Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Is it all the way up?

Do you have a mark on your halyard showing at eye level how much halyard needs to be winched in to fully hoist your sail? Today, Jeff and Anne on s/v C'est la Vie give us a tip on marking lines. Also, pay attention to the tool that they use - a hand sewing awl. I think that this is a tool that no boat should be without, because it makes stitching canvas so much easier than using a needle and palm.
While Anne piloted us ever northward along the ICW, I took advantage of the mellow conditions to properly mark the reefing lines on C’est la Vie’s mainsail.   To aid in efficiently reducing sail, it rarely seems that enlarging sail area is done under pressure, we mark the reefing lines at the cleat on the boom.  The first reef line receives a mark for the full sail and for the reef point.  The second reefing line receives a mark for the full sail, the first reef, and the second reef point. 
mainsail reefing lines marked with indelible ink
Initially we make the marks using a sharpie marker. After a couple months of sailing and assessing the position of marks it is time to properly mark the line with some whipping twine.

Marking with whipping twine has the advantage of being both easy to see and easy to feel.  When working at night or under duress feeling the marks saves time and effort.

The tools required are scissors and a sewing awl.  Using a high quality whipping twine will enhance the quality and longevity of the marks.

Resources with quality directions on whipping line can be found on the internet, example - Finish Whipping Method 1.  Look around and pick your favorite.

A hint for finishing the whipping is to use a sewing awl to pass the ends of the twine through the line. Using the sewing awl, I pass the ends through the rope three to four times.  
passing the ends of the whipping twine through the rope

This trick keeps the whipping from unraveling and gives the mark a clean look without loose ends hanged about.
completed mark 

We use this technique to mark various lines around C’est la Vie – reefing lines, halyards, dinghy painter, topping lift, etc.
new marks on first and second reef lines.

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