Lifeline Netting Project on SV Banjo

Banjo Lifeline Netting Complete

Since we have two furry traveling companions that are still new to moving around deck, we decided to install lifeline netting. It has been on our project list for awhile now. Because of the time on the hook, I gathered the supplies from around the boat.  We ordered our lifeline netting from Sailrite.  It was a little more expensive than some of the competitors.  However, Sailrite claims it is UV treated; a claim none of the others made.  So it seemed like a good investment, especially if it would hold up longer.

Sagira at the bow protected by lifeline netting Venus and Sagira checking out the new lifeline netting
Lifeline Netting Calculations and Other Materials

We calculated the amount of lifeline netting needed, which for Banjo came to 150 feet. Sailrite recommends multiplying the perimeter value by 1.35 for a 22-inch stanchion height.  Ours was closer to 25-inches so we increased our multiple to 1.5.  Knowing how things go, we ordered an additional 25 feet.  We had plenty of netting left over and plan to use it to make inside storage hammocks.  Also, 275 feet of 1/8-inch white Dacron Leech Line was added to our list. Sailrite’s recommendation was to take the perimeter value and multiply that by 1.6 to estimate the amount of leech line needed.  In addition, various hardware such as plastic shock cord clips, stainless steel lacing hooks, and 3/16-inch Harken stainless steel shackles was ordered.

The complete list of our materials is below:

Order Details
Part # Qty. BO Description Price Amount
20235 1 EA 0 Thread V-69 White Polyester UV 4oz (1,350Yds) $11.95 $11.95
104801 175 FT 0 Lifeline Netting 24 – 32″ in Height $1.95 $341.25
21209 275 FT 0 Leech Line Dacron 1/8″ White $0.15 $41.25
29308 2 PK5 0 Shock Cord Hook Plastic White 1/4″ $12.95 $25.90
390S 1 EA 0 Sample of Phifertex Mesh Almond 54″ Fabric $1.00 $1.00
416S 1 EA 0 Sample of Phifertex Mesh Sand 54″ Fabric $1.00 $1.00
3426 1 7Pk 0 Assorted Hand Sewing Needles $2.95 $2.95
100388 20 EA 0 Screw Flat Head Stainless Steel 8 x 1/2″ $0.15 $3.00
100648 10 EA 0 Fender (Lacing) Hook $0.80 $8.00
123072 6 EA 0 Harken 072 Stamped Shackle 3/16″ Stainless Steel (Small) $3.99 $23.94
102576 1 EA 0 Polyester Whipping Twine White (262Ft) $7.95 $7.95
Subtotal: $468.19
Discount: $-46.82
Shipping: $8.03
Tax: $0.00
Charged To: Order Total: $429.40
Layout and Installation

I began late last week getting a general idea of where to cut the lifeline netting. To facilitate a visual approach, I hung the lifeline netting with plastic zip ties. From there, I was able to more closely approximate the needed dimensions.  Four netting lengths were cut; one each for the forward port and starboard sections, and one each for the port and starboard aft.

Banjo Lifeline Netting Banjo Lifeline Netting
Banjo Lifeline Netting Banjo Lifeline Netting
Banjo Lifeline Netting

Today, I began lacing the lifeline netting to the lifelines. Following the Sailrite YouTube Video and the Sailrite Blog, I first weaved the bottom of the leech line into place.  That was attached to the base of each stanchion with a running clove hitch. The base was terminated at the lifeline gates, one on each side and one aft.

Next came the top of the lifeline netting. I found the most difficult portion of the project was lacing in the vertical stanchions before turning the single run of leech line to run the top rails.  The Dacron Leech Line tends to kink, a LOT, making the task a little frustrating at first. However,  once I got the hang of it, my pace quickened.  I was also very careful when removing the zip ties to make sure no plastic went overboard.  I kept a garbage bag with me and weighted it down to prevent spillage.

Lessons Learned

I found a couple things that worked for me. First, when running the Dacron, I flaked out the line into a small run that was easier to weave. This also helped prevent some of the kinking.  Second, I found it easier to leave the leech line a little loose at first. This helped me get the lifeline netting spacing laid out the best for Banjo.  Once I had the layout fairly close, I then went back and removed the slack from the leech line.  I made sure to check the base, which tends to ride up between stanchions. What I wanted was to make sure the lines would not be too tight once I screwed in lacing hooks into the toe-rail. Some gentle pressure was all it took to estimate the required tension.

It is important to allow the lifeline netting to fall naturally and then tighten a little at a time.  Doing it this way allowed the natural flow of the net to orient all of the diamonds close to vertical.  Although it is not perfect, it does give Banjo a nice symmetrical look.


As of this writing, I believe I underestimated the amount of  leech line.  Rather than the given value of 1.6 for estimating the leech line, it would have been better to estimate by a factor of 2 or more.  It sucks to be almost finished to discover you have to reorder materials. Although I haven’t finished the last run on the starboard aft section, my feeling is that I’m not going to have enough leech line. I actually ordered about 50 feet more than recommended. That should have probably been 100 extra feet.

Conclusion and Work Remaining

So far it looks pretty good and appears to be functional, even without the lacing hooks installed. Those will be done tomorrow.  Also, the shock cords will be installed and the final shackles attaching the lifeline netting to the pelican hooks.  We feel better knowing the life netting will soon be complete and will offer added protection from people and puppies falling off the boat.  Sagira is notoriously interested in other animals and we are afraid someday she may leap before she looks.  Although we either tether the dogs to the cockpit or keep them down below when the boat is in motion, it is nice peace-of-mind to know we can hopefully prevent accidents when we are at anchor.  Definitely not trying to have Sagira trying to introduce herself to an orca, or an alligator.

Also, the netting will give us additional security for equipment on deck.

Once we have the lacing hooks installed, we will perform another tensioning of the leech line.  At that time, all excess lifeline netting will be cut away and the ends melted to prevent unraveling.  The plastic shock cord hooks will be added to the gate area and I will likely add additional weaving of the middle lifelines to attach them to the netting as well.  We are planning to remove our existing lifelines and replace them with 3/16-inch Dyneema Amsteel.  After careful consideration, we can replace the lifelines the Dyneema by threading it through the netting as the old is removed.  But that is a project for another day.

Banjo Lifeline Netting Complete Banjo Lifeline Netting
Banjo Lifeline Netting

To read more of our boat projects, visit the projects section of our blog.

 

 

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