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Three Strand Rope to Chain Splicing Instructions

Rope to chain splices are usually used on boats with windlasses that can make the transition between rope and chain.  The splice has to be done carefully so that it runs smoothly through the windlass.  Note that the rope diameter and style of chain is very specific to the windlass, so consult the documentation that came with the windlass before purchasing either rope or chain.  Also, there is a limit to the size of three strand rope that fits through the chain link (e.g. you can’t splice 3/4″ rope to 1/4″ chain).

It is common practice to splice new rope to used chain by cutting the old nylon off.  The old chain link usually just has a light ring of rust that is easily removable.  Some people will also attempt to get more life from their nylon by cutting the old splice off and splicing the other end of their used nylon to the chain since that end has spent most of its life in the anchor locker.  This is not only questionable from a safety standpoint, but the nylon gets very stiff after being exposed to saltwater.  It is considerably more difficult to splice used three strand even if its only been in the anchor locker.  I’ve actually bent stainless steel fids trying to splice used nylon.

Please review the regular three strand splicing procedure as needed.

These Point Hudson PHids (fids) are by far the best tools for splicing three strand and we highly recommend getting them if you’ll be doing any amount of three strand splicing.

Splicing Fid (Phid), 3 Strand Rope & Mega Braid / Splice

 

  • Cut a 2″ piece of electrical tape (we only use white because it doesn’t leave adhesive residue) and cut it in half lengthwise.  Wrap it around your three strand at least 12″ from the end.  Use half a piece of tape because it takes up less room when getting the splice started.

Half width piece of tape to keep strands from unraveling past the start of the splice

 

  • Separate the three strands and tape a taper onto each end.  Label the ends I, II, III.

Tails tapered and labeled

 

  • Unwind the three strands back to your half piece of tape.


  • Insert one strand through the chain link from one direction, and the other two from the other side of the link.  Cross the two top strands to distribute chafe evenly.

Three strands through link from opposite directions

 

  • Pull the slack out of the three loose strands so that the half-width tape wrap snugs up to the chain link.  NOTE:  Wrapping the link/strand assembly tightly with more tape is optional.

Three strands snugged up to link

 

  • Do a single tuck on each strand under the standing part strand directly beneath it as it lays.  NOTE:  Strand #1 does not get tucked twice like an eye splice because all three strands are starting at the same level.

NOTE:  Tucks always go from left to right.

 

  • Do three rounds of tucks and remove all tape including the half-width tape buried in the splice.

First round of tucks

 

  • Scrunch the splice back onto the chain link by pulling against the tails to compact the splice.  Then pull the three tails very tight at the same time.  We anchor the chain to the workbench to help pull the splice tight.  The strands should now feel pretty solid where they go over the link, not mushy.

First three rounds of tucks pulled tight onto chain link


Five rounds of tucks

 

  • After five rounds of tucks, tuck one strand one more time, and the next strand in rotation two more times to form a taper (strands will have 5, 6 and 7 tucks respectively).  The tails should stick out in a row instead of 120° apart.

Tapered tails


  • Wrap the tails with tape close to the standing part.  Wrap the tape tightly in the direction of the lay of the strand.  This will make the strand tight and easier to cut.

Tape tails

  • Cut the tails off mid-tape.

Tails cut


  • Melt the ends of the tails while still wrapped with tape, let cool, then remove tape.  NOTE:  Tails will snug up the first time the anchor rode is loaded up, but won’t get pulled through reducing the number of tucks.

Finished splice


Congratulations!  You’re done and ready to install your new anchor rode in your anchor locker.

NOTE:  Don’t forget to attach the bitter end of the nylon rode to the boat.

Captain Chris Larsen

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Flemish/Reaving Eye Procedure

Flemish/reaving eyes are standard on high-tech halyards to facilitate installation and tagging out expensive halyards to save them from UV damage while the boat is in the slip.  Note that the cover and core are independent because they have different stretch factors when loaded.

 

  • Extract approximately 9” of core and cut it off.

 

  • Milk cover back over core so the end is just hollow cover.

 

  • Insert appropriately sized fid into hollow cover 3” from core end, then out at core.

 

  • Tape hollow cover end to fid.

 

  • Pull fid through and out.  Remove fid and tape.

 

  • Milk cover back into itself until it’s just barely sticking out.

 

  • Whip eye as normal for 1 rope diameter.  Smooth cover in so that it’s smooth with core.

 

Congratulations!  You’re done.  Please feel free to post any comments/questions.

Captain Chris Larsen

Class II Double Braid Splicing Procedure (aka WarpSpeed)

This splice is used for Dyneema/Spectra core line (like Warpspeed and MLX), usually to make halyards for racing sailboat and catamarans.  These halyards are also used for jib furlers that stay loaded 24/7 to reduce sagging.

Class II Splice Chart

Rope Diameter 1st Mark Slip Mark
1/4″ - 6mm 1′ 2″ 4″
5/16″ - 8mm 2′ 5 1/2″
3/8″ - 10mm 2′ 6″ 7″
7/16“ - 11mm 2′ 9″ 9 1/2″
1/2″ - 12mm 3′ 11″
9/16“ - 14mm 3′ 6″ 12″
5/8″ - 16mm 4′ 14″

 

  • Tie off anchor knot 3 wingspans from end.  Make 1st mark from cut end, based on the rope diameter (see chart above).

Fig. 1

 

1st and 2nd mark toward anchor knot

 

  • Establish eye size toward anchor knot and make 2nd mark.  NOTE:  No shrinkage on hi-tech splices so eye will stay exactly the same size.

 

  • Extract core at 2nd mark.  Make sure you do not snag any cover strands.  Mark core at extraction point (see Fig. 2).

Fig. 2:

Mark core at extraction point.

 

  • Pull core tail out (see Fig. 3) and tape end to keep it from unraveling.

Fig. 3:

Core tail pulled out of cover at 2nd mark.

 


  • Push cover back from extraction point and make “slip” mark ring around core (see Fig. 4).  Milk cover so that extraction point of core is near “slip” ring and pin core to cover.Tape core tail to fid appropriate for rope diameter.

Fig. 4:

“Slip” mark on core toward anchor knot.


 

  • Insert fid into extraction point (see Fig. 5), making sure not to snag any cover strands.  Fid goes toward anchor knot down through hollow cover and out at 1st mark (see Fig. 6).  The core back inside the cover establishes the finished eye size.  NOTE:  Do not pull core loop back into cover (see Fig. 7).

Fig. 5:

Fid inserted at extraction point toward anchor knot.


Fig. 6:

Fid exits at 1st mark.

Fig. 7:

Don’t pull core loop back into extraction point.

 

  • Adjust core loop so that “slip” mark is near extraction point on the eye side, not the anchor knot side.  Pin cover/core through the finished eye side (see Fig. 8).

Fig. 8:

“Slip” mark near extraction point on eye side.

 

  • Pull the core out from the anchor point side to expose enough core to bury 1st mark measurement length.  Pin cover scrunch with needle.

 

  • If you’re splicing through a captive shackle, now is the time to slide it over the cover and core so that it’s in the proper location, straddling the finished eye section of the splice.

 

  • Insert fid at the “slip” mark (see Fig. 9).

 

Fig. 9:

Fid goes in at “slip” mark toward anchor knot.

 

  • Slide fid along inside core toward anchor point until you reach the scrunched up cover, then poke the fid out (see Fig. 10).  Remove pin holding scrunched cover.

Fig. 10:

Fid exits core at scrunched cover.

 

  • Pull core attached to fid out so far that it scrunches up the outer core sleeve.  Pin scrunched core sleeve to core attached to fid (see Fig. 11).

Fig. 11:

Core sleeve scrunched up and pinned.

NOTE:  Finished eye section at top left.  Captive shackle should already be in place.

 

  • Remove fid and taper core tail (see Fig. 12).  Example:  Warpspeed is 8 braid, 16 strand, so for a 24” tail, pull out a pair every 3”.

Fig. 12:

Core strands pulled for taper.

 

  • Using a ceramic knife, cut core strands to form taper (see Fig. 13).

Fig. 13:

Core strands cut to form taper.

 

  • Adjust core so “slip” mark is against cover/extraction point (see Fig. 14).

Fig. 14:

“Slip” mark in correct position.  Core sleeve tight.

 

  • Remove pin from scrunched core (see Fig. 15) and milk core tail into core sleeve.

Fig. 15:

Scrunched core sleeve ready to bury taper.

 

  • Insert fid into doubled core loop (not eye) and milk core into cover until core loop is snug on fid.  Make sure you keep the core sleeve from getting puffy.  Smooth core sleeve as needed.  If core sleeve gets puffy, pull core out and milk it again, keeping core smooth.  Remove fid from core loop when core is successfully milked all the way.  Now, insert fid into eye and milk cover until no core is exposed (see Fig. 16).

Fig. 16:

Finished splice.  No slack in cover and no core showing.

 

  • Milk eye so there’s no slack in the cover and the finished eye size is correct.  You can pull some core out of the core sleeve to take up cover slack if needed.  Cut off remaining cover tail 1” from splice melting diagonal “cuts” to form a taper.  Melt inside surface of taper and press to splice to fuse tail to splice.  Melt the tail edges so that it’s smooth.  Whip from melted end up toward splice (see Fig. 17).

Fig. 17:

Finished eye.  Cover trimmed and whipped.

 

  • Finish halyard with Flemish/Reaving eye on the other end (see other procedure).

 

Congratulations!  You’re done.  Please feel free to post questions and/or comments.

Captain Chris Larsen

 

Double Braid Splicing Procedure

  • Tie off anchor knot 2 wingspans from spliced end and attach to anchor point (work bench, dock cleat, etc.).

 

  • Mark 1 long fid length, then mark eye size (add 3 rope diameters to all eyes) (Fig. 1).

 

  • Extract core at 2nd mark, mark core (Fig. 2) and pull it all the way out (Fig. 3).

 

 

  • Pull out enough core towards anchor knot to mark 2 short and 1 long fid marks (Fig. 4).

 

  • Tape core to fid and slide through hardware if needed.

 

  • Insert fid at 1st mark on cover, slide fid up through hollow cover.  Fid exits 2 rope diameters past where core comes out (Fig. 5).  Pull core from anchor knot side to make sure it slides and wasn’t snagged.  Pull fid all the way through.

 

  • Remove fid from core, attach fid to cover and slide through hardware if needed.

 

  • Fid goes into core at mark #2 and out #3 (Fig. 6).

 

  • Pull fid all the way through and remove from cover.

 

  • Pull both cover and core in opposite directions to pull cover/core joint together (Fig. 7).

 

  • Massage cover/core joint to smooth it out, then milk core down over cover to find where to cut cover off so that it will bury completely (Fig. 8).

 

  • Cut off cover at bury point, push back core and fray cover strands.  Cut off at angle to form long, smooth taper (Fig. 9).

 

  • Milk core to bury tapered cover.  Milk cover in opposite direction at the cover/core joint to determine how much core will bury.  Pinch core at exit point, pull out just enough core to cut at same angle that the two cores make to each other with respect to the cover (Fig. 10).

 

  • Milk cover to bury short taper on core (Fig. 11).

 

  • Milk cover from anchor knot to bury exposed core.  Keep eye tight so that core strands don’t get puffy.  You can use fid as a tool to pull splice together.

 

  • Milk until all core strands are buried and eye is proper size (Fig. 12).  If splicing onto a thimble, make sure to insert thimble before eye gets too small.  Milk tightly.

 

Congratulations!  You’re done.  Please feel free to post any comments and/or questions.

Captain Chris Larsen

Three Strand Splicing Procedure

  • Tape rope about 12” from end, establish eye size and tape two sides together (Fig. 1). If splicing onto thimble, wrap rope around thimble to establish eye size.

 

  • Unravel three strands up to tape mark and tape ends to form taper (Fig. 2).

 

  • With the 3 strands on the left, find the loose strand closest to the standing part and tuck it under the nearest standing strand (Fig. 3).

 

  • Pull strand through until it is snug and label it #1.  Run #1 strand over one standing strand, then tuck it under the next standing strand and snug it up (Fig. 4).  Re-twist loose strands after every tuck.

 

  • Take next loose strand as the line lays and tuck it under the standing strand that #1 went over (Fig. 5).  Label this strand #2.

 

  • Flip splice over and find only standing strand that hasn’t received a tuck.  Tuck remaining loose strand under from left to right and label #3 (Fig. 6).

 

  • The 3 loose strands should be sticking out of splice at equal angles (120°).  Remove all tape and pull all strands snug (Fig. 7).

 

  • If splicing onto a thimble, insert thimble and snug up strands.
  • Tuck #1 loose strand over one and under one standing strands.
  • Tuck #2 loose strand over/under the next standing strands as the rope lays.  Repeat for #3 loose strand.
  • Tuck strands a total of 5 times (#1 strand got an extra tuck at the beginning).  Pull all 3 loose strands tight after each set of tucks.  Strands should stay equidistant after each set of tucks.  When you’re done, it should be difficult to tell the tucked strands from the standing strands.
  • Cut and melt the loose strands so that they leave 1” tails   (Fig. 8).

 

Congratulations!  You’re done (Fig. 9).

NOTE:  You can count the number of tucked strands at any time if you lose your place.  We also highly recommend doing all three tucks per round if you ever need to interrupt your splicing.  It’s very difficult to determine which strand to tuck next if you stop somewhere in the middle of a round of tucks.  Five tucks has been proven to have 100% of the breaking strength of the rope, however some people throw a sixth tuck in because it looks stronger.

Please feel free to post any comment and/or questions.

Captain Chris Larsen

 

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Modified Brummel Lock Splicing Procedure for AmSteel

  • Make 1st Mark to establish the buried tail length, a minimum of 36 rope diameters (RDs).  For example, using 1/2” Amsteel, tail must be at least 18” long.  Make 2nd Mark to establish the eye size (see Fig. 1).

Fig. 1

Making the marks to establish the eye size

 

  • Insert hollow fid 1/2 RD past 2nd Mark (see Fig. 2).  Make sure 6 strands are on each side of the fid.

Fig. 2

Establish the eye size

 

  • Pull the slack out of the tail to establish the eye size (the marks will line back up).  NOTE:  This is critical if you’re “rolling” the splice onto a thimble (see Fig. 3).

Fig. 3

Eye size established

 

  • Insert the fid through the tail 1/2 RD from the standing part from the direction of the standing part (see Fig. 4).

Fig. 4

Insert fid next to eye

 

 

  • Insert the other end of the rope (standing part end) into the fid and pull the entire length of the rope through itself (see Fig. 5).  This will create a “lock”.  Take the slack out of the “lock” (see Fig. 6).

Fig. 5

Tuck bitter end through tail

Fig. 6

 

Finished “lock”

 

 

  • Taper and bury the tail.  NOTE:  The fibers are much less distressed than when using the Brummel Lock (see Fig. 7).

Fig. 7

 

Brummel Lock (above) and Modified Brummel Lock (below)

 

 

  • Pull 2 neighboring strands about 1” from the end of the tail (see Fig. 12).

Fig. 12

Pull 2 strands out of weave

 

  • Cut off the remaining strands of the tail at an angle, making sure to not sever the 2 strands (see Fig. 13).

Fig. 13

Cut remaining strands at angle

 

  • Insert splicing needle into the hollow core of the standing part just past the end of the tail (see Fig. 14).  NOTE:  A splicing needle can be fashioned by bending a long piece of seizing wire in half, then bending a loop for pulling (see Fig. 15).

Fig. 14

Insert splicing needle past tail

Fig. 15

Marlow splicing needle and seizing wire version

 

  • The splicing needle exits the standing part right under the “lock” as close to the tail as possible (see Fig. 16).

Fig. 16

Splicing needle exits under tail

 

  • Tuck the 2 strands at the end of the tail through the slot of the splicing needle and fold it back.  Tape the assembly together to secure (see Fig. 17).  NOTE:  Tape the assembly in a spiral fashion in the direction it will be pulled (from the tail to the splicing needle).

Fig. 17

Tape tail to splicing needle.  Tape spirals from right to left.

 

 

  • Gently pull and twist the needle to pull the tail down through the hollow core of the standing part (see Fig. 18).

Fig. 18

Pull tail through

 

 

 

  • Remove the tape and needle.  Scrunch the cover back and pin it (see Fig. 19).

Fig. 19

Cover scrunched back and pinned

 

  • Divide the exposed tail into 12 equal parts (e.g. 6” tail = 12 x 1/2” sections).  Pull 1 strand for each section to make a smooth taper (see Fig. 20).  Make sure to start as close to the scrunched cover as possible to maximize the length of the taper.

Fig. 20

Strands pulled to form taper

 

 

 

  • Cut each pulled strand as close to the tail as possible to form the taper (see Fig. 21).

Fig. 21

Strands trimmed to form taper

 

  • Remove the pin and milk the cover down over the tail.  NOTE:  You should not be able to feel the end of the buried tail or any lumps (see Fig. 22).

Fig. 22

Splice complete

 

 

 

  • Whip 1 RD where the tail buries into the standing part, not at the lock and/or lock stitch if necessary (see Fig. 23).

Fig. 23

Whip at bury not lock

Fig. 24

Finished whip

 

 

You’re done!  Congratulations.  Please feel free to post any questions and or comments.

Captain Chris Larsen

 

Brummel Lock Splicing Procedure for AmSteel

  • Make 1st Mark to establish the buried tail length, a minimum of 36 rope diameters (RDs).  For example, using 1/2” Amsteel, tail must be at least 18” long.  Make 2nd Mark to establish the eye size (see Fig. 1).

Fig. 1

Making the marks to establish the eye size

 

  • Insert hollow fid 1/2 RD past 2nd Mark (see Fig. 2).  Make sure 6 strands are on each side of the fid.

Fig. 2

Establish the eye size

 

  • Pull the slack out of the tail to establish the eye size (the marks will line back up).  NOTE:  This is critical if you’re “rolling” the splice onto a thimble (see Fig. 3).

Fig. 3

Eye size established

 

  • Insert the fid into the tail close to where it exits the eye (see Fig. 4).

Fig. 4

Fid ready to start lock

 

  • Tuck the tail through itself from the eye side, not the standing part side (see Fig. 5).

Fig. 5

Tail tucked back into itself

 

  • Pull the tail until it “inverts” or turns inside out (see Fig. 6 & 7).

Fig. 6

Pull the tail through itself

Fig. 7

Tail "inverted"

 

  • Enlarge the hole in the center of the “inversion” (see Fig. 8).

Fig. 8

Enlarge the "inversion"

 

  • Tuck the eye through the enlarged hole (see Fig. 9).

Fig. 9

Tuck eye through "inversion"

 

  • Pull the eye through the “inversion” until it “reverts” or pops right side out (see Fig. 10).

Fig. 10

Eye pulled through forms "lock"

 

  • Pull the slack out of the “lock” to reestablish the eye size (see Fig. 11).

Fig. 11

Finished "lock"

 

  • Pull 2 neighboring strands about 1” from the end of the tail (see Fig. 12).

Fig. 12

Pull 2 strands out of weave

 

  • Cut off the remaining strands of the tail at an angle, making sure to not sever the 2 strands (see Fig. 13).

Fig. 13

Cut remaining strands at angle

 

  • Insert splicing needle into the hollow core of the standing part just past the end of the tail (see Fig. 14).  NOTE:  A splicing needle can be fashioned by bending a long piece of seizing wire in half, then bending a loop for pulling (see Fig. 15).

Fig. 14

Insert splicing needle past tail

Fig. 15

Marlow splicing needle and seizing wire version

 

  • The splicing needle exits the standing part right under the “lock” as close to the tail as possible (see Fig. 16).

Fig. 16

Splicing needle exits under tail

 

  • Tuck the 2 strands at the end of the tail through the slot of the splicing needle and fold it back.  Tape the assembly together to secure (see Fig. 17).  NOTE:  Tape the assembly in a spiral fashion in the direction it will be pulled (from the tail to the splicing needle).

Fig. 17

Tape tail to splicing needle. Tape spirals from right to left.

 

 

  • Gently pull and twist the needle to pull the tail down through the hollow core of the standing part (see Fig. 18).

Fig. 18

Pull tail through

 

 

 

  • Remove the tape and needle.  Scrunch the cover back and pin it (see Fig. 19).

Fig. 19

Cover scrunched back and pinned

 

  • Divide the exposed tail into 12 equal parts (e.g. 6” tail = 12 x 1/2” sections).  Pull 1 strand for each section to make a smooth taper (see Fig. 20).  Make sure to start as close to the scrunched cover as possible to maximize the length of the taper.

Fig. 20

Strands pulled to form taper

 

 

 

  • Cut each pulled strand as close to the tail as possible to form the taper (see Fig. 21).

Fig. 21

Strands trimmed to form taper

 

  • Remove the pin and milk the cover down over the tail.  NOTE:  You should not be able to feel the end of the buried tail or any lumps (see Fig. 22).

Fig. 22

Splice complete

 

 

 

  • Whip 1 RD where the tail buries into the standing part, not at the lock and/or lock stitch if necessary (see Fig. 23).

Fig. 23

Whip at bury not lock

Fig. 24

Finished whip

 

 

You’re done!  Congratulations.  Please feel free to post any questions and or comments.

Captain Chris Larsen

Splicing AmSteel

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of splicing AmSteel, we first need to decide which splice is correct for the application.  There are at least four choices when splicing a single braid line, Brummel Lock, Modified Brummel Lock, Direct Bury, and Tuck & Bury.  To keep things simple, we’re going to focus on the two locking splices, the Brummel Lock and the Modified Brummel Lock.  With regards to the non-locking splices, the Direct Bury is considerably easier to do, but requires the longest tail to bury for the splice to maintain 100% of the breaking strength of the rope (72 rope diameters).  For comparison to a splice that retains 100% of its breaking strength, a bowline knot loses about 50% of the breaking strength of the rope because it makes such sharp turns inside the knot which causes internal stresses to be concentrated when under load.  The Direct Bury can also be used for any application but is also the easiest splice to pick apart (meaning pull the buried tail out unless it’s lock-stitched).  The Tuck & Bury does not truly create a “lock”, but relies on the friction built up by numerous tucks of each strand.

There are numerous videos available online that address splicing AmSteel (aka Dyneema, 12-strand, single braid, Spectra, Dynex Dux, etc.).  What is probably not as clear is which splice to use for the individual application.  Each splicing technique has its own limitations:

Brummel Lock – requires only one end of the rope, so you can easily do a soft eye splice on the end of a 600 foot spool.  However, it is very difficult if not impossible to do a true Brummel Lock on an eye that is supposed to capture hardware (e.g. a thimble or shackle).  In that case, you are immediately looking at having to use a Modified Brummel Lock.  With that being said, it is possible to make a Brummel Lock soft eye that is perfectly sized to “roll” onto a thimble.  It’s very difficult to do, but is the best solution for putting a thimble onto the end of a 600 foot spool of rope.  If you can slide the shackle through a soft eye, then you can use the Brummel Lock for a shackle application, but most splices capture the shackle so it can’t fall out, which necessitates using a Modified Brummel Lock.

Modified Brummel Lock – requires both ends of the rope, so it would be very difficult to do on a 600 foot spool.  Luckily, most lines that would use Amsteel and a thimble or shackle are of limited length so getting access to both ends is not a huge chore.  When given the choice, we recommend always using the Modified Brummel Lock as it stresses the fibers out less than the Brummel Lock.

NOTE:  If you are adding hardware to both ends of the rope (e.g. mooring pennant), then the first end can use the Modified Brummel Lock.  However, when splicing the second end, the first end with the thimble already in it can’t be passed through the rope, so the “rolled” Brummel Lock must be used.

Now that you know the pros and cons of each splice, we hope that helps clear up the mystery a bit.  Please refer to the accompanying procedures for the locking splices.

AmSteel and AmSteel Blue can be found on our parent site Go2Marine.com.

Captain Chris Larsen

 

Honey, I Bought a Boat!

Jeff's Boat

Jeff's Boat

Like so many before me, I couldn’t resist the siren call of a finely fitted, albeit gently aged, boat any longer.  After 49 years of preparing myself and becoming prepared by others, this past week I became owner of a boat to call my own.   Preparation for this has been a lifelong pursuit.

I was born on an island where my childhood playground was the saltwater Puget Sound.  I have worked in and around recreational marine services around the world for more than a decade.  If I am to be honest with myself (and my wife), there was never really a question of “if” I would be buying a boat as much as “when”.  I regularly helped both friends and family members get out on the water and buy their first, second and even third boats.  As it turned out, I have consistently postponed “one of the two happiest days of my life” indefinitely.

Yet, it is an understatement to say I am ready.  I work for an online marine chandlery, helping other boat owners enjoy their boats every day.  With my previous employment, I traveled the world, occasionally as the only passenger on private jets bound for far-off paradise, to provide dockside support to a fleet of super-yachts, ensuring that the owners would enjoy their boats with maximum pleasure.  In my 20’s I was an active club racer on a friend’s Cal-40 that went on to compete in two Victoria, BC to Maui ocean races.  As a young teen, my father insisted that my brothers and I complete a U.S.C.G. Auxiliary safety course and then he spoiled us with boats; our family had a ski boat with a gas tank that always seemed to be full enough (thanks Dad!) and we also shared a Laser, a bunch of dinghies and an almost reliable British Seagull.  Before I entered elementary school, I recall watching my dad home-build two Optimists to keep at the ready on our beach.  Yet for almost 50 years, with the exception of a canoe, a kayak and an inflatable tender, I have not called a single boat my own.  Still, becoming a boat owner seemed to be my destiny.

I like to think that I am prepared to be an informed boat owner, and that this purchase is more than a typical mid-life guy thing.  Against the occasional chagrins of my wife, I have always maintained subscriptions to at least three boating magazines, clipping and cataloging articles that I felt would one day be personally useful.  I am more fortunate than most wanna-be-boat-owners because I have worked in the industry for a long time.  I get paid to hangout on the docks, to attend trade shows across the country, to evaluate products directly with the manufacturers and to talk on the phone about making other people’s boats safer and more pleasurable.  All along the way I have been sustained by the best kind of boat osmosis; discussing the real boat ownership experiences, troubles and solutions of others.

Though I entered into my first actual purchase agreement this past week, I have stepped aboard several prospective boats during the past year wondering if this one or that one would be “the boat”.    Until now, all ended with something like “There is no part of deck that isn’t ‘squishy’ on this boat”, “Dude, it’s not water in your bilge, it’s diesel”, “Did you think that I wouldn’t notice or question that even though you disclosed that this boat has a dead engine, the engine is actually under saltwater and clearly it has been so for some time?”, “RUN!”, or my favorite “Seriously, this boat has tar for bottom paint!?!?”

As part of my journey to ownership I learned that banks don’t lend money on boats older than 10 years of age which, prior to that is when they have the kind of value I shouldn’t be considering anyway, much less borrowing against.  Marina rates in my community start at $10/foot/month or $3,600 a year for any boat I would want.  Insurance companies require a qualified survey and/or a U.S.C.G. seaworthiness assessment.  All boats routinely break and yards throughout the country seem to charge four times their initial repair estimates with frightening consistency.

All of my acquired knowledge would suggest that I was better off continuing to shop for a boat while never actually buying one.  Heck, boat shopping keeps the dream alive, is fun and pretty risk-free, but something suddenly changed about two years ago.  My oldest child went off to college,  I experienced a personal cardiac event that brought new focus to my life, then, fortuitously, I learned that my residence qualified for a free deep water, protected moorage in the harbor upon which we live, and most recently I won a new 30” mooring buoy as a door prize at a recent trade show (actually it was a show prop that was going to be disposed in a dumpster, but heck, one man’s garbage is another man’s…)  When I brought the buoy home and made the case for a boat to my wife, she smiled and asked what I was waiting for.

Buying a boat in the near-term future soon became a real possibility if I could find the right boat for sale.  My purchase objectives and criteria have been consistently straightforward.  The boat had to be a sailboat of at least 30 feet in length, capable of some ocean sailing and made of fiberglass with an initial out-of-pocket cost of less than $10,000. It had to have attractive lines, be comfortable not only to sail, but also inside; the presence of any foul odor would be a deal-breaker.  Ideally, it would be made between 1966 and 1973 before the bad kind of osmosis, hull blisters, evolved.  The boat had to be affordable beyond the purchase date, meaning that the sum of the purchase price and the initial foreseeable refit costs would need to be less than a total of $10,000-ish, preferably spread out over time.  Any major shortcomings would have to be identified, addressed or at least well understood during the pre-purchase process.  A Classic Plastic with an active online user group seemed the sensible choice.  I wanted to find one that has spent its life in fresh water and has been left in original stock condition with few modifications over the years and I didn’t want to pay to truck it to Seattle from the Great Lakes.  If I could find that boat, I’d get it.

But was I being realistic with my criteria, budget and the actual market for such a boat?  The automotive equivalent that I was holding out for is a 1969 Mustang Mach-1 that has been sitting in a farmer’s barn since his son left, never to return, then the farmer passes away and his niece from Omaha just wants to get rid of “that old car” to settle-up the estate.  That happens all the time, right?  OK I wasn’t being very realistic, but I was playing it safe and heck, if the right boat did surface, I would be crazy not to buy it.

Then, out of the blue, an old Summer 2005 copy of Boat Works magazine fell off a garage shelf, landed on the floor and opened to the story titled Success Story.  It was a single page about a San Francisco couple who happened upon a 1970 Ericson 32-2 for $3,000 that lay “untouched and unloved” since 1987. Their boat also needed approximately $7,000 of repairs. The story closed with the sentence “One thing is for sure:  Gary and Judy’s Free Sprit proves that you can have a handsome, well-found boat without spending a fortune.”  I wondered whether their good fortune was the equivalent of being struck by lightning just after they won the lottery or was it a boat buying experience that I could duplicate?  One thing is for sure, their Free Spirit lifted mine.

Not a week later I was speaking to an eager seller of another  1970 Ericson 32-2 for the same price, located seven miles from my house that had been kept in fresh water for most of its known existence.  I hustled over to see the boat, and I couldn’t believe that it met all of my criteria.  To boot, it had the original gelcoat and it didn’t smell.  The seller offered up “I’m getting married and I just need to get rid of it” – enough said!  I made a purchase deposit to secure my position, I conducted a pretty thorough survey, hired a diver and found no surprises that were deal-breakers.  The purchase was made and that’s the story of how I bought my first boat.

Stay tuned for Part 2 – The boat’s condition, the survey, the repair budget and the restoration.

Posted in Uncategorized by jadams. No Comments

Making Sense of Marine Control Cables

Marine control cables for both throttle and shift are never a problem – until they give you problems. Depending on the vintage of your boat, you may have an old Morse cable or an early Teleflex cable. Your original cable may have lasted for 20+ years (and your new one should last longer) but first you need to figure out what to get to replace that throttle or shift cable. Also note, if one is sticking, the other will follow. Replace both cables at the same time and you will be able to go another 20 years+.

Identifying your cable and what you need:

  1. Look at your cable and find any numbers on it.
  2. Old Morse cables will begin with 6 digits, then 2 then the length in inches. For example Morse # 032377-03-0144 = a 33C style cable that is 144 inches (12 feet) long.
  3. Older Teleflex cables will have a part number that will look like CC17912, which translates into a CC179 Series, 12 feet long.
  4. Identify your ends. If both ends of the cable have a 10-32 thread, then you likely have a common 33C. 40 series has 1/4-28 thread both ends and 60 Series has 5/16-24 thread both ends.
  5. Lastly, you can just measure what you have.

Measuring your cable:

Measure your cable from tip to tip and then round up to the next foot. Replacement control cables are sold in one foot increments. OMC and Mercury cables tend to use specialized ends. Nearly every other manufacturer of outboards, sterndrives and inboard engines uses 33C style control cables. The most common throttle and shift cables on a sailboat are the 33C.

All throttle, shift and control cables are considered as replacement cables. You will need to know how long your cable is and the manufacturer of your controls and engine.

 

Engine Application Teleflex Cable Uflex Glendinning Felstead Historical Part Numbers
Pre-1979 OMC / BRP / Evinrude / Johnson CC170 C4 N/A N/A CC170, Morse TYPE O 48296
1979 to Date OMC / BRP / Evinrude / Johnson CCX205 C14 A7120 N/A CC205, CC479, Morse TYPE OS 302029
For (2003 to current) 4000 Mercury Gen II CCX189 C36, MACHC36 A7140 N/A CC189
For 600A Mercury Gen I CCX179 C5, MACH5 A7130 N/A CC179
Mariner / Mercruiser / Mercury CCX630 MACH5, C16 A7110 N/A CC210, CC630, Mercury 3600
Honda CCX633 C2, C8, MACHZero A7100 33C CC172, 33C, Morse 301947-003
Suzuki CCX633 C2, C8, MACHZero A7100 33C CC172, 33C, Morse 301947-003
Yamaha CCX633 C2, C8, MACHZero A7100 33C CC172, 33C, Morse 301947-003
Tohatsu CCX633 C2, C8, MACHZero A7100 33C CC172, 33C, Morse 301947-003
Nissan CCX633 C2, C8, MACHZero A7100 33C CC172, 33C, Morse 301947-003
Mercury Sport Jet CC213 C22, C23BC N/A N/A N/A
Universal 33C CCX630 C2, C8, MACHZero A7100 33C CC172, 33C, Morse 301947-003
Heavy Duty Applications – 40 and 60 Series CCX430, CCX433, CCX640, CCX643, 40BC C22, C23BC A7200, A7300, A7210, A7310 Universal 43C, 43 BC, 64C, 64BC, 4300/43, 6400/64 Universal 43C, 43BC, 64C, 64BC, 4300/43, 6400/64, Morse 65835-003, Morse 46348-003, Morse 065885-003, Morse 304262-004, Morse 304263-004
Volvo Using OMC Top Mount Controls CC214 C25 N/A N/A CC214, Morse TYPE OC 310048