Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Deckline Replacement Time

Ah, the decklines. The last thing that I really needed to attend to on the Romany before I could let boat be seen for a class that I was involved in at any level.

All in all, not too tough a job. I was at the club Saturday, got out there in the afternoon, futzed around gardening for a while, schmoozed for a while. Nice. Really did want to get out for a paddle, started working in that direction maybe 6:30 or so. All changed & ready to go - oh, phoo, I really should fix those decklines first. Can't take THAT long.

Ah, one of these days I'll learn that even what looks like a no-brainer bit of maintenance that should take 15 minutes always takes me 5 times longer. Naturally I figured out various ways to make a simple cut-off-old-decklines, thread-new-decklines, tie knots, apply ye olde butane-backsplice to the ends, all pau take more like an hour.

A few thoughts, just for your amusement:

1. The time to replace your decklines is sometime before they look like this:

I am adding this note the following day just as a bit of insurance, I was being facetious when I said that & unfortunately facetious is one of those things that doesn't always "read" in electronic format. SO just to be on the safe side, since this is a safety issue & I don't want to take any chances on misleading anyone - as pointed out in one of the comments, lines should never be allowed to get anywhere NEAR this bad before replacement. Why? Well, because although under ordinary circumstances kayak decklines aren't load-bearing, the circumstances under which they ARE are towing and rescues and generally when the s*** has hit the fan. You don't want to be wondering if that deckline you didn't get around to replacing is going to take the strain in a situation like that! I knew about this, I just didn't get to the repair, and on more than one occasion I've borrowed another boat rather than use this one with the lines looking like that. The only thing a deckline like this is good for is as an example of Bad Boat Maintenance - which is why I've swallowed my pride & posted it here.

2. It's ever so important to have a repair kit with all the latest, cutting-edge, technologically advanced repair items money can buy:

3. Doesn't my kayak look weird with no decklines?
4. Oh yes, once you've gotten here, you really sort of have to finish the job before you can paddle the boat again.

5. What kind of stopper knot? How about the same kind as has held these decklines in place for as long as I've owned the boat. This was one thing that took a little longer than planned - I know a couple of stopper knots, but I got a little nuts about REPLICATING the old one PRECISELY. Eventually I did figure out that this is what a figure 8 knot looks like after at least seven year of hard stopper-knot service, but y'know, I didn't feel that silly - the deckline knots really need to hold.

6. I'd talked about getting some of that Scotch-Brite...well, in the end I replaced the deckline with the same kind as the boat had when I bought it, New England Rope Sta-Set. Same reason as my knot nuttiness - it's worked very well for the last 7 or 8 years, during which it's been called into service for a lot of rescues, real ones, practice ones, and just plain for fun ones - but then when it was time to replace the stuff, it was beautifully obvious. As you can see here, this line is a variety that has a core with an outer jacket - well, the minute that outer jacket wore through (again, remember, after YEARS of hard use), the loose ends promptly began to fluff out in the most visible way. Atlantic Kayak Tours' website practically has a hymn to the stuff. I'm sure the Scotch-Brite is fine but I just figured I'd stick with something I knew did a good job.

Wow. Those last 2 were almost serious, weren't they? Anyways. Onward.

7. You know that thing about "measure twice, cut once?" Well, I figured I could ignore that since I'd started in using one length of line, planning to cut each length as I actually finished it...well, er, good plan but I cut it a leeetle too short. oops.

You see the problem here - I only left myself enough line to go like this:

when I needed it to go like this -- around itself & back up through the loop.

Fortunately after a split second of "Oh noooo!" it hit me that I had quite fortunately chosen to start with the bow, and the stern doesn't take as much. So what was a trifle too short forward, was just the right size aft. Perfect. Phew.

Stern finished, here's how that realio trulio little red dragon looks with some sharp new threads...

Bow took half the time, I'd made all the possible goofs already - toggles back on (single line, lets the boat twist around in rough water without any chance of fingers getting trapped) - and there we are, ready to go for a few more years!

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