Boats used to have wire/rope sheets as well. And boats were made of wood with sails that wouldn't hardly go to winward, but thankfully, we've evolved.
What's the breakdown for your boat? What does the wire cost compared to a rope replacement? You said it is a pretty big step, how much? I never felt that it was a big jump up from wire to rope.
Merit 25 # 764 "Audrey"