Anyone who wants to have rope with little stretch on board can hardly avoid Dyneema fibers. High-strength, hardly any horizontal bar, UV-stable, insensitive to kinks and abrasion - the material seems made for sailors. Unfortunately, it is not only the fiber's performance data that are impressive, but also the prices. As a rule, only much cheaper polyester cordage is used in the initial equipment of mass-produced boats, and there are no high-performance fibers on many older cruising yachts either.
In addition to elongation and breaking load, we examined the durability of the lines in the halyard stopper
The disillusionment follows when sailing. The luff sags in the first gust and ugly folds form. But that's not all, the fabric changes its profile. It becomes more bulky, creates more heel, drag and rudder pressure - properties that brake the boat and make steering uncomfortable. With the halyard winch, the original trim can be restored, but only for a short time until the line gives way again.
So dig deep into your pocket and buy precious stripes for 8 or more euros per meter? That would solve the problem, but basically also shoot sparrows with cannons. Because such high-performance ropes not only have little stretch, but also an enormous breaking load, which is not necessary on cruising boats.
This is exactly where the latest development from Dyneema manufacturer DSM comes in. The fiber called SK38 should have almost as little stretch as the high-quality DyneemSK78 and be significantly cheaper. Only the breaking load has to be compromised - although the values are still significantly higher than those of polyester.
That sounds promising. The test in YACHT 12/2017 clarifies whether the fiber and the ropes braided from it are actually a good alternative to high-performance ropes. The magazine will be available from May 23rd at the kiosk or it can be done right away can be ordered online here.