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Old 29-07-2021, 04:17   #1
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is good rope the same as expensive rope

There seems to be a general consensus that New England ropes are the best but they are also ungodly expensive.



Other manufacturers list tensil strengths for their product which are just as good as New England at far lower prices. Granted you have to buy a complete roll but in my case it is cheaper to buy a roll than 125 feet of New England.

I would think that manufacturers for safety gear, commercial fishing and logging industries would have to be held to at least as high a standards as the recreational marine industry. If their products failed people would die and that is not a good form of advertising not to mention the inevitable lawsuits. To be clear I am not talking about the stuff they sell in big box stores.



So the questions is how do you know? Is there a group somewhere that has tested this?


Re. use of the term rope. I have been informed that all cordage coming onto a boat is rope until it is assigned a use. This may be hooey but the individual who told me did so with an air of authority and he wasn't completely drunk.



thank you for your thoughts
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Old 29-07-2021, 04:50   #2
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Re: is good rope the same as expensive rope

New England, Samson, Marlow and Yale Cordage all belong in that top tier of brands. More have been added, a good overview is here: https://www.velasailingsupply.com/li...ines-by-brand/

I have used the South African and Italian lines as well and they were just as durable.
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Old 29-07-2021, 04:56   #3
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Re: is good rope the same as expensive rope

I'll agree on the big 4 brands all being good. Generally I buy any of them based on what I can find cheaper. Buccaneer makes decent stuff as well and is typically cheaper than the others, although I find their lines to be a bit on the soft side and not quite as durable as a result (for example, their double braid is a bit too snag prone, but feels great in hand).
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Old 29-07-2021, 05:18   #4
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Re: is good rope the same as expensive rope

There is more to "good rope" than breaking strength. Buy a piece of New England Rope and a piece of cheap rope (Walmart is a source) and feel and see the difference.

Besides the feeling and seeing, good rope is treated to retain it's qualities while cheap rope is not.

I recently had this revelation while handing over my credit card to pay for a marina slip:

I am paying twice what a top of the line dockline costs for one night's stay in a marina. If I can do that without blinking, why am I trying to save a few bucks on cheap dock lines when good dock lines could make the difference between saving and losing my boat during a storm?

When I returned home, I ordered four brand new New England Ropes dock lines.
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Old 29-07-2021, 06:11   #5
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Re: is good rope the same as expensive rope

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seapig View Post
I have been informed that all cordage coming onto a boat is rope until it is assigned a use.
While "rope" vs "line" vs "cordage" is one of the popular topics for sailors to gabble on about, yes, IMHO, it is rope until you assign it a particular purpose. Just like paint from the store is just paint until it becomes kitchen paint or living room paint.
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Old 29-07-2021, 06:17   #6
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Re: is good rope the same as expensive rope

The stretch, strength, abrasion resistance, UV resistance, and flexibility needs of the safety gear, commercial fishing, and logging industries may be different than what you need for boats. In particular I have heard that climbing rope is not suited for boats, and visa versa.
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Old 29-07-2021, 06:27   #7
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Re: is good rope the same as expensive rope

Teufelberger Rope. They now own NER. Also Cortland.

And then there are climbing rope manufacturers. Yale, Samson, and NER do this, but there are others where that is their specialty.


As for the "best" type of rope for each use, that depends on the use. We often try to make polyester double braid with a relatively loose spliceable cover do everything. In fact, it is simply a compromise in many applications.
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Old 29-07-2021, 09:53   #8
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Re: is good rope the same as expensive rope

Climbing rope is designed for a small number of loadings. It is designed to stretch and absorb energy in a fall. Old climbing rope is cheap as it is not useful for most load bearing applications. It is also very heavy and large for a given load rating.
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Old 29-07-2021, 10:31   #9
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Re: is good rope the same as expensive rope

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Climbing rope is designed for a small number of loadings. It is designed to stretch and absorb energy in a fall. Old climbing rope is cheap as it is not useful for most load bearing applications. It is also very heavy and large for a given load rating.
Also there are 2 general types of climbing rope: static & dynamic. Dynamic line is designed with a LOT of stretch and is intended to absorb shock loading from a climber falling. Static is much less stretchy.

Years ago a friend, who was also a volunteer fireman, rigged his boat with retired "climbing" line from the Fire Department. Turns out it was all dynamic line. It was quite amusing trying to sail the boat. A bit like rigging with rubber bands! No need to reef or trim for a gust...the sheet would just dissipate the load by stretching!
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Old 29-07-2021, 10:38   #10
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Re: is good rope the same as expensive rope

I never thought of using a stretchy sheet as a self adjusting sheet but I need to try that.
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Old 29-07-2021, 10:45   #11
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Re: is good rope the same as expensive rope

Back in my Navy days (about a quarter a century ago or so) "rope" was any linear cordage that was made of natural fibers, while "line" is any cordage that was made of synthetics. Hence, poly and nylon are "lines" (and to be keenly watched for snapback) while manila or cotton are "rope" (less likely to snap back as badly but prone to sudden parting under heavy loads as they rot internally) but who knows, these days??
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Old 29-07-2021, 10:55   #12
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Re: is good rope the same as expensive rope

Any of the big 4 brands make excellent rope but, as a sailor, I expect to pay higher prices for less stretch. So expensive lines are used as halyards and less expensive lines are used for sheets. For dock lines, I'd rather have oversize lines with thick covers for wear resistance on cleats but no stretchy nylon lines. They can be dangerous if they break.
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Old 29-07-2021, 11:29   #13
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Re: is good rope the same as expensive rope

What I am gathering from this discussion is that there really isn't any way of telling whether one company's product is any better than any other product.

Locally, Miami Cordage is sold by the skipper shop and appears quite popular. In the past (pre-boat) I had a good experience with Continental Western but my usage was not marine.

As to climbing rope. This is an area I have significant experience. Kermantle type climbing ropes are designed to stretch significantly to slow the fall and therefore not break the climber in half. In general after 15 leader falls a climbing rope should be retired. They would be useless on a boat.
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Old 29-07-2021, 12:35   #14
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Re: is good rope the same as expensive rope

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Climbing rope is designed for a small number of loadings. ...
You are posting about things you don't know. Not much point in that.

Climbing rope has a better fatigue life than any other type of nylon rope (you can google this). What you are misunderstanding is that they are only rated for a small number of very specific shocks, so severe that very, very few non-climbing ropes can survive even one.

Many people have used it for anchor rode and dock lines. World cruisers have documented that it is the the best material for anchor snubbers, which is clearly a many-cycle application.

Is it good for most things? No, too stretchy. But saying that it is suitable for only a few loadings is comically incorrect and poorly researched. It has a very high fatigue life.


Climbing ropes are not rated for strength. Don't know where you got your figures. However, per diameter, it is about the same strength and weight as other quality nylon rope. There are no tricks to that.
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Old 29-07-2021, 12:46   #15
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Re: is good rope the same as expensive rope

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... In general after 15 leader falls a climbing rope should be retired. They would be useless on a boat.

I started climbing 40 years ago and just got back from some cragging. Many thousands of pitches and perhaps 1000 falls.



No. After 15 real whippers (high fall factor, as much as 1:1) it should be retired. 15 typical sport leader falls (10 foot fall with 50 feet of rope out) might be considered a busy day for someone working a project, and is not very strenuous for the the rope. 20 days like that is certainly OK. The impact force is not great, no more than 10% of the breaking strength. Do you believe gyms replace the lead ropes every few days? Heck no. Months and months, until they get fuzzy.


The real factor is weather the rope got over a sharp rock edge or a carabiner got worn sharp. That is how they fail.
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