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Old 01-07-2008, 07:48 PM   #1
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Apart from getting ready to move to a new country and a new job, I have spent this weekend sewing new sail ties. Are the two related one might ask? The answer would be NO...so let me explain why I was busy with my housewife. Honestly, this is what sewing kits were called in the gender uncorrect days of the fifties and sixties. No one was more surprised than me when I was packing my kit for my first term at a boys only boarding school and there, on the list of required articles, was a housewife. Sorry, I digress.

Back to the sewing......

The story actually started last summer when Nausikaa was about to enter the port of Assens in a good blow. I has approached from the south in a strong sw wind, rounded the clearing mark and luffed up into the wind, the engine now running and in gear. One of my sons was at the helm and I went on deck to drop the main. The halyard was let go and with very little assistance the main came down. Next job was to tame the beast and secure it to the boom. Out comes one of those elastic strops with a golf ball immitation at each end. I am sure you can picture the rest. A good blow, a flogging sail and me in a hurry. Of course, when the darn elasticy thing was stretched one end slipped from my grasp and, deciding to repay me for my brutality towards it, it promptly struck me a hard blow on my left cheek resulting in no blood spilt but a swelling that was difficult to hide.

If the assault on my person by that damnable stretchy strop was not enough the attack my boys made on my ego was an even greater injury. I was reminded of the incident every day of the trip.

So, to avoid similar instances in the future and to maintain both body and soul intact I have now spent the weekend sewing Velcro tape onto fibre sail ties. Not only are they safer but they also should be kinder to the sails than elestic strops which really cut hard into the weft.

The purpose of this little yearn is to warn all fellow cruisers of the danger of elastic strops. My advice - never buy them and if you happen to have some dispose of them (in an environmentaly friendly way of course)

Anyone else out there with some good, simple safety points which you can share with fellow cruisers?

Keep safe // Stephen
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Old 01-07-2008, 09:19 PM   #2
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Bungee cord is evil stuff...you are lucky you didn't lose an eye.....

I just use the 'tapes ' that came with the main.... the ones with a sewn eye in one end..... secured with a slip knot the name of which escapes me.... Edited to add... just looking at the knots on that knot site.... the slip knot I use is essentially a sheet bend but tied as a slip..if that makes sense... which it probably doesn't...

On my previous boat, a Vertue, I used a length of small stuff...about 8mm ... and just ran a marlin hitch from frd end of the boom to t'other end... fast and simple.

http://www.townsvillemaritimemuseum.org.au...3marlin%20hi tch

Salud

Frank
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Old 01-07-2008, 09:24 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Nausikaa View Post
Apart from getting ready to move to a new country and a new job, I have spent this weekend sewing new sail ties. Are the two related one might ask? The answer would be NO...so let me explain why I was busy with my housewife. Honestly, this is what sewing kits were called in the gender uncorrect days of the fifties and sixties. No one was more surprised than me when I was packing my kit for my first term at a boys only boarding school and there, on the list of required articles, was a housewife. Sorry, I digress.

Keep safe // Stephen
Still called that in the gender incorrect RAN...... ....... pronounced 'hus if' or maybe 'huzif'

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Old 01-07-2008, 11:45 PM   #4
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On our last boat...

I added four stainless steel "eye straps" aka "saddle straps", evenly spaced, along the entire length of the boom in such a way to allow me to thread a length of 10mm (3/8") elastic cord, measuring a little longer than the length of the boom. I secured it at both ends with figure eight knots with just enough tension to keep the elastic cord from sagging.

On the opposite side of the boom, I attached three small stainless hooks, located at mid points between the eye straps, with the hooks pointed downward.

When the sail was dropped onto the boom - I'd simply reach over the sail and pull the elastic cord over the wad, hook it and work my way aft in similar fashion.

Voila! The process took about 15 sec. and effectively secured the mainsail with six, snug, diagonal elastic straps. The one handed "sail tie" was always there at the ready, safe & easy to attach or let-go and the only maintenance it required in ten years' sailing across three oceans was just to re-position one of the knots, one time, to take-up a little slack.

Total cost was less than twenty dollars. Too easy. The addition of lazy jacks made it even easier!

To Life!

Kirk
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Old 01-08-2008, 04:10 AM   #5
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When the sail was dropped onto the boom - I'd simply reach over the sail and pull the elastic cord over the wad, hook it and work my way aft in similar fashion.
Thanks Kirk. You have probably just rendered a weekend's work useless! I think your idea is brilliant! What a fantastically simple way to frapa sail.

Come on cruisers. Every single one of you must have solved a problem on your boat(s) by inventing some ingenious device or method for making life on board simpler or safer. Please share your ideas with us.

Thanks also to Frank for the info re housewife and RAN - I feel less of a dinosaur now! Thanks also for the info regarding your frapping system. I used a similar system but with small stuff cord) rather than webbing ties and abandoned it in the false belief that technology had superseded sailing ship practices. How wrong I was. I have said it before and I will say it again, simple, down to earth, beproven methods are what are needed at sea. There is a place for high-tech but it is as an add-on and not the basic.

One final point. I am not the world's best speller - in fact I probably rate amongst the worst but, in my defence, English is not my primary language. Now I have found a high-tech tool which I really believe will help me. I downloaded Google's tool bar for Internet Explorer and low and behold, there is a spell checker there with the ability to choose language too. Brilliant except it does not recognise seamen's terms such as frapping nor older English words such as beproven. Expect less errors from me in the future.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:03 AM   #6
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The purpose of this little yearn is to warn all fellow cruisers of the danger of elastic strops. My advice - never buy them and if you happen to have some dispose of them (in an environmentaly friendly way of course)
Stephen, don't dispose of them, use them on the boat end of your fishing line! Nothing like a good length of "bungee" to absorbe the strike of a fish.

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Old 01-08-2008, 10:12 AM   #7
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Another great idea

Well done and thanks John.
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Old 01-08-2008, 02:40 PM   #8
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Hi Stephen,

ohhh nooo, I hope I did not leave these dangerous elastic strops on NAUSIKAA back then. And if, what a mistake to leave them on board and putting you and your sons in danger.

On AQUARIA we never use these strops for this very reason: highly dangerous to the eyes and face.

Many years ago here in GER we had an incident that went through the sailing magazines, one sailor lost an eye when flipping off the strop and this little plasticball hit. Since then you can't buy them anymore and I almost forgot completely about its existence.

Ever since we use the belt type of tapes you can buy per meter off the roll.

Cheers

Uwe
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Old 01-08-2008, 03:13 PM   #9
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Hi Stephen,

ohhh nooo, I hope I did not leave these dangerous elastic strops on NAUSIKAA back then.
No, not at all Uwe. I actually brought them with me from Africa. I used them as tie-downs in the Land Rover when heading out into the bush or desert. They were great for that but, well, hopefully one lives and learns.

Yes, I too bought the belt type of webbing strap but at the time of the incident I thought I would just pop one of those elastic strops on for the sake of speed. Big mistake!

Really, they were only onboard to secure the tiller when in port. I don't like to tie the tiller down with a little "give" in it so those strops are just fine for that.

I have been sewing Velcro onto the webbing straps but, on reflection, I think Kirk's idea is a good solution.

Keep well - all the best // Stephen
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Old 01-08-2008, 03:47 PM   #10
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Yep, lucky you didn't get it in the eye!

Lazy jacks are a sailors friend...I can't believe I waited 15 years to install them.
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Old 01-09-2008, 04:53 AM   #11
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Yep, lucky you didn't get it in the eye!

Lazy jacks are a sailors friend...I can't believe I waited 15 years to install them.
Very true!

Lazy jacks are great but there is an "improved" system called, I believe, the Dutchman where the jacks are threaded through grommets in the main. The sail then folds like a window blind when the halyard is released - at least in theory. Anyone tested this?

Aye // Stephen
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Old 01-11-2008, 11:03 AM   #12
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Very true!

Lazy jacks are great but there is an "improved" system called, I believe, the Dutchman where the jacks are threaded through grommets in the main. The sail then folds like a window blind when the halyard is released - at least in theory. Anyone tested this?

Aye // Stephen
That sounds wery interresting but does it get tangled when you reef down? I have all three reeflines in the sail at al time so it might mess things up.

But back on topic bungee cord is a terrible thing to have on a boat. As a male I can say that i'ts just not my face that has gotten a beating from thos plastic balls... In sweden I still think people buys them to use on their sails.
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Old 01-11-2008, 11:15 AM   #13
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Yes indeed they are still available in Sweden (I am there right now!) - strange in a way as almost anything which can be considered dangerous is banned in Sweden.

I found the following text on the Dutchman webpage:

The Dutchman Sail Flaking System uses vertical control lines laced through fairleads in the sail. The lines are attached to the topping lift and at the base of the sail, and donít move.

The sail slides up and down on the lines like a Roman shade. As you drop the sail, the lines guide the main down to alternate sides of the boom. A few seconds straightening, and youíre done. One person can perfectly flake pretty much any size sail in under 20 seconds. Many owners donít even bother with sail ties.

Offshore sailors particularly like how easy it makes reefing. The system collects the sail on the boom with no need to tie in the intermediate reef points. If you lines are led aft, you can reef entirely from the cockpit.


It sounds interesting but I would like to hear from someone who actualy has used the system rather than just the manufacturer.

If anyone wants to check the site for themselves it can be found at http://www.mvbinfo.com/dp_01.html

Aye // Stephen
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Old 01-11-2008, 11:28 AM   #14
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What's legal and what's not in sweden is not logical in any way. I hope you have a good time here. You should be here in the summer instead but right now you can have some nice lonley sailingexperience when the whole westcoast is free from turists. Well sliding from the topicenough now. I will check that page out and see if I'll try it this spring.
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