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Old 11-11-2008, 05:17 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2008
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With my repower coming close to completion I've begun looking at my running rigging. It's all old, faded, some of it isn't safe, and some just doesn't look safe. The main halyard and one of the Jib halyards are wire-rope, the rest are all rope (I guess converted at some point in the past).

My question is, do I need to go with the spectra type line for my Halyards, or will a double braid poly be sufficient for my purposes. I'm no racer, just a weekend cruiser/ day sailor/ potterer around the harbour. my boat is a 32 foot so it's a reasonable size. I've spent a couple of hours researching/googling and all the sites selling rope say use the spectra (or variations thereof) for halyards. However, I've also seen quite a few blog type sites where people have been perfectly happy with good old double braid poly.

My plan is to just sew/splice/duct tape the new ropes onto the old tails and pull them through. I've already checked all my sheaves and they are fine to take regular rope up to 12mm. All I have to do now is buy the appropriate cordage, a bunch of new shackles and spend an afternoon, or several, pulling and splicing.

That's as soon as I can make the call on what to buy, hence this post :-)

L&K Cain

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Old 11-11-2008, 09:40 AM   #2
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Just make sure that what you choose has minimal stretch in it or else you will never get a decent set in the sail as the luff will be permanently baggy.



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Old 11-11-2008, 09:53 AM   #3
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Probably the one halyard that one doesn't want stretch in, is the mainsail halyard - every other line one can live with a little. But it depends if you have a furling foresail - this also doesn't need stretch. Here is pdf covering marlow's cordage - sure you will find a 12mm polyester that will do the trick.

:- Click HERE
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Old 11-12-2008, 11:20 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by MMNETSEA View Post
Probably the one halyard that one doesn't want stretch in, is the mainsail halyard - every other line one can live with a little. But it depends if you have a furling foresail - this also doesn't need stretch. Here is pdf covering marlow's cordage - sure you will find a 12mm polyester that will do the trick.

:- Click HERE
We agree with the comment about the main halyard - it took us ages to work out why our new yacht had a terminal case of the saggy baggies

For what it's worth, we have always erred on the side of caution and over engineered everything on our yacht. Getting caught out in a strong blow is not the time to start regretting a bargain purchase. We went spectra for everything.
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Old 11-13-2008, 02:20 PM   #5
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IMO, Spectra is a racing yacht's halyard, where stretch is obsessively reduced/eliminated. Less expensive poly line is fine for cruising yachts, and when it's double braid it's much, much easier to splice than Spectra with its laid core.

** unless it's French polyester double braid, which I found to be the tightest laid rope we ever bought. Splicing that was an exercise in futility, at least where I had to eye splice the rope to the main sheet traveler directly!**

When you haul your headsail up onto your furler, you will find that when it gets wet or used a bit, the line will stretch, though not a whole lot compared to nylon. So next time you fly the headsail you tighten it up and you're again good to go.

Where you are going from wire halyards to polyester, Spectra is most likely the right choice, but if the boat's blocks and sheaves were sized for polyester from the get-go, you should be able to use any high-quality polyester double-braid from a reputable manufacturer without sacrificing strength or safety.

Splicing. If you're not splicing your line but are using some kind of knot to attach shackles to the line, or the line to the boat, you are reducing the strength of the connection by 30% or more. Only a splice retains 80% to 90% of the line's strength at the splice. If you are paying a lot of money for your line, and then not splicing it, you have wasted your money.

Splicing is a skill that improves with practice and is well worth learning. Your boat will look neater as well.
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:21 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by JeanneP View Post
Speaking of splicing and wire-rope halyards...

If your sheaves are sized for the wire rope, you can splice regular (braid) rope onto a new wire halyard. Further, some marine stores will sell you the wire rope to braid halyard already made up. Our Rawson 30 was that way--the wire rope to braid line splice for the main halyard ran (when the sail was fully hoisted) from about 2 feet in front of the halyard winch which was located on the cabintop adjacent the cockpit so that it could be handled from the cockpit. I don't like wire rope winches, and "all wire-rope" halyards but I did like the setup we had there.

You can learn how to do a wire rope to braid line splice in Brion Toss's book "The Riggers' Apprentice." It is widely available. You can also learn how to do all sorts of other splices with the same book as a reference.

Best of luck to you

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