- Important characteristics of a fender line -
A fender line might seem a pretty basic piece of rope that doesn't need to perform any complex, life-saving task on board. However, when called into action, it's got to hold! During harbour manoeuvres or at berth, fenders protect your own boat and others from damage. And anyone who has had to fish expensive fenders out of the harbour will appreciate how important it is to have reliable lines holding them in place.
Fenders can cost a small fortune and as they're left hanging on the outside of the boat, they're not exactly kept in the safest place onboard. They risk being lost in the harbour or to the vastness of the ocean. A good rope is the best assurance you have to protect these useful bumpers. Important properties of fender lines: ropes must be particulary resistant to abrasion so that they don't wear through where they are attached, often at a stanchion or rail. They also need to be extremely flexible with good grip so you can quickly and easily tie them off. And fender rope should be impervious to harmful UV light, humidity and saltwater damage. Make sure the length is correct and the rope strong enough to hold the fender securely in its intended position. Line thickness depends on the size of the fender and on the material it is made of. Braided rope is more flexible than twisted rope, but will be thicker because of the lower breaking load. (More on this follows.)
- Polyester (PES), polyamide (PA) or polypropylene (PP) each have their advantages and disadvantages.
Fender ropes should be able to withstand damage caused by the sun and saltwater. They also should not chafe even after years of use. Synthetic fibres are more durable than natural materials. A twisted line, be it a polyester fender line, a polypropylene fender line or a polyamide fender line, is sufficiently strong compared to a braided line of the same diameter. All three versions have high elongation, absorb dynamic loads such as those caused by wind or swell in the harbour much better, which of course also affect fenders. Nevertheless, all synthetic fibres also have their pros and cons:
Polypropylene: Polypropylene absorbs less water than polyester and therefore dries faster. It's cheaper than polyester and it floats, but is less resistant to abrasion and UV rays.
Polyester: Polyester ropes are more robust and flexible than polyamide or polypropylene, but their elongation is much lower.
Polyamide: In contrast to the aforementioned synthetic fibres, polyamide (also called nylon) has the highest stretching capacity (up to ten percent). However, nylon is usually a little stiffer and absorbs a lot of water.
- Important: Abrasion resistance with good stretch and secure hold -
Many retailers offer complete packages, i.e. fenders together with lines and, if necessary, a replacement valve. When you buy one of these sets, you can assume that the strength of the line has been sufficiently measured. Nevertheless, it's ultimately up to you to decide whether to buy a complete package or choose your own lines and fenders from a specialist retailer. The important thing is that it handles well and you are confident that the knots and fastenings will withstand the required load. Generally speaking, the higher the quality of the braid, the smoother the line and better it will be to handle. In contrast, however, twisted rope has a greater stretching capacity and is less sensitive to chafing. Its tendency to kink hardly matters at a maximum length of two and a half metres.
Once you have decided which material to buy, there are further considerations: Large sports boats and sailing yachts also need large fenders to be able to buffer their enormous weight. Large fenders naturally require strong tethers. For yachts up to 13 metres in length, fender lines with a diameter of eight to ten millimetres are sufficient. For example, a ten-millimetre-thick twisted line carries an average weight of two tonnes - which is enough in such a case. The length of the line in turn depends on the height of the ship's side. To ensure that fenders can be attached flexibly and do their job in any situation, line length should be at least between one and a half and two and a half metres.
- Knot or clip: A secure connection -
The two most common knots for attaching boat fenders to the fender line are the bowline and the anchor bend. A fender line with eye (spliced-in eye) allows the line to be easily looped onto the fender. The other end of the line is attached to rails, hand or foot rails, shrouds or cleats. This is usually done with a clove hitch, also called a builder’s knot or a ratline hitch. The fender knot should be tied with a loop so that it can be undone quickly and efficiently. To ensure that the knot holds securely, it is often additionally secured with two half hitches. Our shop also has practical fender holders or plastic clips. They save you having to tie a knot and prevent abrasion on the wire rope of the rail. Fender lines for SEATEC boats are available in blue, black and white in 10 mm and 12 mm thicknesses and in lengths of 1.90 m and 2.60 m.
Jaroslav K. on 27.01.2023
SVB is a reliable supplier for me. Everything works well from the order, invoicing to fast delivery.
Catalin T. on 26.01.2023
excellent service & timely delivery once more
Igor S. on 26.01.2023