Please select your home edition
Edition
Ancasta Ker 33 728x90

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:

Ancasta Ker 33 660x82Mackay BoatsBakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

Unreal acts of seamanship
It was a pleasure to watch Kiwi Conrad Coleman cross the finish line to complete his Vendée Globe. It was a pleasure to watch Kiwi Conrad Coleman cross the finish line to complete his Vendée Globe. He lapped the planet without using any kind of fossil fuels; just wind and solar to power an array of instruments as well as the all important (and power hungry) auto-pilot.
Posted today at 12:11 am
Vendée Globe – Slow down, you move too fast
The Dutch skipper has been forced to slow down to attempt to let the gales move away ahead of him in the Bay of Biscay. After the arrival of five skippers last week, there are now only two left at sea this morning: Pieter Heerema and Sébastien Destremau. The Dutch skipper has been forced to slow down to attempt to let the gales move away ahead of him in the Bay of Biscay.
Posted on 27 Feb
Vendée Globe – Why Pieter Heerema has to wait a little while longer
The Dutch skipper has less than 600 miles to go to reach Les Sables d’Olonne but is not likely to finish before Thursday The Dutch skipper has less than 600 miles to go to reach Les Sables d’Olonne, but is not likely to finish before Thursday, when he is expected to take seventeenth place
Posted on 27 Feb
11 boats to race the first ever GC32 Championship
Paul Kohlhoff, who represented Germany in the Nacra 17 catamaran at Rio 2016, is skippering SVB Team Germany Land Rover BAR Academy announced its squad for the 2017 season today. Like last year, the crew here is unusually being led by its bowman, in this case with former shorthanded offshore sailor, Rob Bunce, taking over from Neil Hunter, who has graduated up to the Land Rover BAR America’s Cup sailing team.
Posted on 27 Feb
RORC Caribbean 600 – A totally unique race
Close to 900 sailors from 30 different nations competed in the ninth edition of the RORC's classic offshore race. The 2017 edition will be remembered for highly competitive racing throughout the fleet, with American yachts winning the major prizes. The race was affected by unusual weather conditions, with a low pressure system sending the wind direction spinning through 360º of the compass.
Posted on 27 Feb
Land Rover BAR Academy with big ambitions in Extreme Sailing Series
Land Rover BAR Academy today becomes the final team to join the line-up for the season opener in Muscat Land Rover BAR Academy today becomes the final team to join the line-up for the season opener in Muscat, as it launches its second campaign in the world's leading global Stadium Racing circuit.
Posted on 27 Feb
Oman Air crew eye podium finish in inaugural GC32 Championship
Oman Air will kick start their 2017 season in style as top-class sailing teams from across the globe converge on Muscat A new-look Oman Air will aim to kick start their 2017 season in style as top-class sailing teams from across the globe converge on Muscat, Oman, for the first ever GC32 Championship this week.
Posted on 27 Feb
JJ Giltinan 18fters - 'Magic' levers keep Yamaha competitive in Race 2
Dave McDiarmid and the crew of Yamaha NZ had an end to end win in Sunday's Race 2 of the JJ Giltinan Trophy Dave McDiarmid and the crew of Yamaha NZ had an end to end win in Sunday's Race 2 of the JJ Giltinan Trophy sailed on Sydney harbour. In contrast to the rain-marred first race, the 26 boat fleet from Australia, New Zealand, and the USA raced under clear skies and a 16-20kt southerly wind.
Posted on 27 Feb
2017 RORC Caribbean 600 – More start images by Tim Wright
Tim Wright captured these stunning shots at the start of the RORC Caribbean 600. Tim Wright captured these stunning shots at the start of the RORC Caribbean 600 and along the course at St Barths, Barbuda and Redonda.
Posted on 26 Feb
2017 RORC Caribbean 600 start images by Tim Wright
Tim Wright captured these stunning shots at the start of the RORC Caribbean 600. Tim Wright captured these stunning shots at the start of the RORC Caribbean 600 and along the course at St Barths, Barbuda and Redonda.
Posted on 26 Feb