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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 02-02-2011
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dock line construction/measurements

I have a question about how dock lines are made and measured. When I look at the dock lines on my boat (they came with the boat), they are 0.71" as measured with calipers. They have 2 strands each of 2 colors arranged side by side (the same color next to itself) in what appears to be a braid pattern -- this is double braid, right? I noticed my jib sheets look exactly the same, except they use 3 strands -- would this be 3 strand line? Both types of line I have appear to have an outer sheath over some kind of inner core. I can't see the construction of the core because the ends are fused to prevent unravelling. Now here's the really big question... since 0.71" is about exactly between 5/8" and 3/4", which do you think is the original size of the line? If we measure dock line thickness by just the core and not the sheath, I'd believe they're 5/8", but if the sheath is measured too, then probably it is 3/4" that has gotten thinner due to stretching/age. I'm trying to figure out what size to buy for some more dock lines, and since both of those sizes seem sufficient for my boat (37', 19500lbs), I'd like to get ones that match the existing ones. I'm looking at double braid from west marine because they have a deal going on. Thanks.
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Three strand laid line is this:



Double braid lines usually look like this:



Single Braid lines usually look like this:



Notice the heavier strands in the single braid and three-strand laid lines.

BTW, laid lines should only be coiled clockwise and have a twist added to form a neat coil. The twise also helps prevent them from hockling and kinking when you uncoil them.

Braided lines should be coiled in a figure-eight type loop so that they don't get twisted up when you uncoil them.

How are you measuring the lines? You have to measure them when the line is not being stretched and not being compressed. I would guess you've got 3/4" lines. Given the weight and length of your boat, I'd recommend getting 3/4" dock lines at a minimum. Ideally, you'd be better off with 1" docklines for storm conditions and such...but they can be hard to handle.

I wouldn't buy docklnes from WM, even at 25% off..since they're very expensive compared to other retailers. I'd recommend using RWRope.com in New Bedford, Mass., instead. They're much more reasonably priced and have a much better selection. Talk to Paul down there and tell him Dan with the Telstar sent you.

BTW, double braid lines are nice for cleats and such, but the three-strand lines are better if you're tying up to pilings and such, since the rough surface tends to pick the strands out of the double braids more readily than it does three-strand lines.

You'll probably want some 25' lines for breast lines, 35' lines for bow and stern lines, and 50' lines for springs lines. I'd recommend color-coding the lines so you know what length a line is just by looking at it.
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Last edited by sailingdog; 02-02-2011 at 10:23 AM.
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If you are thinking about the length, some seemingly wise person told me that your bow line should be put on the bow cleat and led aft. Finish it about two feet short of the propeller.

Rik
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Thanks for the explanation. I guess both my dock lines and my sheets are double braid. I have some three-strand line that I use for backup dock lines right now, but it's probably too small for that job, and I really don't like it... it's hard to work with, and ugly. After I made my first post, I checked prices on Defender and they're quite a bit cheaper even after WM's discount. I just checked out RWRope, but they don't list prices on their website. As a rule, I try to avoid doing business with companies that don't list prices.
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Another good source for Rope

Hamilton Marine in Searsport and POrtland Maine is another good source for Rope. They buy alot factory overruns and have huge piles of it in stock- I saw everything from 3/8 inch to 2 inch (and probably bigger) there. The wave a website Welcome To Hamilton Marine. I've never bought Docklines cheaper!


quote=rmeador;693676]Thanks for the explanation. I guess both my dock lines and my sheets are double braid. I have some three-strand line that I use for backup dock lines right now, but it's probably too small for that job, and I really don't like it... it's hard to work with, and ugly. After I made my first post, I checked prices on Defender and they're quite a bit cheaper even after WM's discount. I just checked out RWRope, but they don't list prices on their website. As a rule, I try to avoid doing business with companies that don't list prices.[/quote]
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Just a thought:

Have you considered buying a bulk length from RWRope or Hamilton or New England ropes or sopme other good source and making your own.

Benefits could include:
  • learning how to do an eye splice (not rocket science and a worthwhile thing to know)
  • Probably cheaper
  • Probably get the length you want (measure twice and order once)
  • Probably learn how to do a proper job on an end whipping.

Just a thought.

Rik
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmeador View Post
Thanks for the explanation. I guess both my dock lines and my sheets are double braid. I have some three-strand line that I use for backup dock lines right now, but it's probably too small for that job, and I really don't like it... it's hard to work with, and ugly. After I made my first post, I checked prices on Defender and they're quite a bit cheaper even after WM's discount. I just checked out RWRope, but they don't list prices on their website. As a rule, I try to avoid doing business with companies that don't list prices.
One reason they don't list their prices is that they do a lot of custom work at very reasonable prices. A majority of their work is custom and they're very good at it. We had a 35' anchor bridle made up for my friend's catamaran while we waited. 3/4" megaplait line with a locking brummel splice and thimble in the center for far less than a shorter, off-the-shelf bridle was at Defender.

In 2009, I bought a spool of 600' 3/8" spectra cored line for less than $.80/foot, which is comparable to T-900 and that was going for $2.00/ft.
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a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Last edited by sailingdog; 02-02-2011 at 11:27 AM.
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