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Sailboat control lines encompass all ropes on board associated with setting and maintaining the trim of a sail. Although this technically includes halyards, sheets and guys, it’s useful to consider those 3 applications independently and use control lines as a broad category for everything else.
For example, downhaul, outhaul, cunningham, kicker, vang, tweaker, running backstay, in hauler, barber hauler, tack line and reefing line are all terms for control lines.
Nearly all control lines need to be easily adjustable while sailing enabling the power in the rig to be altered to suit performance and/or comfort onboard. Control lines with higher loads often have a purchase system involved to assist with adjustment. Therefore, control lines can often be systems with distinct parts that demand different properties. The kicker and running backstay are good examples, commonly utilising a high strength, low stretch performance part attached to a block and tackle purchase system that uses a standard line.
Unless you race a one-design class, you are free to design your own control systems to suit your preferred way of sailing. Even if you have class rule restrictions, there will always be a little wriggle room for improving things. With this in mind, you will find a multitude of different solutions to any one particular requirement in the marina. Working these systems out is part of the fun of sailing and is incredibly satisfying when your boat ‘runs’ well. Not least when it comes after wrestling with a system that doesn’t quite perform to start with!
The good news is that the Jimmy Green Marine Rigging Team are here to help. We have a wide choice of ropes in both categories andit doesn't take long to get a quote. You can simply buy the rope cut to length or choose from a variety of Jimmy Green Professional finishes. We offer a host of different options including soft eye splices, hard eye splices, whippings and cover stripped eyes for use with a wide range of fittings. You will find more information on the types of rope available in our ROPE SELECTION GUIDE