Softening Mooring Lines - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 06-24-2007
sestivers
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Softening Mooring Lines

Hello,

I've just returned to using my sailboat after two years of living in Japan. It's been moored in the Pacific Northwest in a protected saltwater harbor for the whole time. Needless to say it needs a lot of cleaning, which I have a good handle on.

However, my mooring lines, which I think are single-braided cotton (3-strand) are very stiff, presumably from being exposed for so long. What can I do to soften them up? They are in suitable condition as far as strength and I am not concerned about them snapping or anything. But I hate having to get the lines wet just so they loosen up enough to coil the excess length.

I've thought about bringing them home and washing them in hot water with a lot of fabric softener... but I don't have any clue if that will help anything.

p.s. I'd rather have stiff lines than new lines - there are too many other things I'd rather spend the money on, even if it's only $30.
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Old 06-24-2007
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camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough
You don't need the fabric softener...just throw em in the washer with soap.
They are nylon...not cotton.
NOTE: NYLON DEGRADES IN SUNLIGHT over time and loses much strength. If these are docklines in a protected harbor...probably no big deal...but if they are MOORING lines holding your boat to a mooring in a harbor...I'd suggest spending the $30 bucks.
Kon-bawa!
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Old 06-24-2007
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sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice
I'd spend the money on new lines...since you don't know how damaged these lines are from being used for two years mostly unattended. Nylon weakens with UV exposure. It also weakens if strained too hard or overheated—both of which can happen in a bad storm. If the nylon is dry and worked under severe load, it can heat up enough heat-damage or even fuse the inner strands... which basically ruins it strength-wise.
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Old 06-24-2007
sestivers
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Okay, I am in a very protected freshwater slip now with no chance of storms for a few months (we don't get thunderstorms around here). But I'll probably just get new lines anyway based on your recommendations. $30 is a lot better than a hole in my boat (or someone else's!).

Is there a thumb rule for how much line strength I need based on the weight of my boat (it's 3500 pounds)? West Marine says 1/8-inch of line diameter for each 9 feet of boat length.

Last edited by sestivers; 06-24-2007 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 06-24-2007
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My dock half in 3 strand dock lines were fine after 6 years, 9000 lb boat. Just wash them if you don't like them stiff. Mooring lines would be a different mater as they get subjected to high loads which also weakens them.
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Old 06-24-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sestivers
Okay, I am in a very protected freshwater slip now with no chance of storms for a few months (we don't get thunderstorms around here). But I'll probably just get new lines anyway based on your recommendations. $30 is a lot better than a hole in my boat (or someone else's!).

Is there a thumb rule for how much line strength I need based on the weight of my boat (it's 3500 pounds)? West Marine says 1/8-inch of line diameter for each 9 feet of boat length.
If you do decide to replace them, here's a place that has some fair prices and quality stuff:

eBay Store - Discount Rope and Line: Industrial, Arborists Lines, Marine
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