The likelihood is that the four most commonly known and used ropes available today are nylon, polyester, polypropylene and dyneema. When we're done, we would like you to understand the basic characteristics of each and how you might use them.
Nylon is perhaps the best known of the synthetic fibers used on boats today. The two most common types in use for recreational boating today and 3 strand nylon and double braid nylon.
3 strand nylon has been around longer and is less expensive. 3 strand nylon is extremely strong. It also has the ability to stretch up to 25% of its length before it actually breaks. You will find that this ability to stretch is a plus especially for mooring pendants and anchor lines. The stretching allows for an unexpected strong force pulling on your boat to be adjusted too as the nylon line elongates rather than breaks. You will find many experienced boaters and professional seaman prefer 3 strand nylon for this reason.
Double braid nylon has a "loosely braided" core and a "tightly" braided cover. It is basically a rope in a rope. It is stronger but does not stretch as much as 3 strand nylon. This means that it will break (relatively) more quickly because it does not have the give that 3 strand nylon rope has.
Nylon is best for docking, mooring and anchoring because of the reasons mentioned above. No one wants to spend more money than they need to, so why not just buy the cheapest nylon you can find? This might be OK if all boats were being secured in calm water. You all know this isn't the case. Not all nylon is created equally. You should be sure to select the right nylon line for your application. Often you will find your harbor master or boaters who are familiar with the waters you will be navigating are a great help in making a selection.
Polyester is strong rope, although not as strong as nylon, nor does it stretch as much as nylon. It actually stretches very little and it is used as sail control line very often because of this characteristic. It also has a very soft feel and is preferred by many sailors because of this.
Newer hi tech parallel core polyester is used for sail halyards because for all practical purposes, it doesn't stretch at all and keeps the sails where you set them.
Polypropylene comes in two flavors. One is plain old polypropylene. It’s light, it tends to feel hard. It floats. It is not very strong. It’s great for lines to life rings and it’s plenty strong to pull someone in to safety.
The second is called MFP, multifilament polypropylene. It is usually available as single strand or abraided. It’s light, it’s soft, it floats and it is very strong. It is often used by professional rescue towing companies. It’s easy to handle and since it floats, it avoids under water tangles.
Dyneema is the latest entry in synthetic fiber rope that has caught on. It is by far the strongest of the synthetic ropes available. It is very low stretch and it floats. What's the catch? You may have guessed the answer. It is very expensive. Its tremendous stability and strength make it great for special use in hi-tech applications.
Everyone at Master Marine Lines hopes you found this information of some value. If you have any questions, just let us know - email@example.com
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