Lewmar USA Premium 3-Strand Medium Lay Nylon Rope
Lewmar's 3-strand rope is an economical choice for your windlass rode. Keep in mind, the windlass does not stow the rode in the anchor locker - gravity does. So make sure you have ample depth and volume in your anchor locker to accommodate the length of rode you have chosen.
There are several grades of 3-Strand nylon rope available. Always use a premium windlass grade rope in a windlass. Do not use economy 3-strands; the lay can be softer or harder than a proper windlass grade medium lay. When using ½" 3-strand nylon, double check that diameter is ½" (.500) in diameter or slightly larger. Economy 3-strands are generally less than ½" in diameter which work poorly in ½" gypsies.
3-Strand is typically 20-30% less expensive than premium plaited anchor line.
3-Strand line, when used in salt water, will stiffen over time. It can be soaked in a bucket of fresh water and fabric softener overnight (the longer the better) to bring back a more flexible condition. If this does not yield acceptable results, it should be replaced.
8-Plaited nylon rope eliminates some of the service problems associated with the 3-strand ropes. 8-Plait uses 8-individual braided strands woven together that allow the rope to be relaxed. But, when under load, it tightens up to a firm lay. The higher the load the harder the lay becomes.
Lewmar USA Premium 8-Plaited Nylon Anchor Rope
8-Plait carries the same tensile strength as 3-Strand.
8-Plait does not coil or create a "birds nest" in the locker like 3-Strand will. 8-Plait flakes and falls upon itself.
8-Plait will not twist and knot up.
8-Plait will not loop over onto itself.
8-Plait has less stretch so it will not bury itself deep into the gypsy's grip when overloaded, which means less damage to the stripper when the windlass is abused or overloaded.
8-Plait pays off of the windlass into the locker much like chain, allowing for better use of smaller locker designs.
8-Plait is 80% less prone to becoming stiff when used in salt water than 3-Strand.
8-Plait nylon rope is 1/3 more absorbent than 3-Strand rope. More absorbent means more weight; more weight means better fall into the anchor locker.
8-Plait should be soaked in water (salt or fresh - it does not matter) to pre-lubricate the rope so it can be used in the windlass initially. When rope is used dry and new, we have seen either slippage or sticking in the rope pocket of the gypsy. Once the rope is wet and used, it out performs the 3-Strand. The longer it is used the better it gets.