Know your sailing rope and you’ll never use the wrong one again

It’s so important to use special sailing rope for any activity on the water. You should consider the environmental conditions that the rope will be exposed to e.g. water, sun, minerals or heating and cooling. Your intended use for any sailing rope may mean you need different types of rope for different applications, differing in composition and thickness to better suit specific tasks. The composition of the rope i.e. the material of the rope and how it is bound, will dictate how the rope weathers and stands up to strain and abrasion. Here are a few pointers on picking the right rope for the job.


-Polypropylene is particularly good as anchoring rope as it will float in the water so you never lose it and it also stretches very little, giving you greater control when pulling on or knotting the rope.

-Nylon is an elastic fibre so if you’re looking for a sailing rope with stretch this is the one for you. It also stands up well to UV exposure.

-Polyester remains strong and resistant to abrasion in wet or dry conditions. 3 strand polyester ropes are popular as mooring rope.

-Technora is very strong aramid sailing rope and particularly immune to UV breakdown in the black version and is heat resistant in general.

-Spectra ropes resist water absorption but may feel quite slippery. Its low stretch quality makes it suited to use in rigging.

-Vectran brand rope is made from liquid crystal polymer fibre forming a very strong rope that gives very little stretch, no creep and is long lasting as it isn’t weakened by frequent flexing.


You’ll need a variety of differently constructed sailing ropes. A mixture of braided and twisted sailing ropes should be sufficient to deal with most boating requirements.

-Braided sailing ropes are designed with an inner braid that gives the rope the majority of its strength which is then covered by an outer jack to protect the inner piece. The smooth outer jack improves handling and reduces the risk of snagging. All ropes have a life span so you should keep checking your braided rope for any lumps underneath the outer jack which will indicate wear and tear on the inner line.

-Twisted aka laid are very soft to the touch, are easy to splice and knot well. The twisted construction provides greater stretch than braided or parallel varieties. As mentioned above these are great for mooring but also for towing and anchoring.

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