New halyard: Sta-Set or Sta-Set X? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 46 Old 08-10-2014 Thread Starter
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New halyard: Sta-Set or Sta-Set X?

I am going to replace my mainsail halyard soon. Catalina specs 5/16" polyester, which is what's on there now. This time I am considering 5/16" (8 mm) Sta-Set X, but I have heard that it is stiff, which can make it difficult to pull through multiple blocks. My halyards are run to the cockpit, so in addition to the masthead block, I have a 90 turning block at the base of the mast, and another 45 cheek block to turn the line to the winch/clutch at the aft end of the cabin top. This is a bit more resistance than I would have with a winch directly on the mast, which I do not have.

For those of you who have used Sta-Set X, do you think I will have too much resistance pulling it through my turning blocks?


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1998 Catalina 250WK Take Five (at Anchorage Marina, Essington, on the Delaware River)
1994 Mason 44 Firefly on loan from my BFF (West River, Galesville, MD)
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post #2 of 46 Old 08-10-2014
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Re: New halyard: Sta-Set or Sta-Set X?

I used New England ropes VPC for halyards on my last boat and strongly preferred it to the Sta-Set-X I have on my current. The VPC was far less stiff and much more "winchable".
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post #3 of 46 Old 08-10-2014
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Re: New halyard: Sta-Set or Sta-Set X?

VPC works really well for a halyard, but if you are splicing a shackle and leave the core exposed, it will degrade in UV. Another option (although more expensive) is something with a dyneema core like Endura Braid. It's not an issue if you don't splice or can bury the core. Or you can stick with regular Sta-set and deal with the stretch... Sta-set x is definitely stiff and "coils like wire" I'm told.
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post #4 of 46 Old 08-10-2014
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Re: New halyard: Sta-Set or Sta-Set X?

I've found that low stretch in a halyard is the most important factor. If the sail loses its shape when wind causes the halyard to stretch, it has an adverse effect. There are better alternatives to Sta-Set, more expensive but probably worth the difference in price. Amsteel, covered where it contacts the winch is a good option and less expensive than some of the other high tech line. I replaced my main halyard with 3/8" Amsteel but spliced in less expensive 12 strand for the tail section (below the winch). If you are going a long way, back to the cockpit, stretch should definitely be a consideration.

My original halyard was wire with a Sta-Set tail. The tail was a pain in the butt to coil but worked well on the winch. It also lasted a long time and I still keep it as an emergency spare. A big plus for 12 strand is its ease of splicing. I have used Amsteel for lifelines as well. It has shown no signs of UV degradation in four years.

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post #5 of 46 Old 08-10-2014
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Re: New halyard: Sta-Set or Sta-Set X?

I have Stay-Set X for my halyards and like it for its relatively low stretch. When I got it, Stay-Set X was the top of the line. I'd use a dyneema product if Grand Prix racing, but that is not what I do. The problem with Stay-Set X is that it is very stiff and won't coil well. It starts stiff and stays stiff. Your tuning blocks should not be an issue because you'll overpower the stiffness with the winch. But coiling it in the cockpit (or trying to coil it) will drive you nuts, and it does not run free very well when dropping sail. If I were buying again today I'd buy VPC.
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post #6 of 46 Old 08-10-2014
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Re: New halyard: Sta-Set or Sta-Set X?

I bought Sta-Set X to use for my spinnaker halyard, for no other reason than to try it out. I found it to be way to stiff for my taste. I think that regular Sta-Set is a good choice for a general purpose use such as halyards and sheets.
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post #7 of 46 Old 08-10-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: New halyard: Sta-Set or Sta-Set X?

One other consideration that I forgot to mention: my winches are Lewmar 16ST's. This is not a big boat, so the winches are small, requiring a smaller radius wrap around the winch. Obviously the halyard is smaller also (5/16"), so that helps some.

It's sounding like Sta-Set X may be more hassle than it's worth, especially when my wife is pulling the halyard.


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1998 Catalina 250WK Take Five (at Anchorage Marina, Essington, on the Delaware River)
1994 Mason 44 Firefly on loan from my BFF (West River, Galesville, MD)
1991 15' Trophy (Lake Wallenpaupack)
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Re: New halyard: Sta-Set or Sta-Set X?

I replaced my main halyard with sta-set X some time ago and found it very difficult to splice into the shackle for the main sail. Ended up using some sort of knot. It is difficult to coil as others have mentioned and I'm not sure when it's time to replace if I will go that route again.
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post #9 of 46 Old 08-10-2014
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Re: New halyard: Sta-Set or Sta-Set X?

Mast height on a Catalina 250 is probably around 30 ft?

Add running through a couple of blocks to get to the cabin top winch maybe 35-40 ft of halyard under tension when the sail is hoisted?

Stretch on regular Sta-set is 2.8% under load, so that's 0.98 to 1.1 inch stretch under normal sailing loads.

You're not racing the boat, Sta-set is easier to coil, easier on the hands and costs about 20% less.

Can you detect the difference in sail shape that one inch would make?

I'd opt for something easier to handle.
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post #10 of 46 Old 08-10-2014
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Re: New halyard: Sta-Set or Sta-Set X?

Are you only considering NE Ropes? Samson XLS Extra is a better line than Sta-Set X and is generally cheaper as well. It is low stretch, has a nice feel, and is not as stiff as Sta-Set X. It comes in about 8 different colors, which is nice for differentiating lines.

VPC is nice too. It is higher strength than XLS Extra (5/16" breaking load is 5500lbs vs 3500lbs for XLS Extra), but also higher stretch (1.25% at 10% of breaking load on VPC, vs 0.8% at 20% of breaking load on XLS Extra). You won't come close to 3500lbs of load on the main halyard on your Catalina 250, so I think XLS Extra is a better choice. They are essentially the same price.

In general I've been happier with Samson products than NE Ropes products.
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