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Old 16-04-2015, 09:36   #1
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What Cordage for Sheets?

I am reluctantly replacing my yankee sheets, which were original to the boat. I've end-for-ended them and washed them as many times as I could; now they really have to be replaced. I loved them; they had a very fine "hand", soft and supple, until they wore out. They were 16mm polyester -- I am guessing double braid, but I'm not sure that I recognize the difference between the different types.

So now what do I use to replace them? The Marlow double braid which I got through Spencers two years ago for my outhaul and other lines has been a disappointment. It doesn't seem to be so densely woven, and doesn't handle as well.

Other types of polyester rope available include:

Mattbraid

Marlowbraid (with "twisted three-strand core")

Liros "Top Grip"

Liros "Top Cruising"

Liros "Seastar"

and many others.

I know that racers would be using Dyneema sheets with carbon sails like mine, but I don't think I want that. I like the large-diameter polyester because it is easier to handle; I don't care about the slight bit of extra windage, I don't need more strength, and I don't think I care about the stretch.

I attach my sheets with simple bowlines and don't use shackles, because I don't think that metal bits at the clew which might whip around are safe. I could use soft shackles, but I don't really see the point if a knot does the job.

I will be grateful for any tips. The choice of polyester rope is really bewildering -- so many different kinds of construction. This variety didn't exist in past years.
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Old 16-04-2015, 10:46   #2
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Re: What Cordage for Sheets?

Dockhead,
While some (racers) will scoff at this recommendation...if you're a hands-on sailor, you'll love this stuff!!

New England Ropes, Regatta Braid...
It is a 12-plait, single-braid, poly line...

::¬*Teufelberger:¬*Cruising

::¬*Teufelberger:¬*Regatta Braid

http://www.neropes.com/Datasheets/MAR_REGATTA.pdf

NEW ENGLAND ROPES Regatta Polyester Single Braid, Price Per Foot | West Marine

Annapolis Performance Sailing (APS) - Regatta Braid - New England


I've been using it for years, for my genoa sheets....and it is a dream to use...
Always soft, w/ great hand, and easy to clean, etc....and coils up and stows easily!!!
I love it...

(only two negatives that I know of....it can get caught on sharp cotter pins, so be aware....and it stretches a tiny bit more than a double-braided poly line...)


I hope this helps....

Fair winds...

John
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Old 16-04-2015, 11:40   #3
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Re: What Cordage for Sheets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Dockhead,
While some (racers) will scoff at this recommendation...if you're a hands-on sailor, you'll love this stuff!!

New England Ropes, Regatta Braid...
It is a 12-plait, single-braid, poly line...

::¬*Teufelberger:¬*Cruising

::¬*Teufelberger:¬*Regatta Braid

http://www.neropes.com/Datasheets/MAR_REGATTA.pdf

NEW ENGLAND ROPES Regatta Polyester Single Braid, Price Per Foot | West Marine

Annapolis Performance Sailing (APS) - Regatta Braid - New England


I've been using it for years, for my genoa sheets....and it is a dream to use...
Always soft, w/ great hand, and easy to clean, etc....and coils up and stows easily!!!
I love it...

(only two negatives that I know of....it can get caught on sharp cotter pins, so be aware....and it stretches a tiny bit more than a double-braided poly line...)


I hope this helps....

Fair winds...

John
Thanks, John; hot tip. I don't know if we can get that over here, but I'll have look. It's much less strong than double braid, but maybe that doesn't matter.

I think the headsail sheets get handled more than any other line, so important that they feel good and that you can control them. It's important how they hold on your winches, too, and that you can release tension in a controlled way.
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Old 21-04-2015, 16:49   #4
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Re: What Cordage for Sheets?

I've gotten a fantastic proposal for new sheets out of Marlow double braid polyester.

I guess there is no reason in the world to consider exotic cordage for this? The only gain being smaller diameter line and therefore less windage?
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Old 21-04-2015, 16:57   #5
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Re: What Cordage for Sheets?

IMHO the most important factor is good size to grip and soft non shiny finish for your hands. The rest doesn't matter.
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Old 21-04-2015, 16:58   #6
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Re: What Cordage for Sheets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I've gotten a fantastic proposal for new sheets out of Marlow double braid polyester.

I guess there is no reason in the world to consider exotic cordage for this? The only gain being smaller diameter line and therefore less windage?

Excellent choice, since Dyna and other low stretch dont make to much sense in your boat for headsails control, the shock loads in a headsail flaping with Dynema ropes is anoying to the extreme...
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Old 22-04-2015, 15:54   #7
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Re: What Cordage for Sheets?

Personally like the stretch in braided dacron, terylene or whatever it's called. The limited stretch in this material takes shock loads which will be easier on the sails, hardware and boat. If you've got dedicated sheet minders on board and are as anal as the racing set, the low stretch line might be an option. Just not worth the cost to my mind to go with other than dacron.
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Old 22-04-2015, 16:42   #8
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Re: What Cordage for Sheets?

Not even close to being an "expert" but I've always been happy with stay-set x double braid for running rigging.

I'm having the boat hauled Monday for maintenance and upgrades. I'm going to try 8 plait for anchor rode but I think I've seen some reports of 8 plait being used for running rigging. It definitely has a good feel

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Old 22-04-2015, 16:44   #9
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Re: What Cordage for Sheets?

I really like the new Samson DPX single braid. It is a dyneema-polyester blend line that is low-cost, but low stretch. It's single braid is extremely easy on the hand and easy to splice. Good prices at Defender.
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Old 22-04-2015, 17:19   #10
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Re: What Cordage for Sheets?

I am going to disagree with the pack and say go for a mid/high-tech line. E.g. Samson MLX. You can go down from 5/8" (16mm) to 1/2" (12mm) so the cost won't be too much more.
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Old 22-04-2015, 17:33   #11
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Re: What Cordage for Sheets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cabo_sailor View Post

..............stay-set x double braid for running rigging.
I've found that to be the absolutely worst line ever made by NER.

Stay Set [regular] is great, but not for halyards, use Samson.

But SS-X sucks. It's like trying to grip a line made out of fiberglass or sandpaper.
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Old 22-04-2015, 18:08   #12
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Re: What Cordage for Sheets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cabo_sailor View Post
Not even close to being an "expert" but I've always been happy with stay-set x double braid for running rigging.

I'm having the boat hauled Monday for maintenance and upgrades. I'm going to try 8 plait for anchor rode but I think I've seen some reports of 8 plait being used for running rigging. It definitely has a good feel

Rich


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Don't like StaSet X because it's a very stiff line. They reduced stretch by making the inner core straight fibers not a braid. That makes the line stiff. Okay for halyards but wouldn't want to use it for running rigging.
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Old 22-04-2015, 18:12   #13
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Re: What Cordage for Sheets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SV Lift View Post
I am going to disagree with the pack and say go for a mid/high-tech line. E.g. Samson MLX. You can go down from 5/8" (16mm) to 1/2" (12mm) so the cost won't be too much more.
I'm with you, MLX is a beautiful rope, it's become my favorite for headsail sheets and furling lines... For a boat the size of the OP's, and the loads those sheets will see, I think going with a more 'ordinary' rope can be a mistake...

Quote:
Originally Posted by cabo_sailor View Post
I'm having the boat hauled Monday for maintenance and upgrades. I'm going to try 8 plait for anchor rode but I think I've seen some reports of 8 plait being used for running rigging. It definitely has a good feel

Rich
That might be a mistake, IMHO... 8 plait is great for rode, but depending on the material, might be a poor choice for sheets... If it's nylon, it will absorb water like crazy, and become very heavy... Valiants usually came equipped from the factory with massively oversided plait for jib and staysail sheets, and I hate those boats where it hasn't been swapped out for something better... :-)

If you like that sort of hand, and feel, consider Paul L's suggestion of DPX... Yale makes an equivalent which I like a bit better, they call it Ph.D Cruiser, seems a bit softer and more supple than Samson's... I use it for my mainsheet, it runs thru a multi-purchase setup beautifully, is a great choice for stuff like boom vangs and travelers... And if you want that sort of feel for headsail sheets, Ph.D or DPX would be a better choice than 8 plait, in my view... In addition, it's probably the easiest rope to splice I've ever seen...

http://www.yalecordage.com/pleasure-...d-cruiser.html
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Old 22-04-2015, 23:10   #14
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Re: What Cordage for Sheets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SV Lift View Post
I am going to disagree with the pack and say go for a mid/high-tech line. E.g. Samson MLX. You can go down from 5/8" (16mm) to 1/2" (12mm) so the cost won't be too much more.
But this is for headsail sheets on a large boat. Remember I have to handle these lines under many tons of load. 12mm??

They need to be as thick (16mm) and soft as possible, gripping the winch drum well so I can keep the sheets under control as I ease them under large loads.

The last thing I need is to make them smaller, I think, or more slippery.

What is this new "matte braid" which is now available? Anyone try it?
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Old 23-04-2015, 06:54   #15
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Re: What Cordage for Sheets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
But this is for headsail sheets on a large boat. Remember I have to handle these lines under many tons of load. 12mm??

They need to be as thick (16mm) and soft as possible, gripping the winch drum well so I can keep the sheets under control as I ease them under large loads.

The last thing I need is to make them smaller, I think, or more slippery.
Seems to me that smooth control of line on winches has less to do with how "slippery" the cover may or may not be, but is all about having the requisite number of turns on the winch to begin with...

Samson's MLX, for instance, has what most would regard as a smooth or somewhat 'slippery' finish, yet I find it holds in ratchet blocks and winches beautifully, it's all about having a sufficient number of turns on the drum... Actually, depending upon the surface finish of the particular winch drum, I find some of the softer rope with a more 'grippy' cover can be more problematic to ease smoothly under load, especially when wet... My MLX sheets wrapped on smooth, ribbed Andersen drums can be eased in a very controlled and smooth fashion - as long as you've taken enough turns, of course...

Plenty of boats larger than yours, and seeing far higher sheet loads, are using these hi-tech ropes with a smooth finish, after all... :-)
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