Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cold front jig

There is no telling how many boats are in Marsh Harbour, but all of them were doing the cold front jig in a day late homage to St. Patrick's Day. One dinghy went on a solo act, ditching its Mother Ship partner and stepping through the anchorage all on its own. A couple of the Mother Ships must have danced their anchors out of the sand as well. They motored by Kintala with hooks hanging off bows, searching for better holding.

We didn't get much done today. Still, a day time cold front passage is preferable to one at night. At least a person can see what's going on and pretty much everyone is awake and mostly paying attention.

What little did get done today was some catch-up work on rigging and ropes (lines to a sailor). Working with rope is a manual skill I am still trying to master. It is a strange discipline. I can splice 3 strand and Spectra almost like I know what I am doing. It takes a bit longer but an eye splice in cored line will look pretty good as well. Whipping though, looks like it was done by a man who has all thumbs, or none. And the only way I can tie a bowline knot is with the "out-of-the-hole, around-the-tree, back-in-the-hole" method. Worse, I'll sometimes get even that wrong unless I'm standing in the middle of the loop, which is something rock climbers do all the time, but sailors hardly ever. (Rock climbers don't actually use a bowline much, preferring to trust their skin to a double-figure-eight knot instead. That one I can tie.)

I'm not sure what it is about the bowline knot, my brain, and my fingers; but a sailor who can't tie a bowline from any angle at any time of the day or night; drunk, sick, or injured; in the middle of towering seas and howling winds, is a pitiful creature indeed. Many a sailing friend has tried to help me overcome this dreadful handicap. With flying fingers they conjured up a perfect example of bowline elegance with one hand, or eyes closed, or even from behind the back. No less a luminary than John Kretschmer looked sorrowfully on my fumbling once upon his Quetzal; but even his mastery of teaching all things nautical couldn't penetrate my thick skull, coach my klutzy digits, and rescue me from my shame.

Out-of-the-hole, around-the-tree, back-in-the-hole ... shit.

4 comments:

S/V Veranda said...

You need to grab a line and after a few cocktails try giving the bowline a go. You're putting too much pressure on yourself. Its way easier than splicing which I find very difficult...

Alex Rooker said...

when i need to realy trust my bowline- I add a half hitch, or two, to the "tail".

Sometimes I go round the tree backwards- which makes for a bad tie, unless you add those two half hitches. When using that method you have to keep a sharp eye on the rabbit to be sure he stays put!

I haven't yet tried to splice anything- though I do like a lot of pepper and cumin on my eggs.

Happy Wednesday. Stay hooked......

corsair28r said...

lol u funny ....i can do a bowline behind my back.... so what ? I sensed that u were talkin bout me ..lol
However, I severly lack the knowledge of splicing anything, and there are a couple knots, I always have problems with...

yeah and the tail needs to be on the outside, otherwise its a swiss bowline ( at least thats what they call them in Europe, dont ask why )

John Clark said...

Better a Bowline than a Bowtie, or worse a full Windsor!