Monday, September 23, 2013

Basic Lesson... ROPES & KNOTS



1.           ROPE- The basics: You can’t push a rope

Becoming a sailor means “learning the ropes.” This is a general expression for getting to know all the various bits & parts of a complex task; and it holds true here.

  How strong is rope?

               Very Strong! Breaking strength of 1/4” line (like FJ halyards) > 1,000 lbs.

               Safe working load can be anywhere from 1/10 to 1/3 of break strength.

                 Tying knots in a rope weaken it by approximately half


Double Braid Rope
       There are different types of rope, & different material used. They have widely different strength & stretch characteristics

IMPORTANT: a ropes “strength” has no relation to its “stretch”

                        Abrasion resistance is very important, a hard edge chafing against the rope can cut thru
                   it within moments.

2.           If you can’t push a rope, what –CAN- you do with it?

a.    Coiling and flaking (also called “faking”)

                    i.      Coiling a rope for storage, coiling for ready use, and coiling for throwing are all different

                  ii.      Stored coils of rope are kept dry & out of the sun

b.        When a rope is IN USE on a boat, it has a specific name.

           i.       generally, ropes on a boat are called “lines” not rope.

         ii.      Be prepared to learn to tie at least 3 kinds of knots

       iii.      During sailing sessions, remember to practice with ropes & lines, in addition to all other skills

c.        Simplest and most important line on any boat: the one holding it to the dock.

           i.      Cadets may use a clove hitch or cleat hitch to hold the boat’s dock line, but until an instructor has checked, you must not leave a boat unattended while it’s afloat.

         ii.         Prevent the boat from hitting against the dock. Fend it off, but do not get any part of your body caught between boat and dock.

Repeat C ii : Do not get any part of your body caught between boat and dock… or between 2 boats

What is this CLEAT thing?

           A “cleat” is just a rope-locking device. There are many types

       Tying the knot: which one for which job?

Remember that tying knots in a rope or line will weaken it!

Bowline Knot- Complete
  Bowline (illustrated)
.... used to make a loop
 .... very secure
.... always easily untied

            note- the “bow” in “bowline” is pronounced just like the “bow” you shoot an arrow with.

 The bowline is one of the most useful knots you will ever learn

Bowline Knot- Step 1

Bowline Knot- Step 2


Bowline Knot- Step 3

To tie a bowline, instructors often say to use your imagination.
Imagine the long part of the rope is a tree. 

 You make a hole in the tree with a slight twist of the rope... now the end of the rope becomes a bunny!

 In Step 3 as illustrated, the bunny goes thru the hole and around the tree. 

Bowline Knot- Step 4

In Step 4  and Step 5, the bunny goes back out thru the hole, and the only remaining work is to pull the "tree" tight and the knot is complete.

Bowline Knot- Step 5



 Figure-8 or stopper knot- keeps a line from running out thru a pulley (block) or a fairlead.

The Figure-8 is commonly tied at the ends of sheets.


            Clove hitch (left)- secures rope around object, will not slide 

 To tie a Clove Hitch- bring the rope around the pole and under itself. Move up a little, then go around & under (thru the middle) again.


                  Cleat Hitch (below)- used for specific lines where cleats are provided, such as halyards & dock lines.

         Why is this important to learn?
Lines & knots can be critical rescue tools

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