Captain John of www.skippertips.com offers us great solutions on how to prevent wearing down one of our boat’s most essential elements.
What one piece of sailing gear could save your boat in a howling gale inside a slip or in a ground swell swept anchorage? Without it, your sailboat might well become just another marine insurance statistic! Read on to discover one of the cheapest but most ignored pieces of vital sailing gear in existence!
World famous sailor, survivor of the infamous Fastnet Race of 1979, and renowned author John Rousmaniere has this to say about boats that are lost while anchored during storms:
“In storms, many boats that go adrift do so not because their anchors drag but because the deck gear has broken or the rode has chafed through.” — John Rousmaniere
Cheap Boat Sentry for Hire!
Few pieces of sailing gear are as cheap as chafing gear. Dock your boat alongside a pier, wharf, or seawall or inside a boat slip and you use docking lines. Each docking line connects from one point to another–cleat to cleat, cleat to piling, cleat to bit.
As that line makes its journey from one point to another, it will rub, slide, grate, or contact another part of your boat. This might be a chock, corner of your hull, sharp edge of a toe rail or Genoa track. Before the line arrives at the pier or piling, it contacts other “line-killers”, like sharp pier corners rough wood edges, or abrasive concrete or steel structures.
Once you tie up your boat, check all around for point-to-point areas that could present potential chafe problems. Imagine the tide rising and falling, boat wakes that cause your boat to wallow alongside a pier or in her slip.
Where will the docking line make contact with an object that can do it harm? Protect these areas along each docking line to prevent wear, protect the line fibers, and avoid damage form a snapped docking line.
Drop the anchor and your anchor line takes it on the chin–and not just the part beneath the surface. Your anchor line runs from a boat cleat and through a chock on its way to the seabed.
Constant rubbing and shock loads from passing boat wakes, ground swell, or shifting winds means sawing back and forth–and serious chafe! Add in some high octane storm winds and all hell can break loose–literally.
Sailors that use all-chain rode must protect the hull against chain chafe.
Boats with bowsprits have a bobstay that connects from the end of the sprit to the hull.
Chain can damage this expensive gear. Apply chafing gear to chain in the same manner as you would if you had rope and chain rode.
Make your own chafing gear for pennies on the dollar. Use the materials and steps described below.
Use any of these for chafing gear:
Old Garden Hose
Old Fire Hose (ask your local Fire Dept. for scrap fire-hose)
Soft PVC Tubing
Strips of Canvas (4″ wide; 9″ long)
Follow these seven simple steps:
1. Measure the chafing points described above.
2. Split the chafing gear lengthwise with the Exacto knife.
3. Slide the chafing gear onto the line.
4. Center it at the contact point.
5. Wrap the gear tight to hold it in place.
6. Apply nylon wire ties to each end; cut excess off.
7. Monitor and re-center the chafing gear as needed.
Tools You Will Need:
Chafing Gear (from list above)
6″ – 9″ nylon wire ties
Use these easy sailing tips to protect your costly docking and anchoring lines from the ravages of chafe, wear, and tear. You will have the peace-of-mind to know that your sailing rope and sailboat hull are protected and safe, wherever in the world you choose to cruise!