Last week I entered the West Marine rigging shop in Alameda with a 600′ roll of Sta-Set X line and three shackles. I left with three halyards for our J/24 fleet, a smaller coil of line and a much greater appreciation of the skill set required to be a certified West Marine rigger.
Sta-Set X line from New England Ropes makes cost effective halyards for our J/24’s: it’s a soft, durable, spliceable, low-stretch line. Splicing is best left to the pros however and TISC is fortunate to have Ryan Nelson on our team of volunteers who make regular donations of their time to support our programs.
Splicing propylene ski rope is easy – all it takes is a fid or ball point pen barrel to insert the end where you want a loop back inside itself and your done. While splicing double braided line takes longer and a bit of perseverance you can complete such a splice in 10 minutes or less. Here is a YouTube video from New England Ropes to show you how.
Sta-Set X has a parallel core for less stretch and a spun fiber cover for easy handling. They make for a cost effective low stretch line however not so easy to splice – at least not for the casual layman. NER provides a splicing guide for Sta-Set X. After watching Ryan and his team complete a few splices my first inclination would be to suggest the rigging shop for mission critical applications like halyards.
I also learned West Marine riggers have to complete a rigorous training program before they are qualified for customer work. Their final exam? Deliver a box full of splices to the rope manufacturer and wait for the results of destructive testing to verify their splices held up to greater than 2x the breaking strength of the line they spliced!
Thanks again to Ryan for his time and to West Marine for their continued support of Treasure Island Sailing Center programs. And if you made purchases from their Alameda store last June 28th thank YOU – because you helped us raise hundreds of dollars from their contribution of 5% of their sales that day to the Treasure Island Sailing Center Scholarship Fund.
Regards from On The Cove, Dave G
In the wake:
Here are a couple of fun YouTube videos that show how rope is made and know its tested to breaking point and beyond.