Location of lifeline stanchions?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Jeff in Boston, Mar 16, 2021.

  1. Jeff in Boston
    Joined: Sep 2020
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    Jeff in Boston Senior Member

    I'm doing a conversion of a Pearson 26 sailboat into an electric powerboat.

    I noticed that the lifeline stanchions are inset inboard. I've started a gallery album to show what I mean, but I guess my photos need to be approved?

    Anyways, is there a reason they are inboard an inch or so, rather than flush with the toe rail, or even on the toe rail? I figure it would be easier to walk if the deck was more clear.
  2. jehardiman
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    jehardiman Senior Member

    Typically, things like that are a structural issue related to the hull-deck join and the size of the necessary backing plate. IIRC that hull uses a <see edit> join with the deck having considerable relief above the join. For strength, the stanchion backing pads would need to be inboard the radius of the deck side to deck flat as well as keeping the stanchions from hanging up on the quay wall.

    Edit: I looked it up and it actually uses an outward flange on both the hull and deck vice a shoebox join. However, there is noticeable draft in the deck plug even though the deck side aligns with the hull side.
  3. Jeff in Boston
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    Jeff in Boston Senior Member

    Here is a picture:

    When I take the inner panels out I should be able to see the backing plates. I figure I can guage the strength issues myself.

    You point about getting hung up on a dock is a good concern but this boat has a 1.5" deep rub rail. Would that be enough?

    Is there an ergonomic issue I'm not thinking of?
  4. bajansailor
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Just a rather 'left field' suggestion - in view of how this will now be an electric power boat, rather than a sailing boat, would it be feasible to fit a solid tubular S/S guard rail on the inboard side of the side decks (eg above the existing timber rails on the cabin top) and simply get rid of the stanchions and lifelines on the outboard side?
    Many pilot launches and commercial boats have an arrangement like this - I think that I would do this if I was in your shoes.
    And those existing lifelines look like they are more of a hazard to trip over (being relatively low) than an asset.
    BlueBell likes this.
  5. philSweet
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    philSweet Senior Member

    No ergonomic reason, just practicality. Apparently, they didn't want to totally commit to stanchion placement ahead of time and notch the toe rail to receive the stanchion bases. Stanchions often have tank vent tubes run up in them, and these can be somewhat variable with different interior plans. It's handy to be able to plonk a stanchion over wherever the vent tube ended up poking out. Jib sheeting angles are sometimes an issue, as is routing the shrouds. But here, I think it is purely manufacturing convenience. After that flange joint has be made up, they probably put a thick layer of glass on the inside of the hull reinforcing the joint. This often isn't pretty work, and you don't want land stuff there if you can avoid it.
  6. Jeff in Boston
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    Jeff in Boston Senior Member

    I like that idea of removing them, but with a very active 5 year old and a nervous admiral, I don't think that will fly.

    I expect I will end up with netting.

    I am going to have to move some of the stanchions in any case to improve ease of boarding and to accommodate the solar canopy.

    I'll see what the structural options are when I get into the boat more.
  7. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    How can you thru bolt if you move them outboard?

  8. kapnD
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    kapnD Senior Member

    Though they are accepted norm on sailboats nowadays, I truly hate the “lifeline” thingies that are strung down the sides of a typical sailboat. They’re too small to grip and too weak to really bear the force of a body being forcefully slammed against them without serious injury to the body and/or the rail!
    Snapping a safety line to them for a traverse is a joke, especially if you are carrying something or are in a hurry.
    Why not rethink the whole idea?
    How about extending the boat sides up to a functional height, put a real grippable rail atop or inside, then do artful and stylish cutouts for view and ventilation.
    You’ll probably want to raise the controls too, for improved visibility underway.
    The heeling inherent to sail power puts the pilot up high enough to have decent visibility, ( assuming that he can see through the sails) but that will go away with propeller drive.
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