On chafe protection
I think it was Bob from the blog Windborne in Puget Sound who said “the first solution is never the best solution.” I have definitely found this to be true in many of the projects that I have taken on.
There was some discussion on here about the risk of chafe on our synthetic lifelines as they pass through the stanchions. If I was to do the job of installing them all over again, I think I would attempt to use the cover off some slightly-larger-diameter double-braid line to add protection to those vulnerable areas. I believe this is a better solution than using pieces of hose that was suggested, my thought being that the rigid pieces of hose would present their own potential to chafe the line.
Now, although I have yet to try this, my idea is to first remove the core on a piece of double-braid and then thread the Amsteel lifeline back though small sections of the now-hollow cover. Of course, this would need to be done in sequence as the lifelines are first installed, which is why I can not use this method now (there are eye splices in each end of our lifelines which prevent them from being removed).
My alternative solution for our current installation, using materials that we already had on board, was to wrap small pieces of nylon webbing around the Amsteel and then slide it into the holes. This took a little bit of trial and error to find the perfect length of webbing which, after wrapping around the lifeline, would fit inside the stanchion’s hole, but I ultimately worked it out (on our boat, for 1/4″ Amsteel, they need to be 1 3/4″ long). After cutting each piece of webbing to the correct size, I melted each end so that the material would not unravel. By taking my time to wrap each piece of webbing around the line tightly, I was able to get them in place without much difficulty.
Once I had each chafe point protected, I began to think how I could best secure the pieces of webbing so that they remain in place. I’m not entirely sure that they will move without anything further being done to them but just in case, I put a couple of lock stitches through the webbing and line to hold it in place and to keep it wrapped tightly. Remembering that the first solution is seldom the best one though, I only did this to two of the webbing pieces. I’m waiting to see if a better solution presents itself in the next couple of days.
Trimming the webbing to size. I then melted the ends to prevent fraying.
Wrap each piece tightly around the lifeline.
Sliding it into place.
The finished product, with a crude lock stitch to hold the webbing in place…
Note: I noticed today (February 10, 2012) that when pressure is applied to the lifeline, it slides nicely inside the pieces of webbing while they remain stationary. Obviously if I lock stitch them all in place that will not occur.