Learn the ropes, what everyone who goes boating should know. A basic knowledge about lines, as we boaters prefer to call them and knots is essential for every boater regardless of the size or type of boat.
wrong knot or line could lead to trouble, while getting it right, will
enhance the your experience on and
off the water.
sensible boater also
needs to know how to handle and store all that cordage so that it will
up to the job and ready for any eventuality.
are wide varieties of lines each with their own uses, as well as a wide
and colours. There are four or five main materials used to make rope
their own properties.
the traditional sort of line
made from natural fibers.
It is rarely seen on
boats these days as
natural fibers do not have the strength or durability of modern
be cheap but it soon deteriorates in ultra violet light. Polypropylene
However it does float so could be used for rescue lines.
as Dacron have high
strength they are flexible low
stretch and have good UV resistance. Polyesters
Lines can either be braided or
are the traditional style
where three yarns are
twisted together. Stranded
have a core of braided or stranded
fibers encased within a braided sheath. Braided
The core provides the strength while the sheath acts as a protective
such as multi-plat have are ideal
for mooring and anchoring due to their strength and stretch. Platted More on Types of line construction.
It is important to keep your rope in good condition whatever the type
Your life could depend on it, besides it will last longer and save you
to buy replacements.
Always coil your ropes after use so they are ready for use next time
And hang the coils where they are handy for use but not getting in the
Don’t forget to stop the ends from fraying with a
Buy Boat Books on-line
or six basic knots
big deal, anyone can learn
to tie them with a little practice.
is the key, keep a
couple of short lengths of rope handy so you can practice when you have
the ropes under ideal
conditions then if you need a knot in an emergency you will be able to
you will look so much
are three terms you
will need to understand when learning a knot.
the end of the line where you are tying the knot.
the bend you make in the line.
the long end of the line.
“That's what sailing is, a dance, and your partner is the sea. And with the sea you never take liberties. You ask her, you don't tell her. You have to remember always that she's the leader, not you.
You and your boat are dancing to her tune.” (Michael Morpurgo) Splicing
knot creates a weak spot in a
is apparently due to the kinks in the rope.
However, different knots have differing effects on the strength of the
is the best method of making a loop in a line. splicing
While this too, according to the experts creates a weak spot it has
effect than a knot.
where it is possible and certainly on any permanent bit of
the rope should be spliced.
is not difficult it just takes a little bit of patience and
But the results are worth the little time needed.
Why pay someone else to
do it for you when you can buy a ‘fid’,
for a fraction of the cost and
Boat Books on-line
most common type of sailing
rig is the Bermudan sloop, that’s the one with two triangular sails one
in front and one behind the mast.
This is regarded as being the most efficient rig on all points of
several other styles of rig which all have their own characteristics
particular rig consider carefully what sort of sailing you intend
complicated do you want the
rig to be?
you want to build
it all yourself?
to take into consideration the capabilities of your crew, that’s if you
only chain commonly found on modern
boats is the
is used not just for
its strength but also for its weight.
weight of the chain helps
to keep the anchor lying at the correct angle on the seabed.
size and weight of your
anchor and chain will depend
on the size of your boat.
choice will depend also on how you
intend to use the boat.
every eventuality and type of seabed. anchor
types and styles
are several bit of
tackle which are used to increase the efficiency of rope-work.
Fenders and Covers
is important to protect you pride and joy
from as much damage as possible.
will eliminate any
damage from rubbing on dock sides when tying up.
boats have a stout
rubbing strake on the outside but these are rarely in the correct
every dock or pontoon.
it is preferable not
to damage them unnecessarily.
will protect the more
vulnerable parts of your boat when not in use.
sail cover will protect you
sail from the elements and UV light.
boat cover will keep you
favorite boat free from dirt rain and moisture when you are not using
Covers should be waterproof
but it is also
important to allow for good
ventilation to prevent condensation.
handle lines with
Never try to control
a heavily loaded line with
I once lost the skin off both
hands by instinctively
grabbing at a runaway line, it wasn’t funny at the
Taking two or more turns round a
winch, cleat, or
post will make it easier to control a line.
Be especially careful of the fine
stuff such as
Check and test any knot before
Check all your lines closely for any signs of
Make sure that
the cleats and fairleads on
the boat and on the dock have no sharp or rough areas that will cut or
damage your lines.
Lines wrapped around cleats for any length of time are likely
Alter the lines occasionally so the wear is not constantly in one
Where lines are subject to wear they can be protected by parcelling
(wrapping with a protective cover) or