August 20, 2020 4 min read

Choosing the Right Dinghy Halyard Rope

Choosing the right dinghy halyard rope for your sailing dinghy is important, not only to ensure your halyard systems run smoothly but also to ensure you are not over spending when you don't have to.

We get a lot of phone calls from customers who need a bit of help choosing the right rope for the job, many of them tell us how they are looking for a dyneema rope option.

We ask our customers three questions:

  • What boat are you sailing?
  • What sail it the halyard going to be supporting?
  • What type of sailing are you doing?

After asking these questions we find that many are planning to over spec their halyard rope.

The boat being sailed is a big part of it, if the boat is something like an RS Feva then dyneema is not needed, if it's a 49er then dyneema is a good option because the loads on the ropes are much higher.

On our Tornado catamaran we use an 8 plait standard polyester rope for our main halyard, this is because the rope only pulls the sail up, the pressure is taken by the hook at the top of the mast that the sail hooks onto when up. Many fellow Tornado sailors use a dyneema rope that costs twice as much for this simple job.

The sail the halyard is supporting is the next question, a jib is going to provide less load than a spinnaker might.

Type of sailing is also a big factor. If you are sailing at the highest level then your ropes are going to be used with more aggression with more adjustments in the sails than you might make if you are just off for a gentle weekend jolly.

With all of these simple questions answered we then move onto the options you might choose.

Dinghy Halyard Options

Dinghy halyard ropes on the rope rack

There are many rope options in stock at Sailing Chandlery that are suitable to be used as a dinghy halyard. We always start at the bottom and work our way up to find the bets rope for the job.

Here are the ropes in order of breaking load and performance:

  • 8 Plait Standard Polyester
  • 8 Plait Pre Stretched Polyester
  • Dyneema Core Rope with Polyester Jacket/Cover SK78
  • Dyneema Core Rope with Polyester Jacket/Cover SK99
  • 12 Strand Dyneema

Most dinghy halyards would use a 4mm or 5mm diameter rope.

8 Plait Standard Polyester

The title of this rope explains what it is, a standard rope that is a basic spec rope that can be used as a mouse line or for general purpose applications.

This rope can be used to pull sails up or to hold things in place but shouldn't really be used to hold any pressure as the rope will stretch.

A 4mm version of this rope has a minimum breaking strain of 340kgs, where the 5mm version has a minimum breaking strain of 540kgs.

8 Plait Pre Stretched Polyester

An updated version of the standard polyester this rope is designed for dinghies. This rope is strong, low stretch and hard wearing. It is also available is some exciting colours.

The pre stretched polyester rope is used as standard by many manufacturers for spinnaker halyards when a boat is sold brand new. Laser Performance and RS use this rope in their halyards.

At 20% of this ropes break load you can expect it to stretch by 3.5%.

A 4mm version of this rope has a minimum breaking strain of 390kgs, where the 5mm version has a minimum breaking strain of 545kgs.

Dyneema Core Rope with Polyester Jacket

Dyneema is the Worlds strongest fibre and it has been developed over the years to become stronger. Many of you might remember SK75 dyneema, now the standard is SK78 with SK90 and SK99 stronger versions also available.

For these ropes dyneema is used in the centre of the rope as a core and a polyester jacket is added for protection of the core and to make the rope longer lasting. The polyester jacket will protect against heat and abrasion.

Our most popular dyneema core rope at the time of writing is Evolution Race which is made by Gottifredi Maffioli and supplied by Kingfisher Yacht Ropes. We have available in 3mm, 4mm, 5mm and 6mm diameters.

These ropes can be tapered and can have eye splices in them too.

At 20% of this ropes break load you can expect it to stretch by 1%.

A 4mm version of this rope has a minimum breaking strain of 820kgs, where the 5mm version has a minimum breaking strain of 1,275kgs.

12 Strand Dyneema

The full strength of dyneema but without any protection for the rope.

A 12 strand dyneema rope such as Compact Braid comes with a special coating which helps to protect the rope against UV rays and also abrasion but it's not going to last as a covered rope.

If you use a 12 strand rope at the same diameter as a covered rope you get far more strength because the dyneema element of the rope is thicker. In some cases when using a 12 strand dyneema halyard sailors might drop down to a 3mm diameter.

12 strand dyneema ropes can also be spliced into eyes.

At 20% of this ropes break load you can expect it to stretch by 1.2%.

A 3mm version of this rope has a minimum breaking strain of 900kgs, 4mm has a minimum breaking strain of 1,500kgs, where the 5mm version has a minimum breaking strain of 2,200kgs.

Your Next Dinghy Halyard

You can explore our full range of halyard ropes on our website. They are available to purchase by the meter.

Questions?

Hopefully this article has given you some insight into the various types of halyard rope available and what the different options mean. Our team are always here and are always happy to answer any questions you might have, no matter how silly you think the question might be.

Get in touch today.


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