Posted by: Wayne | February 13, 2011


I had ordered most of the cordage for the boat last month (Annapolis Performance Sailing has a sale on cordage in January).  This month I ordered much of the hardware for the boat (blocks, etc).  The past couple of days I have been splicing lines into beckets for the various tackles on the boat.  While splicing into the becket on the upper mainsheet block my lovely wife decided to help document the process.  A good rule of thumb is to look up the instructions published by the manufacturer of your line.  I was using Samson Trophy Braid, so I looked up the instructions for an “Eye Splice for Class 1, Double Braid Ropes” here.

Trimming the melted end off (cover and core are melted together). Tape prevents fraying.

Marking a full fid back from the bitter end. This portion of the cover will be buried inside the core.

Knot tied about 5-6 full fids past the splice to keep the core and cover aligned.

The next step is to extract the core and pull a good bit out of the cover. Tape the end to prevent fraying.

Cover milked back as far as possible to mark the exit point of the core. This is not always aligned the same as before extraction.

Preparing to insert the cover through the core. Note the fid is inserted through the core and the cover is already fed through the becket on the block.

Tapering the cover. All of the pulled strands will be trimmed. This helps prevent an odd bulge where the cover ends.

Feeding the core through the cover. The fid is fed through the cover, then the taped end of the core is inserted into the hollow end of the fid. Finally, the pusher is inserted into the hollow end of the fid behind the taped line. This is used to push the whole kit and caboodle through the cover. After it is pushed through, this is the result. All that remains is to remove the fid from the line, withdraw the pusher, and pull the rest of the core through.

The core is tapered by trimming half of the strands where it passes the throat of the eye.

Burying the crossover (where the core enters the cover and the cover enters the core. Eventually this will disappear into the throat of the splice.
Finishing milking the cover back over the crossover. This involves pulling hard on the block while using a gloved hand to milk the cover up. Gloves are needed to prevent severe rope burn.
The finished splice through the becket of the upper mainsheet block. It will still need to be cross-stitched to keep it from working loose under low loads and whipped to keep things together and look tidy. At this point, it should handle pretty close to the breaking strength of the rope.

Since I am using a ratchet block for the lower mainsheet block, I decided to perform some impromptu tests.  I tied the lower block to a post at the bottom of our stairs and used a large fid as a handle to pull on the upper block.  The mainsheet is a 3-part purchase, meaning I should have needed to pull three times as hard as the kids.  In reality, I think I was pulling a fair bit more than that, but the ratchet let them keep me from winning.

Patrick playing tug of war. He has a 3 to 1 mechanical advantage over me, as well as a ratchet block to take much of the load.

Elaina pulling against me. With the blocks and the ratchet, she can hold her own. She may not be able to gain, but she is not loosing.

I also did a little tug of war with the main downhaul blocks (5-part purchase).  For this I used two large fids, stood on one, and pulled up on the other.

Playing tug of war with dad using the downhaul.

At present pretty much all of the splicing is done.  Next, I will be tackling the rudder head and tiller.  After they are done, I will get to clean up epoxy drips in the hull and wait for warmer weather.


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