Sunday, June 29, 2008


I read that lines should be replaced about every 10 years and Speakeasy is about 10 years old. I wondered if that was an old wives tale, a rule of thumb, a rubric, or what? What is the evidence? I've been collecting some. First, a few weeks ago, the clothes line part of the Dutchman flaking system failed and was replaced. Last week, a visiting sailor noticed that the spinnaker halyard had a tumor or so it appeared. The core of that line was bunched up on the outside of the protective cover and looked like a growth on the side of the line. We reasoned that the line could be dangerous if used to hoist a sail or a person. Since it was extra, it would likely have been put into service to lift a boatswain's chair if we left it installed. Instead, we took it down and replaced it with a "messenger" line--a smaller temporary line which can be used to thread a new line back up the mast without the need of a boatswain's chair to climb the mast. Yesterday, another line on the Dutchman system failed. The control line that directs the sail to fall into a nice flake on the boom snapped off near the top during a strong wind in the harbor. I was simply raising the sail while we were at the mooring can in order to flake the sail better since our attempt while coming in from a sail in strong winds was inadequate--I forgot to snug the topping lift before dropping the sail. So, three lines have failed at about the 10-year mark.
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