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Alternatives to NER Salsa (better price, less ugly)

Mar 23, 2018
63
Catalina 22 12491 Lake Charlevoix
I need to replace my mailsheet on our Catalina 22. It’s very old and swollen, measuring almost ½”.

I’m looking to replace it with a 3/8” (9mm to 10mm) line. My 4 to 1 mailsheet blocks are Harken Carbo Air 57mm. We are not racers, but we like to go fast, well as fast as a Catalina 22 will go.

Every post I read people rave about NER Salsa. I keep reading about how it:
1. Feels great in the hand.
2. Runs well.
3. Won’t hockle.
4. Holds well in a cam cleat.
All things I would love in a new mainsheet. What I don’t care for is the price and the colors.

I’m looking for suggestions of other lines with similar designed/characteristics to Salsa but perhaps 25% - 33% cheaper. The color part will probably take care of itself, I’ve never seen any rope as unattractive as NER Salsa. When I showed it to the wife she said “NO WAY”.

What lines should I be considering? What will give me a similar (or close) feel and performance at a slightly lower price. So far these lines sound interesting:

Samson Control-DPX 3/8"
NER Regatta Braid 10mm
Samson MLX3
Samson Trophy Braid 3/8" – not sure about the fuzzy jacket?
NER Sta-Set 10mm

Unfortunately I'm at least an hour away from a tiny WM, so feeling any of these options before I buy is very unlikely.

(I posted this here as it seems to applies to any small keel boat, not just the Catalina 22)
 
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Feb 21, 2013
3,634
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
Agree with you on the color. 3/8" Dyneema single braid, Salsa red price is ~$2.29/ft. I use Samson XLS white with blue tracer. I think the line has been replaced by XLS3 and 3/8" sells for ~$0.96 - 1.39/ft.

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Jan 11, 2014
7,746
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Since the sheets are frequently adjusted (or should be) stretch is not as big an issue as it is for halyards, vangs and other control lines. Thus there is no need to go for super high tech lines.

Fuzzy braid has a nice soft feel that grips winches well. Good for jib and spin sheets, will work for mainsheets

Regatta braid also has a nice soft feel, runs smoothly through blocks, doesn't seem to hockle. I use it on my boat.

Sta-Set tends to be a little stiff on a mainsheet that runs through mutliple blocks, it may not be the best choice. This is less of an issue on jib sheets because the runs are straighter.

WM is probably not the most economical source for line. Try the SBO store or Defender.com
 
Jan 13, 2009
359
J Boat 92 78 Sandusky
Lanex Meltemi fix, 10mm. Google it. .79/ft from a company in Jamestown. Used for my 3:1/6:1 mainsheet. Love it. Great hand and doesn’t kink
 

Joe

.
Jun 1, 2004
7,416
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
Samson Trophy Braid is my mainsheet choice for cruising and club level racing. You do not need high tech line for your application. The Trophy Braid is a polyester double braid with a spun fiber cover that gives it the "fuzzy" feel mentioned above. For the 6:1 mainsheet on my Catalina 27 I use 60 ft, 5/16" Samson Trophy Braid. You'll love the feel in the hand, and find it very comfortable to steer with one hand and tend the sheet with the other.... not cleating the sheet will allow you to react to subtle pressure changes. Keeping the size at 5/16 will provide plenty of strength(2,000lbs), while insuring that the fuzzy line runs freely through the mainsheet's multi-purchase tackle. Since the Catalina 22 has a woefully inefficient traveler system, you'll find yourself playing the sheet, rather than the traveler, for making constant adjustments to minor apparent wind fluctuations. You can use the vang to maintain leech tension and let the sheet be completely devoted to angle of attack. A thick, sluggish mainsheet will never work for this kind of control... so... whether you go with the Trophy Braid, MLX, or any other slick line, you'll want to stay with the 5/16 size. In other possible applications, the spun fiber cover's increased friction on a winch drum may provide a small advantage in sail handling.

Finally, for the mainsheet application I suggest a solid color line. I prefer black. Since the line stays outside all the time, it will maintain a fresh look much, much longer than a white line.

related comment--- To protect them from the weather and to reverse them on a regular basis to prevent excessive wear, I stow my headsail sheets below (not attached to the sails, of course) when not in use.
 
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Oct 22, 2014
15,862
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Samson Trophy Braid is my mainsheet choice for cruising and club level racing.
:plus:
NER will have a similar line for your intended use. A polyester double braid is a good line for mainsheet. Try it in your hand in the store. Get a size that feels good and fits your blocks, as you will be holding it a lot.
 

Ward H

.
Nov 7, 2011
3,093
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
Unfortunately I'm at least an hour away from a tiny WM, so feeling any of these options before I buy is very unlikely.
WM most likely will not have many options, just a few basic types of line.
When I bought my first keel boat I asked about various lines here on SBO. Then I included a selection of 2 or 3' lines in my next order from Defender.com as samples.
After I played with them a bit I made my decision. Better than spending the money on a new halyard or main sheet only to find out you don't like the feel of the line.

As the others said, polyester double braid for sheets and mid tech lines for halyards work well.
 
Jul 19, 2013
310
Pearson 31-2 Boston
I switched the mainsheet on my P31-2 from Sta-set to 3/8" Salsa, and loved the Salsa line for all the reasons that you listed. IMHO you make a big mistake to go to an inferior line for a one-time savings. I guess the color question is personal perspective, I really like the Salsa look.

See
 
Jan 4, 2010
975
Farr 30 San Francisco
I don't understand mainsheets, it seems to me some stout twine would be adequate. The tension in the line is what you can pull. Maybe 50 - 100 lbs. Plus some allowance for shock loads Almost anything is strong enough in the thickness that feels good in your hands. Maybe some nice silk hanging rope? Jib sheets driven by a 40X winch that is a different matter, then the sheet is looking at 2000 lbs of tension.
 
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Jan 11, 2014
7,746
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
I don't understand mainsheets, it seems to me some stout twine would be adequate. The tension in the line is what you can pull. Maybe 50 - 100 lbs. Plus some allowance for shock loads Almost anything is strong enough in the thickness that feels good in your hands. Maybe some nice silk hanging rope? Jib sheets driven by a 40X winch that is a different matter, then the sheet is looking at 2000 lbs of tension.
The big issue with main sheets is the ability to run through the blocks easily and smoothly. The second issue is handling, ⅛" dyneema is more than strong enough but it will be murder on the hands.

Depending on the size of the blocks ⅜" or 5/16" line will be more than adequate if it is flexible enough. A low tech double braid polyester will work just fine.
 
Jan 4, 2010
975
Farr 30 San Francisco
Yeah any rope that is thick enough to not murder your hands is going to be strong enough. I don't get the need in a block system for "high tech" line i.e. ridiculous strength vs diameter. As I said a winch based system is different, much more tension in the line.
 
Mar 23, 2018
63
Catalina 22 12491 Lake Charlevoix
Thank you all for the replies. Please do keep the suggestions coming.

I think I'm going to tuff it out with my current main sheet for a few weeks, while I order 3' of a half dozen different lines. That's a great suggestion. I'll even order a couple of feet of Salsa, just to see what all the rave is about.

I'm resistant to "fuzzy" because my jib sheets (unknown brand) are fuzzy, but feel scratchy in the hand, not soft. Hopefully some of the fuzzy lines recommend are actually soft.

Again, please continue adding additional suggestions.
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,746
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
The big deal about Salsa is the lay (rope talk for how the rope is twisted or braided) is very loose, this allows it to run through the mainsheet blocks quickly and easily and it feels good in the hand. Racers play the mainsheet a lot and this makes a difference, especially when rounding marks and setting or dousing the chute.

Nice but over kill for most of us.
 
Nov 8, 2010
11,385
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
Come on guys. There are exactly three reasonable substitutes to SALSA. DPX, Swiftcord and SSR.



Harder to find now in the USA now:

 
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