As I continue to gain experience sailing solo and prepare Ikaros for the endeavor, I have decided to install jacklines this winter while she’s in storage. This short post from BoatUS Magazine raises some good issues echoed in previous readings:
Many sailors like to use stainless-steel wire for jacklines, which, although undeniably strong, can roll underfoot, potentially throwing the sailor off balance.
Instead, try using 1-inch-wide nylon webbing. It’s plenty strong enough, won’t roll underfoot, and best of all won’t make a noise or scratch your deck like stainless-steel wire can.
One drawback is durability from UV exposure. Plastimo, one manufacturer of nylon webbing jacklines, recommends replacing them after a cumulated period of two years of outdoor exposure.
While I knew nylon webbing deteriorates in the sunlight, I didn’t know that the recommended replacement period was two years of accumulated UV exposure (in Chicago that is approximately four years.)