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Do You Really Know Sailing Rope?

You know, there are various kinds of ropes on a sailing boat. If you think they look the same except for the color and thickness, then you are wrong. There are also many know-how regarding the synthetic sailing rope.

You can feel the rope is good or not at the moment you hold it. Good ropes are superior to ordinary ropes in terms of feel, performance and service life. In this article, we will briefly take about the material, selection and maintenance of sailing rope.

So how to judge the quality of the sailing rope? what is the type and material of the sailing rope? and how to professionally maintain the sailing rope and keep the high performance of the boat for a long time?

About the material of the sailing rope

As the saying goes: To be first to the line you need great lines first.

Today’s ropes are mainly composed of high-tech fiber materials, coupled with advanced weaving methods, so that the tensile strength of polymer fiber ropes is 10 times better than steel ropes. High tensile force, no elasticity, low ductility, low water absorption and light weight. There are five main types of high-tech materials:

Polyester (Polyester Fiber / Polyester): Low elastic fiber, wear-resistant, weather-resistant, good hand feeling, meet the low and medium elastic requirements. Generally used for sailing rope reel and control rope.

Polypropylene (polypropylene): the lightest type of chemical fiber, can float in water, wear-resistant and corrosion-resistant, especially good stability to inorganic acids and alkalis; but easily degraded by ultraviolet light.

Technora (aramid fiber): high tensile strength, very low elasticity, almost zero ductility, UV protection, and meets the requirements of low elastic movable ropes such as sailing ropes.

UHMWPE(Dyneema,spetca and others): UHMWPE is a super-strength polyethylene polymer fiber, which provides the greatest strength with the smallest weight. Under the same quality, UHMWPE is 15 times stronger than steel wire rope, more than 40% higher than aramid fiber; Flexible and non-absorbent, it is the first choice for mobile stays. It is generally used for various types of sailing ropes, rigging ropes and other active ropes for sailing.

Vectran (fully aromatic polyester): high tensile force, low water absorption, high abrasion resistance, high temperature resistance.

Explanation of terms: About the elasticity of the rope, it is also called dynamic extension (Elongation). The extension of the rope refers to the behavior of the elongated rope produced by the rope under changing tension. There is a serious problem of extensibility in some domestic ropes. For example, an original 50-meter hoist rope may become 55 meters when used. After the rope is stretched, the diameter will decrease, and the pulling force will also decrease, and it is more likely to break suddenly in strong winds, which is potentially dangerous. The knitting process of UHMWPE ropes itself makes the ropes have extremely low ductility, and the pre-steched treatment makes the ductility of high-performance ropes almost zero.

So how to choose the right one from so many high-tech material ropes?

Simply, the halyard has the strongest working strength, so usually choose the rope with polyester cover and uhmwpe fiber for core. (the regatta will choose the polyester mixed aramid rope with uhmwpe core). Low, low water absorption and no elasticity. The control rope usually selects good quality polyester rope. Of course, in the actual selection, according to the purpose of the boat (regatta or leisure boat), according to the rope coding (16-strand or 12-strand or parallel) and material (polyester or aramid or UHMWPE), there are also several options.

After choosing the material, you need to choose the length of the rope! The main rope on the ship consists of 4 parts, and the length requirements are also different.

Halyard: the height of the mast is 25cm from the front support to the winch;

Jib sheet: 1.5 times the length of the hull;

Mainsheet: The best measurement method is to replace the existing mainsail control rope and measure its length;

Spinnaker sheet: twice the length of the hull 10cm (2 knot eyes)

Warm reminder: The installation position of the winch and other accessories will affect the length of the rope.

Now choose the color code:

there are many options for rope colors. In order to facilitate the crew to quickly identify which one for what purpose, the ropes on the sailboat usually choose different colors according to different functions, and gradually form the color code of the rope over time. Of course, these color codes are for reference only and are not static. The following are commonly used color codes:

Main Sheet / Halyard: black and white

Jib Sheet / spinnaker: blue and black

Spinnaker halyard: red and black

Spinnaker sheet: green and black

kicking strap: black and gray

Finally, how to care and maintain the rope ?

No matter how good the rope is, it is impossible to self-maintain. Although today, with the development of technology, the abuse ability of high-end ropes has been greatly improved, but it also need to do the right maintenance work for long-term use.

Maintenance before use:

The maintenance work of a good sailing rope is very simple: before using the new rope, apply a layer of Spinlock RP25 protective oil with a clean brush to form an invisible protective layer on the surface of the rope to improve the functions of UV protection, water absorption and wear resistance. After using the rope, rinse it naturally and dry it, then apply RP25 oil to the frizzy area.

Maintenance after use:

Every time you come back from the sea, rinse the rope thoroughly with clean water and let it dry naturally in a ventilated place (do not expose to the sun!). Otherwise, after the seawater attached to the rope dry, it will become salt crystals and stay in the rope. When the rope is working, the salt crystals will rub against the fibers inside the rope,destroying its organization and damaging the rope.

Reminder:The rope should not be stepped on by the sole of the shoe. There are often sand particles on the sole of the shoe, which is very likely to enter the skin of the rope. When the rope is in operation, the internal fiber structure of the rope is destroyed, causing the rope to break.

Question: How long is service life of the rope?

Answer: Generally, the rope needs to be replaced once every 1-2 years, of course, depending on its frequency of use.

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