I investigated this product primarily on a whim. I was working on an article on chafe protection, and Practical Sailor asked about trying coatings, just in passing. After all, what can you expect from a product that looks like nothing more that water-based varnish? Obviously boat show advertising hype. Someone had also given me a sample of a related product, Spinlock RP25.
Both sides were cycled across a grindstone for 2000 cycles: Spinlock RP25 on the top and Maxijacket on the bottom. A baseline test (no coating) reached the RP 25 wear level in 1000 cycles.
I was dead wrong.
Maxijacket. The only things that lasted longer were tubular nylon webbing (5x) and Dyneema chafe sleeve (20).
- 6-15 times longer than uncoated rope
- 10 times longer than clear vinyl tubing
- 2 times longer than APX aramid chafe sleeve
- 3 times longer than 1/8-inch leather
- 2-3 times uncoated rope (greatest improvement when wet)
Applications? I've been using the stuff for 4 years and remain very impressed.
- Docklines. Anywhere chafe gear won't fit.
- Furler lines. Best for roller reefing, where the line is highly loaded.
- Any splice subject to wear.
- Fabric prone to abrasion.
Mooring lines, with and without coating. I tried chafe gear, but it kept creeping off. This is easier to clip and extends the life of the wear section to match the rest of the line.
Topping lift. Abrasion was the problem, so I used some webbing as a thimble and dipped the whole knot. This allows me to down-size from 3/8" to 5/16", saving some windage.
It seems impossible that a product resembling thick latex varnish (stick with clear--other colors can transfer) can make such a a difference. While West Marine charges more than you want for more than you need, Knot & Rope Supply sells a small jar--probably all a sailor needs for a few years-- for $7.10. A bargain.
The Spinlock RP25 does have its applications too. It performs better on HMPE ropes (Amsteel et. al.), reducing both wear and cover/core slippage, and has the flexibility to use on running sections of rope. I'll use RP25 on sections of my Amsteel lifelines.
A penny-pinching tip.
A good-seamanship tip.
Instructions. Whatever they say on the can. These are just my observations. When in doubt, let it dry longer before exposing to heavy load--it will wear longer.
To coat a long line, such as a furler control line, stretch tightly between 2 points.
Maxijacket. By all appearances, it is a thick latex varnish. Any brush suitable for water-based paints will work fine, and clean-up is easy. Apply in one heavy coat, soaking in as deeply as possible. Some riggers favor dipping splices, but this does not increase chafe resistance, wastes material, slows drying, and makes the splice too stiff--just coat the outside. Don't bother with a second coat--it will just sit on top and do nothing useful. Don't try a light coat--that blocks penetration. Allow to dry to the touch before installing, several days in good drying conditions before using, and a week before or soaking (anchor bridles).
RP-25. Petroleum based, it is relatively tine and soaks in rapidly. One very heavy coat is preferred. It will not stiffen the line as much as Maxijacket, but it will lock the cover to the core (halyards and furler lines that have been stripped) and will give some chafe resistance. Slower drying that Maxijacket; allow to dry to the touch before installing and one week .
Since this study, more players have entered the field, and thus an up-dated review is in progress, including additional products from Flexdal and Marlow. Practical Sailor, of course.