Colors for Running Rigging – Standards?

As I’m writing this, I’m laughing. As a software engineer, one of my favorite quotes I’ve heard regarding web/software standards is, “that’s the nice thing about standards; there are so many to choose from”.

While funny, I was hoping to find something – at least a general trend – regarding colors of lines for running rigging. Other than the obvious red/green for port/stbd, there doesn’t seem to be a standard of any sort.

I work the bow on a J/120, and on that boat, we have sheets in solid colors, halyards with tracers. Some exceptions/outliers: tack line is solid bright blue, genoa furler line is solid black. Genny sheets are solid gray, as are the spin sheets. Port/stbd spin/genny halyards have balls just above the shackles to prevent them from going into the sheaves on “enthusiastic” hoists, and those are red/green to denote which side.

I need to make a list of all the lines on the boat and come up with a color scheme from there. I tend to sail with a lot of newcomers and/or first-time sailors, so it’s handy to be able to just say, “haul in on that solid blue line”, rather than, “take up the spinnaker tack a few feet”.

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