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post #1 of 13 Old 05-17-2013 Thread Starter
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Best line for jib sheets

I have the need to change out my jib sheets on my Hunter 450 (9/16" line). I would appreciate any input on rope selection. I am really not current on what is out there these days. I will also be changing out my furling line as well as others over the next year. Is there a lot of difference in the manufacturers' products? Also, ideas for shopping the material would be great.

Thanks all !
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post #2 of 13 Old 05-17-2013
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Best line for jib sheets

I recently changed mine (old hunter 40) and downsized to 3/8" and went with staset x - works well for me and still grips nicely in my oversized genoa winches. The lighter weight helps with light air days.
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post #3 of 13 Old 05-17-2013
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Re: Best line for jib sheets

Buy used line from eBay - there are plenty of great deals there right now as boats are being parted out.
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post #4 of 13 Old 05-17-2013
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Re: Best line for jib sheets

9/16" is heavy and will weigh down your sail's clew in light winds. However that handles nicely on the winch.

I'd probably size down a bit. More money on line generally buys less stretch and sometimes lighter weight. Less stretch isn't a major issue for jib sheets, they see the highest loads when close hauled and then the working length of the line is so short that stretch isn't much of an issue. From that point of view using New England Ropes Sta-Set or Samson XLS is fine. I don't think there is much benefit to moving up a level to Sta-Set X or XLS Extra, but it also isn't that much more money.

Furling lines also don't need to be high tech.

When you start changing out halyards, main sheets and reefing lines you'll find benefit in the high tech low stretch lines.

I made some high tech jib sheets for my Pearson which are Samson Amsteel Blue spliced into Sta-Set X. The transition between the two happens right where the sheet ends up on the winch when close hauled. This is complete overkill on a cruising boat, but does make for a lighter sheet that doesn't weigh down the sail clew too much. This same splice works very nicely for halyards and reefing lines.

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post #5 of 13 Old 05-17-2013
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Re: Best line for jib sheets

I recently replaced all of the running rigging on my Gulf 29. It had 3/8 inch white jib sheets and swapped them out with bright red 1/2 inch sheets. I am very happy. The fatter ropes are easier on my hands and grip better on the winch. They are the only red lines on the boat, which cuts down on confusion especially when I have have inexperienced sailors on board.

My philosophy is to buy the most affordable marine grade line that does the job. If I was a racer, rich, or both I might spring for the fancy stuff.

I am skeptical about lighter jibs sheets having better light air performance because the material that the jib is made out of is so heavy. This is something you normally only worry about with spinnakers.

I am skeptical about about buying used lines online because they are not that much cheaper and in the world of sailing, new running rigging is relatively cheap.
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post #6 of 13 Old 05-17-2013
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Re: Best line for jib sheets

I'd highly recommend New England Rope VPC. It's strong, easy to handle, grips winches well, wears well, and has good stretch and UV resistance. lts performance is one step above dacron double braid and it's much easier to handle than Sta-set X. The max diameter is 1/2" but the tensile strength is 10,200#
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post #7 of 13 Old 05-18-2013
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Re: Best line for jib sheets

I'd go with thicker line for jib sheets. 1/2" or more. The thicker line is much easier on the hands if you're constantly trimming in a race. If you have a self tailing winch, you need to make sure it fits comfortably in the slot.

High tech lines are a good option for halyards as they stretch less. Maybe not quite as important for jib sheets. I use double braid poly for jib sheets and spectra for halyards.

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post #8 of 13 Old 05-18-2013
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Re: Best line for jib sheets

I completely agree with Chism33. You can make a case for low stretch line for halyards, but it's irrelevant for jib sheets. In actuality I doubt low stretch halyards are worth the cost either unless you do race, and then what's the real difference anyway?

Your sheets diameter should be as large as your blocks and winches can handle as it's much easier on your hands. My main sheet is 5/8" double braid nylon and note that catamarans have higher loads on their mainsail than monohulls as we do not and can not heel.

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post #9 of 13 Old 05-18-2013
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Re: Best line for jib sheets

Maybe I am old fashioned, but I like Regatta Braid for sheets since it is so easy on the hands.

Back home on Lake Ontario after something over 36,000 nm circumnavigator. Not surprisingly there is a lot of stuff I want to get done on Ainia both cosmetically and functionally. Getting an early start so it will be ready to go for next summer (Lake Superior?).
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post #10 of 13 Old 05-18-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Best line for jib sheets

I really appreciate all of your comments! Thanks for taking the time. Also, there were a lot of good points made which gave me much to consider in selecting. I'm cruising these days and so racing issues were left largely out other than finding them interesting that some of you guys are splicing two different line types on jib sheets...wow! I really don't miss racing. It reminds me of the days when the skipper I was crewing for made us empty our pockets (wallets and all) before getting aboard for a race!

I decided to stay with the largest line which is rated for my self-tailing winches - 9/16 - mainly because I am interested in comfort particularly in heavier winds in which I tend to enjoying sailing. I tried to research each of the brands mentioned as well as a few others I ran across. I am convinced there are a lot of good options out there. FWIW - I settled on Cajun Rope's XLE which seems to have highly similar specs to Samson's XLS and New England's Sta Set. And, for the purposes of a cruiser, I think it should work well. Plus, the Cajun is priced better which is nice. I actually decided to change out the jib sheets, traveler lines, and roller furling line, all with the same XLE line type. I did use starboard and port color flecks and a bright blue furling line. Thanks again for helping out!
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