Rope is available in a variety of materials and variations. The make-up or construction of the rope will determine its strength, abrasion resistance, ease of use, and ultimately its price.
Boat Hut can source a range of high quality rope to suit almost any scenario. The key is to choose the
right one for the right job; the following guide will help you make the correct choice.
Nylon: The strongest, most accessible rope material, it excels in absorbing energy. Even though it is quite strong it loses about 15% of its strength when wet. This should be factored into the selection decision for applications where the rope will be exposed to water. Nylon rope is very dense and sinks in water. It is the pick of the rope for a host of applications because it has high U.V., heat and abrasion resistance which increases the ropes life.
Polypropylene: A synthetic rope that is strong for its weight. It has reduced U.V. and abrasion resistance qualities and thus also has a reduced life span. It is however, generally one of the most popular choices simply
due to its price point. Its best feature is its ability to float. This rope is a good choice for short term or indoor applications.
Polyester: Almost as strong as nylon, but does not lose strength when wet. Polyester has a high resistance to
abrasion, U.V. and heat. The main difference between nylon and polyester is the elasticity; nylon stretches significantly more than polyester. Nylon is more appropriate for applications where slight stretch is desirable, such as docking lines.
Similarly, polyester line is more appropriate for applications where stretch is not desired, such as sheets and halyards on sail boats.
Polyethylene: Polyethylene rope, commonly known as silver rope, has positive buoyancy (floats) and its
tensile strength remains the same dry or wet. It is slightly heavier than polypropylene rope and it has lower breaking strength compared to a high tenacity polyethylene rope. It generally has superior abrasion resistance compared to polypropylene rope and is commonly used in commercial fishing, general marine and industrial applications.
Twisted rope: Twisted rope is formed by coiling three strands together in the same direction. The fibres within each of the three strands must twist in the opposite direction to the corresponding strands. This ultimately results in producing a balanced rope, which means it hangs straight and resists kinking. Twisted rope must be fused and taped on each end to prevent unravelling. The direction of twist is called the lay of the rope. Three strand twisted line can be ‘laid’ right or left, and should always be coiled with the lay of the line.
Twisted rope is more stiff but less flexible than braided rope. It is fairly easy to splice and generally less expensive. It has more stretch and thus when used as an anchor line it tends to absorb a portion of the load placed on it from wind and wave action. This allows the anchor to remain set rather than pulling free.
Braided rope: Braid is constructed in various ways, but generally by weaving ends of yarn over and under. Most braided ropes are constructed around a braided core and are commonly known as double braid. If a core does not exist, the rope is called ‘hollow braid’. The leading feature of hollow braided rope is its ability to splice easily.
Solid braid is tightly woven which produces a firm and rounded construction. The unique lock-stitch construction prevents unravelling when damaged. Solid braided rope is especially useful when abrasion is a factor, for instance when working with pulleys. Solid braid due to its construction, cannot be spliced. Braided rope does not stretch to the degree that twisted rope does, it is less stiff and more flexible. It goes through a pulley or block very well because of its rounded shape, and is generally stronger than its equivalent-sized twisted line. Braided line also tends to snag when used as docking line if the pilings are rough. It does have an aesthetic appearance and if you are using it frequently, will find it easier on the hands. Braided rope is often more expensive than twisted rope.