Sheet Line?

Thread starter #1
At APS, there is a sale on main sheet line. My 1968 sunfish has a very old main sheet line that is practically flat, and was going to order a new sheet line. My initial research (which may be incorrect, because I am quite new at sailing) shows four main sheet front runners.

THEY ARE:
Marlow Ropes, Marstron Line - .24 / foot
New England Ropes, Buzz line - .47 / foot
FES Robline Dinghy Sheet Line - .49 / foot
Rooster Ropes, Polilite Line - .65 / foot

My questions are this:
1. Rope size? 7MM (9/32) or 8mm (5/16)? Why?
2. Length? (Want the rope tied off to the aft end of hiking strap). 32 feet?
3. Which one of the above ropes (each on sale at APS from 14-16% off) should I get?
4. Any better purchases out there?

Background:
Recreational sailor - beginner
Big hands
Want to avoid rope twists and knots in cockpit.
Want a comfortable rope without wearing gloves.
Want a good blend between performance and comfort.
Ropes will be used often - Sailing at least 4 days a week off the dock from early spring to late fall.

Their description of each rope shows the characteristics of each, but how they are grading them, makes little sense to me cognitively. I do not know the value of each characteristic they grade the ropes by, due to a lack of overall experience. Are there any real differences between these ropes above?

Thank you as always for your thoughts and experience,
Whitecap

Ps- At the moment, Im leaning toward Buzz Line, due to its comfort. Thoughts?
 
Last edited:

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
#2
My 'go-to' sheet for Sunfish and Laser sailing is the 7 mm Rooster Polylite. It is very durable, and doesn't pick up water. It tends not to twist around itself, which is pretty important for Laser sailing (very long sheet). I never use gloves.

I also have a thicker (Buzz) sheet for the really heavy days and a skinnier one for the really light days. But I haven't used those much at all and can't comment other than stating that the Buzz one feels nice and soft.

With heavier line, you have to make sure that it runs nicely through the blocks on your Sunfish
 
Last edited:
Thread starter #3
Hey Wavedancer....is there any real difference between 7 and 8 mm? Is a thicker line easier to use?

Im using a swivel cam to control the main sheet.
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
#4
Yes, a thicker line would be a bit easier to handle, especially in heavier breeze.

I just measured my Buzz sheet and it appears to be 5/16" or about 8 mm thick. As I wrote earlier, you have to make sure it runs smoothly through all the blocks. APS recommends this line as a Sunfish sheet and it's less expensive than the Rooster Polylite.

PS: For a racer there is a difference between a 7 mm and an 8 mm sheet. For a casual sailor, I don't think it matters much. But others may have a different opinion.
 
Thread starter #5
Thanks wave........ I'm grateful for the insight.

Yes the Buzz line is about 30% cheaper than the Rooster Rope. It does tend to soak up more water than the Rooster rope (so the review states), but at my level of sailing, Im not sure that will matter a great deal.

Anyone else have thoughts? Which is your favorite, or is there a big difference?
 

LaLi

Active Member
#8
it's a difference of about 1 mm. :rolleyes:
Another way to look at it, it's a 14 % difference in surface area and 30 % in cross-section area, volume, and mass.

A long, long time ago when I went from an 8 mm sheet to a 6 mm one on my Laser, I was surprised how the thinner line was actually more comfortable, and I was able to stop using gloves. A huge part of the friction in a control system comes from inside the ropes, and the thinner the rope, the easier it is to pull.

Of the ropes mentioned by Whitecap, I have tried the 7 mm Polilite on the Laser, and can recommend it, although it's nothing special compared to many others such as Excel Pro, which I used for many years. When you list the prices like that, it looks expensive, but it's actually pretty cheap, too, as it has no Dyneema or other low-stretch fibres.

Also, one of the Lightnings that I regularly sail has an 8 mm Bzzz Line mainsheet, and it's not that impressive. For one thing, it's worn out faster than one would expect.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#9
Thought I'd chime in here with my thoughts on those mainsheets that drag in the water under light and variable wind conditions. While the speed lost is probably only "cosmetic", there's not much the skipper can do about that condition. But a dragged and soggy mainsheet will sprinkle cold water on you as you change tack. :confused:

What I've done to keep peace with my mind about this, was to add a short piece of 1/16" stainless steel cable at the bridle end of the mainsheet. This ultimate mainsheet extension definitely helps to keep the mainsheet above the water, so it has helped! :)

 
#10
Thought I'd chime in here with my thoughts on those mainsheets that drag in the water under light and variable wind conditions. While the speed lost is probably only "cosmetic", there's not much the skipper can do about that condition. But a dragged and soggy mainsheet will sprinkle cold water on you as you change tack. :confused:

What I've done to keep peace with my mind about this, was to add a short piece of 1/16" stainless steel cable at the bridle end of the mainsheet. This ultimate mainsheet extension definitely helps to keep the mainsheet above the water, so it has helped! :)

That condition drives me nuts as well......how does adding a length of cable keep the mainsheet out of the water?

Mike
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#11
That condition drives me nuts as well......how does adding a length of cable keep the mainsheet out of the water? Mike
For that length, the S/S cable is lighter than a wet mainsheet, and may be lighter than the dry mainsheet shown. It also doesn't hold water. Guess it could be longer, yet. So far, so good. :)

Shoulda thought to weigh it :confused: and compare to the same length of wet and dry mainsheet, respectively. :oops: When I find two thimbles, and a suitable length of 1/16" cable, I'll check it out and report back. :)
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#13
Thought I'd chime in here with my thoughts on those mainsheets that drag in the water under light and variable wind conditions. While the speed lost is probably only "cosmetic", there's not much the skipper can do about that condition. But a dragged and soggy mainsheet will sprinkle cold water on you as you change tack. :confused:

What I've done to keep peace with my mind about this, was to add a short piece of 1/16" stainless steel cable at the bridle end of the mainsheet. This ultimate mainsheet extension definitely helps to keep the mainsheet above the water, so it has helped! :)

That seems like a really bad idea. If it gets windy you won't be able to sheet in far at all going upwind and you'll make poor headway. I'd stick to normal rigging.
 

andyatos

Active Member
#15
I also use the 8 mm Buzz line for the Sunfish and am happy with it, mainly because the diameter is very easy on the hands and it's got a nice soft feel. I also have a smaller diameter line for when it's really light air which makes keeping the line from dragging in the water easier.

The 8 mm Buzz does soak up the water like a sponge but that isn't a problem for me. And as far as tangles go, I just don't get them... even though I do a lot of very active and fast sheeting in and sheeting out when I'm sailing on sections of the Russian River where the wind is twirling 360 degrees around me and going from barely a breath to 15+ mph.

All I do... with the larger diameter Buzz and my smaller main sheet line... when sheeting in fast is just let it pile up between my legs and then kick/slide the pile forward with my rear foot so the pile is pressed up against the forward cockpit wall. And I don't even tie the end to the hiking strap.

Just by always making sure it's pushed up forward with my foot, I never get tangles... even when bearing off quickly in strong puffs and letting the main sheet whizz at high speed out through my Carbo Ratchet Block.

- Andy
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#16
If it gets windy you won't be able to sheet in far at all going upwind and you'll make poor headway. I'd stick to normal rigging.
The cable is only 16" long. Am I missing something by sheeting-in the boom to less than 16" above the deck? :oops:

A (much) simpler solution is to tie the (bitter) end of the sheet to the hiking strap (with a bowline).
How does this idea work? :confused:

To me, the "bitter end" is the one that piles up in the cockpit. It would make more sense to release the mainsheet from the bridle loop, and secure it to the hiking strap. (If I had one!) :p

Then, if I had a hiking strap, I guess I could pull the aft-most mainsheet down and secure it (temporarily) with a carabiner. (That is, during very light wind conditions).

I've been unable to "search" for the topic. Can someone direct me to the recent thread regarding wear on the aluminum "contact points" of the Sunfish tiller and the rudder?

Photos 322017 71038 PM.bmp.jpg
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
#18
It's really quite simple to attach the end of the sheet to the hiking strap. But if your boat doesn't have a strap, it can't be done, obviously.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#19
From L&VW: The cable is only 16" long. Am I missing something by sheeting-in the boom to less than 16" above the deck?

Your boat must be rigged with the sail quite high off the deck. Regardless of boom height, going upwind and fully sheeted in, the book should be over the corner of the stern. So if you can do that, you are probably OK.

On a related note, the advantage of the new bridles with no center loop is that if it gets windy you can sheet more to flatten the sail, and the sail will not come in more than over the corner of the stern. With a wire like that, you would not be able to sheet in more, which is where I would be concerned, for two reasons. First, is in a blow if sheeting in til you hit the wire does not result in the boom being over the corner - you'd be unable to go upwind as well as you could, which could be a problem if you need to get to windward. Secondly, if you are overpowered, sheeting in more can get you under control, and you cannot sheet in more if you have hit the wire.
 
Thread starter #20
I ended up buyi g the Buzz 8mm rope for the mainsheet. Been using since the start if the season, and have been really liking it. It does not seem to tangle easily, and after a quick "break in" period, the rope feels pretty soft. For me, it seems to be a great blend between comfort and performance.

Hope this helps someone,
Whitecap
 
Top