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Old 19-11-2019, 10:22   #1
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Running Rigging - Sun Baked But Still Useable?

I am gearing up to re-step my mast, and while it's down, was thinking about replacing my jib, staysail, and main halyards. They are made of 12mm VPC. The boat was not sailed hard when it was in the water, but has been on the hard for over a decade. The halyards weren't taken down but for a few years ago and have been exposed to some pretty harsh weather in the Sonoran Desert (read heat and UV exposure.) Chafe wise, the lines are still in good condition. I just wonder if they have experienced any degradation by being exposed for so long?

I know the answer is to probably just get new ones, but I would hate to replace what is still perfectly useable.

Thanks.
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Old 19-11-2019, 10:28   #2
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Re: Running Rigging - Sun Baked But Still Useable?

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I am gearing up to re-step my mast, and while it's down, was thinking about replacing my jib, staysail, and main halyards. They are made of 12mm VPC. The boat was not sailed hard when it was in the water, but has been on the hard for over a decade. The halyards weren't taken down but for a few years ago and have been exposed to some pretty harsh weather in the Sonoran Desert (read heat and UV exposure.) Chafe wise, the lines are still in good condition. I just wonder if they have experienced any degradation by being exposed for so long?

I know the answer is to probably just get new ones, but I would hate to replace what is still perfectly useable.

Thanks.
VPC Line is a vectran core with a polyester sun cover. The outer cover of the line adds nothing to the strength. As long as it is intact, the inner core has not suffered from sun exposure.

There are other types of damage that can occur. Some of the high tech fibers suffer "crush injuries" when they are held under high loads--or long times--in a rope clutch. This is something you can't see from the outside--until it fails.
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Old 19-11-2019, 10:48   #3
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Re: Running Rigging - Sun Baked But Still Useable?

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VPC Line is a vectran core with a polyester sun cover. The outer cover of the line adds nothing to the strength. As long as it is intact, the inner core has not suffered from sun exposure.

There are other types of damage that can occur. Some of the high tech fibers suffer "crush injuries" when they are held under high loads--or long times--in a rope clutch. This is something you can't see from the outside--until it fails.
Thanks. I get the outer cover is acting as a UV protector and not affecting the inner core. Was wondering whether heat cycling could have any issues? Suppose not, but I didn't know about crush injuries, so there's always something new. Something else to think about.

Appreciated.
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Old 19-11-2019, 11:58   #4
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Re: Running Rigging - Sun Baked But Still Useable?

Whilst the mast is down suggest that you wash all the lines. Ordinary domestic washing machine does a great job. And when you remount, perhaps swap them all end for end.
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Old 19-11-2019, 12:20   #5
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Re: Running Rigging - Sun Baked But Still Useable?

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The outer cover of the line adds nothing to the strength. As long as it is intact, the inner core has not suffered from sun exposure.
This is in fact unfortunately incorrect.

UV will penetrate covers and effect the core. Testing on big ship lines suggests UV can penetrate 4mm deep of woven polyester. And yachting rope exposure testing suggests your core will probably be somewhere roughly around half strength now.

Now your halyards are probably overstrength specced - because they should have been sized for minimal stretch which makes them bigger than needed for strength. So, the loss of strength may not be as bad as it sounds, they might still be very usable if they had around double necessary strength to start, which they might have.
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Old 19-11-2019, 18:54   #6
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Re: Running Rigging - Sun Baked But Still Useable?

Just a few days ago I began a thread in which I posted the results of a break test on 10-year-old covered Vectran, that had been exposed most of that time. It broke at under half the rated load. I would not trust the VPC to be much good--a few load cycles and some squeezing in a clutch or self-tailer and the Vectran will begin to disintegrate (it actually crumbles when it's nasty enough). Plus, a poly cover sun-baked for that long will not last a great length of time.
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Old 19-11-2019, 19:19   #7
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Re: Running Rigging - Sun Baked But Still Useable?

Yikes.

I suppose dyneema should be much better?
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Just a few days ago I began a thread in which I posted the results of a break test on 10-year-old covered Vectran, that had been exposed most of that time. It broke at under half the rated load. I would not trust the VPC to be much good--a few load cycles and some squeezing in a clutch or self-tailer and the Vectran will begin to disintegrate (it actually crumbles when it's nasty enough). Plus, a poly cover sun-baked for that long will not last a great length of time.
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Old 20-11-2019, 04:37   #8
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Re: Running Rigging - Sun Baked But Still Useable?

^^That's the word among the riggers in my aquaintance. Dyneema appears to be the least sun-sensitive and generally most durable of the high-tech fibers, which is why great efforts are being made to use it nearly exclusively, even though it stretches more than Vectran or Kevlar or Technora. The best they've done yet is SK99, which is stellar for halyards and running backstays. For standing rigging, I've become convinced that DUX or some other pre-stretched SK75 is best. Though I'm watching that DM20 from Marlow to see how it fares.
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Old 20-11-2019, 06:53   #9
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Re: Running Rigging - Sun Baked But Still Useable?

Wonderful technical stuff here! Thanks so much you posters. I think the sum is replace the halyards, and move the old ones to low stress uses - they go in your spare rope bucket. They become flag halyards. Having your main drop during a close-hauled run could spoil your whole day. I would want to see the UTube of that event.
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Old 20-11-2019, 07:38   #10
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Re: Running Rigging - Sun Baked But Still Useable?

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I suppose dyneema should be much better?
yes better than vectran.

but still, noticeable UV strength degrade even with cover. How much is more variable in tests than vectran - mostly depends coating, but also secondarily dyneema 'type' (eg heat set or pre-stretched, etc) and weave/braid.

The test results show anywhere from 25-50% degradation over 4 year period of 7/24 Arizona type exposure.
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Old 20-11-2019, 09:14   #11
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Re: Running Rigging - Sun Baked But Still Useable?

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yes better than vectran.

but still, noticeable UV strength degrade even with cover. How much is more variable in tests than vectran - mostly depends coating, but also secondarily dyneema 'type' (eg heat set or pre-stretched, etc) and weave/braid.

The test results show anywhere from 25-50% degradation over 4 year period of 7/24 Arizona type exposure.

And then the degradation stops?
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Old 20-11-2019, 09:51   #12
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Re: Running Rigging - Sun Baked But Still Useable?

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And then the degradation stops?
IDK

the degradation over time curves I have seen look like asymptotes - eg the degradation continues but at a progressively reducing rate, approaching but never reaching some final limit.

but there is not really much good longer than 4 years that I have seen. This sort of good long term testing is difficult and rare, and the products available change over like decade long periods so it is often out of date by the time you get results (or at least that is an excuse for not doing it).
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Old 20-11-2019, 10:54   #13
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Re: Running Rigging - Sun Baked But Still Useable?

Didn't I read somewhere that the degradation stops because the UV radiation penetrates only so far?



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IDK

the degradation over time curves I have seen look like asymptotes - eg the degradation continues but at a progressively reducing rate, approaching but never reaching some final limit.

but there is not really much good longer than 4 years that I have seen. This sort of good long term testing is difficult and rare, and the products available change over like decade long periods so it is often out of date by the time you get results (or at least that is an excuse for not doing it).
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Old 20-11-2019, 12:49   #14
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Re: Running Rigging - Sun Baked But Still Useable?

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Didn't I read somewhere that the degradation stops because the UV radiation penetrates only so far?
In most braids, all the fibers come to the surface at regular intervals. So, if the UV gets to the core at all, all the fibers get cooked - not along the full length of each fiber, but regularly enough that the strength of each and every fiber is compromised.
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Old 20-11-2019, 13:02   #15
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Re: Running Rigging - Sun Baked But Still Useable?

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yes better than vectran.



but still, noticeable UV strength degrade even with cover. How much is more variable in tests than vectran - mostly depends coating, but also secondarily dyneema 'type' (eg heat set or pre-stretched, etc) and weave/braid.



The test results show anywhere from 25-50% degradation over 4 year period of 7/24 Arizona type exposure.

There are Dyneema variants where every strand is individually coated before being braided, such as Acera Amundsen. Iím assuming that helps?

Colligo claims their DUX uncovered is still good for a 10 year period for standing rigging. Is this partly because the diameters are wildly over-strength to prevent stretch?
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