Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sail Ties

Over at Sail Delmarva, he has come up with a nice and cheap way to make sail ties. Here's how he did it.....

In the West Marine catalog--or any supplier for that matter--they sell prefabricated sail ties for ridiculous prices. My boat came with 2 sets of 2 types. I tried some webbing with Fastex buckles--something I had. They all stink. We used some for other things and cut some up to use the materials for other things. All rubbish.

Having completed my Practical Sailor article on washing rope, I was faced with piles of clean ropes in various states of disrepair. Some was ancient crap, destroyed in the testing. A few bits tie Jessica's kayak to the car or the railing of the boat. Some remains in a basket, waiting some future purpose. Most puzzling was the new dock lines that were herniated and ruined in the washing process. I had 100 feet of new, soft 1/2-inch nylon dockline that simply had a tangled core. I pulled the core out--it slipped out in seconds--and played with both parts,  the core and the cover, while watching a DVD; something to keep the hands busy. Separately, they are so loose and and easy to splice, it became a game to see what could be done. Toys for sailors.

The core was pitched. Other than recyclable fiber, I couldn't dream a purpose. To loose and snag prone.
 The cover is another matter. It's a sort of webbing, or a very hollow single braid rope, super-easy to splice. Just screwing around, sitting on the boat one evening while watching "Cast Away" for the 10th time, I found myself making sail ties from this, a sort of strop. It  felt old school and relaxing... and they are the best ties I have found.

  • The material is soft and easy on the sails. 
  • A brommel splice is fast and  few stitches lock it. 
  • The eye is just large enough to pass a double over hand knot, which is nice and square and never slips out. 
  • The flattened profile of the hollow braid grips the stopper knot better than round rope, without need for an overly tight eye. 
  • The pointed tail makes threading them simple; I can take put them on or take them off in the dark with gloves on, in moments.
  • There is no hard buckle or bozo ball to step on.
  • There is no knot to seize-up after wet dry cycling.
  • They are not adjustable (you can move the knot, of course), but if made to fit there is no need.

Try it. It seems wasteful, just using the cover, but short bits of used rope should do. Normally old rope cannot be spliced, but I think you'll find the cover alone is different. A different spin on strops.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The New Pactor 4 modem

SCS has announced the new Pactor 4 modem which is twice as fast as the pactor 3. Click here for further specification. Here is there intro......
SCS is proud to present its new P4dragon DR-7800, a completely new development, and the first PACTOR-4 capable short-wave modem. P4dragon stands for the most ingenious data transfer algorithms and the highest computing power possible in PACTOR controllers of the 4th generation.

The fast quad-core DSP used in the DR-7800 enables for the very first time, a high data rate, approaching very close to the Shannon limit, as well as an extremely high immunity to interference. PACTOR-4, with its 10 speed levels and adaptive equalizer, adjusts itself ideally to varying channel conditions, and guarantees reliable data transfer even under very poor propagation conditions. Due to this high reliability, P4dragon modems allow transmission of safety relevant data via shortwave, and provide an excellent value for money when compared to many satellite services.

Sacraficial Anode Line Cutter Assembly

I found these anode/linecutters after searching for a line cutter for my Boat. They can be seen in the video with the company hype. I am fitting these for the next cruising season. They cost a little more than the zinc themselves; $34USD for a 1.5 inch shaft. I thought they may be of interest to other boaties.