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Synthetic ropes are normally made from polyamide ( nylon ), polyester, polyethylene
or polypropylene or a combination of these materials

Construction of Synthetic Fibre Ropes

3-strand rope consists of three strands, usually laid right handed. It is

stiffer to handle, tends to kink and is prone to hockling. It has been
largely superseded by 8-strand plaited rope.

6-strand rope consists of six strands twisted around a core. It is similar

in structure to a conventional wire rope. It is not as prone to hockling as
three-strand rope

8-strand plaited (multiplait) rope most widely used mooring rope. It is

constructed from four pairs of strands, each alternative pair consisting of
two right hand and two left hand strands respectively, which gives better
balance. Very flexible and does not hockle. It has essentially the same
strength as three-strand rope of similar size.

Double braid (braid on braid) rope consists of a core braided of many

small strands surrounded by a cover which is also braided of many strands.
Generally stronger than other ropes of the same diameter because the
structure is denser. Provides good grip on capstains and warping drums.
Does not kink.

Types of materials

Aramid the strongest man made fibre with the lowest extension under
load. Good chemical resistance but low abrasion resistance. Difficult to
splice. Does not float. Weight for weight it is about five times stronger
than steel. Aramid fibre mooring ropes need to be sheathed to avoid
damage from ultra-violet. Melting point 260.

Polyamide (nylon) the second strongest of man made fibres.

Exceptional ability to sustain heavy repeat loadings. It resists alkalis, oils
and organic solvents but it is damaged by acids. Does not float. When
wet it only has about 80% of its original dry strength. Has the highest
elasticity of all man made fibres. Melts at 250.

Polyester the heaviest man made fibre rope. Low extension under load.
High strength wet or dry. Strength is slightly less than dry nylon rope.
Good abrasion resistance. Resists acids, oils and organic solvents but
damaged by alkalis. Does not float. Relatively high melting point of 230-
260 ok for resisting fusion around drums. Higher melting point.
Polypropylene lightest of man made fibres. Approximately the same
stretch as polyester rope. Weaker than polyester and nylon. Resists acids,
alkalis and oils but can be affected by bleaching agents and some industrial
solvents. Neither absorbs or retains water. Has the same strength wet or
dry. Does not sink. It has a low melting point 165 and tends to fuse under
high friction. Prone to ultra-violet damage.

Polyethylene similar in appearance to ployprop and has about the same

stretch but it is weaker and less abrasion resistance. Low melting point
130 and it floats. Not great mooring rope but ok messenger.

If any cut penetrates through 25% of the area of one or more strands of a 3, 6 or 9
strand rope, the rope should be cut and spliced or retired.

Double braid ropes have more strands if more than about 10% of the entire cover
strands are cut then the rope should be retired.

Inspection & maintenance


Steel wire mooring ropes

Low elasticity
Better strength/diameter ratio than most synthetic ropes
Smaller diameter suitable for storage reels linked to winches

A standard mooring line is 6-strand ordinary lay construction, usually right handed
with a steel or fibre core. Usually galvanised. Ropes used with conventional hand
mooring systems have a fibre core for ease in manual handling. Ropes used with
self-storing powered winched have a steel wire core.

Ropes with a steel wire core have the following advantages over fibre core rope of
the same diameter

greater resistance to crushing forces

smaller loss of MBL (minimum breaking load) when bent
greater strength (7-8%)
less extension ( 0.25-0.50% as opposed to 0.50-0.75%)
Wire ropes most commonly used as mooring lines are of the following constructions

6 x 24 FC
6 x 37 FC
6 X 36 FC
6 X 36 IWRC
6 X 41 IWRC

6 x 24 and 6 x 37 wire ropes are of cross-laid construction while 6 x 36 and 6 x 41

wire ropes are of equal-laid construction. Equal-laid ropes have the advantage that
there is no local crushing and cross-cutting of the wires as in a cross laid rope
factors which improve fatigue performance. Equal-laid ropes average about 12%
increased breaking load as compared to cross-laid ropes.

Wires of 22-40 mm diameter are usually 6 x 36 construction, and larger wires 6 x 41.
The maximum diameter usually found in standard service is about 44mm.

Synthetic fibre rope tails

SWRs are extremely inelastic and are too rigid for efficient absorption of
shock movements but a degree of elasticity can be introduced by attaching
a synthetic fibre rope tail (usually nylon) to the outboard end of the wire.
The length of the tail should not exceed 11 metres.
Three strand should not be used
The BS of the tail should exceed that of the wire by at least 25%
If a nylon rope is used it should have at least 37% more strength than
the wire rope (to make allowance for a reduction of strength when wet)
The tail should be attached to the wire by using a special joining shackle
designed to reduce wear on the rope (no fucken cow hitches)

Load top to top, keep tension and fill hollow.

Emergency towing-off wires same as KONOWE pick up lines.

Elasticity of a mooring line depends on


Nylons are the most elastic / aramids the least.

Stoppers for synthetic fibre ropes

should be synthetic fibre rope

low stretch material
high melting point (polyester)
used on the double
the double rope used should have a combined strength equal to 50% of
the diameter of the mooring rope
nylon stoppers should not be used on nylon ropes
polyester most suitable

West country or chinese stopper

Unless a specially designed mechanical stopper is used, only chain stoppers should be
used on wire ropes. (cow hitch start)

Brake holding power (BHP) is the maximum tension that the winch brake is able
to hold. Winches are designed so that the BHP is always greater than the render
value of the winch.

The force at which the brake will slip will depend upon

Number of layers of rope on the drum for split-drum winches BHP is

quoted for one layer on the drum. For undivided drum winches the BHP
may be quoted for a specific number of layers. Any increase in the
number of layers will result in a substantial reduction in the BHP as
much as 11% for the second layer (due to different purchase)
Direction of reeling winches fitted with band brakes require the line to
be reeled so as to pull directly against the fixed end of the brake band.
Reeling in the wrong direction can reduce BHP by 50%
Brake condition if the linings or drum have heavy rust, oil or moisture
the BHP can be reduced by up to 75% in extreme cases.
Brake application re-tightened as necessary due to brake band stretch
under load.

Types of fairleads

Panama and closed type

Multi-angle (universal)

Girding tug side capsize.

Admiralty standard stockless anchor and AC14, AC17

Admiralty pattern anchor


very stable under load and will strongly resist any attempt to drag or turn
over due to the stock


can foul itself on own chain
only one fluke to bury



Hove flush
Flattens when it hits the sea bed less likely to foul on own chain
Flukes swing to either side of the head
Head fitted with tripping palm forcing flukes to travel through 30 to
40 when on the sea bed under load.


Mud can choke limiting tripping palm

Can fail to trip
Flukes can bury unevenly for poor holding
Large chances in direction can unbury

Admiralty AC14 has greater holding power.

Gravity shackle for handling

Pea or bill at end of fluke

Open end links can allow a chain to kink or become twisted and the link itself can
bend out of shape quite easily.

Stud links resist kinks forming in the chain and are not commonly known to lose
their shape. The stud within the link provides an additional 15% strength and
prevents longitudinal stretching.

Stud links are made of forged steel, the stud and link being fashioned either as one
piece or the stud being forced into the open link under great pressure.

Kenter links are made up of three principle interlocking pieces held in position
using a fourth piece, the spile pin, which is held in place with a lead pellet.
The anchor crown shackle is attached to the anchor after two or more open and
enlarged links between the kenter shackle and the crown or lugged shackle and opens
to a kenter.

Locker clench usually internal for bitter end but may be lead through.

Smith clip external, housed variation of locker clench with water tight housing.

Range cable to lay cable out for inspection.

Windrode or tiderode riding to whichever is the strongest influence.

Slip rope (usually a wire rope), is rigged to enable letting go without shore crew.
Seized eye on slip wire fed through to messenger line and retrieved on board.

Risks with auto-tension the load which a winch can heave in is always less than the
load at which it will render. Hence if a winch renders it is impossible to heave in
unless the load forcing it to render decreases.

If due to some reason, like a change in wind direction or force of wind or current, the
bow winch renders, the ship will drift astern and the aft winch will heave in the slack
sternline. The two winches can work opposite to each other so that the ship walks
along the jetty.

Auto best used only for berthing then tended.

Input brakes eg Northern power off clamp on.

Construction of ropes ropes consist of many fibres laid up to form a yarn (or
single length). Many yarns form a strand and two or more strands form a rope.

Langs Lay ( eg topping lift in a crane ) is suited to severe abrasive conditions as

they have more surface area in contact with the drum or sheave.

Langs Lay ropes must never be used to suspend a free hanging load as the rope will
rotate and unlay, and lose strength rapidly

The total number of broken wires visible in a length

of the rope equal to 10 times its diameter, does not
exceed 5% of the wires constituting the rope.