When you look at the prices for ropes, you may be shocked at how much some brands want for their line. Why pay several dollars per foot when you can buy the same size line from another brand for pennies?
There is actually a difference! I'm in the process of making rope fenders and I need a lot of line that will wrap the whole fender up in a nice package. This line will be under no tension and is purely decorative. I was paying $1.25 per foot for 1/2" Three Strand from New England Ropes and thought this was going to be too expensive to wrap the fenders. I decided to go with an Econo Brand of line where each foot only cost me $0.50 per foot. When you are talking 600 foot spools, that's a difference of $450 per spool!
The differences are greatly apparent! The more costly New England Ropes has tighter wrapped yarns, stronger lays, and resists unraveling. The Econo Brand has much larger yarns which are hardly wrapped and will unlay if the ends are not taped tightly.
The tighter yarns also translate into better chafe resistance which directly affects the longevity of a line on board your yacht. The simple act of tying many half hitches has led the Econo Brand rope to pull apart. The line is riddled with little blebs where the yarns are pulling out of the lays from tying so many knots. If this were a working line on the boat, those blebs would be quickly chafed open, leading to premature chafe failure.
Imagine your docklines, chafing on the chocks as the boat bobs around the slip, or the anchor rode dragging on the bottom of the sea floor. These actions would wreak havoc on a cheap rope, causing yarns to pull out and break. In these working situations, the consequences are much greater. Your boat could break free of the pier and begin to drift, causing damage to your vessel and those around it. If the anchor rode were to chafe through and snap, you will begin to drift through the water with the added cost of buying a new anchor!
If you are buying rope for your boat, don't let price dictate your decision. Do buy quality ropes that will protect your vessel as they provide a long and reliable service life!