Archive for the 'Gear/Books' Category

Aug 02 2008

Eye Splice: Double-Braid Rope

Although there may be fiberglass, or wood, or aluminum, or steel, it really FEELS as if a boat were held together with rope–or, lines.  The sails are attached, held up, and held down by rope (wire rope, polyester rope, cotton rope, etc.).  One of the vital skills of seamanship is the ability to work with rope.

Fortunately, I grew up with ropes.  In Boy Scouts, we learned knots, lashing, and splicing–all with single braid rope.  Now, as ropes are more important than pitching my tent, the ropes have consequently become more complex–and, more specialized.

First Splice

New dock line eyesplice in double-braid rope

New dock line eyesplice in double-braid rope

It may sound like a martial arts move, but it really marks my first attempt at splicing a complex rope.  I started with a useful splice: the eye splice.

This is going to be a bow-painter for the Lido-14, but I put a nice little eye splice in one end of a 20-foot section  of double-braid line.

Tools Required

  • 20-foot section of rope
  • tubular fid and pusher set (I purchased the Samson kit)
  • waxed thread
  • whipping needle

Overall, I am happy with the result–although I would prefer less bunching of in the eyelet.  I needed to pull the ends a bit tighter before I pulled the core back inside the cover.

In the next month, I will be replacing ALL of the lines, halyards, and sheets on the boat (with the exception of the lifelines–which I will be removing the plastic coating and assessing).

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Jul 17 2008

Terminology: Sailing Terminology for Working with Rope

Sailors work with rope–although we do not call it by that name. Sailors actually work with lines.  The terms that we use for different types of it indicate where it is used on a boat.  I am going to give a quick overview on some terminology.


Lines: The term for the collective assembly of rope on a boat.  You can take a piece of rope, and the second you take it from shore and bring it onto a boat, it becomes a line.

Sail Related Terminology

Halyard: Is the line that runs a sail to the top of the mast–it attaches to the head of a sail. On some older boats, this line may be comprised of wire cable spliced into rope.

Topping Lift: Is a line that runs to the top of the mast (or a partial ways to the top) for the purposes of lifting things.  A topping lift is used to raise a spinnaker pole, and is sometimes attached to the boom.

Sheet: Is a line that connects the clew of a sail to the boat.

Outhaul: Is really a control used to pull tighten the foot of a sail.  In most cases, it is a line attached to the clew of the sail that pulls the foot away from the mast.

Reefing Lines: Are lines that make it easy to reef the main.  If you expect the conditions to be windy, you might rig your reefing lines prior to setting sail from the comfort of the harbor.  Reefing is no small task (especially on large main sails), and having the reefing lines run ahead of time only make it easier.

Anchor and Docking Lines

Rode: Is a line that is attached to an anchor.  This may or may not have chain in the collective rode.

Dock Lines: Are the lines used to secure the boat to the dock.

Spring Line: Is a special dock line used to cinch the boat close to the dock (or the other line).  Sometimes more than one spring line is used.

Painter: Is a line that stays attached to the bow of a ship.  It is a longer line and is used for all sorts of things.

Miscellaneous Terms

Life Lines: Are the lines attached to stantions on the deck of a boat.  Their primary purpose is to keep things (especially people) from falling overboard.

Preventer: Is a lashing that is fixed to the boom of a sailboat to prevent it from moving to one side or the other.  This is especially helpful when running downwind and trying to prevent an accidental jybe.

Thats a good place to start.  I will post more terminology as it comes along.

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Jun 13 2008

Ericson 29 Specs: Ericson 29 Owner’s Manual

A while back, I found the Ericson 29 Owner’s Manual at the Ericson Owner Association. As an owner of an Ericson 29, and constantly in need of specs and other information, I have only downloaded and provide a link to the Ericson 29 Owner’s Manual.

The Ericson Owner’s Association website has a really nice collection of documentation and specification. Here’s the link:

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Jun 04 2008

Boat Fiberglass Repair

One of the absolutely best instructional videos about Fiberglass Repair is made by Will Borden–titled simply, “Fiberglass Repair.” I bought the two DVD set directly from his website (, and it is worth every single penny.

In the with the first volume, will walks you through an overview of the process, shows you the tools that you will need (with opinons about brands, types, and acceptable substitutes), safety precautions, and leads you through several small projects. He highlights color-matching, best practices, and ways to achieve the maximum efficiency in your progress.

The second volume builds upon the first, and is the documentation of the removal and repair of a transom on a medium-sized fishing boat. It is superb!

The video is clear, and narration is logical, and in a no-frills style, he shows you exactly how to work with, repair, and create new things with fiberglass. This is a great resource!

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May 09 2008

Weekend Reading

Cover of \"The Splicing Handbook\"This weekend, we are going on a little roadtrip, and I am going to take along a little reading.

I bought “The Splicing Handbook” at West Marine last month, and expect it to be invaluable reading.  I have three old boats and they ALL need their lines replaced.

Perhaps, I am most excited about making a peel strop, and correctly splicing the metal wire into the rope halyards–old boats can be so much fun.  On the Ericson, I am going to replace the shivs at the masthead so that I can use all line and no wire in the halyards.  On the other boats, however, I am going to just let them be as they were . . .

I’ll give a full review after I have read the book.

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May 08 2008

Sail Journals Library

Published by under Gear/Books

There is a new link–well, a page actually. There is an amazon-powered library over at The link is now a page . . . .

Link: Sailing Library

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