Cleaning and maintenance of ropes
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How to keep your boat's lines in good condition
There is no good sailor who is not aware of the importance of maintaining all the boat’s equipment, both to extend its useful life and for his own safety, and the care of the ropes could not be less important.
We know that these are elements that are subject to a lot of wear and tear due to their use and because they are outdoors, we must pay special attention to the lines, sheets and halyards of the boat.
Basic guidelines for maintaining on-board lines
Care starts at the time of purchase. It is important that when you are going to take the length you need you cut the end of the line and do not leave any loose strands so as not to run the risk of the line fraying. You can put some insulating tape on the end of the line, but it is best to seal the ends with needle and thread.
Always keep the line free of dirt. To remove dust, you can put them in a bucket with water and detergent and rub them with a brush until they have released all the dirt. Remember to rinse them well with plenty of water, then dry them and leave them to dry well, but out of direct sunlight so that they don’t become crusty.
Don’t forget to keep them safe from salt spray. Any sailor knows that when the lines get full of salt they become very hard and difficult to work with.
The steps to follow to remove the salt are very similar to the previous ones, just soak the lines for a couple of hours with fresh water and neutral soap, then change the water a few times until they are completely clean and rinsed and let them dry very well in a well ventilated place, away from the sun’s rays.
What do you need to know to make them last longer?
As we all know mooring lines are used to moor a boat to the port, they are usually made of polyester which is a very resistant and elastic material, but they have the disadvantage that they can break with friction, so they need a more specific solution.
The solution is very easy, you just have to place a protective element around the rope in the area of friction to prevent wear.The easiest way is to place a piece of plastic, for example, a tube of a slightly larger diameter than the line, so that it passes through the inside of the line to prevent chafing.
To avoid strong pulls on the boat and above all to protect the cleats from sudden jerks, it is ideal to fit shock absorbing springs.
Remember to moor the boat a short distance away so as not to strain the ropes and avoid tensions and pulls that can cause the line to break.
When you leave port, make sure you leave the moorings on the pontoon, so that they are not submerged in the seabed to prevent the rope from degrading or mould forming.
Allow the line to dry on the deck – the line that allows you to retrieve the mooring lines from the side opposite the pontoon – once you have left your boat moored in the harbour.
There are some simple but effective guidelines for the ropes in the running rigging of a sailing yacht, where the great enemies to avoid are the sun and salt.
The first thing to bear in mind is that all unused rigging should be kept clean, dry and dry so that it does not deteriorate.
When it is very windy in the harbour, you will hear a very characteristic sound of the halyards hitting the masts. A good recommendation to prevent the outer sheath of the line from wearing out is to fix the halyards at another point that avoids contact with the mast.
When you see the lines start to show obvious signs of wear, turn them around if you have enough length, to avoid further wear at the same point.
As you have seen, these are some very simple tips that, if you get into the habit of doing them regularly, will extend the life of your boat’s rigging and you will not have to continually replace the material due to wear and tear.
I hope these tips have been useful and I’ll see you sailing!
And if you need it here you can have a look at our catalogue of ropes.
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