How to Get the Best from your Ropes

All boats have ropes on board, so taking good care of them is very important in order to maximise the lifespan of the lines. The right care and attention will also keep your ropes working in the right way. Here are a few hints and top tips from our friends at Kingfisher Yacht Ropes...

Ropes in the marine environment have to endure some pretty harsh conditions, so it is important to regularly check your ropes for signs of wear and damage. By doing this you are reducing the risk of an unexpected failure while sailing.


Checking deck equipment, such as organisers and blocks, and areas on board where the ropes run is also important as any sharp edges can cause a rope to fail. Jammers and clutches also need a good clean from time to time in order to maximise holding power.


Look for areas on board that can cause damage to ropes through abrasion. Try to protect any areas of high wear with a form of chafe protection, or find a better lead angle for the line. This will not only help the rope but help protect your boat from damage as well. Mooring warps can have chafe protection installed on the line where they pass through fairleads, over dock edges, around cleats etc.


After sailing it is a good idea to hose down or rinse your ropes in clean fresh water. This gentle washing will help to remove salt and any debris contained in the ropes which can cause unseen damage internally. Don’t forget to hang the ropes up to dry after washing or sailing as you don’t want them mouldy the next time you come to use your boat.


At the end of the season, or when you have more time, a full wash is recommended for your ropes. The best way to do this is in a washing machine on a simple mixed wash cycle at a cool temperature, but do not use any detergent. Be careful to remove any metal fittings from the lines so as not to damage your machine and it’s also worth putting the ropes inside a pillow case. And when removing halyards, don’t forget to leave a mouse line in place ready for pulling them back through.


When purchasing new ropes try to take advice from the experts. Ropes are all designed with different applications in mind so selecting the correct line for your application is very important.


Splices are always the best way to terminate a rope. Did you know that a knot can reduce break loads of some ropes by up to 50%? There are many different splicing books and tools available should you wish to learn the basics.


Always double check mooring ropes are tied on correctly and in a good condition, especially when leaving a boat for some time.

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