Posted by: Dan Sprague | March 11, 2012

Keep your boat lines in Bristol Fashion

I like to have the lines on my boat looking sharp and ship shape. My choice in dealing with the free end of line in use is a Flemish coil. Laid line is a rope or line that has 3 strands of line twisted together. It has a natural twist built into it. A laid line should be coiled clockwise so it will not hockle (kink) or tangle. If you start the coil at the secured and work toward the free end, the coil will lay flat.  If you start at the free end it may end up with a twist or awkward coil. A Flemish coil looks sharp on the dock or on the boat and very decorative. However the Flemish coil will pick up moisture and dirt if you leave it like this for an extended period.

If you are working with braided line, the line has no lay or twist to it and it coils easily.

The other common way to coil a line is called flaking a coil. It is not as decorative, but it lets you pay out a line easily without it getting tangled. Flaking a coil is to simply lay the rope down in a series of figure eights, one on top of each other. The line will not pick up dirt and moisture like a Flemish coil and it will pay out from the top figure eight easily. If it is not neatly done it can look like a pile of rope.

The bitter end or raw end of the rope or line will start to fray and unravel after it is cut. The raw end of the line should be taped, dipped or whipped to prevent the unraveling. A careful taping of the end of the line is fast and effective, but it does not look that good. Dipping the ends of a line in an air-drying liquid plastic is also quick and effective and looks better than tape. Whipping the end of the line is when you neatly wrap the end of the line tightly with cord or lacing twine. When done right it looks great and is very effective. It is also the hardest and the most time consuming to do. Whipping the bitter end of the line really looks classy.

These help you keep your boat looking in proper Bristol fashion.

flemish coil
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