originally installed by a previous owner for jack line purposes.

    One could use, and I sometimes do use my lifelines as attachment points for a harness tether. The line strength and securement system is strong enough, and in my opinion better than stock lifeline-stanchion systems. There are three drawbacks, two of which are also the case with stock lifelines

    1. The lifelines are more or less above the rail and therefore far outboard of my jack line system. There is therefore more chance that of your tether is the factor that arrests your fall, you will already be overboard when the tether stretches tight. This is also true of stock lifelines,

    2. You must attach and detach when going forward to the bow, since you tether will not slide past the pin rail. This is the case at every stanchion on a stock lifeline system.

    3. This Dacron line system is pretty springy, and the stretch of the line would just add to the distance that you would fall overboard before your tether is pulled tight.

    So in conclusion, if you do install such a system, by all means buy a nice set of jack lines and install them also. They offer you a much better chance of staying onboard than clipping you harness to any lifeline, and you will not need to unclip to go forward to the bow.

    The best part of my system is that all lines are secured at multiple points to through bolted hardware with backing plates, and that the height of the line is greatest at the location of the mast where the pine rail and the upper lifeline is at the level of my lower back, so that I feels quite comfortable leaning against the pin rail while working at the base of the mast raising halyards etc.

    Also the lines do not have to be slackened to permit lowering or raising of the mast. The section of the lower lifeline running forward from the boarding step to the upper shroud also doubles as a bridle for the tabernacle rig.

    As to the running lights, I am always looking for ways to reduce use of the house battery. Also, running wires to the pin rails from the house DC system would not be my preferred option. I originally envisioned kerosene red and green lamps on the pin rails to be used on longer trips, but the price and size of those lamps has dissuaded me from further pursuing that course.

    I am currently thinking about adapting some of those clamp-on red and green flashlight type lights with solar-rechargeable batteries. Again they would openly be necessary on longer trips. I am running with an OB Motor sans alternator. It would be a major coup to be able to directly adapt dome solar lights for this function, but I am not sure that solar lights would be visible at the requisite distance. You can buy solar lamps these days for Garden purposes that stay on all night, have rechargeable AA Batteries included in a very small unit, and cost only about $20.00 each. Someone could I suppose adapt such devices to navigation lights. At least solar lamps could be used as handy all-weather anchor lamps, if not for running lights.

    As to the pin rails, I made them from local lumber yard teak. They were made in two main parts and bolted around the two lower shrouds. Two additional short pieces were then screwed to the ends of the two main pieces. Slots were cut to accommodate the shroud wire, but a tad bit smaller so that the device more or less clamps to the shrouds. The pin rails have a raised section at the aft end to better serve as a shield for the possible future addition of navigation lights.
    Scott

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    McHenry, IL, but sail out of Racine WI
    Posts
    626
    Scott:

    Those are some great ideas on your website.

    One other thing I do, which I don't know if I mentioned before, is I have my handheld VHF radio clipped on to the "around the chest" strap of my inflatable PFD. I had clip loops sewn onto the heavy strap for that purpose. The VHF wrist strap is also connected to the PFD "D" ring using a caribiner.

    That way, if I have the misfortune to go into the briny deep, I can radio for assistance if I can't reboard the Ariel. When the VHF is unclipped from the loop, the wrist strap connected to the D ring gives me some assurance that the radio will not be lost if jerked out of my grip by a passing wave

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Santa Cruz, California
    Posts
    454
    Theis,

    That's a great idea. Once one is in the drink, a VHF in a pocket might be an easy thing to fumble. I attempt to carry my hand held gps on my belt, beneath my sailing jacket, and my submersible VHF in a zipperd pocket just inside the main zipper on the jacket when I am single handing. I figure that if I am separated from the boat or can't get back on board for some reason, I can call for assistance, and radio my coordinates from the GPS.

    However, it would be quite easy to drop either the GPS or the VHF if they were not secured in some way, particularly if one were being dragged behind a runaway boat. Attaching the wrist strap to your PFD or harness would decrease the possibility of the unit slipping away into the sea. Thanks for the suggestion. I could do that with the GPS also I suppose.
    Scott

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    McHenry, IL, but sail out of Racine WI
    Posts
    626
    Losing the GPS or VHF becomes an even greater problem in colder water. As you become increasingly cold (and particularly with oncoming hypothermia), the grip loosens and people do things they would not otherwise do, such as letting a device slip from the grip.

    I did not put my VHF in a pouch becasue the VHF is waterproof, and a pouch is just one more thing to screw around with as you were being dragged somewhere or fighting the elements.

    I also try to be sure my VHF NiCad batteries are as fully charged as possible, and regularly drain and recharge them ("exercise"). I have not yet decided whether I would be better using alkaline batteries rather than NiCad. Alkaline would be a better bet probably, since they don't die catastrophically - but then I wouldn't know just how fresh they were, unless I changed them out weekly (and even then you don't know).
    Last edited by Theis; 06-18-2003 at 05:43 AM.

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