Please select your home edition
Edition
Predictwind - Iridium

Splice of life

by Sherry Galey on 15 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.



For some more help to learn to splice a double-braided rope, watch below:

KZRaceFurlersProtector - 660 x 82Mackay Boats

Related Articles

World Sailing look to leading influencers to Balance the Boat
There have been some good initiatives within sailing to date, but more work needs to be done to level the playing field. At World Sailing's 2017 Annual Conference, four of sports leading influencers will spark discussion and debate at a special forum titled, Balancing the Boat: growing female participation and developing pathways in competitive sailing.
Posted today at 5:21 pm
World champions come to the forefront at Sailing World Cup Series
Agnieszka Skrzypulec and Irmina Gliszczynska finished tenth at the Rio 2016 but their decision to compete in Gamagori Challenged by a 5-6 knot breeze over the first two days of the World Cup Series event, the champions have used all their experience to position themselves at the top of the pack or firmly in medal contention.
Posted today at 4:35 pm
Clipper World Yacht Race – Day 14, Race 2 – Photo finish on the cards
Dare To Lead emerged from Stealth Mode at 18:00 UTC yesterday, but failed to make any significant ground on Greenings Separated by just a few nautical miles after sailing over 3,500 natuical miles through the South Atlantic, Greenings, which has set the pace the whole way in this race, currently has the edge but has the Dare to Lead team in full view, as a constant reminder that there is no room for error in this final approach.
Posted today at 4:19 pm
Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image – Discover best sailing photos of the year
The Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image is open to professional photographers from all over the world. No less than 134 pictures have been submitted by photographers spanning 27 countries: a record ! The competition will be tight once again this year, with extraordinary images from the America’s Cup, Vendée Globe, Mini Transat, Olympic sailing events and much more.
Posted today at 4:11 pm
Linda Elias Women's One-Design Challenge – LBYC wins back trophy
Weather conditions were good for the 11 West Coast teams representing yacht clubs and sailing organizations from Tacoma. On the first day of this two-day regatta, the wind direction transitioned from northwest to southerly well before racing started, giving the competitors 7-12 knots of breeze.
Posted today at 11:34 am
Mini-Transat - First leg - Race round-up
With the arrival of Julien Mizrachi (UNAPEI), 78 racers have now made it safely into port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. With the arrival of Julien Mizrachi (UNAPEI), 78 racers have now made it safely into the port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Of the 81 competitors at the start, just three solo sailors are no longer officially racing: Matteo Rusticali due to a dismasting, Luca Sabiu who triggered his distress beacon offshore of La Coruña and Frédéric Guérin
Posted today at 8:28 am
The Saint-Barth Cata Cup on schedule!
No one will forget that on night of September 5 to 6, 2017, Hurricane Irma, one of most devastating storms of century No one will soon forget that on the night of September 5 to 6, 2017, Hurricane Irma, one of the most devastating storms of the century, unleashed its full fury on the island of Saint Barthélemy. In the past weeks, with an enormous display of solidarity, the residents have been actively working toward the island’s reconstruction, with one common goal: that daily life should get back to normal.
Posted today at 8:00 am
Tall Ship Oliver Hazard Perry - Recap of Incident in Newport Harbor
SSV Oliver Hazard Perry, Rhode Island’s Official Sailing Education Vessel homeported in Newport, R.I. is back safe SSV Oliver Hazard Perry, Rhode Island’s Official Sailing Education Vessel homeported in Newport, R.I. is back safe at her berth at Fort Adams State Park after an incident that left her disabled in inner Newport Harbor.
Posted today at 5:31 am
Still seriously competitive, Amer Sports One enters legends race
Amer Sports One is the fifth boat to enter the Legends Race, which starts from Gothenburg in June 2018. Amer Sports One, the last boat in the Volvo Ocean Race to be skippered by New Zealand’s Grant Dalton, nowadays chief executive of the America’s Cup-winning Emirates Team New Zealand, is the fifth boat to enter the Legends Race, which starts from Gothenburg in June 2018.
Posted today at 4:56 am
Sir Ben Ainslie to bolster Land Rover BAR Academy in ESS Act 7
Sir Ben Ainslie, four-time Olympic gold-medallist and America’s Cup sailor, is to return to the Extreme Sailing Series™ Sir Ben Ainslie, the four-time Olympic gold-medallist and America’s Cup sailor, is to return to the Extreme Sailing Series™ as helm of Land Rover BAR Academy for the penultimate Act of the season in San Diego, from 19 – 22 October.
Posted today at 3:35 am