Looser Lifelines

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Postby Guest » Sun Sep 22, 2002 12:04 am

Our recent J-Jamboree was held over two days of breeze in the mid-teens with strong gusts. We got good starts in almost every race but were quickly pushed up by another boat that just managed to sail flatter and higher, especially in the puffs. As the regatta progressed I started to think I was in the movie “Groundhog Dayâ€

Postby Guest » Sun Sep 22, 2002 9:26 pm

It has been done before and it is illegal. If I saw it, I would warn them that if it weren't fixed, they would be seeing me in the protest room.

Postby Guest » Sun Sep 22, 2002 10:19 pm

From the way you describe the hiking, the boat in question would have been subject to protest and disqualification under the RRS:

49.2 When lifelines are required by the class rules or the sailing instructions they shall be taut, and competitors shall not position any part of their torsos outside them, except briefly to perform a necessary task.

Similar hiking was pointed out to the International Jury at the Worlds in a photo and they warned the competitors that if observed by the jury, the boat would be penalized.

Postby Guest » Tue Sep 24, 2002 6:43 am

This set up of bungee cord is nothing new. This is how the Melges 24 are all set up. I never thought this was an option within the J-80 rules. But, it is alot more comfortable on the back than hiking on the J-80.

Postby Guest » Tue Sep 24, 2002 1:31 pm

Lifelines have to pass a tension test having to do with hanging a weight off of them and making sure that they do not deflect more than "X"...I don't have the ORC regs with me at the moment to get the exact wording, but I will find it. I was informed that the set-up on the boat in question was adhering to that rule. The J80 rules themselves do not address lifeline tension specifically, which would led me to think that the ORC regs would govern in this case.

Postby Guest » Tue Sep 24, 2002 7:09 pm

Kenny, I guess I'm inexperienced with International Classes. Can you help me out and explain how ORC rules would pertain to a J80 one design race like our J-Jamboree, or a Nood Regatta?

Postby Guest » Tue Sep 24, 2002 8:11 pm

The J/80 class rules are closed. Nowhere in the rules does it mention that one can use bungee tightened lifelines. Lifelines are suppose to be exactly that. Based on the principle that all one need to do is use bungee cord to tighten up the lifelines, one could totally allow enough slack in the lifelines so one could hike out like on a Star. How much spectra lengthener is one going to allow? 6"? 8"? 2 feet?...where does it stop?

I am new J/80 owner, but I have done alot of PHRF racing and this issue has cropped up numerous times. There have been articles and comments in Sailing World about loose lifelines because there have been prominent pictures showing boats with crews with there entire torsos outside of the sheer of the boat.

Postby Guest » Wed Sep 25, 2002 11:11 am


The class rules make no mention of what form of lashing on the lifelines is allowed or prohibited.

Postby Guest » Wed Sep 25, 2002 2:59 pm

3.14.2 Lifelines required in Special Regulations shall be "taut".
a) As a guide, when a deflecting force of 50 N (5.1 kgf, 11.2 lbf) is applied to a lifeline midway between supports, the lifeline should not deflect more than 50 mm.

The above rule is from the ISAF 2002 Offshore Cat. 4 section. Most regattas require that boats competing follow these guidlines.

I actually experimented with the use of shock cord and spectra, I did have to remove the shock cord in order to conform to the ISAF Rule. That 11.2 LB Test requires very tight lifelines.

I am not sure if the recent regatta mentioned above required Cat 4 Equipment.

I have another concern, at the J-80 Worlds in France I noticed that the French Boats are equiped with stantions which seem to be about 2.5 inches lower than Ours.

Can we cut ours to match the French ?

Postby Guest » Wed Sep 25, 2002 8:51 pm


I looked up those regs and they do give an indication of what RRS 49.2 might mean by "taut". I saw that Key West and the SORC specified those regs but can't find any mention of them in any NOOD NORs or, for that matter, the J80 2002 NA Notice of Race. How are they applicable to those events?

Postby Guest » Thu Sep 26, 2002 10:33 am

Looser lifelines may give some minimal advantage while hiking but the safety factor outweighs the "bonus hiking" advantage. I bet if this guy's foredeck needed to grab that lifeline on a gybe he will be visiting the water and nothing is going to stop him. Plus lets try to stay 1 design. This is why this class is growing and you can find other 1 design classes at the hoist collecting dust.

Postby Guest » Wed Oct 09, 2002 10:25 pm

Geoff Pierini mentioned that the stanchions on the French boats are approximately 2.5" shorter than on American produced boats in an earlier comment. I've confirmed this and wonder why nobody else has commented or ruled on stanchion height. Does the height not matter as long as the lines are taut????!! Hiking and leveraging weight is obviously much easier on the French boats and offers them a distinct advantage.

Postby Guest » Fri Oct 11, 2002 10:32 am

I measured my stock TPI lifeline height at 20.5". If the difference is 2.5" then the French boats are 18" off the deck, which would satisfy the requirements of the Offshore Cat 4 rules which are sometimes in effect. i.e. a French boat would have a compliant lifeline height at Key West and MORC.

My understanding of the closed class rules is that you can change anything on your boat as long as the resulting setup was STOCK on some other production boat. This is the argument used for the various placements of blocks and cleats for the gennaker halyard, and the installation of twing cleats.

Changing the stanchion height to anything within the range of manufactured STOCK boats should be OK. Maybe J-Boats, as the designer, could inform the class as to the range of lifeline heights that have been produced.

People have been asking about this since the 2001 Worlds in Newport where we sailed against French built boats. Resolution of this matter - by J-Boat's input and opinion of the US Class Measurer, as well as review by the ISAF comittee, could help to preclude this becoming another issue for dockside juries.

Postby Guest » Fri Oct 11, 2002 12:20 pm

I hope we are not going to end up having to all cut down our stanchions (like the J-24's) in order to remain competitive. It is hard to understand why the French boats were built with stanchions so much lower than the U.S. boats... Variations in non-performance related items (windows, companionway locks/ladders, etc) are fine, but every effort needs to be made to keep performance equalized!

Postby Guest » Fri Oct 11, 2002 6:11 pm

Why don't we just change the rule C.5.2 to read
At no time shall the upper torso of the crew or driver be outside the shear of the boat unless they are performing a necessary task. Look at some of the pictures of the Texas NOOD's and you'll see some creative roll tacking


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