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Rotting ropes????

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Hi Everyone,

Just a quick question. Has anyone had experience of nylon ropes rotting in the atmosphere? If so what causes it? The ropes I have used as fender lines on "Evening Star" have all gone powdery to the touch and are weak to the point where you can break them by just lightly pulling, and they are only a year old, any ideas???



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You say "Nylon", but are they perhaps "Polypropylene" ?

I've used Nylon and Polyester ropes for many years now, with some left exposed on deck throughout the year in all weathers. They do discolour and harden, but they've never become weaker or frayed, even after several years. When my fender lines become too stiff to untie, I put them in the washing machine, and they come up like new.

By contrast Polypropylene ropes, (much cheaper and widely used on hire boats), disintegrate very rapidly in use. The strands are much more loosely woven and deteriorate rapidly in sunlight.

Polypropylene can be identified by the much rougher texture, even when new, like old fashioned parcel string. By contrast, new Nylon & Polyester is quite silky to the touch, and with a much tighter weave.

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Hi All,

I use polypropelene ropes all the time as they are cheap, grip well and easy to splice.

They should not wear out in a year in this climate.

We change ours every three to four years and that is generally due to cosmetic reasons more than any deterioration in the strength.

Until this year our ropes stayed out in all weathers so were exposed to the damaging effects of sunlight all year.


I would think a more likely cause of the rapid deterioration in the condition of your ropes is contamination from the chemicals that you use to clean your boat with.

This sounds much more like chemical contamination than environmental deterioration.


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