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Inflexibility of Nylon Rope

Some years ago I bought a reel of 14mm white nylon rope with the intention of making up my own lines. The rope has a lot of stretch in it, which seems an asset. When new it is soft and pliable but with some use it quickly becomes stiff and unwieldy, but then develops more give as it ages, but never gets back to the soft feel it had when new.
Any ideas on why this is and, more importantly, any ideas on what I might do to treat it?

Asked by: Colin Wilks  | 9.33am, Wednesday 11 September

WW says:

Nylon rope is about 30% more stretchy than polypropylene, but has less abrasion resistance. The elasticity means that it will absorb the movement of a moored boat, and be good for towing as it will take up the load gradually.
Sunlight degrades all synthetic ropes and this makes the rope less flexible as the individual fibres start to break down. Dirt getting into the structure of the rope will also stiffen it, keeping the rope clean will help keep it flexible. I have heard of ropes being put through a washing machine to very good effect.

Rupert Smedley  | 6.22PM, Wednesday 11 September

Readers say:

I should add, it is 3 strand braided nylon rope

Colin Wilks  | 9.41AM, Wednesday 11 September

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