Steve explains the concept behind our Olympic Gold Medal winning rope.
Have you ever found yourself in a great position at the first mark and turned to go downwind to find that your mainsheet looks like a clump of spaghetti in the ratchet block? To date Laser sailors have put up with this problem and tried to find ropes that give them tangle free properties with some success. However with 10 meters of mainsheet to let out to go onto a run, the sheet need to be rather special. Steve Cockerill from the UK tried in vain to develop something in time for the UK Laser Olympic Trials in 1995, but he has persisted since then and now manufactures a rope of his design which he thinks solves the problem.
For Steve there seemed a number of issues.
Normal 8mm rope supplied with the standard laser package was good for the hands but was never easy to run through the blocks. Of course everyone uses 6mm, which is even for Olympic sailors a little radical.
Normal rope allowed the outer core to rotate around the inner core under load, as the inner core was the load bearer, which reduced the stability of the rope.
Normal rope allows twists along the line, which store up trouble just when you are not expecting it.
The concept was to produce a rope that was closer to 7mm than 6mm to help reduce the tangles and make it a little easier on the hands. He wanted it to be lighter than a normal 6mm polyester rope and primarily he wanted it to be more stable than a normally constructed mainsheet. Steve figured that it was the properties of the inner core that made the rope more likely to tangle. His idea to solve the problem was considered by the rope manufacturer to be more revolutionary than evolutionary. Steve had the idea to put a low tech high stretch rope as the inner core of the rope. This would make the core lighter and leave the outer core to be the load bearer. The outer core would therefore also grip the inner core under load - which would help maintain stability. Steve calls it 'Polilite'.
Since then, Rooster has continued to roll out the technology in a 6mm extra light mainsheet that won Gold and Silver at the Olympics in the Laser Class; and a 9mm version that can be used on OK's right up to J24's as a non tangle Mainsheet.
Suffice to say this line has won Gold, Silver and Bronze in Sydney in the Laser class - it has also been used in other classes with great success - in 2000 it has won: the Topper Nationals, Enterprise worlds (jib and mainsheet) Solo Worlds and Nationals. It has also been used as an asymmetric spinni sheet in an ISO and Laser 4000.
It is strongly advisable to wash the Polilite mainsheet in the washing machine on a cold wash with a little powder to wash out any oils from the rope. These oils were used to allow the rope to be made extra tight with more body, so that it kinks less when it is used, but would make the rope slippery for the first 3 or 4 days of use. Always treat it with respect and coil it up (climbing rope style) so kinks or twists never form. Please check the outer core for ware as this is the load bearer (we recommend that you change the rope after 1 year of weekend use. When you rig the boat) please ensure that all the coils and kinks are taken out of the rope before you dead end it in the boat (the rope will not absorb or create kinks from then on). I throw mine across the boat park and pull out the twists before I rig it on the boat.