HMPE Rope Lifeline amendment

An amendment to the Special Regulations now allows HMPE ropes (such as Dyneema) to be used as lifelines in category 4 to 7 monohulls and all categories for multihulls. This presents new challenges for Equipment Auditors.

Category 4 – 7 monohulls and all category multihulls are now able to use HMPE lifelines. As with the maintenance and attachment points of stainless steel lifelines, the responsibility lies with the person in charge to ensure that both are undertaken correctly and according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Equipment Auditors need to be mindful that:
• They may not be able to check that HMPE rope lifelines have been spliced in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommended procedures.
• Judgement needs to be used to assess whether HMPE lifelines are protected from chafe.
• An Equipment Auditor should only decline to pass an audit of the lifeline material on these grounds if the material or its installation is clearly in a state of disrepair.

Ultimately, with each of these points it is the responsibility of the person in charge to make this judgement in accordance with Special Regulation 1.02.1 and Australian Sailing’s policy here.

Australian Sailing’s direction to Equipment Auditors on how to audit VB cord or other synthetic rope to use as a lanyard to secure lifelines remains unchanged. The lanyard shall be replaced annually. This does not apply to a lifeline.

The new amendment allowing HMPE rope can be found here.
The Special Regulations can be downloaded here.

By Melanie Peasey

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