Please select your home edition
Edition
upffront 2018 Generic 728x90

Is it worth paying the money for better running rigging?

by Phil Anniss 7 Dec 2018 01:00 PST
Is it worth paying the money for better running rigging? © Sven Jürgensen / Mittelmann’s Werft

What is the cost versus benefit trade-off for running rigging options on a 25 ft sailing boat? We take a look at three running rigging specs, from budget to full performance racing, and investigate whether the increase in cost is justified by the performance benefits.

We asked an expert rigger to work up some generic running rigging specs for a 25 foot weekend cruiser, club racer and grand prix race campaign, based on the Gottifredi Maffioli ranges. His recommended lines (and diameters) are summarised in the table below.

RiggingCruiseClub RaceGP Race
Main HalyardT90 (6mm)Powersprint (6mm)DSK78 Race POLY (6mm)
Jib HalyardT90 (6mm)Powersprint (6mm)DSK78 Race POLY (6mm)
Spi HalyardT90 (6mm)Powersprint (6mm)DSK78 Race DYCO (6mm)
MainsheetT90 (8mm)Airswift (8mm)Swiftcord (8mm)
Jib sheetsT90 (8mm)Airswift (8mm)Superswift (8mm)
Spi sheetsT90 (8mm)Airswift (8mm)Superswift (8mm)

For the purposes of our package comparison, each boat got the same fittings: Ronstan main halyard shackle, Ronstan snap shackles for Jib/Spi halyards and Dyneema® Loop shackles for the sheets.

Cruise

T90 is a double braid construction with a polyester core and 100% polyester cover. Gottifredi Maffioli uses a heat treatment process on its polyester to produce a very low stretch.

Club Race

To improve halyard performance over the T90, Powersprint has a full Dyneema® SK78 core, but the same H.T. Polyester cover as the T90. The use of Airswift in the sheets provides a significant weight advantage as its core is made from hollow filament fibres called "Aircore". The Dyneema® + non-slip fibre braided cover provides excellent grip with good abrasion resistance. It is also easily tapered by removing the core for the last 1.5m and 4m of the jib and spi sheets respectively.

GP Race

In the Grandprix race version, the main and jib halyards have been upgraded to the DSK78 Race range with a generic H.T. Polyester cover. The SK78 core of the Gottifredi Maffioli Race range has been heat set to increase its strength and further reduce its stretch. The DYCO cover for the spi halyard is a Dyneema® + Cordura® mix which is very lightweight with very good abrasion resistance and grip in cleats. The use of the single braid, Dyneema® + non-slip fibre, Swiftcord, for the mainsheet provides a very strong, lightweight line with good grip and very soft feel for constant, comfortable adjustment by the helmsman. Finally Superswift, for the jib and spi sheets, is a double braid with an SK78 core and Dyneema + non-slip fibre cover. This line is strong, lightweight with good abrasion resistance and easily tapered (as per Club spec).

Summary

To compare cost versus benefit for these three packages we decided to look at total rope weight (ex fittings which are identical across all packages) and average line strength. The results can be summarised in the following table:


(N.B. Prices shown are approx RRP package values for line and labour - excluding fittings)

Taking the Cruise spec as the baseline, the data reveals some interesting values:

  • This particular Club Race spec is Dyneema® but only provides an overall 9% strength/stiffness improvement over the all Polyester T90 Cruise spec. (This is primarily driven by the choice of Airswift for the sheets which has been chosen for its soft hand, grip, abrasion resistance and lightweight, rather than its ultimate strength.)
  • The Club Race package weight is 22% lighter than the Cruise spec.
  • If we add the x2 factors (strength and weight) together we get a nominal 31% performance improvement versus a 36% price increase - not bad!
  • Comparing the GP Race spec with the Club race we see 0% weight improvement but a significant 61% improvement in average package strength, for only a 46% price increase - good value!
  • Finally, comparing the GP Race with the Cruise specs. and combining the two performance factors we see a 98% performance improvement compared to a 99% price difference - spooky!

Conclusions

  • Using readily available manufacturer supplied data, it is surprisingly easy to establish a quantitive basis for comparing core performance characteristics of different running rigging packages.
  • The choice of Airswift for the Club Race sheets might provide significant weight and handling benefits but appears to "let the Club package down", from an overall performance perspective (relative to price), as it has a significantly lower strength than the T90 sheets.
  • The performance of the GP Race spec more than justifies the price increase over the Club Race package
  • And comparing the GP Race package with the Cruise - you get double the performance for double the price, which seems sensible.

More Information or need a quote?

If you have any questions or would like to get a tailored running rigging proposal for your boat, you can contact us using our running rigging enquiry form.

Related Articles

Karver's new 3:1 Friction Sheave
An increase in quality with a reduction in both weight and price It's not often that developments in fitting design deliver a significant increase in quality and a reduction in both weight and price - all at the same time. But Karver Systems appears to have achieved the impossible with the new 3:1 Friction Sheave. Posted on 21 Aug
Bjarne Lorenzen interviewed: Furling Your Mainsail
Andy Rice looks at 'in boom' and 'in mast' furling Most of the time we think of furling headsails but as Bjarne Lorenzen of sailmaker Doyle O'leu explains, there are options for mainsails too. In the fifth and final post from this series, Bjarne considers the pros and cons of 'in boom' or 'in mast'. Posted on 7 Aug
Ino-Rope update
The latest in textile block performance In light of the newly updated Ino-Rope product range, we ask you to cast your mind back to 2013: a French duo - experienced offshore Mini Transat 650 sailor Thibault Reinhart and professional rigger Julien Barnet - burst onto the sailing scene. Posted on 3 Aug
New Electric Bowsprit Furler from Bamar
An option for 40-60 footers Whilst performance enhancing marine electronics - such as nke - continue to thrive in popularity, more and more people are also choosing to turn their heads towards the automatism of various sailing systems. Posted on 29 Jul
Do I need the nke Man Overboard Module?
A small, portable transmitter that automatically detects M.O.B. As the trend for performance enhancing marine electronics continues to grow, here at upffront.com we have decided to make things simple for our customers: we've crafted six, turn-key, nke autopilot and navigation packages. Posted on 27 Jul
nke Marine Electronics packages
Introducing the 'Cruise' package from upffront.com Due to nke's impressive product range, we also introduced a number of marine electronics packages crafted by Upffront.com. We created these packages to simplify the tricky world of marine electronics, and the result was six turn-key packages. Posted on 19 Jul
LOOP® Products - An Introduction
A whole array of rope-related products: blocks, soft shackles and more LOOP® Products are a German firm who pride themselves on hard work and innovation. Formed in 2005, LOOP® Products is the brainchild of Kohlhoff GmbH - a deck hardware specialist and wholesaler of top brands since 1991. Posted on 12 Jul
Genoa Reefing System Specifications
How to provide all the information needed for a new system So, you're in the market for a new genoa reefing system... either your existing furling unit is extremely old - and spare parts aren't available any more - or you're choosing to switch from a forestay with hanks for more comfortable cruising. Posted on 8 Jul
A Beginners Guide to Cam Cleats
What's available on the market? Your sailing system is only as strong as the weakest link. Often overlooked, high performance boat cleats are a crucial part of a larger, functional sailing system. Posted on 3 Jul
Soft solutions versus Tylaska's Snap Shackle
Which comes out on top? Soft connectors have tonnes of benefits: generally lighter, stronger and more durable than their metal counterparts, soft connectors require zero maintenance (they're corrosion free!) and are kinder to your deck, mast and other fittings. Posted on 28 Jun
MBW newsletters (top)