Rope for various lines

Moderator: GreenLake

Rope for various lines

Postby GreenLake » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:09 pm

I think we could discuss the kind of rope we are using for various lines one the DS. Let me describe how my setup has changed over the years.

Originally, at least the older boats started out with 3-strand. I know mine still had jib-sheets and dare I say halyards in that style when I got it.

I also had a ridiculously oversized mainsheet, that someone had retrofitted. I believe it was Samson Gold-braid docking line, something like 5/8", or possibly even larger - it barely fit the blocks on the boom and CB trunk.

The main advantage was that it was easy, very easy to grip and, being so oversized, the fact that the line is intended to stretch didn't matter. It was rigged without a bridle traveler in the back, so the sheet itself formed a triangle between boom and transom.

Image

I later changed it (and nearly all the rigging) to some other kinds of rope - that's the subject of the other posts in this thread.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Rope for various lines

Postby GreenLake » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:21 pm

I switched the halyards first, to 5/16" XLS double braid (I believe, that's what the local shop had in stock).

Image

I did my own eyesplice of the main to connect the sail with a SS shackle. That was my first splice of double braid and I enjoyed it so much I ran up a set of halyards for a friend who sails a smaller dinghy.
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Re: Rope for various lines

Postby GreenLake » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:52 pm

Next in line: the jib sheets. I switched to something I got cheap as a "cut off" at some point. As it had the right length, I pressed it into service when I got my new jib. I think it's 3/8" in size, rather heavy and a bit too slippery to grip - the wrong choice in other words :oops:

It's also strong enough, probably, to lift car, boat and trailer :lol:

Anyway, its shortcomings lead me indirectly to upgrade my jib sheet blocks to Ronstan 55 Orbit Ratchet blocks.

Image

They are grippier than most of the other kind, I found out from a test. I got the first one (for the main) for a good price, and really liked it. Anyway, those made up for the slippery nature, so that I can now hold the jib sheets in my hand, if I want to, even for extended periods in winds up to 15kts.
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Re: Rope for various lines

Postby GreenLake » Wed Feb 18, 2015 7:21 pm

After the jib sheet upgrade I didn't make many changes for a while, except to add barber haulers. These are short lines that end in a floating block through which the jib sheet is lead. By pulling on them, the jig sheet can be pulled in, resulting in a narrower sheeting angle (and better pointing) in some wind conditions (moderate).

For those I used 3/16" or 1/4" 3-strand, mainly because I found it easiest to splice them directly onto the blocks. Nowadays I would choose something that can be spliced with a Brummel. For example, Amsteel. Splicing Amsteel is super easy, but that's subject of another post.
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Re: Rope for various lines

Postby GreenLake » Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:47 pm

Forgot to mention one more item for my jib setup.

I didn't want to cut the new rope I was using for my jib sheet, so I looked around for alternatives. I came up with this:

Image

A soft shackle. There's a bit more to it than you can see in this image, so compare, with this image showing it in the open position:

Image

You can go to L-36.com for instructions on making these yourself from Amsteel. Not complicated, once you know the steps.

Anyway, if you have a soft shackle that's a little bit longer than the one shown here (perhaps twice as long) you can use it as a Prusik loop around the sheet. That was the first bit of Amsteel I used on the boat. I oversized it a bit at 5/16", I would not go above 3/16" if I did it again.

Image

With a shackle, instead of a loop, you can open it, lead it through the clew, and close it again. The loop will grip when loaded in either direction and not slide - even with the slippery jib sheet I use. In principle, it could slide along the rope when not loaded, but I have not observed that (I put a bit of take at the center point, and the Prusik loop has stayed put).

One nice benefit of this setup is that the sheet stays continuous. I think I see many fewer snags of the sheet with this setup than if I had cut it and knotted it (with two bulky bowline knots) to the clew. The other benefit is that it's convenient to leave the sheet on the boat and just disconnect the sail at the clew. The second benefit is significant for someone who needs to rig the boat every time it's sailed.
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Re: Rope for various lines

Postby GreenLake » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:01 pm

At around that time, the winch cable on my trailer winch gave out. The local store didn't carry replacement cable, but told me that "everybody" was using Amsteel instead. So I got some 1/4" (or 5/16", can't remember) and spliced a thimble in one end. It's served me well for many years now. No rust, and if it ever snaps, I expect, the damage to anyone standing close is likely much less, because of the lower weight.

Doing the eyesplice uses a Brummel, which is really the easiest splice.

http://www.animatedknots.com/brummeldemo/index.php

But a lock-stitched eye-splice isn't really more complicated.

http://www.samsonrope.com/Documents/Splice%20Instructions/12Strand_C2_Eye%20Splice_JUL2012_WEB.pdf

I've used both, can't remember which one I tried on the winch rope.
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Re: Rope for various lines

Postby GreenLake » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:19 pm

Having come across Amsteel and the site L-36.com, I discovered there are lots of instructions for various ways of making halyards using Amsteel (which is made from Dyneema).

I found one that shows how to splice 3/16" Amsteel to a leader made from cheap double-braided rope. I used that to make both a jib halyard and a main halyard, where the portion that runs from the cleat on the mast to the sail is made from Amsteel, but the part that you pull on while raising the sail is made from double braid 1/4" or 5/16".

The double-braid is much grippier, but also cheaper, and unlike the part of the halyard that goes up the mast when the sail is set, the "tail" does not contribute to weight aloft or windage. The instructions were fun to follow, except that the suggested size ratios on L-36.com did not want to work for me. For one of the halyards, I used a much thinner tail, for the other, I used a length of 5/16" Amsteel as an intermediate. Splicing that to either the double braid or the 3/16" Amsteel was no problem.

I finished the ends of the halyards differently. For the Jib, I terminated it in a soft shackle. I tied a small loop with a bulky knot to the head of the jib with a "luggage tag" knot (cow hitch), and that's what the soft shackle loop on the halyard end grips onto. Works fine.

Image

(The two ends would be tied into a bulky knot, e.g. a diamond knot).

Image

For the main, I originally did an eye-splice to continue to use the SS shackle I had been using with the previous halyard. After a few seasons I noticed that the shackle was preventing me from raising the main all the way. It cost me almost 2" of hoist.

I found a way to make a luggage tag knot with the end of the halyard through the cringle on the head of the main -- without needing to remove the thimble and eyesplice, even though they didn't fit through the cringle. I've sailed a season with that setup and it seems to work well, if a bit non-conventional. (I'm leaving it as a challenge to the reader how to make that knot).
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Re: Rope for various lines

Postby GreenLake » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:34 pm

Right around that time I also upgraded the main sheet to FSE Robline racing sheet in 3/8".
Image
That rope has an interesting "rag wool sock" feel to it, best I can describe it. It is nice and grippy, runs well and works fine in the single ratchet block I use on the boom (above the still original CB trunk fitting). I had much earlier changed the transom setup to a traveler like the one described in Phill Root's Rigging guide.
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Re: Rope for various lines

Postby GreenLake » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:36 pm

For the outhaul and reefline I'm using FSE Robline Dinghy Control line at 3 or perhaps 4mm. Low stretch, high strength and for those applications the small diameter isn't an issue.

Image

These ropes are super strong and low stretch because of their core, but they can't be spliced. The 4mm will hold 1,500 lbs! I've seen them used on other dinghies as halyards even. I like to use them because it's easy to tie no very bulky knots in them and to use them with very small (micro) blocks. Because of the core/cover construction, they might last better than all dyneema. Perhaps, if I ever change my halyards again, I'll upgrade from Amsteel to this rope.
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Re: Rope for various lines

Postby GreenLake » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:38 pm

Traveler. I redid that one recently. It used to be something like a 3/8" double braid, but that was very heavy. I changed that to 3/16" Samson Ultra-lite
http://www.samsonrope.com/Pages/Product.aspx?ProductID=441
Image

which is very low stretch and, incidentally, it also floats. That rope can't be spliced, its cover is polypropylene, which makes it very grippy, and it's rather stiff. Still runs through blocks fine.

Anyway, I'm following the setup in http://forum.daysailer.org/tech_rigguide.php as shown in this picture from that guide:

Image

The traveler can be locked in the center, by hooking the part opposite the block to the middle of the transom coaming, or let out for downwind. (Except, I put the hook underneath the transom, behind the coaming).

I use a butterfly knot to attach the block.
Image

If you want to do the same and can't open the becket on your block, you'd have to thread the block on the rope and then tie the knot as shown.

I'm using a modified sheet bend to connect the two ends of the traveler. I tie one side not with the end but with the end folded over. (It really looks a bit like #4 in the image, except, unlike the slipped version, I don't just double over for the last tuck, but tie the knot entirely with that side doubled up, so the free end lies parallel to its standing end when I'm done. A little bit like #7, if the two ends coming out of the top were joined into an upside down U shape).

Image

That way I have a little "loop" sticking out of the knot, and, because it's a sheet bend (meaning it uses the same holding "bit" as a bowline knot) it's possible to pull on it without capsizing the knot. I use that loop to hook the traveler over a coat hook I mounted underneath the aft coaming: that centers it, as described by Phill. I can release it for downwind. The knot will not pass through either of the standup blocks on the deck, but those 2 1/2' are about as much adjustment as needed.
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Re: Rope for various lines

Postby GreenLake » Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:41 pm

Spinnaker halyard, sheets, etc.

For the halyard I use 3/16" of the same stuff I used for the mainsheet. For the sheets, and the downhaul, more of the same Samson Ultra-lite, in green, red and blue (downhaul). I've described my setup in some other place, so don't have to repeat that here. This is about rope.

For the uphaul, I use a bit of bungee cord, doubled, to get the right tension, and for the same reason, not the entire length (that would have been too "soft"). It needs to hold the weight of the spinnaker pole plus the weight of the spinnaker, if it's hanging down, plus just a bit more for some positive tension, and needs to do that over the range of likely settings for the pole. (The balance of the length of the uphaul is made up of some piece of rope I had lying about, 1/4" or 3/16" double braided.)

With this setup, the downhaul is the only one that I need to adjust.

Some people prefer the bungee on the downhaul side, but the force of the sail when it wants to "sky" is so much higher, I don't see how that would work.
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Re: Rope for various lines

Postby GreenLake » Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:53 pm

Now, there's only one line left on the boat: the painter.

I've been using 3/8" solid braid, polypropylene from the feel of it, but I can't find it again online right now, so no picture. Orange with black tracers. No core, but solid braid, so it stays round. It floats, and it's easy to tie knots in it that hold, because it's soft, but has good friction.

Closest I could find is FSE Robline's Albatros

Image

That's definitely the same braiding pattern, but not the colors I have, so it must be some competitor's product.
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Re: Rope for various lines

Postby kokko » Mon Mar 23, 2015 3:12 pm

Greenlake posted a pic of his mainsheet rigging, but it is not clear if is a Crosby rig. In a Crosby rig the mainsheet comes along the boom, through a block, down to a block on the port or starboard of the transom, across the transom through a block and back up to the boom. For the mathematically inclined, a Crosby rig gives you the purchase power of the square root of two (~1.4)

Greenlakes setup look like it eliminates the Crosby in favor of a triangular traveler with a fixed block. It does not address the problem I have with the original Crosby - that the triangle fouls my outboard. I rigged a triangular traveler but moved the base of the triangle inboard of the engine well so the base of the triangle is about a foot on either side of the tiller. I added two padeyes to do this. Then I added a double block and single with becket to give me more purchase.
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Re: Rope for various lines

Postby GreenLake » Tue Mar 24, 2015 1:39 am

@kokko:

The rigging used to be a Crosby rig originally, later I switched it to the traveler based on Phill Root's rigging guide, which gives a purchase of 1:2.5 (one unit distance of mainsheet pull moves the tip of the boom by 2.5 units). I do not notice any marked difference in the tendency for the traveler (vs. the sheet) to get entangled on my trolling motor (if I carry one) or the corners of the transom or the rear cleats.

As for the Crosby rig's purchase ratio, that is, of course not constant, because the angle between the two parts changes as the boom rises.
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Re: Rope for various lines

Postby K.C. Walker » Tue Mar 24, 2015 12:27 pm

I use a simple bridle at the aft end of the boom for rigging. To avoid fouling my motor I moved the boom block foreward 18 inches from the end. This seems to have done the trick, as I no longer have fouling problems. This gives me an overall purchase of 2.2:1 which suits me well. Using a powerful boomvang and a ratchet block makes this pretty comfortable. I tried going to a closer ratio but it felt like too much work so I went back. Mike Gillum uses a split tail mainsheet which gives him 1.5:1.

I'm just thinking out loud here, but the reason that I prefer having the bridle as wide as possible is to make it easier to bring the boom to the centerline before adding too much leach tension. I have my bridle set up so that it's high enough to almost center the boom before I start cranking the boom down (though, I mostly control the leach with the boomvang). I've tried to set it so that I am "two blocked" when I have the maximum amount of tension that I would like on the leach. It has been a bit of trial and error to get the right length.

Right now I'm using a block on the boom with a Beckett but I think I will change this to a strap eye to attach the bitter end of the sheet and space it so there is enough room for the bridle block to fit between that and the boom block. I figure I could get another couple of inches closer to the boom with the bridal apex, therefore bringing the boom even closer to center before adding too much leach tension. It's probably too subtle a change to matter much, but it's simple enough to change. And… It's fun with ropes!

The other rigging update that I've been considering is my jib cunningham. Right now I have it rigged like Phill Roots. That is 3:1 that's hooked into the halyard loop where the halyard tail attaches. When I switched from a wire halyard to Amsteel it became more problematic to hook in as the eye closes up under tension and makes it difficult to hook in and unhook. Having seen Dave Keran's setup where he has a tweaker pulling the jib halyard sideways to add tension, I think I'll change to some variation of that.
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