Airline_BoatUSAd_10-12.qxd:Layout 1 10/18/12 4:14 PM Page 1
hangs up. Is the solution new line or paying
it all out and untwisting it? Or does the line
have a memory now and will never be good
for anything but to be cut up for docklines?
TOM NEALE: First, I’m impressed by your
anchor rode! Too many people skimp on
that and regret it later. You haven’t said what
kind of windlass and windlass line handler
you have, or the type and brand of rope, so
I’ll have to assume it’s a good windlass and
that you’re talking about typical nylon, three-strand anchor line. It isn’t unusual for nylon
line to twist and hang up after a lot of use.
As they say, “nylon isn’t forever.” I’d pull it
out and lay it along the deck, straight, and
work out all the kinks, turning the length of
rope as needed as you do, then let it “rest”
there awhile. Usually this will restore it to
good behavior. We even do this with our
chain (we have 200 feet on one rode). It
will settle down as the bow jumps around
at sea and often kink. A similar tactic will
straighten that out.
After that, if there’s a way you can somewhat neatly coil the rope down in the locker
when it goes back in, it should behave better
until you eventually need to lay it out again.
As to reuse in other applications, if the rope
isn’t too old or stiff, you probably can when
the load isn’t as important, if you can’t restore
it to usefulness as an anchor line. But remember that kinks in a line under stress weaken it.
There’s also the possibility that your rode has
reached the end of its useful life span. If it’s
stiff, this is a good indicator. It seems there’s
more cheap line out there that gets hard and
kinky quickly. Buy quality rope from a known
and reputable manufacturer.
Some people recommend using fabric
softener for old rope, to make it easier to
handle, less likely to kink, and more like new
rope. I have grave reservations about whether
this weakens the rope. Some even wash
nylon line in washing machines (don’t do it).
Search the Practical Sailor website for “clean
rope” for all the ways to not clean your rope.
HUNGRY BEAVER BREAKS BOAT
On my pontoon boat, the battery cables
either corroded and touched the aluminum
or were bitten through by a beaver – most
likely the latter. I’ve had a problem with
him also chewing my speedo tube. Rather
than replacing the cable and harness, which