Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Rope? Nope, but line is divine...

Listening to "Sexual Revolution" by Macy Gray

One of the first times I came aboard Paragon I was looking around and asked the name of the rope that was pulling up the big sail.  

If you can imagine at this point that big SSSSCCCCRRREEEEEEEECCCHHHH that happens in the movies where the music abrubptly comes to a halt as everyone turns to look at the goof ball who just put their foot in their mouth.  Thus began the first of many lessons about sailing and boats in general.  

Rope practically does not exist on a boat.  In the most general sense of the word there are lines.  Lines criss cross the boat in every direction, and as they begin to do certain jobs their names get more specific.  There are halyards, dock lines, sheets, and fender lines to name a few, and they all need attention in some way.  They need to be cared for, coiled and stowed, cleaned, whipped, and occasionally spliced.  

Drake was telling me a story about a particular gentleman who, when questioning potential crew, would ask if they could whip a line.  If the answer was no then he felt they didn't have the basic knowledge he required to help on the passage.  At this point, and after a bit of practice, I can resoundingly say I possess this skill.

For those not in the know, lines can become frayed at the end which can lead to some serious unravelling.  This can render the line unusable, but is easily prevented by tightly wrapping (or whipping) twine around the bitter end.  I'm certain there are many different ways to wrap that twine, perhaps with a lovely design or pattern, but I was taught a simple and effective way that works and takes little time.  

The twine is so tightly wound around the end of the line that it feels solid and will keep the lines from unraveling with even the heaviest usage.  In preparation for our departure in about a month (Gah!  About a month!!!) I spent the day checking all lines and whipping those that had none.  *Note:  These pictures are not meant to be instructional.  I'm just showing what I did.*

Waxing the twine to help it lay better

Preparing to start wrapping

Initially I go over, under, over to create an extra little 'lock' on the starting edge

Halfway wrapped

Now I loop the other end over and begin to wrap with the other side

Pulling the ends in the center tightens the whole wrap

Trim the loose ends and tie a square knot

Seal the ends with a lighter

Now, instead of looking like this…

How several of our lines looked prior to being whipped

...our lines look like this and are ready to go.

The beautiful finished product


  1. Ropes. Lines. Right. The way it was described to me many years ago is that a Line is a rope that has a purpose. If it is sitting in a locker it can be properly referred to as rope (hence we have a "rope locker"). But, once it is tied to a sail, stanchion, anchor, or whatever, it magically turns into a "line."

    That definition might be disputed (what isn't?); but it's what I use.

    1. This is also what I learned, though I don't quite understand why they don't just stick with "line" for everything. *shrug* Ah well...

  2. I'm a big fan of your sailing videos on Youtube. I sent an email to Drake's email at dmrvc@mac.com. I hope you have a chance to read the email. I know you and Drake are busy getting ready to depart in April but if you have any chance to speak to our yacht club and other sailors, it would be terrific! Please check out my email for more information.

    Keep up the great work!

    1. Thank you so much Jim, I'm glad you're enjoying the videos! We look forward to chatting with you!

  3. Monique
    I love your blog! It reminds me so very much of getting ready to cruise aboard Paragon with Michael. Sometimes you bring tears to my eyes but for the most part I am joyful to be reading about your life.
    My years aboard Paragon were the very best years of my Life.
    Cecilia Deaton

    1. Cecilia, I am so humbled that you enjoy the blog. Paragon is not just us, but an accumulation of all the people who have chosen to pour their love, time, and emotion into her…I look around and think of all the places she has been and all the places she will go and feel so privileged to be a part of this.

      I hope you will keep in touch and would love to hear more about Paragon's previous adventures. Thank you again for your kind words.