Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad

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 40+ 660x82PredictWind.comBarz Optics - Kids range

Related Articles

Vendee Globe - Conrad Colman's thoughts on his incredible performance
Colman was the first boat in the history of the race to finish using only natural energy, no fossil fuels After finishing 16th in the Vendee Globe, crossing the finish line under the jury rig which had carried him the final 720 miles of his race since he was dismasted, Conrad Colman was greeted by a hero's welcome into Les Sables d'Olone. The first New Zealander to complete the race he was also the first boat in the history of the race to finish using only natural energy, no fossil fuels.
Posted today at 8:30 pm
More winners announced in RORC Caribbean 600
As dawn broke on day five, crews who had finished the race were beginning to arrive back in Antigua. At Dawn on the fifth day, the leading Class40s were approaching the finish. Throughout the race, the battle in the class had been intense, with three yachts taking the lead at various points along the course.
Posted today at 4:50 pm
Vendee Globe - Conrad Colman finishes under jury rig
Colman constructed and stepped a remarkable jury rig which has allowed him to sail the final 740 miles of 27,440nm race New Zealander Conrad Colman wrote a new chapter in the storied history of the Vendée Globe when he crossed the finish line of the eighth edition of the non stop solo round the world race under a makeshift jury rig.
Posted today at 4:37 pm
Vendée Globe – Romain Attanasio takes fifteenth place
French skipper Romain Attanasio, sailing Famille Mary-Etamine du Lys, took 15th place in the solo race around the world French skipper Romain Attanasio, sailing Famille Mary-Etamine du Lys, took 15th place in the non stop solo race around the world this morning (Friday 24th February) when he crossed the finish line at 1006hrs UTC.
Posted today at 4:05 pm
Vendee Globe - Conrad Colman finishes under jury rig - First images
New Zealand solo sailor Conrad Colman has finished the Vendee Globe race under Jury rig. New Zealand solo sailor Conrad Colman has finished the Vendee Globe race under Jury rig. Here are the first images from the finish in Les Sables d'Olonne
Posted today at 3:34 pm
International Maxi Association 2017 program full due to new events
The 2017 calendar, open to owners of all maxi boats (ie 60+ft LOA), features two new events in the Mediterranean. The 2017 calendar, open to owners of all maxi boats (ie 60+ft LOA), features two new events in the Mediterranean.
Posted today at 12:35 pm
Clipper Race Coxswain Training commences
We often tell the stories of the 40 per cent of crew who take on the Clipper Race with no previous sailing experience We often tell the stories of the 40 per cent of crew who take on the Clipper Race with no previous sailing experience, but there are also many talented and experienced sailors amongst the fleet.
Posted today at 11:40 am
Tawera Racing joins Extreme Sailing Series line-up in Muscat
Team has been formed to give New Zealand's sailors a launch pad into the cutting-edge world of foiling multihull racing. The seventh challenger for Act one is announced today in the form of New Zealand-flagged Tawera Racing, which will compete as a full season entry.
Posted today at 11:09 am
JJ Giltinan Trophy - Images from the Invitation Race
Michael Chittenden, was on Sydney Harbour this afternoon for the Invitation of the 2017 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiffs Top Sydney skiff photographer, Michael Chittenden, was on Sydney Harbour this afternoon for the Invitation of the 2017 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship. Winds were light to non-existent, until a bit of puff appeared out of Rose Bay allowing the fleet to sail a three leg course. Here's the images from the day
Posted today at 10:52 am
EFG Bank Monaco sets sights on rivals in EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour
French sailing star Thierry Douillard says his EFG Bank Monaco (MON) crew will focus firmly on defending their title French sailing star Thierry Douillard says his EFG Bank Monaco (MON) crew will focus firmly on defending their title from arch rivals Team Al Mouj Muscat (OMA) as the Arabian classic approaches its climax.
Posted today at 9:50 am