Thursday, April 1, 2010

Stiff As A Board!

Unfortunately we're talking about our dock lines.  (Is that the right term)?  Since we purchased our sailboat in November of 2009, we did not take it out much since it was the middle of winter. It just recently started getting warm here in New Orleans, so we've just started taking  Nirvana out into the lake. Therefore, we are just now realizing how stiff the lines are when trying to tie to the dock.  The lines are so stiff that we have a hard time wrapping them around the cleats.

When we arrived home from work Tuesday night, we found that our sailboat was in the backyard, but in the opposite direction!  We were not quite home yet, and about a block away, when we could see our sailboat was  pointed the wrong way.  Not a good feeling!  We tried to remain calm but couldn't wait to get home.  Surely we were seeing things!

Our backyard has a dock that is only half the length of the bulkhead.  It seems that one of the lines had come undone at the front of the sailboat, which allowed it to float around and park itself just perfectly in the opposite direction beside the bulkhead.  Luckily the sailboat was still tied to the dock by another line, or who knows where it would have wound up.  No damage was done, but we felt pretty silly.  We moved the sailboat back where it belonged and determined that it is time to buy some new lines.

After talking with our friend, a liveaboard, we realized that we don't have to buy new lines after all.  Evidently we can soak the lines in a mix of water and Oxyclean for a few days while agitating them every now and then.  Afterwards, we need to tie the lines in a certain way as to prevent them from coming apart and place them in the clothes washer along with a little bleach and laundry detergent.  Then we're to let the lines dry in the sun and then place them in a mixture of water and fabric softener.  Since the lines are dry, the fabric softener will be absorbed into them.  Once dried again in the sun, the lines will be clean, flexible, and "Downy fresh".

It seems it would be easier to just buy new lines, but with the price of them, we'll try salvaging the ones we have. We need to conserve the cruising budget anytime we can!  Since our "episode", we've removed the really stiff lines and replaced them with some other "temporary" lines that weren't as bad but will also need to be addressed.

We'll let you know how it works!  Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-life Cruising!


Sandee said...

The terms lines are indeed correct. An old salt will tell you what for if you use the term rope.

I didn't know this about the water and Oxyclean to clean the lines. Very good thing to know. I know not to put them in the washing machine as black lines will come out white...or nearly white.

As for securing lines I know about that. I'm the first mate and that's my job. A cleat hitch is what I use. It's easy and it works wonderfully.

Have a terrific day. :)

Mike said...

Glad to hear your boat didn't go for a sail without you!

I'm not so sure about the bleach idea though, guys, but I do think washing them can soften them up a bit.

You might want to google that subject a bit. Here is one link:

and there's a few comments worth reading on our post here:


Ken n Cheryl said...

Thanks guys!

Mike, the comments on your site were helpful. I was wondering about the bleach myself, and vinegar versus fabric softener? Interesting. Any more suggestions out there regarding vinegar?

Sandee, thanks for the "cleat hitch" link. So that's what it's called. We've been using that technique but didn't know the name. That link is so cool! It has video clips of all kinds of knot techniques. We bookmarked it!

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