3 ways to handle boat ropes like a seasoned sailor

July 28, 2015

Managing ropes is an essential part of a sailor's job. Before you set sail, make sure that your rope handling skills are up to the task.

3 ways to handle boat ropes like a seasoned sailor

The 3 rope techniques you'll need to know

  • 1. Coil a rope: All sailors need to know how to coil a rope for safe, tangle-free stowage. This method offers a secure way of stowing ropes that won't be hung up.
  • Coil clockwise, beginning from the fixed end and working your way to the free end. Make each loop the same size — about the length of your outstretched arm — and twist the rope as you go to work out any kinks.
  • When you have 1.5 metres (5 feet) left, make three or four turns around the bundle, then push a loop of the free end through the coil and pull it back over the top. Pull the free end to tighten, then tuck it through the coil to finish.
  • 2. Tying up: To tie the free end of the line, use a round turn and two half hitches to make fast to a bollard or a mooring ring. Alternatively, use a bowline for dropping a loop over a post.
  • To make fast to a cleat, take the rope around the cleat, add one or two more figures of eight, and make another round turn to secure.
  • 3. Throw a rope: First, uncoil and recoil the rope. Make sure that the line is attached to the boat, then split the coil into two with slack between.
  • If you're right handed, hold the fixed end of the rope in your left hand and throw the first half. Release the second immediately after. This will propel the rope the greatest distance and make it easier to catch.
  • Don't aim straight at the receiver, but just off to one side.

Now that you know how to coil, tie, and throw a rope, you're one step closer to setting sail. Just remember to steer clear of sea monsters.

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