Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Re: Ballooner Halyard for Maramu, SN, SM and a few 54s


Bill R,

Point 1:  New England Ropes Sta-SetX polyester line has a breaking strength of 7600 lbs in the 7/16 inch size (11mm, but as close as they get to 10).  Even using the most conservative industry value for safety factor for life-safety usage of 15X, it is more than strong enough to lift any person up the mast (that I would want to lift!). If you think that 10mm Dacron line is not suitable for going up a mast, you need to know that your standards are VERY different than the rest of the sailing world.

You suggest high tech line is "more reliable."  It is not. Many of the high tech lines have a much shorter life span in actual use because they do not like going around small sheaves and cleats. They can fail on the inside and you will NEVER know because the damage is invisible inside the sun cover which has no real strength of its own. 

I have seen this happen on a J-105 where a Spectra cored halyard failed while hoisting the sail.  There was no trace of damage looking at the cover, but the actual strength carrying core had been crushed by the cleat where the line was normally stopped off.  After that incident, I refused to allow my staff to go aloft on cored halyards.  I would MUCH prefer going aloft on a double braid polyester line where my visual inspection of the line tells me everything I need to know about its condition.

Point 2: I think you are confusing the line specs published by Amel. There are, of course, many lines on the boat that they specified as "Kevlar," and a few as Vectran. These are all lines that are stretch critical from an engineering standpoint.  What you might not realize is that ALL Kevlar lines MUST have a polyester cover because Kevlar is not stable to UV light. These lines can not be "all Kevlar."

Amel's specifications are very clear:  For lines where stretch is critical, like the halyards, the main outhaul, the traveler control lines, they are all called out as high tech line. I know they do not SAY polyester covered, but you can not use Kevlar line uncovered.  It would have a very short live span in tropical sun, and it would be WAY too slippery to work in the line tenders, or even on a standard winch at high loadings.   I know how important these low-stretch specifications are, I just bought a lot of high tech line for our boat, and for these applications they are not only worth it, but are essential to proper operation.

When Amel specifies "polyester" line, that's what they mean--not "polyester covered".  You'll see this if you look at the lines where they do specify "polyester".  They are ALL for lines where stretch can either be accepted (like the ballooner halyard) or where stretch is an important requirement (like the main sheet.)

High tech line is not "better" than polyester.  It is different.  It has a different purpose. None of our lines are loaded ANYWHERE near the point they need Spectra, Dyneema, or Vectran for breaking strength.  The only reason to use these kinds of lines on a Super Maramu is to control stretch. Thats where they should be used. In places where a bit of give is important to protect the boat (like a main sheet in a crash gybe) polyester is BETTER.  In places where stretch is unimportant, then use what makes sense from a cost and performance standpoint. That is what Amel specified, and what I use. 

It sounds like you are suggesting that ALL the lines on a Super Maramu MUST be high tech lines. That will warm the hearts of people selling such lines, and leaving everybody else poorer, to no useful purpose.

We all want to help people make the right choices.  Just like on the different kinds of Dyneema or Vectran lines for the outhaul or main traveler, details _matter_ in this. Vectran, Dyneema, and Spectra are not the same thing.  They are covered in different materials for different purposes. You have to know the reason for making choices. More dollars spent does not always get you the better outcome if spent on specifications that are irrelevant or inappropriate for the application..

Just so people understand where I am coming from, I have rigged a 40 foot boat with Dyneema standing rigging.  It was a very successful operation. It would have been a laughable failure with Dacron line--of any kind.  It is not something I would recommend for every boat, by any means. I understand where and when high tech lines are useful. These lines are not magic.  They have pluses and minuses.  No line is suitable for all purposes.

That's a very long way of saying, the ballooner halyard should be 10mm Dacron line.  It is more than strong enough. The extra stretch is irrelevant--in this application.  It is safer for going aloft because it is visually inspectable for strength, and it is a LOT less expensive.  I like New England Ropes Sta-Set X because it is really easy to splice and has a nice "hand," but a bunch of others would do as well.

That's my reasoning.  You don't have to accept it, but you asked for it.  That's pretty much everything I know about the matter. 

You should, of course, make what ever recommendation you think best based on what you know.

Bill Kinney
SM160, Harmonie
Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA

---In amelyachtowners@..., <brouse@...> wrote :

Bill Kinney,
  1. Amel trained all SM owners to use this line to go up the mast and many use it today. Yes, it may not need high strength capacity, but it's construction and reliability is very important to the safety of the owners.
  2. The outer sheath of the Amel OEM Ballooner Halyard is polyester according to Amel documents. The Amel documents do not state what the core is made of. It does not appear to be polyester. Most all of the OEM Amel running rigging lines have high strength cores including Kevlar. I can think of 6 or 8 as I write this. I am very interested as to where you found the core specs for the Amel OEM Ballooner Halyard? I will use it to update my information. If Amel specified polyester, I would be surprised and I will probably would not recommend it.
  3. I appreciate your suggestion/criticism, but actually I asked for input, corrections and clarifications because I am trying to help those that have asked for the same. Do you have anything else to offer to help me finalize this?

CW Bill Rouse
Admiral, Texas Navy
Commander Emeritus

Amel School
720 Winnie St
Galveston Island, TX 77550

+1(832) 380-4970

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