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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 01-25-2009
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3-Strand Polyester or Nylon

I'm shopping for 3-strand dock lines. Question is which can withstand UV better, Polyester or Nylon ? How to tell by look and feel which is which ?
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Old 01-25-2009
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Neither will withstand UV better than the other though, dacron will withstand abrasion much better than nylon. Appearance is very similar. If I recall correctly, you can tell the difference by burning the ends of each. Nylon burns a different color. I'm sorry that I don't remember the details more clearly.
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Old 01-25-2009
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The 3-strand I have will stiffen after some weeks under sun. I've seen big expensive boats using black 3-strand (3/4"-1") that stay subtle/soft throu its life. Impressive but I suppose expensive. I'm looking for "similar" but 1/2". Hopefully in affordable price range.
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Old 01-25-2009
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Nylon is generally preferred, as far as I can tell, for dock lines. I don't think there is a great deal of difference in strength, UV resistence, but nylon stretches more under a given load. This is advantageous to absorb shock. That said, one needs to take care when adjusting dock lines to accommodate the full range of tides (normal & wind) as well as wind conditions from any direction (including storms which can come on short notice). Next comes the question of double braided vs. three strand. I prefer double braided even though it is a bit more expensive, because it has less stretch than three strand...I'm trying to split the difference between polyester and nylon...some stretch for shock absorbing, not so much that I'm banging on the finger pier. Also, against those surprise storms that will damage your boat if a line chafes, I use two lines at the various locations. In my marina, it gets rough often and I see many people encounter some significant repair bills because of failed lines or improperly adjusted lines.
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Also, double braid does not get as hard over time as does three strand, so handling on cleats is easier, and I think looks a bit better. With my lines doubled up as above, I generally don't worry about any storms less than 60-70 mph. When adjusting length of lines, keep in mind that stretch in a storm is going to be more than when you are just routine tying up, so allow for that. I find that handling 2 1/2 inch lines is easier than a single big line, and if I do get chafe damage, it usually has been on one of the two lines, so replacement of one small line is less than a big line. Since I leave the lines at the pier, the extra lines don't cause any additional deck clutter. Doubling lines is cheap insurance if you pier is in a rough location.
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Old 01-25-2009
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Be aware that three-strand docklines are often better if you need to tie up to wooden pilings, as the double braids tend to bet picked apart by the splinters more than does three-strand laid lines.

Most docklines are usually nylon, mainly due to the stretch nylon has. Double braid nylon is a bit easier to handle, and doesn't have the tendency to hockle, like three-strand laid lines do. If you don't need to tie up to wooden pilings, get double braid nylon for your docklines.

Also, I highly recommend using woven cloth chafe protection, rather than hose, as one major cause of failure in docklines is from internal heat due to frictiion. Hose-type chafe guards prevent water from getting to the rope and soaking, lubricating and cooling it—woven fabric ones generally do not have this problem.
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Old 01-25-2009
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For mooring lines definitely go with nylon... the ride at a dock in any wash or slop at all is much softer due to nylon's stretch properties.. far fewer "gronks" and short fetch-ups with nylon over dacron/polyester.
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For me the advantage of three strand nylon is that I can splice it myself much more easily. I agree with the comments above that the main reason to use nylon is that it stretches and is therefore more likely to absorb some os the shock of sudden loading better than the dacron.
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I second SD on not using hose for chafe protection. Our boat came with a 2 foot piece that I used for awhile and kept an eye on. (It wasn't the only line holding us.). The nylon line that I ran throught the hose actually melted in spots.

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Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
... Also, I highly recommend using woven cloth chafe protection, rather than hose, as one major cause of failure in docklines is from internal heat due to frictiion. Hose-type chafe guards prevent water from getting to the rope and soaking, lubricating and cooling it—woven fabric ones generally do not have this problem.
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I berth on a floating finger slip. Like others around my marina, my docklines are not very tight to allow some free movement. However in times of bad weather with strong waves, the surge caused the boat to shock-bang as the boat dance. I broke 2 Double Braid (WM-New England) and 2 DB with built-in rubber snubbers and broke a mounting screw for 1 of the cleats. Now I tighten all docklines to have as little slack (to prevent surging) and I use 2x 1/2" 3-strand for each cleats. Only thing is I don't know what material the 3-strand is made of. I do know in 3 months time it'll harden. Thanks for the feedback, I'll shop for 3-strand nylon. How can I if tell the 3-strand is nylon ?
Is it shiny and smooth when new or should I see some lint/fibre on the surface ?
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