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Marlinspike

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Seamanship by Eric Burnley

s much as I hate to give blow boaters credit for anything, other than being in the way of power boats, I must say they usually have a better understanding of marlinspike seamanship than those of us who burn old dinosaurs to power our boats. Since sails are controlled by a series of lines, it makes sense that sailors understand the inner workings of the materials and knots that make up their control systems in the same way we have to have a working knowledge of the internal combustion engine. While ropes and lines are not used as much by powerboaters, they are still important parts of the boating experience. If you have ever tried to untie a dock line that was left in a granny knot, you can appreciate proper marlinspike seamanship. ##An eye splice can make attaching a bow line easy during a launch.

Dock Lines This is the one area where all boaters should learn the proper way to tie up their craft. It doesn’t matter if your boat is on a trailer or kept in the water; if you can’t tie the proper knots to make it secure, you are going to have problems. As a trailer boater, I keep a line ready with an eye splice in one end that I secure to the bow cleat before launching. My partner will use this line to control the boat once it is off the trailer, then secure the boat to the dock while I park the truck.

##The square knot is easy to tie and can be used to join two lines together.

40 September 2015 PropTalk.com

To tie off to the cleat on the dock, take one turn around the cleat, then use half hitches to secure the line. The half hitches may be loosened to let in or take up line as needed. They will not jam tight and are easily released when it is time to get under way. My partner will remain on the dock until I start the motor and make sure everything is running correctly. Then he will release the line while I hold the boat to the dock. Once onboard the line will be coiled and placed out of the way until we return. Leaving a line on the bow can result in problems should it fall into the water while underway. Unless you have that experience, it may be difficult to believe how quickly a boat can stop when a line tied to the bow cleat gets caught in the prop. The other line of great importance to the powerboater is the anchor

rode. Select the proper size for your boat, and then tie a thimble into an eye splice and connect the anchor chain to the line with a shackle. Another shackle is used to connect the chain to the anchor. I keep a long line onboard ready at a moment’s notice in case I need to be towed. This line has an eye splice on one end and that can be tied to my bow cleat. The line is kept in a coil that (in theory) can be tossed to the other boat. I have been in situations where wind and seas made tossing anything difficult, let alone a coil of towing line. In a perfect world I would have a heaving line ready, but I don’t live in a perfect world. A towing service can do all of this quickly and efficiently, but there are times when waiting for a tow is not an option, so it pays to be as ready as possible to help a good Samaritan when he comes to your aid.

PropTalk Magazine September 2015  

Chesapeake Bay Boating

PropTalk Magazine September 2015  

Chesapeake Bay Boating