Sunday, August 12, 2012

Marlinespike Seamanship

 As this trip approaches the halfway mark, I've missed Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife's birthday, and much time with my family, not to mention the fact that my mom's in the hospital nursing a broken leg and facing more surgery. I don't know how I used to manage 4-month voyages, but even these more modest 28-day trips are wearing me down.


When the gods of bunkering took away HAWSEPIPER's old Afloat Gobal HQ/floating bordello last month, we were annoyed but optimistic. The new one was fresh out of the shipyard and had been purpose-built for the work, and not a refit like our old digs. We discovered that our new home had been inhabited by some downright filthy and unhygienic motherfuckers, and, 6 weeks later, the mold and mildew and handprints and pee stains are gone and only the smell remains, while the animals who treated this place like a baby treats a diaper are, I'm sure, well on their way to making my old home look like a Pakastani hospice.

 Meanwhile, though, we're in the middle of a serious upswing in the New York bunkering business- there's been some ship traffic, as always, but maybe bunker prices are favorable here just now.

      It's no surprise, given that the former occupants were less than fastidious, that our new Afloat Global HQ/gas station needed some labor and consumables.  One of the first things we had to do was replace all the mooring lines aboard.
         First off, hawser-sized rope ain't cheap, not at the size (7") that we use. Second, it comes in only one length- 1 cable, or 600 feet. We ordered 4 cables of new rope, for starters. This would be broken up into smaller lengths. Multiple 200 foot sections and some 300 footers, too. By 'broken up' I mean cut. With a hacksaw. Afterwards, the 8 separate strands of rope making up each hawser have to have eyes spliced into both ends, which has to be done by hand. That's a lot of splicing. 

2). The line is faked out on deck and measured, then cut to length.

3). the line is partially unraveled, and folded on itself to form an eye (note lack of audience on tugboat in background). 


4). the separated strands are paired, then divided prior to splicing the eye

5). A fid is used to wedge open the braid of the rope, and the strands are woven into the braid 7 times...

6). Except for the first strand, which is only woven for 4 turns, as I have hands like a little girl, and this is an accommodation that makes it much easier to braid the line. 

     When it's all said and done, you have a pretty and strong braid that is just perfect for catching a bollard to stop a vessel, and more than heavy enough to brain a dockman (should he critique your throwing strength) with a carefully mis-aimed throw.


doubletrouble said...

AND, you missed the NE Blogshoot again.

Nice braid; you're Irish, so you've got small hands like...

Errm... nice braid, there.

HT said...

Its worse than I thought inherited the 39 from Mark and his useless sidekick! Have fun cleaning up after those two,good luck...HT

Anonymous said...

That is a lot of line to splice. Not envious. Can't see for sure, but just a suggestion or for other interested sailors for next time. Take 2 of your strands and put through middle of line together. You now have top and bottom. Splice 4x. Separate each to get 8 strands. Splice the right of each pair 3x and cut the left. A nice tapered look. Can even take 2 of remaining strands and tuck 2x. Just be happy it wasn't 12 strand.