Line Selection Guide
For Sailboat Running Rigging
Use the APS Line & Rope Selection guides and videos to help you determine the proper fibers, type, diameter, and length of line, rope or cordage for sailboat halyards, sheets, control lines, rodes and more.
Line Type Guide
Use the APS sailboat Line Type Guide and video to help you choose which material and line is best suited for your specific sailboat application. Choose a chart based on the type of sailing you do, then review line choices. Links will navigate you the specific line product pages.
Some lines are better for certain applications than others. Use the APS Fiber guide to understand the basic principles and characteristics of each sailboat line material.
|Low Stretch||Low Water Absorption||Floatability||Abrasion/Chafe Resistance||Low UV Degradation||Low Creep||Hand Feel|
When ordering custom rigging or line, specific lengths will be required. Use the APS Measurement guide to help you determine the proper line length for your sailboat.
Need help? Give us a call. 800.729.9767.
Use the APS Diameter guide to help determine which size line will best suite your sailboat.
Hi, this is Kyle from APS. I'm here to guide you through choosing replacement running rigging for cruising sailboats. I'll be talking about halyards, sheets, and control lines. Okay, starting with halyards. I'm over here at our wall of polyester line. I have double braid polyesters in my hand. They are the vast majority of line choices for cruising sailboats. It is a rather inexpensive way to go. It's durable, abrasion resistant, UV stable, lasts for years. It is polyester. It's not high tech, so there's a little bit of stretch, but for cruising applications, it's not uncommon to do an entire boat, control lines, halyards, sheets in double braid polyester. The first one I have here is from New England. It is the Sta-Set. Then I've got Yale's ULS and Samson's XLS. They're all very similar, similar hand. It really just comes down to personal preference. I would have no problem choosing any of these three to do an entire boat top to bottom.
If you do have an application where you want a lower stretch halyard, I bring you over here, and introduce you to a blended core of either Dyneema or Vectran. This is MLX by Samson. It has a polyester cover. It has a blended Dyneema core. Then here with the VPC, again a polyester cover with a blended Vectran core. They're blended. You don't pay as much for a purely high tech core, but you get a lot of the performance, and a lower stretch performance than you're going to find with your double braid polyesters.
Okay, now getting into cruising sheets and right back here to double braid polyesters, the Sta-Set, the ULS, or the XLS. Personal preference there. Some people especially like in a winch application or a main sheet where you're handling it, maybe a little more often than others, they find that this is a little bit slippery or maybe not as easy to hold onto. We have a couple of alternatives. Sticking with a double braid polyester, this is Trophy Braid. This is from Samson, double braid polyester. It's hard to see, but this has a soft, kind of fuzzy cover. What that does is it makes it a lot easier to actually hold onto it. When you run it around the winch, you might find that you take one less wrap, because it really wants to stick to the drum.
Other than that, it has pretty much the same characteristics in terms of its flexibility. It's spliceable with a standard double braid splice. Now sticking with soft and going softer, this is a really great product. It's very unique. It's a single braid from Yale. It's called PhD Cruiser. All polyester, it's very soft, nice to hold onto. If you want just a little more grip, a little bit more softness, checkout Yale's PhD Cruiser.
Okay, we're onto control lines for cruising boats. I'm right back here at the double braid polyester wall. I've gone to color-coded, which I like for control lines. Grab the green line, the red line, the blue line. I'm back to Samson Sta-Set, the Yale ULS, and Samson XLS. Samson without a tracer, these two with a tracer. Again, personal preference. Diameters available from three-sixteenths all the way up. There shouldn't be any control line that you can't solve with a double braid polyester. If you have an application, again where you need a little bit lower stretch, a critical control line like an outhaul or a vang, we're right back here to the blended core. The MLX by Samson with a blended Dyneema core or the New England VPC with a blended Vectran core. Lower stretch than the double braid polyesters, not the price, the high price, of a pure Dyneema or Vectran core.
Hi, this is Kyle from APS and I'm here to guide you through how to choose replacement running rigging for a club racer slash cruising keel boat. What is that classification?
The racing side of it, at the club level would be some PHRF racing, some Wednesday night racing, where lower stretch and some performance is definitely wanted out of your running rigging. The flip side of that coin is, we're going out for a cruise tonight, we're going away on the boat with the family for the weekend and the performance need really doesn't exist there. We can go with more conventional cruising line choices.
I'm going to guide you through starting with this wall of double braid polyesters over to some higher tech stuff over here where we've got some blended core, some pure cores ...
Starting with halyards, that's main, jib, genoa, spinnaker. Our starting place here is also our lowest tech kind of grouping. These are our double braid polyesters. They're great because they're durable. They're relatively inexpensive. They are low stretch. It's a good starting place. If you're looking for a little more performance, a little lower stretch, one of our most common areas we end up with or product wise are these two. These are blended cores, they're still double braids. This from Samson is MLX, and this is VPC from New England. This has a blended Dyneema Core, and this a blended Vectran core, so you get some more strength, lower stretch but you're not paying the cost of a pure core. It's a double braid with polyester cover. Because of the high tech core, this would take a high tech I splice. Of course, a double polyester would take a traditional I splice.
Here at APS, we traditionally, I'll say historically, refer to halyards in two groups, either up wind halyards your headsail and main, or downward halyards, your spinnaker. Typically because up wind sails, really when you set them in a racing mode, you don't want them moving. You don't want the main coming down. You want tensions not to change. We've always gone with a Vectran. It's low stretch and it has no creep.
What's creep? What creep is, and it's the issue that Dyneema and Spectra have historically have had is while this is a very low stretch line, it does creep and what happens is under a constant high load, the molecules in Dyneema start to rearrange and elongate. When you remove the tension, the line doesn't recover. It stays in that extended length. To illustrate, if I were to take a piece of this from the ceiling and hang a 50 pound weight from this and come back in a month, I would probably find that the weight is sitting on the floor, the line has elongated, when I untie the weight, the line stays elongated. That's a dramatic explanation but it kind of gives you the idea of what creep is.
Nice thing is these days, where we had Dyneema in it's early days DSK 60, we went up to 70, 75, now we're up to ... They just keep engineering this better and better. Now that we're in the area of DSK 78s and 90s, they've pretty much engineered most of the creep issues out. That's a long way of saying you could go with either one of these, but our traditional would be a Vectran for up wind and a Dyneema product for down wind.
Okay, if you want to crank the performance up in a racing, club racing boat, we're going to move you from blended to pure high tech core, starting with the Spectra Dyneema family. Here I have, this is maxi braid plus. We've been selling this for years. It's a real workhorse. All of these are super strong. This is made with Spectra 900 so it's kind of old technology when it comes to creep. This is going to have the most creep of anything. I would use it for your off wind, down wind halyards. With these we've got Endura Braid from New England and Warp Speed from Samson and Polytech. All three of these are DSK 78 so we're in the neighborhood of using these for up wind and down wind. These are all double braids, and the high tech core means you're going to do a high tech core splice.
With this, the Polytech, what's the tech part of this? It actually has Technora blended in with the polyester in the jacket and what that gives you a real improvement in abrasion resistance. If you've got a line that's being eaten up in the clutches or on a winch, this would be a great upgrade for that.
Last piece, this is Admiral, DSK 90. This is the latest and greatest. I would put this right up against Vectran. Up wind off wind halyards.
Moving into the Vectran family, we've got V 100 by New England and the Yale Crystalyne. Again, double braid polyester, pure Vectran core, no stretch, no creep. This is basically our highest performance line right off the stool.
Now over to sheets, we are right back to double braid polyesters. Economical, they're durable, all the same reasons I use them for halyards. We're talking your spin sheet, headsail sheets, main sheets, great basic for that application. If you want to stick with double braid polyesters but maybe you're handling the line more often like adjusting the main sheet or the headsail, going to the Trophy Braid with the soft fuzzy cover makes it easy to hold on to.
Now we're talking main sheets as we go back into the single braids. Really not using this for headsail or spinnakers because you don't want to put it on a wench. They don't hold up that well on the winches. Here you've got that nice soft grip and an all polyester with the Yale PHD.
Now coming over here, if you're really liking the single braids with their nice soft feel in your hand, we go to Yale PHD racer. This has the same kind of feel on the outside, but it's high tech because the polyester is wrapped around the Dyneema so you're holding this nice fuzzy easy to grip polyester and there's no slippery Dyneema on your hands, so that's quite a unique product.
With these other single braids, SSR right here and we've got the Salsa and also the DPX. These are blends with, so you can feel the Dyneema so they're a little bit on the slippery side but their softness kind of makes up for it. They're kind of pliable in your hand so they still retain that grip. Again, main sheets for the most part. Keeping these away from the winches.
We want to have a little lower stretch. Maybe you want to make sure that the guide, the spinnaker pole is not bouncing on the head stay and double braid polyester just isn't taking care of that. In the big wind, we move right back over here, MLX and the VPC. Blended Dyneema or blended Vectran core. Still very economical, low stretch, nice sheet application.
If there's something that's really driving you nuts and you want no stretch whatsoever, we're right back over to this family. This is where something like the Spectra 900, it's in Maxibraid plus, works out well in sheets. Also, the other three choices that we've already gone over. Getting in to the Admiral 90 in these applications is maybe a little overkill at that point.
Control lines, I'm going to take you through a lot of the same lines. We're right back at our starting place with double braid polyesters. As you can see, we've got a lot of diameters, lots of colors, great for color coding. Grab the red one, the green one. Again, back to trophy braid if you want it a little bit easier to hold on to. If you've got something you want even softer, we're right back to the PHD cruiser from Yale. Still loving the single braids. All of these hold well in cam or a clam cleat.
Need something that's going to hold in a clutch? We're right back to the blends. You've got something where you have no tolerance for any stretch. We're back into the Dyneemas and the one Spectra here in a double braid so that you can use a clutch.
Lastly, we've got, for those really odd control line jobs on board, we've got these. They're mostly for, they were built for dinghies but we find them occasionally on bigger boats. They are the Dinghy Polytech the Excel, I think I've got them mixed up, Excel Racing right here, the blue with yellow, Dinghy Control and Dinghy Vectran, Excel control and Dingy Star Pro. I'm not going to go into all the details on these but just wanted you to be aware of all these options and generally these are in the quarter inch and down family.
Hi this is Kyle from APS, and I'm going to guide you through how to choose replacement running rigging for racing keel boats, and large sport boats. Most all the lines I'm going to show you are tech ropes, they've got Dyneema or Spectra or Vectran in them. What are we looking for in the racing arena? What we're looking for, low stretch, we want things to stay where we set them, we want light weight. Can we strip the jackets, can we go to a smaller diameter that doesn't weigh as much and we want something that's going to be durable and hold up to some hard racing.
Halyards, Main, Headsail, Spinnaker our starting place for performance Halyard is with a blended line. These are double braids, this is MLX from Samson and this is VPC from New England. This has a blended DSK-78 Dyneema core and a blended Vectran core. You're getting the low stretch properties of these without having to pay for a pure core. With these you use a double braid, sorry not a double braid but a High-tech eye splice because they're blends, we don't generally don't recommend stripping the jackets. You're not going to be able to get these as light if you were to strip partial jackets off as you would if you used a pure core.
Traditionally here at APS, we categorize our Halyards into upwind and downwind headsail and main, going upwind and our Spinnaker going off wind. When Spectra and Dyneema hit the market years and years ago, it was okay. It was high strength, but it creeps. Vectran does not creep.
What is creep. Creep is unrecoverable stretch. Back in the days where DSK-60, this is 78, came out, creep happened pretty quickly. It happens under high static loads. I know there's not a lot of static loads on boats because they're moving around and loads are kind of fluctuating, but it's close enough and we did experience the DSK-60 creeping quite a bit. What basically happens is over a prolonged period of time with a static load, the molecules start to rearrange and the line actually elongates and when you take the load off, it doesn't spring back. It's been stretched permanently and that's creep. Now that we're getting into the DSK-78s and sometimes 90s, they've engineered most of that out, but it is still a factor if you're going to be on a long distance race, so in these, we kind of historically go with downwind halyards with the Dyneema blends and upwind halyards with the Vectran.
Okay. If you want to really amp up the performance, maybe you'd like to downsize your halyards from 3/8 to 5/16, you're going to need to go to a pure high tech core so it can take the load using less fiber and maybe you want to get the weight down even further by stripping part of the jacket at the working end of the line, that's going to require a pure core. I'm starting here with the Spectra, Dyneema family. This is an old friend. We've been selling Yale's MaxiBraid Plus for a long long time. It's a real workhorse for us all over the boat, but it is a Spectra 900 so that's kind of getting back to the DSK-60 days. It does creep a fair amount, but it's super high load so it'd be find for your off wind halyards. Now we move into these three lines which are the newer DSK-78, creep has really been engineered out of these greatly. We've got the Endura Braid by New England and the ... I'm sorry, here we go, we got them mixed up.
We've got the EnduraBraid by New England, Warp Speed by Sampson and this is the Poly Tech by Sampson. All three of these are double braids, pure cores. You can strip them. This one has Technora in the cover and the Technora is a lot more abrasion resistant than the polyester, so if you've got a clutch or a cleat that's eating up a halyard continuously, this would be a really nice upgrade to kind of abate that problem. This is Admiral DSK-90. This is the latest Dyneema. This is, the creep's really become a non issue at this point. It's got a really nice tight jacket. Again, you could aggressively downsize from lower tech lines to these and you could remove the covers.
All right. Last in the covered lines, these are Vectran choices. Historically, these have been our go-to's for our upwind halyards. I've got Crystalyne from Yale and V-100 from New England. Polyester jackets, braided cores and strippable.
Okay, we've gone over some good double braid halyard options for race boats, but if you've got a specialty need, you really want to minimize the weight, downsize as aggressively as possible, we would start off with a single braid whether that's the Amsteel 78, the DSK-78, the AS-90, DSK-90. We've got pure Vectran, this is Vectrus from Yale. We have heat-set which is DSK-75, but it's been heat-set, so it's on steroids in terms of performance. There are lots of different options whether we do a polyester cover only where it's being cleated and clutched and possibly winched. We have some Dyneema covers, we have some other high tech covers that we can use, so you'd need to give us a call. We'd need to very specifically understand what your need so that we can custom make something. This is a place we don't have to go very often because the things I've already gone over take care of the vast majority of racing halyard needs.
Okay. Racing main sheets on big boats. I'm going to talk about them separate from all other sheets. If you want a traditional mainsheet, double braid construction, the run through the blocks that you're used to, right here with MLX-VPC, blended cores, low stretch, good feel on the hand, durable, polyester covers. Maybe you want to go with something lighter weight. With these we've got the Excel Fusion 75 and this is the Coppa 3000 and this one here is the Flight line and these all have pure DSK-78 cores. Then this last one is Sampson UltraLight with a blended Dyneema core. They all have polypropylene in them. The Dyneema and the polypropylene, neither of those absorb water so they stay light.
With these first three you have the option, because the cores are coated and they're pure cores, is you could strip back the jacket and taper these. Very lightweight in terms of water absorption, get rid of more of the jacket in the areas you're not cleating or clutching. You got rid of some more weight and they run really nice. With this we've got a pure polypropylene cover. It's not a strippable. It's just a way to get a really lightweight jacket or line altogether, but because it's only polypropylene, it doesn't have high abrasion resistance so don't expect this to hold up as long in the cleats as these three choices over here, or especially these two.
Moving into, for main sheets that are not going on the wench, not going into a clutch, going into a multi purchase, we've got the DPX here, which is this right here. The SSR from Alpha, the Salsa from New England, Dyneema Poly Pro, a little bit of polyester, soft in the hand, low stretch, fine in the cam cleat. Then we're into the Yale PHD Racer, little different. This is even easier to hold onto because all you're holding onto is polyester. All the Dyneema strands are wrapped in polyester so it's an easier line to hold on to, holds better in the cleats. These are great too, but they've got the Dyneema and it makes them a little more slick than the PHD Racer. Nice choices for single braids.
If you need a really low stretch, maybe you've got a two to one main sheet system, we're back here to our Dyneemas and Spectras whether it's a Yale MaxiBraid Plus, the Warp Speed or the EnduraBraid, the Poly Tech if you've got a wear issue and this would be really into big boat two to one kind of winched main sheet applications with the Admiral DSK-90.
For racing Genoa, Jib and Spinnnaker sheets, our starting place is with the blends, MLX and VPC. Traditional construction, double braid, you want less stretch, maybe downsize, higher strength, we're right back here to our double braid Dyneemas. Sticking with just the Spinnaker, this is going to be the place for your headsails because you're going to be using a wench and they've got the covers to deal with that. With the Spinnaker where weight can be more of a concern, especially in lighter air conditions, we've got these. This is the Excel Fusion, we've talked about the Coppa and the Flight Line, so you've got the ability to strip these back, get the weight off the clues for smaller race boats and then we have the Sampson UltraLight. As the boats get bigger, this has a hard time holding up to the abrasion, but on smaller keel boats, a right off the spool way to keep the water weight low in the sheet.
Lastly, if you're a real big fan, again, just for spin sheets, not to be used on winches, we've got the single braids that we've already been over. Lots of choices for your headsail and spin sheets.
Control lines on larger race boats, hold on to your hats, there's a lot coming at you because there's a lot of different applications. We're going to start with the most basic. If you have a real basic need for control line, it's not hyper critical for weight or absolute no stretch, just go with a double braid polyester. We don't find a lot of this on race boats, but it has its place whether that is a New England Sta-Set, whether it's a ULS from Yale, XLS from Sampson and then another kind of nice piece that, still double braid, this is Trophy Braid from Sampson. It's got a little bit of fuzziness in the jacket, so for a control line, it's a little easier to hold on to and it's a little more aggressive at staying in place and seating in a cam or a clam cleat quickly.
Need something that's a little lower stretch? Sticking with the double braids, we're right back here with the MLX with a blended core and VPC. Having something that's soft, easy to grip, that's flexible is more the demand of your control line, we've got the SL SSR, the DPX and the Salsa from New England and then of course the PHD Racer. Remember, no winches, no clutches for these but if you really need that feel, this can be used as control lines. Then going back to this family, we've got the XL Fusion 75 and the Coppa 3000. Remember these are blends of polypropylene and with pure Dyneema cores, they don't absorb a lot of weight so they stay light. They're easy to hold on to. They wear fairly well and if you have kind of an odd control line where you want to strip back the jacket with something off the spool, then these would be great go-to's.
Moving over into dingy lines that definitely from time to time find themselves onto race boats, we've got this assortment. We're starting with the Dingy Polytech, dingy Control, Excel Racing, that's Dingy Vectran and Excel Control and Dingy Star Pro. I won't go into all of their different characteristics, but I wanted you to see that there's a lot to choose from here out of a lot of different materials and these lines generally are starting at about 1/4 inch and moving down in size. The other lines I've shown you kind of start at 3/16 or a 1/4 and go up in size.
Hi, this is Kyle from APS. I'm here to guide you through choosing replacement running rigging for dinghies and beach catamarans. We generally break this into three categories, good, better, best. Just loosely talking, good is your recreational sail or taking the family out for the day, not racing but just want a good performing line that's low stretch, gets the job done well. We go to better, which is now more race oriented and more performance oriented. We start to get into high tech fibers. Our best are for either specialty applications or really high performance. We're going to take you through halyards and sheets and controls lines.
Okay, starting with dinghy halyards the good kind of category. This is a polyester family of lines I've got from Marlow Excel Pro, Marlow Super Pre-stretch. We have Finish Line by New England and then we have the Eight Plate Pro by FSE. These are all polyester woven jackets. They are not strippable. This one is interesting. It has Taslan in the polyester cover, blended in. And it gives it a little bit of ... I don't know if I can call it a fuzzy, but definitely a different texture and makes it a little easier to hold onto. Plenty of colors and diameters to choose from in this good family.
Okay, if you've got a specialty, high tech, high performance need when it comes to dinghy halyards, we're going to bring you over to single braids in this kind of hybrid double braid here. Starting off with this first one from Samson. This is AmSteel 78 with DSK 78 Dyneema single braid, would use a single braid eye splice. You could sleeve it and bury the jacket, just depending on the application. If you like the Vectran family where creep’s never an issue and low stretch is obvious, this is Vectrus 12 by Yale. Again, 12 strand eye splice. You could sleeve it. You could bury the jacket ends. Maybe you want to crank up the performance on the Dyneema, this is AS-90. It's a DSK 90 by Samson, single braid. This is clear coated. These are obviously coated, but colored and these are available in multiple different coating colors.
Now, we're moving over to a heat set. This is DSK 78 and it's been heat set so under heat and pressure, they kind of rearrange and reset the molecules a little bit. What that does is it ups the working load, the braking strength and it reduces the creep even more. It is pretty stiff. Almost like a wire replacement, but it is something you could jacket if you really needed to and bury. Okay, here's a real one off. This is literally called wire rope. We call it WR-2. It's from Samson. It is DSK 78. This jacket is super tightly woven. Would be incredibly, or is incredibly abrasion resistance. Great with abrasion and DSK 78 core here, which can be eye spliced with the jacket pulled back. You can strip the jacket, bury it, get creative with that for your specialty needs.
Okay, moving into dinghy sheets, whether that's Main, Jib, or Spinnaker. I'm going to start with a recreational, low tech approach. I show you these because they're comfortable to hold onto. This is Samson's Trophy braid. I'm not sure if you can see it, but it's got a bit of a fuzziness to it. It is all polyester so it going to absorb water for just day cruising. Boy, that's a nice feel, a nice grip in your hand. This other line is still an all polyester line. It's a single braid. It's Yale's PhD Cruiser and it's even softer and more comfortable in the hand. Again, if you're going to be handling a line, you don't care if it absorbs water, these are two really low tech recreational lines to look at.
Okay, moving into some performance lines when it comes to dinghy sheets. These first two are all about staying lightweight, not absorbing water. This is the Buzzline by New England and Marstron from Marlow. This is a polyester, polypropylene blend. This is an all polypropylene, so this will even float. Nice comfortable in the hand. Not super low stretch, but when you want something that will run and not absorb water, great choices. Well priced. And then these two lines. This is Rooster Polylight. This is a really unique line. It has a polyester jacket and a polypropylene core. It's attribute is that it doesn't tangle like other lines do. It is woven such that the load is carried 100% by the cover not the core. What that does is keeps it from wanting to tangle. This is a very popular line for laser sheets, where it first appeared. When you get to the weather mark and you want that main sheet to zing out without knots. This would be a great choice, especially for main sheets.
All right, last one. This is really about just having a good polyester, low stretch well-running line. This is dinghy Sheet by FSE and it has nylon, actually woven in with the cover. It gives it a ... It's really, at first you don't realize it but it's got kind of a grippability that you wouldn't find in an all-polyester line. It's very round. It's a medium hand. It's just a good all-around low stretch kind of high tech polyester main sheet for dinghies.
Okay, moving into high tech high performance dinghy sheets. These are from Alpha Ropes. SSR, blend of Dyneema and Cordura. Dyneema for low water absorption and stretch and the Cordura makes the line easier to hold onto. Now we've got Salsa from New England. This is a blend of polyester and Dyneema. Again, polyester is there to make it a grippable. Okay, here's an interesting twist. This is Yale, PhD Racer. It's a blend of polyester and Dyneema, but the Dyneema is actually wrapped inside of these polyester pieces here, these strands so you never actually come in contact with it. You're only holding the soft polyester the whole time, which makes it the most grippable line in the group here. Last, this is DPX. It is Dyneema and then the white part here is like this worsted polyester and it's very soft. It is fuzzy. Low stretch from the Dyneema and that polyester makes it probably the second most grippable line in the group here. Great in clam cleats and wonderful all these in your hand.
Okay, dinghy control lines. While there's a real gamut here of applications. Starting with your more basic, whether it's your vang, cunningham, outhaul. The polyester line we talked about early, great for any recreational control line. Available in lots of different colors and sizes depending on the application. Grab the green one. Grab the blue one. Easy to communicate to people what you need them to do. If you have something that needs low stretch, high strength, we're right back here to small diameter, Vectran and Dyneema lines depending on your need. If you're going to handle the line more often, then we're back to the single braids with the Dyneema, low stretch, very soft in the hand. And if you have a specialty application in control lines, especially things that you are not going to be cleaning or handling whether it's a strop or a link in your vang system, these Dyneema and Vectran single braids would be a good choice.