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Sailboat Line Materials: What is Polypropylene Line? | Expert Advice

Polypropylene Line is a thermoplastic polymer material that has a wide variety of uses.  It is commonly found in many household, textile, and industrial applications. For the marine industry, polypropylene line is tough, flexible, and strong yet lightweight enough to float which makes this ideal for dinghies and small keel boats.

Dyneema Polypropylene Line Blend

Polypropylene Rope Characteristics:

  • Light weight: when compared to  similarly-sized diameter lines.
  • Does not absorb water
  • Floats
  • Excellent shock absorption
  • Easy to splice
  • Economical
  • Low tolerance to UV
  • Low Melting Point
  • Low Abrasion Resistant

Some common applications of a 100% polypropylene line include dinghy tow rope, an
economy dinghy mainsheet and you may even find it as a spinnaker take down line on larger keel boats.

Polyprolylene Line Marlow

Other options are a polypropylene blended line. What do we mean when we say blend? This typically means that the polypropylene COVER or CORE is woven with either polyester, Dyneema, or Vectran to provide greater strength, durability and stability.

Common applications for the polypropylene blends include small diameter control lines, as well as spinnaker sheets and mainsheets for smaller keelboats where you are not using a winch.  Due to the low melting point of polypropylene, abrasion and friction will melt this cover so using a winch is not recommended.

Polypropylene

Since polypropylene has a low tolerance to UV light, when exposure is prolonged, oxidation occurs and polypropylene becomes chalky and splintery with a prickly feel.  So try and keep it out of the sun when not in use to extend its life.  This will be a good indicator that it is time to replace your polypropylene.

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