Technology has advanced a lot and so do the products obtained using cutting-edge techniques. There is an ongoing development in the field of rope technology which has led to the construction of different types, styles, and materials of sailing ropes. Ropes play a significant role in sailing and investing money on the right type of rope will ensure performance advantage. Many boat owners make wrong selections due to the complexity of choice which is not so surprising. That’s why it is important to specify the correct type of rope for each task in sailing.
Which type of rope should I use for my boat? This is the common question of many boat owners who are looking for new ropes for their sheets, halyards, control lines of mooring lines. They must choose ropes wisely according to their purpose as there are different types of rope you can use on a sailing yacht or motorboat. The rope type you should choose also depends on the type of sailor you are and what kind of boat you possess as there are so many factors you need to take into account like a stretch, flexibility, creep, strength and durability.
SELECTING THE TYPE OF SAILOR YOU ARE
Your first step is selecting or making sure what kind of sailor you are.
- Dinghy recreational
- Dinghy Regatta
- Motor Yacht
- Classic Yacht
This will help you a lot in deciding the type of rope you need because it all depends on how much strength and flexibility your boat need which depends on the sailing type.
CHOOSING YOUR PRIORITY
There are so many things based on which you buy a rope. You need to think about rope’s application, its sailing type, and above all, your budget.
- Type of Sailing: As already discussed, the type of sailing you do is an important factor to determine rope type. The main use of your boat is directly related to the main use of your lines. Racers will need lightweight lines so that they can fulfill their class regulations. On the other hand, cruisers might need lines that have a long life and provide ease of handling.
- Type of Application: The application or the purpose of using the line is obviously a big deciding factor while selecting among different types of rope. The type of boat application will help you decide which rope standards are your major priorities - strength, stretch, or UV resistance. In the case of rigging applications, you will need a rope that has high strength and low stretch.
- Budget: Budget is also an important consideration, but it could be a major constraint sometimes. Make sure you set a budget before you start looking for sailing ropes. Do not overspend on your line. You could easily get the highest quality, most expensive line. Those who have the fanciest line as their priority could also find the lines that look good. You must use the line to its full extent; otherwise, it is just not worth the expenditure.
CHOOSING AMONG TYPES OF FIBER
After you have decided on the traits in your rope, it’s time to look at the types of fiber available in the line and whether it will be able to meet your requirements or not. The performance properties of a rope lie integrally within its fibers. Let’s check out some commonly used rope fibers and what they are known for.
- HMPE: High Modulus Polyethylene (HMPE) is another type of high performing rope fiber with very high strength and very low stretch. These ropes are perfect options for serious racers or larger yachts as they repel water, lightweight, and float freely on the water making it ideal for running rigging. HMPE ropes cannot be used for sustained loads as they are known to elongate or creep.
- Nylon: Nylon is an original synthetic fiber that has great shock absorption property. It is UV resistant and has great strength. Also, its moderate price makes nylon ropes a great choice for dock and anchor lines.
- Polyester: If you are looking for a rope that has strength, low stretch, and durability, then polyester material should be your choice as it is used in most running rigging applications. Also, when it comes to pricing, polyester has a moderate price making it an ideal fit for a variety of uses and users.
- Polypropylene: if you are looking for a lower to moderately priced line with lightweight in nature, then polypropylene should be your choice. Polypropylene line floats in water which makes it a good choice for light air spinnaker sheets. But it is not very strong and not even resistant to UV rays. It has a high stretching ability and melts at a low temperature.
These days, ropes are made up of two components:
- Core: It takes the bulk of the load and accounts for up to 95% of the rope strength.
- Outer Cover: A protective outer cover gives abrasion resistance and protection against sunlight, UV rays, and other agents.
You may find ropes without cover. Based on that ropes can also be categorized as follows:
Uncovered ropes: Ropes without cover has several advantages and disadvantages. These include:
- Easier to splice
- Less friction
- Less water absorption
- Less UV protected
- Any abrasion is on the load-bearing elements
- Low friction and fail to work on winches and in jammers/cleats
Covered ropes: Rope with cover has several advantages and disadvantages. These include:
- Core is protected
- Cover can be custom-made based on the application
- Covers can be bright durable colors
- The cover provides a surface deliberated to hold on winches and jammers
- Cover adds weight without adding strength
- More difficult to splice
- Adds friction
- Soaks up water
MAKE YOUR OWN CHOICE
You can choose different combinations of line fiber and construction to best meet your requirements. Gauge your priorities to choose which blend would work the best for your boat.