Tips on how to keep your lines tidy aboard a sailboat.
Hey, it’s time to talk about neatness and safety. How it relates to what happens on your boat. An awful lot of what we do in sailing seems to be, to the newcomer, sort of a, oh I don’t know a catchers catch can of rules and stuff. But it really comes down to just keeping your workspace neat. Part of that is how to stow halyards. We’re going to talk about that now… When you get your halyard down you come to a vertical cleat. Maybe I pulled my sail up all the way and come off a winch or something and it’s time to secure this cleat. Just like before on the deck when we talked about it we’re going to go around the cleat until they meet, across the cleat to avoid, pull up a loop, twist the extra stuff to cover and go parallel, and there you go.
Now we’re tied up, but you know we have this extra line all over the deck which could cause a safety hazard, we could trip on it, likewise in the cockpit extra lines could do that. So we want to coil up this extra line, like this and then get it out the way by hanging it where we can get it loose quickly and easily.
Remember I talked earlier that we have two criteria for a good knot – we want to be able to have it do its job, but we also want to be able to have it release. So, I’ve made my coil what I’m gonna do take this line and pull it through that loop so I’ll take my hand, pull through, causing a loop. I’ll take this loop behind my halyard and drop it on top. Now, no matter what happens to the boat, even if it heals way over, the line can swing out but it will stay right there. At the same time I can always get this loose again by just simply flipping it over the top and it falls away again. Again, you want your knot to do the job but you also want to be able to get it untied.
Part of putting the boat away is to put it away neat ready to be used next time. There are a couple reasons for that. We’re going to talk about hanging our lines right now. I always want my lines to hang because the excess water can run off of them and so they don’t sit in the cockpit floor, down low, where they get all dirty and gooey. The second thing of course is to have your lines hung means they’re out of the way where you won’t trip on them so it’s a safety issue as well. So I want to leave my boat, neat ready for next time, in a safe manner ready to go. I’m going to do that that today
and I’m gonna make a coil in a figure 8 type motion. If I make a normal coil in a regular spin like this there’s a good chance that I can do what’s called catching a cockle. You see how we have this twist in here? If this twist were to develop because I’d coiled my line wrong it could carry forward in any small space and catch. So what I’m going to do today is I’m going to actually rap this line in a figure eight method. So I’ll do this around the winch because it’s the easiest way to do it. Notice how I’m passing back and forth as I go and as I do this, my line, instead of
getting twist upon twist upon twist, will be twisted back and forth and each twist one way will neutralize the twist from the other direction. So here I’ve now finished up with a nice big figure 8 pile. I’m gonna grab the entire coil of rope as I do you’ll notice there is an extra line coming from the winch. I’m gonna take up the slack there and all I have to do now is reach through the loop, pick up this extra line from the winch pull it through like that and hang it over the top.
I like to put in the jam cleat because it looks kinda nice. Now it’s hanging, its clean, it’ll drip-dry with the wind and the weather and we’re not gonna trip on as we go.
All right now I’ve got a coil of line I’ve just made, I’m going to take a moment to show you how to make up a hank. A hank is simply a way storing your line so it doesn’t get all messed up and kicked everywhere. If I just threw this down below what a crazy jumble that would be! So what I’m going to do is I’ll take this extra line I have here I’ll take the fall of the line and wrap it around once, I’ll wrap it around again. Now at this point I want to make sure that my second rap goes up towards the sky, as opposed to down below, I want it up.
Then I’ll continue two or three four times. Twist it against itself nice and tight like that. And you’re left with something that looks like this. Alright, now we got a little bit of a fall which is exactly what I want I’m gonna push a little bit of a loop, I’ll take this loop, and I’ll put it through these loops, this loop goes through these loops, pull it back, open it up, put it over the top and pull. And now we’ve made up a hank of line. That’s not going to get jumbled up when it goes down in the cockpit.
To order your copy of Sailing Made Easy and to find out more about the American Sailing Association visit us at ASA.com.
I’ll see you on the water.