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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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Old 10-10-2002
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Price & Quality of Rope

In searching for new lines for my 35'' cruiser/racer i notice that everyone is keen to sell New England or Yale. Almost as though nothing else exists. As such the prices from these manufacturers are way above reality for what they are selling.

In the search for alternatives I''ve been looking at Novatec and Samson lines. Does anyone have any experience with these manufacturers?

They seem to sell high end product at 25% of the price of Yale/New England. In looking at the specs of their polyester and dacron lines, the manufacture and design are extremely similar. Admittedly they don''t sell ultra high end spectra, etc, but at $4 per foot who buys that other than the America''s Cup contenders.

Finally, the majority of boats out there are racing with polyester lines that are many years old and still giving good results. Why this recent pitch that one must have ultra high end products at extraodinary prices in order to be competitive?
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Price & Quality of Rope

Here''s the deal on high tech halyards, you can typically go two to three sizes smaller with high tech halyards and still have less stretch. As a result they get pretty less expensive than they might appear at first glance. For example, I bought a just under 100 foot halyard in Technora 900 last summer for $225 including the splice and two sacrificial cover splices. The proper diameter polyester was roughly $180 with the splices. For the price of a good meal I ended with a lower stretch halyard and less friction to overcome when I raise the sail. Given the long life of modern halyards, the extra cost is something less than $5 to 10 dollars a year and well worth it. Especially if you intend to race.

While a line like Stayset ''X'' works fine for most smaller cruising boats, conventional polyester is stretchy enough to be a little dangerous. In a gust the halyard loads increase rapidly and the halyards stretch accordingly. In doing so they can power up the sails quickly. This results in an increased weather helm and heeling.

High tech line is almost mandatory if you want to take advantage of higher tech mainsails and jibs. The real advantage of radially cut sails, in polyester or kevlar is a greatly reduced stretch during a gust. This means that far less trimming is needed to maintain maximum speed and minimum heeling. You really are not able to take advantage of the sail''s lower stretch characteristics if the halyards are stretching and allowing the sails to power up.

One thing that I strongly recommend on any halyard is an sacrificial extra cover. This is stitched over the halyard at high chafe areas such as a stoppers and at the mast sheeve. It allows the stoppers to get a better grip on the halyard and also reduces both fatigue and chafe so that halyard lasts much longer. For example Laser 28 halyards went 14 years.

Jeff
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Old 10-11-2002
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Price & Quality of Rope

Nathan:

I don''t race but I do count on halyards and sheets lasting a long time and being easy to live with, day after day. Here''s a ''shopping method'' I''d suggest using: open up 2 windows in your browser and alternate between a retailer''s product choices (e.g. Defender) and the product manufacturer''s web site to gather elongation and breaking strength data, building a little table on a scratch piece of paper as you collect price vs. performance data for the line size(s) you''re needing. When doing this recently, I ended up being amazed at what a great buy Samson line from Defender is. Their XLS line, designed to compete with NER''s Sta-Set, has almost half the elongation, similar strength and is far cheaper. That''s how I ended up choosing Samson genoa sheets two years ago, which have held up well in constant use in the Caribbean. This time my plan was altered a bit by a huge discount offered by Sailnet on NER''s Sta-Set X, a line I find unfriendly to handle but which performs well. But shopping the data made a big impression on me about what ultimately was a good buy.

Jack
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Price & Quality of Rope

Jack,
where are you located in the caribbean?
eric
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Price & Quality of Rope

Eric:

Returned several months ago from pretty much everywhere, Eastern, Central and Western (but not the south side, Columbia/Panama).

Jack
WHOOSH, currently lying St. Pete, FL
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