Choosing the Right Rope for Your Sailboat

Deciding what rope to buy for a specific application can be a bit complicated. Only because there are so many different manufacturers, products, and not to mention the vast array of terms associated with rope. Let’s try and simplify this process a bit. For the sake of keeping this short and sweet we’ll narrow it down to one manufacturer, New England Ropes. Then we can talk about what types of rope this manufacturer offers and which ones are ideal for certain applications….

~If money is tight, then let’s start with the priorities; typically it’s halyards, then reef lines, then sheets, and then the rest of the line-up (in that order).~

Cruising halyards

New England Ropes VPC colors

When considering new halyards or reef lines, look for a strong, low stretch line. Halyards and reef lines don’t need to be especially free running with the exception of perhaps the spinnaker gear. Typically halyards want to be low stretch as they need to span long distances under high load. A good choice for most cruising boat halyards is a product called New England Ropes VPC.  It has Vectran/ Polyester blended core which provides some of the low stretch we are looking for and is reasonably priced. It also has a nicely braided Polyester cover which provides great protection from sun damage, chafe, and gives you a good ‘grip’.

Sta Set

New England Ropes Sta Set

For the spinnaker gear as well as the sheets or anything that requires an especially free running line, I recommend New England Ropes Sta-set.  Sta Set is all Polyester, core and cover, which again does exceptionally well with U.V. and chafe resistance, as-well-as it runs freely, and has a nice soft feel.  Although Sta-set has more stretch than VPC ( which is actually even preferred for spinnaker gear) it is hardly noticeable in certain applications, i.e. jib sheets.

V-100 Rope for Racing boats

New England Ropes V100

If you are looking for a bit’ more performance you may want to look at New England Ropes Endura (Spectra Core) or V-100 (Vectran Core). These are very low stretch lines and offer the ability to strip the cover off as seen on many racing boats. If you do decide to taper your halyards (or strip the cover) for performance reasons, make sure that they are tapered at the right length. Speaking as a former ‘mast man’, there is nothing worse than ‘bumping’ a halyard and right when you get to the last 3 feet or so (when it is the most difficult), you are trying to grab on to some thin and slippery core fibers. This is an expensive process and should be done properly or not at all. Also, with halyards, make sure that the rigger installs reeving eyes, (a.k.a soft eyes, Flemish Eyes, or pull eyes…) on the end of the rope so that the halyards (or any lines that may require special reeving for that matter, i.e. reef lines) can be removed when the boat is not in use.

rope for RAce boats

New England Ropes Endura

Keep in mind that there are other manufacturers out there which provide rope products similar to the ones we have just discussed. So take your pick, some of these other reputable names are Samson RopesMarlow Ropes, FSE Robline and Yale Cordage….amongst others. Whether you are a racer, cruiser, or little bit of both, you should take the time to make sure that you have the right rope for the application. If you are a do-it-yourself-er, there is no shame in asking some questions. If money is tight focus on your priorities and save up for what’s ‘needed’. If you are going to hire a professional, don’t be scared to ask them about their process. Regardless of where you stand, take the time to make sure it is done right the first time and you will be able to worry about other things like, do we have enough beer, when should we ‘tack’, or how high is that bridge ;-0)

Tapered Halyard Strip cover halyard

Tapered/ Strip Cover Line



…How to Take Care of Your Line:

To easily remove your internally run lines for service, make sure that the rigger installs reeving eyes, (a.k.a soft eyes, Flemish Eyes, or pull eyes…) on the end of the rope so that the halyards (or any lines that may require special reeving for that matter, i.e. reef lines) can be removed when the boat is not in use

Tip: Using a reeving eye one can remove the lines by tying on a messenger. If leaving lines out of the mast for a prolonged period of time, be sure to use a minimum messenger diameter of 3/16″. This will keep the line from trying to jump the sheave.

Removing the lines will allow you to take them home and throw them in the laundry (I’ve even heard of using the dishwasher, less tangle) for the winter. Once washed, dried and de-tangled, it is recommended to coat any exposed core fibers (as found on stripped cover halyards) with a product called Yale MaxiJacket or the like. This will help provide protection from harmful U.V. rays and chafe. If you have never dealt with MaxiJacket before, I would call a local rigger and ask for any tips on applying the coating,  it can make quite a mess!

Have a question, leave us a comment below.


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Winterize Your Rigging

Winterizing a boat is very important, but most people forget about the rigging. Sometimes even the sails. This is actually not that much work, it’s just that most people don’t know what this might entail. Here is what we riggers consider when the sailing season comes to a close.

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  • Remove the HalyardsHoisting old sails for the new yearAttach a messenger or leader line (that’s long enough) to the bitter end and run all of the halyards out and just leave the messenger or leader in place. Make sure that the diameter of the messenger isn’t so small that it might jump the sheave over the winter, but use something small enough for a bowline to fit through all of the associated hardware.  Read here on tips on how to remove your halyards.


  •  Loosen the rigging, if for nothing else but to just turn the turnbuckles and give them a ‘good once over’. This is one of the best ways to inspect the standing rigging. Be sure to throw away any old cotter pins and tape, and go ahead and splurge and buy yourself some new… cotter pins and tape. When you loosen things up, make sure the stays have enough tension to hold the rig securely, nothing should be excessively loose. Then take those NEW cotter pins and just bend legs lightly to ensure things stay put through the off season. This way you can tune the rig in the spring by easily removing those new cotter pins, do a proper tune, and a fresh pin and tape. Standing rigging is an extremely crucial component in rigging safety. It is often forgotten and left unchecked which is the main reason that standing rigging fails!


first spring sail


  • Service Your Winches. Make sure all of those winches are all spinning freely and making that trademark ‘clicking’ sound. Although all of the winches should be serviced yearly, I will understand if you only do it once every two years, at least ;-0).

“If you do not hear that trademark ‘clicking’ sound the winch is unsafe to use and needs to be taken apart and serviced. A winch that doesn’t spin or even worse spins freely in both directions can really bring on a bad situation.”

  • Remove Your Sails. I know this is more along the lines of sailmaker advice for winterizing your boat, but…

…of course, you should have removed your sails for the winter…

Simply lower and remove them, lay them out on the lawn; giving them a good ‘once over’, maybe even a wash. Check them over for tears or loose stitching. If all is well fold or roll them, and store them in a dry place until spring.

Ready for Spring!

Just a quick note on furlers…

Sails that are up on a furlers all year long tend to leave the impression that the owner is really not practiced, or perhaps doesn’t know at all, how to take his or her own sail down (so don’t be that guy). If it’s not enough that it makes the sail last longer, do yourself a favor and do it just for the practice. Consider it crucial knowledge to sailing. The last reason is you can’t very well run the halyard for inspection (as mentioned above), if you don’t take the sail down. The halyard will also be attached to what is called a halyard swivel, which could probably also use an inspection.

If you are unsure about the first time taking your sail down, be sure to ask your local sailmaker, or just ask around for someone who knows what they’re doing.  I am sure that they’ll be more than delighted to help you douse, flake and stow your sail ;-0). 

Not only is checking over these items a good method of annual inspection, but it can also help make you more practiced at understanding your boat’s rigging and sails.

Read more: here are some additional guide lines to inspecting your own rigging as well as some tips to help you static tune your mast. You can also learn how to run your own halyards.

If you have any doubts, questions or concerns, leave us a comment below.

See you on the water.


Posted in Annapolis Sailing, Classic Yachts, Cruisers, Modern Yachts, Multihulls, Rigging, Sailing, Tech Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


The Boat Show is back and so are we. Bigger and better than ever before, TRC has recently expanded its team and its booth. We have joined up with BSI Denmark to provide our customers with top quality Rod Rigging fittings.

So come by our booth, see our new digs, and talk to BSI and The Rigging Company for all of your rigging needs. Be it Standing Rigging, Running Rigging, Hydraulics, Spar Building/repair/painting, we’ve got you covered.

BSI rigging and The Rigging Company at the Annapolis Boat Show.

See our ads in this weeks Spinsheet and Chesapeake Bay Magazine.

Mention this ad and get a FREE The Rigging Company HAT and take advantage of our social discount right away via a social media account of your choice. Just tag us on either Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, and even LinkedIn!

annapolis boat show the rigging company. riggers in annapolis

See You at THE SHOW!

Posted in Annapolis Sailing, Around the World, Baltimore Sailing, Classic Yachts, Cruisers, Home is where the heart is, Maritime News, Modern Yachts, Racers, Rigging, Sailing, Tech Tips, The Biz! | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 J24 East Coast Championships and

The Rigging Company J24 ECC sponsor 2017

The Rigging Company LLP (TRC) is proud to announce that it is a primary sponsor in the 39th year of the J24 East Coast Championship and J22 Mid-Atlantic Championship. This event takes place in late October starting 10/27-10/29. The venue is being held at one of Annapolis’ top sailing clubs Severn Sailing Association. J24 local legend and 2016 defending champion, Tony Parker of Parker Tide Corp. will return to defend his title.

J24 Weather Mark Rounding. The rigging Company. Parker Tide. North Sails. Quantum Sails.

The event promises 3 days of some of Annapolis’ most competitive sailing along with one of the best places in the US to sail in fall, the Chesapeake Bay. Some of this years perks will include:

  • TRC will be offering pre and post event mast stepping and boat set up/ break down assistance. Scheduling is required. Please call our office at 443-847-1004 or email
  • TRC will also have two staff members standing-by at the end of each race day to help provide racers with any necessary rigging related products and services.
  • TRC will also be standing by all weekend with the TRC service truck and will offer extended hours just for the regatta. Please call us at 443-847-1004 or email for any during regatta emergencies.
  • There are also some very courteous locals that are opening their homes for free housing and boat storage to out of town race competitors. Please note: due to limited availability housing and storage will be filled on a first come, first serve basis. Contact the fleet leader, Kelly at or call 443-600-1182 for info.
  • As usual there will be some festivities Saturday and Sunday including plenty of food, and one of my favorite parts, there will be beer on tap daily.

~The Rigging Company will be standing by with 1 brand new sets of J22 and J24 Main and Jib Halyards. Ask Our Staff About the REGATTA SPECIAL!!!

j24 sailing downwind.

J24 and J22 sailing has offered us some of the most competitive sailing in the Annapolis area in years past. This year we are making every effort to make it grow even more.

~The class is offering considerable savings for early registrants!

Click this link to register, the deadline for early registration ends 10/20/17 for J22’s and 9/15/17 for J24’s. The more people sign up… the more people will sign up. So get your boat on the line and join us for a good time.

J24 East Coast Championship. Parker Tide and The Rigging Company

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Posted in Americas Cup, Annapolis Sailing, Around the World, Baltimore Sailing, Home is where the heart is, Maritime News, Modern Yachts, Racers, Rigging, Sailing, The Biz! | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment