PROtect Tapes supplies chafe protection and other tape and film products for the worlds best race boats. Their products include the wing film on the foiling AC boats, but for the rest of us there are a few good tapes to have on your boat. In addition to the in stock tapes which can be purchased online, we can also special order anything from the PROtect tapes catalog as a custom order.
We have a new material for making 36.7 backstays, a heat set Dyneema double braid made with SK99 that meets the one design specs (breaks at 4727kg or 10421lbs) but comes in smaller and lighter than any other available option, at 6.1mm and weighing a mere 12oz with thimbles.
There are several options for finishing the bottom end of this stay
-Eye Splice With Thimble (shown) this is for use with the stock Lewmar backstay block
-Harken Lead Ring: this is a low friction ring, that adds 1.3oz to the weight and $20 to the cost. Lightweight and strong, but does make pulling the backstay harder
-Harken Black Magic Block: A roller bearing block that gets spliced to the end of the backstay, adds 3.23 oz and $195 to the cost
-Karver High Load KBO Block: A plain bearing block that gets spliced to the end of the backstay, adds 3.2oz and $240 to the cost
If the picture above looks familiar, you’ve probably experienced the upper limit of a rope covers durability before!
This is an asymmetric spinnaker sheet made from New England Endura Braid Euro. It’s a great line, very tough cover, but it still failed after just 2 seasons. What gives?
Asymmetric sheets are very tough on covers. They tend to have higher loads than a symmetrical spinnaker sheet, and are also trimmed more actively. Things really get interesting in a gybe, when the line speed is MUCH higher. In a gybe on a boat this size, you’re moving around 65′ of line every time you gybe, and the faster the better. On a boat like this with a pedestal grinder, you can pull the sheet around quite quickly, so it makes for snappy maneuvers.
What this means for the rope cover is lots of heat and abrasion. Most assym sheets start to feel a bit crispy in the middle, and that’s because the friction over the drums is generating enough heat to melt the cover. The bigger the boat, the higher the loads and the more line to move, so the covers get abused more.
The solution is better covers, specifically using heat and abrasion resistant fibers. At the very top end we have PBO covers, which handle the highest head and load, but can retail for over $40/meter for the 10mm size. No, I’m serious, stop laughing! It gets better too, since they’ll break down in the sun and wear out quickly. Oh, and it leaves gold dust all over your boat and crew. Anyway, the good news is there are lots of better-than-polyester covers that will cost less than a used car. There are kevlar blends like Yaletail, and Runnertail (technically Twaron but who’s counting) but in the last couple years the default go-to special cover has been Technora blended with polyester. New England makes a rope called Poly Tec which is available as a cover or a built rope with Dyneema core. I’ve been using this for the last 4 seasons and have been very happy with it, and have never heard a complaint about it from owners. Marlow Ropes makes a full suite of specialty covers, but their version is Tech 50. The 2 covers are quite similar, so it usually comes down to which is available in what color first. In addition to durability, you’re going to find that the grip on winches is more consistent, and they handle great!
So, let’s pretend your boat has taken your nice Dyneema double braid sheets and turned them into the mess you saw in the first picture. The cores are ok, but the cover looks like a shriveled churro. We can take the cores out of the old line, and put a Technora blend cover over the top for less money than new sheets. The cores still have a few years of life, so this is a great way to keep them going while get a nicer hand to the line and better grip on winches.
For the above sheet, the owner opted to swap both covers for Poly Tec, and gave them distinct colors while we were at it. The sheets were end-for-ended as well so the old loaded end of the sheet is now the tail and vice versa. The sheets look new, and should perform that way for many seasons. Win!
It was a good idea in this case for a few reasons: the sheets were relatively new, the cores were in good shape and the core material was Dyneema. If you have a damaged cover with similar parameters we can save it! CYR also stocks regular polyester covers for a repair at considerably lower price point, although it’s worth considering why the cover failed in the first place (*usually T10 halyard with XAS clutch) It doesn’t make sense for every line though. If the line is particularly short, the cost of labor doesn’t usually add up to less than a new line, and if the core is damaged, or Vectran/Poly/PBO it’s not usually a good idea to recover it. If you’re in doubt, drop by the shop and we’ll look it over. Plenty of samples to look at, and the odds are very good I’ll have rope in for the same repair to show you!
For the final it was no surprise to see the bury splice and the brummel splice. The previous rounds saw knots, specialty splices and things done purposefully wrong, so these should be the top end.
The bury splice, again, is the tapered tail of 72x rope diameter, inserted into the rope to form an eye, and stitched to keep the splice intact under no/low loads. The brummel is the same, but with an interlocking weave instead of the stitch.
Well, as you can see it was the bury splice that walked away the winner, besting the brummel which lost at 2958lbs. This is 134% of rated strength for 1/8″ Endura 12, so pretty happy with the result. If you read the semi finals, you’ll get some explanation of why it’s so far above rated, but it’s nice to know CYR splicing is beating the numbers we use for specifying rope.
Based on the result, you might ask why we don’t use the bury splice as standard, instead the brummel is the default for sheets and halyards. The reason is the brummel is faster, and has a locking mechanism which can be verified and can’t possible wear out or be removed. At the numbers seen in this and other tests, it’s always broken above rated for good quality lines, so I can use rated strength when speccing with no concerns about strength.
For the full series of tests:
That concludes the break testing for now, if you have suggestions or requests for similar tests feel free to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dynex Dux was the first mainstream heat set Dyneema to arrive in the yachting world, and had a huge effect on rope selection on racing boats. Using heat and tension, it gave us higher strengths and lower stretch in a smaller package, and quickly stole ground from not just regular Dyneema, but has replaced Vectran and Zylon as well.
These days, there are quite a few varieties available in heat set prestretched rope. Stopping by this week is the most recent version, and likely the strongest, from New England Ropes. I thought it might be interesting to compare the available options, so below are some notes.
On the left is Gleistein’s Dyne One HS. This is by far the easiest heat set product to work with, as it has a pretty wide angle, and is soft compared to Dux. It’s also the roundest option, and tends not to flatten out over sheaves. The downside is the high angle between braids should theoretically make it stretchier. The other drawback is that it doesn’t seem to be much stronger than regular Dyneema, at least in the small sizes. Last summer when doing some break testing I found that the 4mm Dyna One HS broke at ~3800lbs, where as plain old New England STS75 breaks well over 4000lbs. The 9mm shown is supposed to be approx 18000lbs, which is again in line with regular Dyneema.
Second from left is Maffioli Ultra 75, actually the core from 11mm double braid. This is probably the least stretched product, and rated at 17000lbs it’s the weakest as well. It’s kind of an odd duck(x) here as it’s not targeted or made like the others, and I believe it’s just a quick prestretch to take out some of the constructional stretch.
Middle line, in dark gray, is Marlow’s D12 Max 78 product. Rated at ~23000lbs, this is much stronger than the first 2. It has quite a long angle, partly from construction and partly from stretching. This is the only SK78 product here, but they also offer an SK90 heatset, for max (ha) tensile. Marlow has the widest range of fiber choices, and more importantly sizes, going all the way down to 3mm which is unique for a heat set dyneema. The downside to Marlow is the stretching process makes for a rope that isn’t very round, as it’s flattened out over whatever bobbin they use to stretch the product. The Dyneema is a bit fuzzy when new, due to the fibers that fail during prestretching. This is the choice of high tech dinghy and small cats, as the range of sizes makes for lots of options.
At the far right (I’m skipping the second right for the moment) is a piece of Dynex Dux in 7mm, as I was out of the 9. The original, and still very good, it has a rated break of ~26000lbs, and is quite round and very stiff with less popped strands than the Marlow. The amount of prestretch is very high, which makes it a good choice for running rigging where stretch is key, as well as some standing rigging and slings. I really like this material for backstays as it’s so light and strong you can be quite aggressive in downsizing. Most people call any prestretch Dux, but that can be troublesome as some of the other heatset products aren’t exactly interchangeable as far as strength and stretch.
Second from the right is the newest arrival, an as-yet-unnamed product from New England Ropes. Pretty excited about it, as it seems to have taken all the best attributes from the other brands and improved on them. The construction is very similar to Dynex Dux, but lacks the flyaway/popped strands. The roundness of the rope is closest to Gleisteins product, and the smoothness is better than any of them. NER hasn’t released final break numbers, but the initial tests had it all comparing very favorably with Dynex Dux, which is really saying something. This particular spool is destined for the VO70 Il Mostro, replacing the Gleistein rope is arrived with. I’ve got more spools arriving soon and am going to have more info soon!
Metal or carbon dogbones are incredibly useful, strong and simple ways to terminate a line or integrate soft attachments. In the past I’ve either had them custom made from aluminum or steel, or cut lengths of steel or carbon. While this works, the custom ones are expensive, and the cut rod versions need lashing to keep them secure.
Much like spool shackles, these make all the sense in the world… once you’ve seen how they attach! A loop of line is passed through the grommet on the sail, then the dogbone is passed through the loop. When pulled tight, the loop cinches onto the dogbone and stays fast.
Continuing their tradition of high quality versions of existing tech, Tylaska has introduced their line of dogbones in aluminum and stainless steel. With working loads from 650 to 15000lbs, there a dogbone for every application here. CYR is stocking select sizes, and will be using these in a number of upcoming projects. Uses for Tylaska dogbones include termination of sheets, halyards and control lines like outhauls, custom loop shackles, bobstays and more. Also in stock are CYR’s range of custom stainless/aluminum dogbones for high loads.
If you’ve ever wondered who makes those neat spinnaker furlers on the Americas Cup AC45s, or the VO70’s, well, it’s these guys KZ Race Furlers
I had the chance to look over one of their custom units aboard Il Mostro last year, and was impressed by the machining and beefiness of the furler. The market is absolutely packed with code and spinnaker furlers, but if you’re shopping for one you have to give KZ a good look over. See the wee and big boat sheets below:
Also in furling news, Ronstan is offering 20% off on their code and spin sail furlers, so if you’re looking for a stellar early season deal, check with us for the best price!
Soft attachments are here to stay, and finding their way onto just about everything that floats! One of the coolest bits of gear to come from the movement is the dogbone loop. Essentially a covered loop with a peg they make a wonderful high strength connector. Used to replace stainless shackles, they can offer real improvements in weight and strength, with side benefits of greater articulation and less damage to gear. As part of a snatch block or floating block system they give you just the right amount of flexibility to align under load.
The existing options are mostly cut pieces of stainless or carbon, which works ok but can shake loose. I wanted to try a shaped dogbone that had some security designed into it, and this is the first draft. Works really well size and handling wise, with it keeping captive in the small end of the loop, and being shaped to fit into the open end easily, but not shake free. The real question was load testing, and so far we’re blown away at the numbers from even the smallest/weakest size, being at least 10tons. The “at least” comes from the fact that the 5/16″ dyneema initially used in the test failed first in every single test, so I’ve switched to the full-on covered loops that would actually be used on the boat in order to get proper numbers. For now it’s pretty safe to say that even the size 0 pegs are going to have a working load of 5T. More to come on this soon!
You can prevent the dreaded “how many bearings were in this car, anyway?” question on race day with a little help from Harken.
The standard end caps on traveler cars are plastic, which works great 90% of the time. However in situations where the loaded up car slams over and over into the end stop, these eventually wear out, crack, and deliver to your cockpit floor between 40 and 148 tiny little ball bearings which promptly scatter like cockroaches, leaving your crew to try and catch up to the car before trying to corral all the bearings back into place.
Well, if you’ve done that once, odds are good that once was enough, so these metal end caps might be a good bit of preventative maintenance, or more likely, the caps you should replace the broken ones with next time! Available for older, non CB midrange and big boat cars, they’re more expensive than the stock plastic ones, but well worth it to save lost sailing time and the wonderful excitement of ball bearing wrangling.