Please select your home edition
Edition
Newport Boat Show 728x90

Splice of life

by Sherry Galey on 10 Jun 2012
Splicing a line sherry galey
So, we needed to have a line spliced. Two lines joined together as one.

Bob and I had travelled to Florida from eastern Canada this winter with our two Westies to buy a lightly used Hunter 356. Our plan was to spend a few months sailing the turquoise waters of Biscayne Bay while becoming familiar with the boat, equipping her and doing any repairs that were necessary.


We also knew that we would need to find ways to work together harmoniously while living on our new boat. On a sailboat your safety and well-being depend on each other, not to mention your day-to-day happiness. We found that out firsthand two years before when we took our first southern cruise on a smaller Hunter sailboat. And haven't we all heard about couples that had separated after doing what we were about to embark on?

Even though the boat was in excellent condition, there were a few things that needed fixing. For one, the mainsail furling line that had come with the boat had a bad spot in it. We were concerned that it would part while we were under way.

So we needed a splice. Enter Bernard, the master rigger, a puckish man with a lilt that put me in mind of the islands of the French-speaking Caribbean.

We asked Bernard to do an end-to-end splice of our new furling line to form a loop. Our last sailboat didn't have inmast furling so this process of rolling the mainsail in and out of the mast like a window blind was new to me. But I could see that the line needed to be one smooth continuous loop so that it would feed through the winches without jamming.

Splicing a line is quite an art. Like weaving, quilting, sewing and knitting, you can tell when it is done with skilled hands.

Bernard's 30 years of experience showed. His hands knew the line. He worked quickly and deftly. Throughout, he kept up a steady stream of chatter, sharing tales of his sailing adventures all over the world. He was especially proud of having crewed on the famous Whitbread race.

I was fascinated by this art of splicing so I took photographs as Bernard worked and asked Bob to explain to me what he was doing.

Apparently, a double braid line has an inner and outer core. Bernard used a metal fid (a pointed metal rod) to separate the core and outer braid and to feed the line back through itself. Then he 'milked' it (stretched it) to smooth the outer braid, then rolled it to make an even transition, then stitched it for insurance, then burned the ends of the stitching. The result was a strong line, much stronger than if you knotted it.


As I thought about it, I was struck by how much splicing mirrors the process that two individuals undergo when joining together to forge a successful cruising partnership. There’s a bit of stretching and rolling and stitching and even burning that must occur before you can achieve a strong and durable union, one that won't tear part with the stresses and strains that come with life aboard.

Schaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82Newport Boat Show 2016 660x82Barz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best Eyewear

Related Articles

Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup - France Blue blasts back
The Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup race course took on a different complexion today. The Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup race course took on a different complexion today. A front passed through early morning leaving behind it a lumpy sea, further kicked up by a strong eastbound tide.
Posted today at 6:09 am
52 Super Series - Double bullet Quantum jump clear
Two hard earned wins for Quantum Racing elevates the team which is steered by owner Doug DeVos Two hard earned wins for Quantum Racing elevates the team which is steered by owner Doug DeVos to a lead of four points ahead of Azzurra at the 52 Super Series’ Puerto Portals Sailing Week on the Bay of Palma.
Posted today at 5:19 am
Transat Québec Saint-Malo - Sailing into the big leagues
The long nautical journey from La Belle Province proved to be one long show of bravery from start to finish “It’s the finest event of the offshore racing calendar.” That’s what all the skippers are saying—albeit a little subjectively—following this ninth edition of the Transat Québec Saint-Malo. The long nautical journey from La Belle Province proved to be one long show of bravery from start to finish, with the Multi50s grappling alongside one another all the way
Posted today at 3:51 am
Three tips for any boater facing a powerful summer thunderstorm
Recreational boaters and paddlers understand that late afternoon thunderstorms are common during summer boating season Recreational boaters and paddlers understand that late afternoon thunderstorms are common during the summer boating season. A recent incident involving two TowBoatUS Fort Lauderdale captains and their rescue of four kayakers pre-fishing a local tournament offers some lessons learned on how to survive an afternoon storm.
Posted today at 3:27 am
Jim Hunt and Jørgen Svendsen pull ahead at OK Dinghy Worlds
Jim Hunt (GBR) has maintained his lead after a very tricky day at the OK Dinghy World Championships in Quiberon Jim Hunt (GBR) has maintained his lead after a very tricky day at the OK Dinghy World Championships in Quiberon, France, with the shifty, offshore winds mixing up the fleet on more than one occasion and leaving Hunt and Jørgen Svendsen (DEN) with a clear lead over the rest of the 105 boat fleet. Charlie Cumbley (GBR) drops one to third overall, with just four races left to sail.
Posted today at 2:53 am
Supermaxi, Wild Oats XI, returns to racing in Sydney-Gold Coast Race
Supermaxi Wild Oats XI, will make her return to ocean racing this weekend after a six month break. The Oatley family’s Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race record holder, the 30-metre long Supermaxi Wild Oats XI, will make her return to ocean racing this weekend after a six month break.
Posted today at 2:38 am
52 Super Series- Puerto Portals Sailing Week – Day 3 action shots
Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from day three Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from day three
Posted on 27 Jul
RS Feva Worlds – Qualification phase is complete at the end of Day 2
Heavy metal day. Gold, Silver or Bronze. It was going to going to be tight at the cut off points. PA Consulting and Allen RS Feva Worlds 2016 - Heavy metal day. Gold, Silver or Bronze. It was going to going to be tight at the cut off points. A number of boats went into the day in much lower positions than expected for a variety of reasons. Could they make it up?
Posted on 27 Jul
Chile’s Clemente Seguel wins Youth North American Championship
Chile's Clemente Seguel on top with four bullets in four races. The wind didn't come in on Tuesday, leaving the results as they were after Monday: Chile's Clemente Seguel on top with four bullets in four races.
Posted on 27 Jul
Kinetic V wins 2016 Vic-Maui Yacht Race
Kinetic V Wins Vic-Maui 2016, Valkyrie wins Line Honours and second overall, Longboard takes third overall. 2016 Vic-Maui Yacht Race - Kinetic V Wins Vic-Maui 2016, Valkyrie wins Line Honours and second overall, Longboard takes third overall.
Posted on 27 Jul