For halyards, staset-X or similar lines work very well in that they have very low stretch and keep the sail up and tensioned.
- - However, for sheets
, you want a line that has "give" or stretch to absorb shock loads when the sail empties and quickly refills. And the line need to be easy on your hands when you work with it. For sheets then I use Regatta
Braid which is both soft and very easy on your hands.
- - Size of the line had to do specifically with the boat and what loads the sails
will be exerting. But even more so, the rope clutches
and brakes and winches pretty much limit the size to one or two choices.
- - Length is a matter of choice but typically I and others make the lines too short. Of course you need enough line to reach from the boom up to the mast head
and then back down and then to the cockpit
for boats equipped that way. Then you need to add enough extra to allow the line to be taken back to and around a primary winch
so that if you get a "over-wrap" on the line you and use another winch
to pull the line free. Plus some more so you can "end for end" swap the line after sheaves, etc. have worn one end too much.
- - There is no set formula since each boat's standing rigging
is different. With sheets it is about the same process except that you need to allow enough extra line to wrap around the furled headsail.