Re-configuring lifelines on the MacGregor 26S

Apr 11, 2020
164
Hunter 170 Grapevine
For a long time I have disliked the way the lifelines on my 26S have interfered with getting in and out of the cockpit and prevented crewmembers from sitting on the gunwales to help balance the boat. I have toyed with a modification idea and am determined to bring it to fruition while I have the boat hauled out for the winter.

Refer to attached drawing.

My plan is to take the aft stanchion on each side and move it back close to the aft end of the cabin cover. Rather than attaching the lifelines to the eyelets on the cockpit gunwales, they would attach to the stanchions. An after-market brace such as this one: Stainless Steel Stanchion Brace | S3610-0600 would provide the needed support for the relocated stanchion (see red line in "Proposed configuration" portion of the drawing).

The way I see it, nothing is lost in this approach. The section of the lifeline between the aft stanchion and the attachment at the gunwale was never really high enough to provide any added safety, and is frequently in the way when entering or exiting the cockpit.

Part of this mod may include going to Dyneema lifelines, but I may wait on that.
 

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Feb 21, 2013
3,916
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
Your boat, but if it was mine I would install lifelines all the way aft (detachable with pelican hooks) for the crew's safety.
 
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Aug 19, 2019
29
C&C 25 mk2 Seneca Lake
I recommend paying attention to where the base of the stanction brace attaches to the deck. You will want that area to be strong (well backed) and effectively bedded.
 
Apr 11, 2020
164
Hunter 170 Grapevine
Sail SFbay,
I appreciate the advice. My sailing sailing venues are quite tame as opposed to your stomping grounds (San Francisco Bay, right?). Area lakes, no coastal or blue water, and if the wind is consistently above 20 MPH, I don't even go.
D Swanson,
Definitely. The foot of the brace will land in the same area of the original stanchion, will be secured with SS bolts, well-backed, and bedded with Bed-it.
 
Jan 7, 2011
3,034
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
I think the end of the lifeline needs to be anchored really well…and not just tied off on a stanchion. The brace will help, but I don’t think it will hold a 200 pound person, falling, and not break the stanchion off.

As @sail sfbay said, just put a pelican Hook on the end of the lifeline between the stanchion and the anchor point, and then you can lower it out of the way when getting on/off the boat.

maybe where I drew the little swirl at the coaming…

DCC0D1CE-EF49-4DF5-A2B2-E15DE12AE8A3.jpeg

Greg
 

Joe

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Jun 1, 2004
7,495
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
You might consider setting it up like the old Mac 25, or even the 26x and m. In those boats, and a number of other unmentioned flush deck sailboats, the lifeline gate hooks to a stepped down eye set in the cabin top stanchion. The wire either runs to the pushpit (if equipped) or through an aft stanchion, angling down to a coaming top pad eye.
The aft wire/gate does not need a braced stanchion. They make small collars that fit over the wire and keep it locked against the stanchions eyelet.... opposing the anchored end. Works well... it'll give you a back rest also.
 

AndyVS

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Sep 4, 2015
53
Macgregor 26S Adrian, MI
I changed the lifelines on my 26s a few years ago. Added the small stern rails, ran the lifelines all the way back and added the lifeline cushions. Pelican hook by stanchion makes it easy to get in and out of cockpit. You could add second pelican hook at stern rail to remove lifeline if needed.

20180803_180256.jpg

The lifeline cushions provide great support. :)
20180714_161445.jpg

Andy
 
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Apr 11, 2020
164
Hunter 170 Grapevine
I changed the lifelines on my 26s a few years ago. Added the small stern rails, ran the lifelines all the way back and added the lifeline cushions. Pelican hook by stanchion makes it easy to get in and out of cockpit. You could add second pelican hook at stern rail to remove lifeline if needed.

View attachment 200507

The lifeline cushions provide great support. :)
View attachment 200508

Andy
Nice tiller - hoping to get one for Christmas! Also nice folding seats. Where did you get those?
Great idea with the padding on the lifelines.

I removed my stern rail to get them out of the way to get the boat onto my supports to apply anti-fouling paint, and decided to not re-install them. Much easier to get up and down the aft ladder for swimming.

So, leading lifelines aft is not an option at this time. I like the small rails you have put on - allows for cockpit lifelines and good access to the ladder.
 

AndyVS

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Sep 4, 2015
53
Macgregor 26S Adrian, MI
We like to stop and swim or explore too so the small stern rails work good for me. I also attach the propane grill to the Starboard rail.

The seats are stadium seats and you can find them online. I really like the back support. These have a carrying harness on the back. I run a long bungee through the harness to keep the seats in place when the boat is heeled alot.
Andy
 
Apr 11, 2020
164
Hunter 170 Grapevine
Another reason for relocating the back stanchion is illustrated in the attached photo. When closed hauled, the genoa pinches where the lifeline passes through the stanchion. This is mainly because the sheet passes through a pulley on the jib car track rather than the fair lead as originally designed. If I move the stanchion back, the lifeline will still interfere, but not as a profoundly, allowing me to haul the genoa in as far as possible when close-hauled.

@Tally Ho - I have been freeing the lifeline for boarding by removing a pin, and the pelican hook would make it easier, but this solution still prevents crew members from moving up to the gunwale (or coaming if you prefer) to help balance the boat.

I realize as I go through this thought process that if I ask crewmembers to perch on the gunwales that I should provide a lifeline. I think it would work to put on some stern rails like AndyVS did and run the line from there to the aft cabin stanchion per the revised configuration diagram attached.
 

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