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Old 08-04-2019, 10:40   #1
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What type of rope is this?

I just replaced my mainsail halyard and I'd like to identify the old line to know whether it might reasonably be repurposed.

It's a braided 8 mm rope with a red cover with blue, white, and black tracers (two blue, one white, and one half-white, half black, all sequential parallel threads) over a core of white and beige-y yellow fibres. It's of unknown age. Parts of it were quite stiff and it clearly had never been swapped end-to-end, so part of it is showing its age and part looks reasonably good.

Photo attached (after rope has been through the gentle cycle in the washing machine).

Would be grateful if anyone can ID it.
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Old 08-04-2019, 10:48   #2
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Re: What type of rope is this?

If the line is mission critical then I would not use it given you do not know its breaking strength. It might have a Kevlar or Spectra core or it might be from Home Depot....who knows? It might make good fender line or be good for something else that is non-critical.
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Old 08-04-2019, 11:21   #3
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Re: What type of rope is this?

My rule of thumb on unknown line is, don't use it anywhere where its a failure will cause significant loss or damage.
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Old 08-04-2019, 12:04   #4
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Re: What type of rope is this?

It looks like normal polyester line with a breaking strength probably exceeding 1500 lbs.

I just replaced my jib and main halyards and they were about 15 years old as far as I know, but I never met the PO so the could be older.

They were caked with dirt from the boat being left on the hard unattended for 5 years. After I bought the boat, I removed them and soaked them in the bath tub and had used them since.
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Old 08-04-2019, 12:15   #5
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Re: What type of rope is this?

I have already replaced it for exactly those reasons. Did not want to have it fail in use. My observation is that the boat's previous owner does not look to have skimped on anything in the past, so I suspect the running rigging in general is all quality stuff, but the mainsail halyard did make me nervous.

I replaced it with 8 mm Marlow Doublebraid (2560 kg / 5650 lbs breaking load), which should be fine for my 24 m^2 mainsail. Not ideal for stretch, but, you know, $$$. And old stretchy sails.

At any rate "reasonable repurposing" here looks like fender lines or sail ties or the like. I'd still like to know what it is though, out of curiosity, if anyone recognizes it. Core is 8 strand white braid with some yellowish beige fibres.
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Old 08-04-2019, 14:27   #6
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Re: What type of rope is this?

Hi, Codger,

Why not take the line to a rigger and ask there? Most of them recognize line on sight. I have not seen that color pattern, myself. If it is spectra core, it's eminently usable, just end for end it. If it's climbing rope, (comes in colors and patterns one does not see for sailboat usage) too stretchy for a main halyard, so probably isn't, but if it were, suitable for non-critical usage.

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Old 08-04-2019, 15:19   #7
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Re: What type of rope is this?

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Why not take the line to a rigger and ask there?
Hi Ann,

You're probably right that's what I'll have to do... I was hoping to short circuit the process by asking here! But if, as you suggest it could be, it was a non-standard rope from a non-sailing application, unlikely it will be recognised.

Cheers
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Old 08-04-2019, 15:27   #8
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Re: What type of rope is this?

Cut off 1-foot, pull out a few strands (cover and core) and break them. Allow for the knots you tied to make loop in each end.

A halyard with a bad spot often makes good sheets and barber hauler lines.


If the core is Kevlar (yellow threads are possible) it is not trustworthy (fatigue). Test by melting (Kevlar chars without melting).


Easy, no guessing.
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Old 08-04-2019, 17:20   #9
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Re: What type of rope is this?

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If the core is Kevlar (yellow threads are possible) it is not trustworthy (fatigue). Test by melting (Kevlar chars without melting).


Easy, no guessing.
The core is a plait of 8 strands. Each strand composed of about half white fibres and half beige fibres. I just took the torch to it, and the white fibres melted while the beige ones charred. I guess it's a type of blended core?
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Old 09-04-2019, 03:21   #10
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Re: What type of rope is this?

The white/beige combo in my experience is usually a blend of high-tech fibers like technora, dyneema, Vectran, etc. Think Yale's "Aratech." Really good stuff, and usually re-spliceable, esp. if you end-for-end it. We do it all the time. If the cover is too stiff to easily re-splice, a rigger can replace a fathom or so of cover with a length of dyneema anti-chafe sleeve and make a nice transition back to the original cover. Unless the line is completely beat, it's probably worth saving.
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Old 09-04-2019, 16:17   #11
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Re: What type of rope is this?

Just don't use it to haul someone up the mast. Unless you go first. Some things require a conservative approach.
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Old 09-04-2019, 17:36   #12
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Re: What type of rope is this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benz View Post
The white/beige combo in my experience is usually a blend of high-tech fibers like technora, dyneema, Vectran, etc. Think Yale's "Aratech." Really good stuff, and usually re-spliceable, esp. if you end-for-end it. We do it all the time. If the cover is too stiff to easily re-splice, a rigger can replace a fathom or so of cover with a length of dyneema anti-chafe sleeve and make a nice transition back to the original cover. Unless the line is completely beat, it's probably worth saving.
Ummm, does someone cover this info simply in a book or website? I'd never heard these details before. Rope is still a complete mystery to me!
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Old 09-04-2019, 18:10   #13
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Re: What type of rope is this?

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Ummm, does someone cover this info simply in a book or website? I'd never heard these details before. Rope is still a complete mystery to me!
I don't know: I've never searched for how to do it--I just got it passed down from another rigger. None of it's a secret: I just haven't seen anyone bother to document it.
Wait, though: there's a book called "Splicing Modern Ropes," by some Dutch guy. I haven't read it, but perhaps it has what you need.
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Old 09-04-2019, 18:32   #14
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Re: What type of rope is this?

Replaced my halyards on the new boat and it was revealed that the splice was ONLY around the cover.

It is very important to know all of your equipment

Replacing the line for the halyard and using the extra as utility line somewhere else would be my suggestion.
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Old 09-04-2019, 20:54   #15
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Re: What type of rope is this?

To test it cut off about 4ft and put a fig8 knot in both ends. Tie one end to a strong point such as a supstantial tree branch and tie weight of 80kg to the other end. Now lift the weight to level withe anchoed end and drop it. Keep doing this until it breaks. 3 plus drops is acceptable. 5 plus is good and severn is near new. If part of the rope was in the mast and part open to the weather mabe test both.
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