Even the best of ropes can prove to be disappointing in terms of durability if it is not used and maintained in a correct manner. There are times when just a little bit more attention will reward you with great satisfaction, both in terms of durability and performance. Boat handlers often underestimate the importance of washing salt water out of the line or of removing the ropes during the winter months. Furthermore, contact with abrasive parts of the deck can cause rapid deterioration to the cover of the ropes if left undetected. So here it is: the Armare guide to how and what to check when dealing with on-board equipment. Follow this guide to a long life guarantee for your running rigging.
There are no hardset rules when it comes to choosing a rope. Many things have to be taken into consideration; eg, the type of boat, the on board equipment, the types of manouvre and the use to which the rope will be subjected. But in general technical ropes will not perform miracles on boats which do not necessitate their use and, on the other hand, cutting back on quality, in order to reduce the cost of ropes for regatta boats, can lead to unfavourable results in the long run.
For more information or suggestions about the choice of rope, please e-mail Armare Service (firstname.lastname@example.org) or stay on this web site, www.armare.it, where more info is available as to how to configurate your lines.
Armare, with views to a coherent environmental policy, as well as to ensure the best service and savings to its customers, also operates a RE-COVER service.
The RE-COVER service is limited to ropes with a technical fiber core (type Dyneema, PBO-Zylon, Vectran). During this intervention the old worn cover is removed, and replaced with a new one, adequately re-structured to take the rope back to its original diameter.
The RE-COVER service is appropriate for ropes of a significant length and diameter, when they are not too worn out and only when the inner core is in perfect condition.
The final decision on the RE-COVER feasibility intervention lies with an Armare rigger: thanks to his experience, we are able to evaluate both the residual life of the rope and the quality / expenditure ratio, as sometimes it may well be better to replace the rope with a new one.
The stopper should be tailored to the lines that must be blocked, according to the diameter and to the type of fiber that they are composed of.
For example, many of the old stopper generation have the internal “cams” which are inappropriate to block technical ropes: in fact, technical ropes have smaller diameters and are more difficult to block than polyester ones.
The result of using a technical rope with an inappropriate diameter, on an old stopper, often results in early deterioration of the cover, with a continuous shift of the rope at the point where the stopper is supposed to block it, with a consequent need for sail adjustment.
To increase the duration of the ropes, it is necessary to conduct a regular check-up of the points where halyards and sheets can suffer abrasion from rubbing.
The outputs of the halyards should be protected with fairleads; the foot blocks, the blocks, the organizer at the base of the mast and the travel sheets should also be protected.
Check that the screws that fix the accessories are flat-headed and countersunk, and that there are no sharp ends. The pulleys at the exit of halyards at the head of the mast, should be checked at least at the beginning of the season or at regular intervals, as they can often be blocked, worn or broken.
The improper installation of the halyards, crossed inside the mast, is more common than one might believe.
In this situation, the halyards, under load, rub together, causing great damage to the socks; one of the first symptoms of this is a difficult and slow manoeuvre when hoisting and lowering the sails.
Using electric winches, this “effort” can hardly be noticed, but when in doubt, you can manually try to pull and release an unhoisted halyard, making sure that no other halyards move with the same movement.
Another common problem with the spinnaker halyard or genoa halyard, fitted on a furling system, is that the rope might wrap around the forestay. If you cannot see this with the naked eye, use binoculars to check for this problem.
Eventually, it will then be necessary to lower the halyard and to carry it out in the opposite direction so as to release it and allow it to work in the proper manner.
Self-tailing winches are designed to accommodate a limited range of rope diameters.
They automatically adjust to a certain diameter. They have two faceted disks with small gorges driven between them by special springs.
In the case of rope replacement with a different diameter it is therefore important to assess the working range indicated on the winch, to prevent abnormal wear and tear, or malfunctioning (such as slipping or high friction in the self-tailing mechanism).
A good rule, before deciding to change the diameter of the ropes, is to try with a small piece of rope to see if it is appropriate.
If sudden and localised wear develops, there is a clear sign that the rope is suffering from strong abrasion in that specific point.
Small, localised abrasions should not be underestimated, as they may be the beginning of irreparable damage. In this case, the first thing to do is to detect the cause of wear, by adjusting the rope to its position of normal use or by stationary simulation.
Having found the cause it will be necessary to remove it, to replace the broken accessory, or to cover it with special wearresistant materials, which will facilitate the sliding of the ropes.
If necessary, you can also create specific foot blocks, diverting the path of the rope, with the use of Armare Lash Bobbins and Sheet Deflectors (see Rigging Line), appropriately tied with Superound 75.
The use of Dyneema® Light Loops offers more opportunities to create safe rigging solutions; lightweight, simple to implement and easily adapted on board.
The correct installation of the ropes will affect their durability and their performance over time.
A simple action, such as the winding up of ropes, if done incorrectly, may damage and distort the rope. An incorrect procedure will, in fact, transfer the same number of twists, to the rope, as the number of turns which form the coil.
Ropes which have been subject to such distortion, become extensively deformed under tension and create a memory of twists which is difficult to eliminate.
To prevent this problem, before forming coils of rope, it will be necessary to:
1. spread the rope out over the ground
2. slide the rope through a closed fist
3. pull the twists towards one end of the rope and smooth out any kinks.
4. verify that the rope is linear, i.e. that is not twisted in on itself.
All Armare ropes are designed for continuous use in the marine environment and have excellent resistance to adverse atmospheric conditions. However, to make your ropes work well and look good for years to come, the first step to take is to remove them from the boat at the end of the season. This method, besides protecting the ropes from unecessary exposure to winter weather,also allows quick and easy visual control as the rope is manually checked for marked points of wear and suspicious lesions.
The ropes should be washed in freshwater at 35 ° C, with the addition of a neutral detergent, agitating them by hand (do not machine wash), so as to promote the dissolution of salt and to encourage the discharge of sand and dust.
Thus cleaned, the individual fibers, that make up the rope, are free of foreign agents and are able to slide against each other without friction, rendering the ropes soft and efficient. After washing, let the ropes dry in the open air and then put them in bundles to be stored in a dry, clean environment.
A good rule to avoid deterioration of ropes is to cover accessories that may cause excessive wear.
So turnbuckles, rigging screws, rivets, fillets, pins and all the mechanical parts that come into contact with a line under load, must be covered or protected by appropriate design features and materials.
An optimal way to obtain lower friction is to apply special adhesive tapes which have been designed to protect the ropes and any parts that could be ruined by contact abrasion, thus greatly improving rope durability of and manoeuver performance.