Friday, November 13, 2009

Splicing the Main Brace

Repairing A Broken Rope
by Tom King (c) 2009

I broke my heavy three-strand grass tow rope pulling my son's truck home after it broke down. Even a heavy rope will break if someone stomps on the brakes suddenly while someone else keeps sailing merrily on down the road.  Don't ask!  It's a very sad story.

So how to restore the lost length to my rope without weakening it, you ask.  It's an old sailor's trick, once used by ancient mariners to repair a parted main brace, halyard or mainsheet.  So without further "Yo-Ho-Ho" here's how to do it up right.

First lay out the broken rope.

Next use a sharp knife to trim the ends neatly.

Next untwist 4 to 6 inches of strands.

Butt the ends together and put the strands of the first rope (on the left) between the strands of the second rope (on the right).

Pick a strand of the first rope and put it over the strand of the second rope immediately to it's left and then under the next strand to the left. 

Do the same with the next strand on the first rope - over the next strand and under the one after that.

Tuck the third strand over and under as shown to complete the first row.

When you complete the first row, tucking in all three strands, simply do the same thing again with a second row.

When you get to the end of the second row, if you still have enough strand left, tuck in another row until you have the strand tucked in as far as possible.

When the last strand is tucked in, you'll need to pull the rope to set the strands.

Pull the rope tight to set the strands before starting on the strands of the second rope.

Tuck a strand of the second rope over the strand from the first rope that lies next to it and under the rope strand just to the left of that one.

Do the same with the second strand.....

Once all three are tucked under to make the first row of splices, start the next round.

Once all the strands are braided, pull both ends of the ropes to set the splice.

Tape the ends of the splices with a couple of wraps of duct tape.

The spliced section will be as strong or stronger than the original rope, forms a solid connection between the two ropes without a bulky knot. 

When you're all done, you have my permission to beat your own chest and do your Tarzan yell!  Well done, O' Lord of the Jungle.

1 comment:

  1. I saw this handy piece of work while I was in the navy. Always wondered how the BM's did it. Good information to know - thanks!