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Old 26-07-2014, 13:43   #1
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Best Long Lasting Docklines?

I started last season ('13) with new docklines that I bought as a Boat Show Special the previous fall. These are double-braid nylon that were oh-so-nice to handle at first. I was happy. Over six months they got stiff and hard, almost to the point of not being able to coil them, and getting the spliced loop out of a cleat was a struggle. My wife hates them.

So back to the fall boat show and the company was there. I talked to them about it and they recommended cleaning and using fabric softener. I tried that this spring and the lines started off a little more manageable, but not anymore.

Clearly I got what I paid for. Argh.

Meanwhile I still have the old lines that came with the boat and they are still soft and supple, although chafed and old. I don't know what brand they are, but I sure would like to.

So I'm looking for a reliable source for 3/4" double braid that will last a good number of years (not counting chafe). It's impossible to know when reading catalog descriptions, or even user reviews which are always about new lines. Who has lines at least a few years old that are still soft and supple, and where did you buy them? Do you know the manufacturer?

Thanks,

JR
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Old 26-07-2014, 14:35   #2
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Re: Best long lasting docklines?

R + W Ropeworks dartmouth/ new bedford mass. Have everything you could want. Very helpfull and they ship anywhere.
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Old 26-07-2014, 14:40   #3
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Re: Best long lasting docklines?

I tend to like the 3 strand better. But it will get hard over time too. It may be a nature of the beast. I actually prefer it to stiffen up a bit... albeit not too much. it usually does that if left in the same position for a long time.
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Old 26-07-2014, 15:08   #4
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Re: Best long lasting docklines?

Double braid does not stand up well to abrasion. Have had to replace two lines in a pretty sheltered marina because the outer cover abraded away where it made occasional contact with dock. The old 3 strand lines didn't have this issue but then they weren't so pretty and supple. Might try 6-8 strand line. Think they call it Brait. Supposedly nearly as good as three strand for abrasion resistance and they remain supple. Used as the tail of my anchor line and it flakes down in a very small pile because it's so supple.
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Old 26-07-2014, 16:46   #5
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Re: Best long lasting docklines?

In addition to chafe gear...

Treat wear areas with Yale Maxijacket. I've done a bunch of lab and field testing and it will increase wear in such applications 5-10 times. Ropes and Knots has it in $8 containers.

I wouldn't have believed it either. Try it. Not as good as real gear, but fits more places.
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Old 26-07-2014, 17:42   #6
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Re: Best long lasting docklines?

Nylon is nice as it stretches. But it goes in the sun. Dacron lasts ...

Still, I would use black or blue nylon.

There are specialty docking ropes made by some makers. Not tried out yet here.

b.
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Old 26-07-2014, 18:02   #7
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Re: Best long lasting docklines?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
In addition to chafe gear...

Treat wear areas with Yale Maxijacket. I've done a bunch of lab and field testing and it will increase wear in such applications 5-10 times. Ropes and Knots has it in $8 containers.

I wouldn't have believed it either. Try it. Not as good as real gear, but fits more places.
Did you meant to say it decreases wear??
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Old 26-07-2014, 18:19   #8
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Re: Best long lasting docklines?

Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
Did you meant to say it decreases wear??
This and much more testing (hundreds of samples) was done for a series of Practical Sailor articles, but I just had to pass this bit along. It was such a surprise. I like the clear version best, since the colored versions tend to rub off a little.

Yes, obviously. I meant that it increases wear endurance, since that is how it was measured. Thanks for requesting clarification.

Sail Delmarva: Want Your Ropes to Wear Like Iron? Maxijacket!

http://www.knotandrope.com/Store/pc/MaxiJacket-c88.htm

I use carabiners to deflect the dock lines under my tender, and chafing gear is problematical; it tends to shift or to bunch-up under the biner, or simply wear out. For this sort of no-sharp-edge wear, Maxijacket is much handier and can wear nearly as well as chafe gear. The difference in appearance would be even greater, but both lines were used for 1 year before the trial started (2 years). Recently I was forced to put chafing gear on the first line, and now the chafe gear is as worn as the second line, in only 3 months!

No treatment.



Maxijacket.


Maxijacket is the lower product. Same wear time.
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Old 26-07-2014, 19:00   #9
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Re: Best Long Lasting Docklines?

Thanks for the input. My issue is about suppleness, not chafing, but the info here is useful. I searched Practical Sailor (subscriber) before starting this thread and didn't find anything useful about the life of dock lines. Do you have any specific links?


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Old 26-07-2014, 19:42   #10
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Re: Best Long Lasting Docklines?

If you stick with Samson or New England rope I'm sure you'll be pleased.
There are other brands out there, but I know these two make quality rope.
For a double braid I like Samson Super Strong.

If you end up with three strand, look for terms like "Pre-shrunk" or "Heat Stabilized".
Raw nylon will shrink and this causes the ropes to harden. Top quality nylon ropes have been heat treated so they won't shrink anymore in use. Good quality 3-strand feels stiffer than poor quality rope. Cheaply made rope can feel nicer than good rope on the spool but they chafe faster in the beginning and then get much harder as they age.
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Old 26-07-2014, 19:44   #11
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Re: Best Long Lasting Docklines?

Really, Samson and New England Ropes bothmake good products. I can only guess you were sold something bad. Try Defender Marine, though there are many good sources.
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Old 26-07-2014, 23:37   #12
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Re: Best Long Lasting Docklines?

We are going on five years and five hurricane seasons with NER black Mega Braid. It's a plaited line, and while it is getting close to needing replacement, it is by far my favorite dock line. Easy to coil, seems pretty impervious to chaff, and has never stiffened.
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Old 27-07-2014, 07:52   #13
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Re: Best Long Lasting Docklines?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HopCar View Post
If you stick with Samson or New England rope I'm sure you'll be pleased.
There are other brands out there, but I know these two make quality rope.
For a double braid I like Samson Super Strong.

FWIW, I have double braid both, and prefer the latter. The 3/4" Samson lines we have are too stiff for our tastes. Annual washing and treatment with fabric softener does help a bit, but these were stiff from the git-go, whereas the 3/4" NER lines have always been more pliable.

Another FWIW, I've also decided 3/4" is too big for our application. Partly because they're stiffer than 5/8", partly because it's just a bit much for our cleats... whereas the 5/8" lines work better and are easier to handle.

I was surprised to learn that color makes a difference in strength.

-Chris
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Old 27-07-2014, 08:47   #14
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Re: Best Long Lasting Docklines?

No matter what brand of dockline you choose, years can be added to the life of the line with the right chafe gear. You can select from leather, canvas or plastic - all have their place.
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Old 27-07-2014, 08:56   #15
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Re: Best Long Lasting Docklines?

Without much research this spring I replaced my 30+ year old double braid dock lines with 5/8 Samson Super Strong white lines.
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