Rope for various lines

Moderator: GreenLake

Re: Rope for various lines

Postby LikeAPuma24 » Fri Jan 20, 2023 8:51 pm

@Greenlake, thanks for the wealth of info. I was given a gift card to West Marine for the holidays and have already decided that I'd like some new halyards to replace the half-line/half cable set up that is currently there. I'm clueless to the different types of used, but is there anything from their site that is comparable to what you've used?
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Re: Rope for various lines

Postby GreenLake » Sat Jan 21, 2023 12:27 am

For the halyards I'm using AmSteel (hollow braid Dyneema, also called single braid) spliced to a tail of cheap double braid polyester (to save cost and for better handling). As long as you follow the splicing instructions on https://L-36.com and pick the correct ratio of diameters, the brand name should not matter.

Not only does this hybrid use cheaper rope for the tail, but the tail diameter can be thicker (where it counts, that is during setting the sail).

If you want to save yourself the hassle (or fun) of splicing, you could go for a rope that has a Dyneema core and a grippy cover, such as WarpSpeed II from Samson. For halyards you'd go with the smallest diameter. I see 6mm listed, which is already more than you need. Dinghy Control would also work, I've owned 15' dinghy that was rigged with 3mm for the halyards, but even for the DS you might never need more than 4mm.

For sheets that you might hold in your hand for extended periods, you'd base your diameter on what is comfortable to hold, but for halyards that's less of a consideration and cost and weight savings dominate the calculation.

You might like to look at their Line Selection Guide. One key parameter is the stretch: for halyards the lowest stretch is a must. The other is the strength. I don't think any line on a DS will ever be loaded over 1000#, or even 500#. So you can see most lines are overdimensioned and you can safely go to smaller diameters than the standard recommendations for the DS.

Speaking of recommendations: if you don't have a working example of a line, order a bit more rope than you think you need and cut the line down to length after rigging.
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Re: Rope for various lines

Postby LikeAPuma24 » Sat Jan 21, 2023 11:03 pm

GreenLake wrote:If you want to save yourself the hassle (or fun) of splicing, you could go for a rope that has a Dyneema core and a grippy cover, such as WarpSpeed II from Samson. For halyards you'd go with the smallest diameter. I see 6mm listed, which is already more than you need. Dinghy Control would also work, I've owned 15' dinghy that was rigged with 3mm for the halyards, but even for the DS you might never need more than 4mm.

For sheets that you might hold in your hand for extended periods, you'd base your diameter on what is comfortable to hold, but for halyards that's less of a consideration and cost and weight savings dominate the calculation.

You might like to look at their Line Selection Guide. One key parameter is the stretch: for halyards the lowest stretch is a must. The other is the strength. I don't think any line on a DS will ever be loaded over 1000#, or even 500#. So you can see most lines are overdimensioned and you can safely go to smaller diameters than the standard recommendations for the DS.

Speaking of recommendations: if you don't have a working example of a line, order a bit more rope than you think you need and cut the line down to length after rigging.



Very appreciative of the recommendations. Might give those Dinghy Control lines a try, possibly in the 4mm variation, both for strength and comfort. Might even treat myself and take the hour long ride down to the closest West Marine (never been) just to feel like a kid in a candy shop. Also, I'll remove the entire length of wire/line from my mast so I can measure what's already on there, and likely will purchase extra just to be safe. Again, thanks a ton. There's way more to the science of lines/ropes than I ever imaged.
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Re: Rope for various lines

Postby GreenLake » Sun Jan 22, 2023 4:55 am

You are most welcome! When it comes to rope, the feel of it is an important characteristic. The second one is that it holds well on / in the cleats you are using. For the first, you can't do better than visiting a store with a good selection. For the second, anything other than bare AmSteel (bare Dymeema with no cover) would hold on a horn cleat, and most rope with a grippy cover will do well in a cam cleat, even if much thinner than you might think is realistic.
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Re: Rope for various lines

Postby bilbo » Tue Jan 30, 2024 10:38 pm

I’m a bit late to the party perhaps but I will second the Amsteel/double braid hybrid halyards. They are great, cutting weight and stretch where it matters, great handling characteristics, won’t break the bank, and the splicing is satisfying rainy day work. I also ended up doing the same thing, just smaller lines, for my jib downhaul. The main reason was that splicing an eye in the Amsteel and then into the double braid is easier to me than an eye splice in the double braid.

If you get some extra Amsteel, as a bonus you can then start making soft shackles. After converting all my control line connections on the DSII found a bajillion uses for them outside the boat. I’ve considered getting larger stuff and making them to sell to the off road crowd as apparently they’re popular there as well and sell for a pretty penny.
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Re: Rope for various lines

Postby GreenLake » Tue Jan 30, 2024 11:29 pm

That's well put.

Brummel splicing Amsteel is something that's really satisfying in its simplicity. But if I had an application where an eye in double braid was motivated or even essential, I wouldn't hesitate. I've done it a number of times and it's definitely doable with a good set of instructions.

As far as selling soft shackles is concerned, if you have a captive market, go for it.

There are a lot of uses where people use solution that have metal or plastic custom buckles. All of these can be replaced by soft shackles. That's a small way of reverting back to the days where sailors would use rope as general purpose material, for all sorts of use cases, instead of purchasing something designed explicitly for them.
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Re: Rope for various lines

Postby bilbo » Wed Jan 31, 2024 9:23 am

I have done a fair number of eye splices on DB, making various bits for the boat and also some dog leads. I had 3/16" DB for the jib downhaul and the tiny rope wasn't getting along well with my not tiny fingers. I had a piece of Amsteel lying around that was nearly the right length, so I decided to do that line just like my halyards. I still think it's easier to splice the different ropes together than a single DB eye splice, especially the small diameter rope.

When I decided to try splicing I bought the Samson book. It's great, all laminated and water resistant, good photos & descriptions and has paid for itself a couple of times. I've replaced all the lines in my boat now, finally semi-finishing the mainsheet after replacing the blocks. I'm using a bowline to attach the mainsheet for now because I haven't decided whether I like one of the blocks yet. When I've finalized it, that line will get an eye splice. d

I've also eliminated nearly all the metal shackles on my boat. I still use one for the topping lift because the casting at the end of the boom has sharp edges that I worry would cut the shackle over time.

A long time ago I started handloading to support my shooting hobby. Over time that flipped, and shooting began to support my reloading hobby. Ropework has been similar for me. I've found I really enjoy it and it has a ton of applications outside of sailing.
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Re: Rope for various lines

Postby GreenLake » Wed Jan 31, 2024 3:51 pm

That Samson book is great.

I left the eyesplice (with thimble) on my main halyard, but nowadays tie it directly to the head board with a cow hitch. The eye acts like a toggle. So no shackle there. One motivation is to avoid limiting the hoist by the distance across the shackle. My main is cut generously, so if I can't get maximal hoist, it won't set flat. When I use the halyard like a topping lift at the dock, I use a metal shackle at the end of the boom. I use a knot for the mainsheet as well, but not a bowline. I find it too bulky. I've been using a buntline hitch as a more compact alternative. Same for the spinnaker halyard.
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