October 10, 2016 | posted by Jon Mitchell
Ultimate customisation provides the X-Factor….. for your running rigging!
In top fleets the margin between winning and losing is often minimal. When it is important that every last notch of performance is squeezed out it is unsurprising that teams are increasingly looking to their running rigging in the search for speed.
Running rigging is frequently an overlooked element of the overall raceboat package. Lightweight super-strong carbon hulls and spars and aerodynamically refined sails are a prerequisite, but, as the old saying goes, ‘power is nothing without control’.
The Grand Prix Series from Marlow Ropes now offers the ultimate tailor-made running rigging configuration for minimum weight along with maximum efficiency. Since its launch the Grand Prix Series has become renowned for providing superior line performance through the use of exotic materials and innovative design. Less well known are the multitude of options, extras and customisations that are available to each individual boat.
Marlow have pre-stretched their Dyneema cores for many years, improving strength and reducing both material and constructional stretch while maintaining excellent flexibility and handling. However, Marlow’s Max range of super pre-stretched Dyneema cores now takes in an additional process, which size-for-size can improve line strength by up to 60%. These increased break loads provide a number of benefits to the grand prix racer:
- Increased safety margins in extreme conditions – greater reliability means more finishes and potentially more wins.
- Less stretch and creep due to the rope working at a significantly lower percentage of break load – less elongation (recoverable or non-recoverable) means more consistent and repeatable sail shapes.
- The ability to downsize larger lines, reducing water take-up and weight – less weight onboard, especially aloft in the rig, increases boat speed as well as handling.
Marlow’s Grand Prix Series is unique in offering Super Pre-stretched line in all grades of Dyneema (SK75, SK78 and SK90). Marlow are also alone in offering all these core variants in any colour to match the rope’s cover (or indeed the boat) where a line is stripped.
Marlow’s D12 Max is now starting to be seen in applications where fibre ropes were thought unusable just a few years ago, including in standing rigging, backstays and checkstays and as the load-bearing element in specialist top-down furlers in the Mini Maxi and Open classes. It goes without saying that swapping wire (and even aramid) cables greatly reduces weight onboard, squeezing ever more performance from the boat.
High strength and low elongation are one thing, but unless the rope works well with the deck gear and provides the required feel and control around winches it’s next to useless. In addition, ropes have got to last – whether for the season, the regatta or in extreme cases simply for a single race. They mustn’t fail and they must continue to perform consistently well. This is where customised ropes can add value.
The MGP cover system provides a choice of blended covers that have been developed to provide the very best performance across different applications. Blends of sophisticated modern fibres including Technora, Teflon, Zylon, Vectran and Dyneema are used to give a balance of different characteristics that can be tailored to each application: abrasion resistance, heat resistance, high friction, low friction, light weight and so on. And as if the choice wasn’t wide enough already, Marlow can also now accommodate ‘custom blends’ and cover thicknesses to suit personal preference!
The level and degree of customisation possible with the Grand Prix Series is almost limitless:
- Factory-fitted rope inserts to increase a rope’s diameter in a specified section for improved jammer performance.
- Tapered cores, providing a smooth and imperceptible diameter change, reducing the volume and weight of rope lying around the deck and soaking up water.
- Hoist markers that allow grinders to time their sail hoists to perfection.
- Custom colours and marker yarns for faster line identification.
- Glow in the dark and retro reflective markers for night racing… or simply for finding the rope you need in a dark carbon interior!
One of Marlow’s most innovative extras in the Grand Prix Series is DriCoat. A wet rope can be up to 40% heavier than a dry one – a fact often overlooked in the race for weight reduction. On a 50ft yacht that could mean up to 20kg of additional weight is being carried… unnecessarily. Marlow’s DriCoat reduces water take-up by 90% and further improves abrasion resistance without leaving any residue on hands or deck gear. But I sail a classic racer! Well, with the Grand Prix Series there is no need to compromise the look of your classic to reap the benefits of the best modern running rigging. All of Marlow’s Grand Prix customisation is now available with a traditional look.
Performance sailing at the highest level in whatever discipline, from Melges to Maxi, inshore or offshore, demands attention to detail. Everyone is looking for the extra edge, the X Factor that will lift them to the next level of performance. Like a fine Savile Row suit, the best is always custom made – the Grand Prix Series offers a bespoke service for quality, reliability and performance from another Great British establishment!