July 12, 2001 Update
Bruce visits Samson Rope Technologies
I spent monday and tuesday at Samson Rope Technology’s plants in the Northwest. There they have plants in both Ferndale, Washington, and just across the border near Vancouver, BC. For a life-long rigger like me, it was like being a kid in a candy store!
I was invited by Phil Roberts, applications engineer and Dave Strauss, marketing manager of the recreational marine products division. I have known Dave for long time, as I bought a LOT of Samson rope during my years running Svendsen’s rigging shop.
It was great to see firsthand how my favorite rope, Amsteel Blue, is made. It is a very interesting process, how the tiny Dyneema fibers are wound into successively larger strands (or groups of strands) and eventually into full size rope. And I mean FULL SIZE! The biggest Amsteel Blue I use on Ocean Planet is 1/2″, which is incredibly strong. However, it sure looks tiny compared to the monster lines Samson makes for serious commercial applications, we’re talkin 3+ inch diameter, with a breaking strength of 1.1 MILLION pounds! These are used with the super powerful tractor tugs in Alaska, etc. Pretty amazing.
However, this didn’t distract me from the primary reason for my visit. I am working with Samson on the development of super low-stretch custom rope assemblies. It won’t happen overnight, but someday you may be replacing some of your yachts rod or wire rigging with custom-made ropes that are lighter and stronger. Can’t tell you much more than that, but it was great fun to break some test ropes on Samson’s very busy test equipment. They are working on a lot of other new stuff (still secret!), so it was nice of them to let me get in the way.