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EXPERT ON BOARD
Dont be put off by the tricky reputation of this classic
sailing skill. Tom Cunliffe makes it look easy
'K
N
O
W-
H
O
W
`
E
v
e
ry
m
o
n
th
how me a saIIor oI 2010
and `II show you a
person IamIIIar wIth
braIdIIne. We can knot It,
jam It and coII It, but Iew
oI us can spIIce It. SpIIcIng the shIp`s
workIng ropes was once a gIven skIII
oI any saIIor. Three-strand rope
used to be the standard Issue, and
many oI us can spIIce thIs wIth one
hand tIed behInd our backs. AIter
aII, the whoIe thIng Is out In the
Iresh aIr. We can see the parts oI
the rope, so we can teII what`s goIng
on and II we get It wrong, It`s obvIous
straIght away. 8raIdIIne Is seen as a
dIIIerent anImaI aItogether. 8ut the
job Isn`t nearIy so hard as It seems.
t`s aIso hIghIy satIsIyIng and so Iong
as you`re not too ambItIous about
IInesse, wIth a IIttIe practIce It can be
a pIece oI cake. The spIIce we show
here Is not the most sophIstIcated
one under the heavens, but aII oI us
can do It on our own boats, wIth no
specIaI kIt other than a set oI
spIIcIng IIds.
S
Anatomy of braidline
8raIdIIne can come In varIous
guIses, but the most common Is
doubIe braId, or braId-on-braId.
VarIants wIth dIIIerent types oI core
requIre aIternatIve technIques.
I `m specIIyIng braIdIIne Ior my
boat, aIways go Ior thIs, because
the choIce means don`t need the
servIces oI a rIgger.
rcid-on-brcid hcs c brcided
core cs uell cs c coter. The core
is much more sojtl lcid thcn
the outer shecth
Bruidline eye
splicing
Tools oj the
trcde: (jrom
top) shcrp
lnije, set oj
jids, mcllet,
scissors - cll
ctcilcble jrom
our loccl
hcrducre
store cnd
chcndler's
Tom Cunlijje uses c mcllet to help the rope's core run smooth cs he
splices cn ee into c lenth oj brcidline
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MAY zo1oq www.yucILIngmonLIIy.com
1
FIrst, sharpen your knIIe. I It`s bIunt,
It wIII rIp up the rope and make IIIe
a mIsery. Cut a Iresh end careIuIIy on
a choppIng board. The rope wIII try to
unIay as soon as you Iay the knIIe on
It, so guard agaInst thIs as best you
can throughout the job.
2
FInd the rIght sIze IId Ior the dIameter oI your rope - there shouId be a
number on the IId to guIde you - and measure one IId Iength Irom the
end. Make a smaII dot on the rope wIth a marker pen (Mark A).
3
Take the rope around your
thImbIe (or II you`re not usIng a
thImbIe, just decIde how bIg you
want the Ioop), and mark agaIn as
shown (Mark 8).
4 a,b,c
The spIIcIng wIII dIsturb the rope`s core and you need to tIe a knot In the rope to stop It
unraveIIIng. TIe the knot about 6It Irom Mark 8. Set the knot up on a hook, II you
have one, or contrIve a substItute. The knot used Is shown to the rIght.
The braidline eye splice
a
b
c
A
A
A
B
B
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5 a,b,c
CareIuIIy open the coat at Mark 8
so that you can tease out the bIght
oI the core. use the smaIIest IId Ior thIs, but any
reasonabIy bIunt prodder wIII do. Part enough
strands to get a good grIp on the core. I the core
doesn`t come easIIy once you have hoId oI It,
you`ve trapped a bIt oI the coat. Look careIuIIy
and sort It out.
8
Put Mark C on the core at the poInt It Is now exItIng the coat.
a b c
6
When the core Is cIear and In hand, puII It rIght out Irom the bItter end so that you
have the two parts IyIng next to one another. FInaIIy, smooth out the coat wIth a
'mIIkIng` actIon towards the end to make sure any dIstortIon Is knocked out oI It.
7
Lay the IId aIongsIde the coat as shown. Then, hoIdIng the end
oI the IId and the core together between IInger and thumb,
puII out one IId Iength oI core. t wIII come easIIy.
9
Now puII out a Iurther Iength oI core. Lay the IId aIongsIde It and
pIace another mark two-thIrds oI a IId Iength Irom C. ThIs Is Mark D.
B
C
C
D
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EXPERT ON BOARD
10
PuII out as much core as you can comIortabIy persuade to cooperate and
pIn It temporarIIy wIth your smaIIest IId. ThIs serves no reaI purpose other
than to make IIIe easIer.
12
Open up the core at Mark C (the mark
nearest the core`s end), Insert the IId.
15
DIsengage the IId.
16
Next, very careIuIIy, mIIk the core so that It
cIoses neatIy around the coat.
11
Load the coat Into the IId by pushIng the end Into the hoIIow
towards the sharp tIp oI the IId. When It`s InsIde, Iay the rest Into
the bIunt end, where a buIIt-In hook wIII grab It.
13
Work It aIong the InsIde oI the core to
Mark D. 14
Poke It out there and puII the IId and the
coat aII the way through.
17
Then gIngerIy puII the coat back so that
Its end just dIsappears InsIde the core.
C
C
D
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24
Remove the pIn and careIuIIy smooth everythIng down, payIng
partIcuIar attentIon to the sectIon oI coat whIch Is now part oI the
eye. ThIs may have been dIstorted. Sort It out so that It Iooks naturaI.
EXPERT ON BOARD
18
Take the tIny IId away Irom where It`s been pInnIng the core and push It
through the core]coat assembIy. I you don`t pIn thIs, there`s a reaI
danger that the coat wIII sIIde out oI the core whIIe you are attendIng to the
next stage.
19
Load the end oI the core Into a IId. SeIect the bIggest IId you can
convenIentIy pass through the InsIde oI the coat. The core end wIII be
breakIng up by now, so wet It and stuII It Into the IId as best you can.
20
nsert thIs IId at the poInt where the core that
Is surroundIng the coat ends. ThIs Is aIso
approxImateIy Mark A. Work the IId towards
Mark 8 where the core Is exItIng the coat. The
IId wIII actuaIIy dIsappear InsIde the coat durIng
thIs stage. ThIs Is the trIckIest part oI the spIIce.
23
Free the core Irom the IId, then puII the core through untII the
Ioop, pIctured here to the rIght, just dIsappears.
21
WeaseI the IId a IIttIe way past Mark 8, at
Ieast one cIrcumIerence oI the rope. t Is
vItaI that once you are past Mark 8, you don`t
snag the core In the undIsturbed rope wIth the IId.
I you do, the whoIe thIng goes to rats. The way to
be sure It Isn`t snagged, Is to work the bIght oI the
core where It`s exItIng the coat as you manoeuvre
the IId. So Iong as It moves IreeIy, aII Is weII.
22
Do not be dIsmayed II you`re struggIIng. You
can tease It aIong quIte nIceIy, but you need
some perseverance to persuade It to exIt neatIy.
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26
As the core]coat combo arrIves at the spIIce, thIngs wIII not go so easIIy. I It Iooks IIke stIckIng,
don`t Iorce It. nstead, mIIk some sIack out oI the coat, away Irom the knot and towards the Ioop.
LIteraIIy hoId It tIght and run your hands aIong It. You`II see the sIack movIng towards the spIIce. Keep the
tensIon on and, as you mIIk, the spIIce wIII swaIIow It up. As one IrIend oI mIne observed, It`s cIoseIy akIn
to threadIng knIcker eIastIc.
28
As the thImbIe puIIs up tIght, sIIp some sort
oI stout tommy bar Into It and heave hard,
stIII mIIkIng II necessary. use the Iong extensIon
Irom an oId socket set.
27
When the combo
has dIsappeared and
aII you`ve got IeIt Is a
dImInIshIng Ioop that Iooks
IIke compIete rope,
Introduce the thImbIe and
carry on wIth the good work
oI mIIkIng.
OTHER SPLICES
For more on spIIcIng dIIIerent kInds oI rope as weII as other InIormatIon and
tIps on ropework, Tom and rIgger Peter MartIn made an exceIIent DVD on
the subject, Ropework, Knots and SpIIces.
You can IInd It on www.amazon.co.uk prIced Irom i6.50.
29
As soon as you thInk you`re nearIy there,
cut oII that untIdy Iength oI core that`s
hangIng out beIow the spIIce. Now take the
tommy bar In both hands, Iean back, count to
three, and jerk It hard a coupIe oI tImes. What`s
IeIt oI the core wIII vanIsh InsIde and the
thImbIe shouId be tIght as a nut. I It doesn`t
Iook perIectIy smooth, gIve It a whack or two wIth
a maIIet and another jerk Ior good Iuck.W
25
Now, at Iast, It`s Iun tIme! HoIdIng the Ioop In
both hands, puII the spIIce away Irom the
knot on the hook. You`II see the bare core part
oI the Ioop swaIIowed up rapIdIy Into the coat.
TAPERING
TaperIng the spIIce makes a neater
job and a proIessIonaI wIII teII you It
aIso conIers addItIonaI strength. ThIs
Is sureIy true, but have Iound
taperIng Is by Iar the trIckIest Item
on the IIst and the spIIce works weII
wIthout It. We use SeIma IIds and In
the system they IncIude wIth these
IIds, SeIma actuaIIy recommends
IeavIng out the taper. The maIn thIng
Ior the average saIIor Is to be abIe to
execute a good workIng spIIce, so
have not IncIuded a taper here.
SeIma IIds are avaIIabIe Irom You
8oat MarIne. TeI: 02392 522 226.
WebsIte: www.youboatmarIne.com
EXPERT ON BOARD