Replacing trailer hand winch cable with UHMWPE synthetic winch rope ?

Mar 20, 2015
C&C 30 Mk1 Silver Harbour, Lake Winnipeg
The winch cable on our trailer is old and needs replacing.
In addition to it's normal use on the trailer, we use the winch to help raise/lower the mast, so a strap isn't really an option.
(Not to mention i would need to modify the drum for a strap)

Has anyone switched their hand winch from steel cable to synthetic rope ?
Any pointers ?

I am concerned about UV degradation. Based on the linked document below, UHMWPE fiber retains it's strength well compared to other synthetic fibers.

"After UV-exposure, UHMWPE fibers show a slight increase in modulus and a decrease in tenacity and elongation at break. The direct irradiated fiber surface will degrade more than the non-irradiated core of the fiber. Therefore, the application thickness is of influence to UV resistance. Protection against UV radiation by use of coatings and jackets will extend the life time of the fiber/rope and is always advised in high UV radiation areas."

I notice that many winch ropes have sheathing on the inital section of rope. Is that for UV in addition to abrasion protection ? (The last few wraps on the drum, would cover the lower layers and protect it)

Edit: based on what the advertising for the rope shows, it has a section of sheathing that ends up wrapped against the drum, and another section at the shackle that they show covering the top layer when fully wrapped. Looks like it is designed for both UV and abrasion protection.
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Jul 13, 2015
Catalina 22 #2552 2252 Kennewick, WA
I had some challenges with a legacy rope stretching every time I pulled the boat. Converted to a new strap winch and solved that problem. UV not a huge issue for my particular set up. I don't use the winch for mast raising my self-- but that strap is looong. It might be a viable option?

IMG_2294 (2).jpg
Sep 24, 2018
O'Day 25 Chicago
I use my halyards to raise and lower my mast. I do notice it stretch but it's never been a problem. Have you considered putting a bag over the winch to reduce UV exposure? I have a small drawstring bag over my electric winch to prevent water corrosion. It's definitely paid off!
Mar 20, 2015
C&C 30 Mk1 Silver Harbour, Lake Winnipeg
If you end up switching to Dyneema I found good pricing at
I switched to a UHMWP rope.

The only issue so far is the protective woven sheathing on the first few feet of either end.

The protective sheathing is loosely woven and not tight to the rope.

When winching, the rope stretches and decreases in diameter as the load increases.
Since you crank the rope nice and tight after the bow is in place, that sheathing.can get snagged under/between the previous wrap.

Just need to pay attention for the last few wraps when loading the boat., Otherwise works well.

No horrible cable and also works well with bow roller to raise the mast.
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