Securing for sea
Ocean Navigator|September - October 2020
Attaching gear to lifelines and stanchions is generally not wise and sometimes dangerous.
DICK STEVENSON

This gear includes but is not limited to solar panels, jerry cans, kayaks and paddle/surfboards, bicycles, etc. This applies to boats that will go offshore but is also applicable for all boats that spend any time in open water and do more than daysailing hops in fine weather.

At the least problematic, but perhaps the most insidious, are your stanchions and lifelines. Stanchion deck fittings are typically not designed or installed to tolerate the rhythmic back-and-forth tugging and stresses of heavy jerry cans pulling on them with every wave, for example, or the rhythmic continuous pounding inflicted when sailing hard to wind. These repeated stresses can lead to leaks in the stanchion bases (if this occurs, look to whether there has been gear attached) or stress fractures (look at the welds down low). What’s more dangerous is if the leak does not become apparent below decks, since at least then there would be warning. Leaks into your deck core, however, may be hidden; this can be especially problematic if the core is balsa.

Pushpits are likely to be better attached to the deck, and often are constructed of tubing rather than wire. It seems reasonable to have a horseshoe and a Lifesling attached, or perhaps a welldesigned and well-supported wind generator. But think of the forces accrued from a full enclosure whose support comes from the pushpit structure. Imagine further, the forces beating to wind in a swell or sideways wind coupled with big waves. These are unusual events, but they are far from unheard of and statistically likely with enough miles under your keel.

Danger to footing

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