Cast off – the new season is about to start, but before the first day on the water, this expression has a slightly different meaning!
Because if the cordage is washed from time to time, the service life increases, but also its “user friendliness” increases considerably. The ropes do not have to be washed every year, but always when the ropes are very dirty or no longer really pliable; The latter is also a consequence of dirt particles that get stuck in the rope. This is also the case if the lines are not necessarily green or full of black seaweed threads or algae. This applies to all lines, regardless of whether they are laid or braided. Pods, traps, mooring lines – the latter in particular should actually be washed more often.
Attention risk of breakage
You can do this either in a larger, robust washing machine or simply in a lukewarm south-facing water bath, for example in the bathtub or a plastic tub. Cleaning agents are welcome, but only a little of them. Lines that remain hard or brittle even after such a wash should, however, be taken out of service and replaced. Because then there is a risk of breakage and a line that breaks under heavy loads can also become a very dangerous “projectile”.
Exchange or pull out?
Of course, this also applies to lines that have already been mechanically damaged – broken sheaths, torn cardels, melted areas and so on. Lines, especially traps or straighteners, often rub against certain pulleys. Instead of replacing the whole long case completely, it helps in this case (little pun) to cut it out and, conversely, to re-cut it again, provided the damaged area occurs more at the end of the case and not in the middle, which is often the case when the roller in the masthead is blocked or damaged.
Check the shackle fastenings
Of course, if a line is obviously chafed broken, then you can also look at the deflection at the corresponding point in the mast or on deck and make it passable again. In every case, or in every case, you should always check the fastening of the shackle for the mainsail, which is often not knotted, but sewn and taped. Stupid if it breaks at the wrong moment – and then possibly the main halyard rushes through the mast without having first attached a safety line to the end to which a new halyard can be drawn in again!
Splicing & Rigging
The usual work on board, not only on the sailing training ship, also includes splicing mooring lines or attaching rigging at the ends. Rigging work like this is fun and not difficult to learn if you can’t already do it – either you can have other sailors show you how to splice and rig, or you can get a corresponding book.
Discarded ropes that have been replaced by new ones on board but may only be damaged in certain spots should be shortened and then safely kept on board – lines and ropes can never be too much on board, just like Zeisinge (sail binders) and lanyards.