Add Years of Life to Your Marine Rope

Boom vangs, preventers, and mainsheets should be end-for-ended when needed. Look for potential chafe trouble-spots. From left to right, these are: eyes at block-beckets, block-sheaves, and cam-cleat exits.

Captain John from www.skippertips.com offers more useful tips on how to get the most out of your marine rope.

Do you know the single most important step you can take to ensure your marine sailing rope lasts up to 50% longer? Or that a common household item can guard your mooring or anchor line in the worst marine weather? For many sailors and power boat cruisers, the boating season comes to an end in the late fall. But wait. Did you forget to do the single most important thing for your mooring and anchor lines and your running rigging? Here are three tips you will want to put into play right away to save you big money on replacement costs.

1. Swap Bitter Ends for Better Ends: One common task on square riggers was to “end-for-end” line whenever chafe (worn areas) became apparent. To this day, this single act can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in line replacement costs. It’s simplicity itself–swap one bitter end for the other. Boom vangs, preventers and mainsheets should be end-for-ended when needed. Look for potential chafe trouble-spots. From left to right, these are: eyes at block-beckets, block-sheaves and cam-cleat exits. Boom vangs, preventers and mainsheets should be end-for-ended when needed. Look for potential chafe trouble-spots. From left to right, these are: eyes at block-beckets, block-sheaves and cam-cleat exits. Your line works back and forth wherever it’s knotted, rests inside a chock or cleat or passes over a block. Add dirt, salt crystals and UV light exposure, and those rope fibers break down, which weakens the line. Change out the ends to prolong its life. For example, remove the bitter end of your anchor rode from the anchor locker. Make a new eye in that end and insert a thimble. Attach the old end to the ring bolt in the anchor locker and the new end to your anchor chain. Your anchor rode will last up to 50% longer than before!

2. Add Life with Chafing Gear: Production cruising sailboats and power boats often have chocks with sharp edges. Not razor sharp–but with enough of an edge to cause your mooring or anchor line to rub and wear. And that causes the delicate outer rope fibers to break down and could lead to catastrophic failure. Split several pieces of old garden or fire-hose into three foot sections. Center them in the chocks and pass your line inside. Overlap the splits and lash the chafing gear with strong, waxed sail twine. This will protect your line in the worst marine weather.

3. Make Line Angles Straighter than Before: Put a bend into a line–any line–and you encourage friction, chafe and fiber breakdown. You cannot get away from this altogether, but you can lessen the effect at any opportunity. Check between any two line points. For example, look at the angle that a mooring line makes from the dock cleat (one point) to your bow or stern cleat (the other point). See what you can do to make the angle as straight as possible. Do the same with lines that lead from the mast to the cockpit through fairlead blocks. Straighten those angles and you’ll add years to any line life.

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