Features June 2011 Issue

Rope Test Yields Rope Hernias

Think twice before stuffing that old dock line into the washer.

Researching an upcoming article on the effects of various cleaning chemicals on ropes, our testers scrubbed and machine-washed mountains of nylon and polyester rope of every description. Samples ranged from three-strand dock line encrusted in marine life to brand-new polyester double-braid line. Our testing for that article continues, but we want to report one immediate finding relevant to any sailor who is wondering how to deal with old or dirty lines. Fully 70 percent of our test samples, including new and used line from New England Ropes (NER) and Samson Ropes, experienced failure of pre-spliced eyes; the buried portion of the core worked its way out of the main line and into the eye, where it carried zero load. In some cases, these failures were scarcely visible, while in others, the tail was exposed.

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