Figure-Eight Rope Coils

Perfect O-shaped coils of rope look mighty nice when done up properly, and in many cases this is a fine way to make up and stow an idle line on a sailboat. But in some instances lines trained to coil down in ovals develop problems when working. This happens most often with lines that run through a multi-part tackle. If you coil the tail of a line that runs through a tackle in perfect ovals, you’ll soon find the line twists up in the tackle when you’re using it. Eventually you must unreeve the line from the tackle, untwist it so it runs fair again and then re-reeve it. To avoid this, you should coil the line in a figure-eight pattern when stowing it.
Author:
Publish date:

Perfect O-shaped coils of rope look mighty nice when done up properly, and in many cases this is a fine way to make up and stow an idle line on a sailboat. But in some instances lines trained to coil down in ovals develop problems when working. This happens most often with lines that run through a multi-part tackle. If you coil the tail of a line that runs through a tackle in perfect ovals, you’ll soon find the line twists up in the tackle when you’re using it. Eventually you must unreeve the line from the tackle, untwist it so it runs fair again and then re-reeve it. To avoid this, you should coil the line in a figure-eight pattern when stowing it.

figure8

To train a line to coil down in an oval, you give the body of the rope a full clockwise twist with your wrist as you take up each coil. (This is if you’re laying up coils from your left hand to your right; if you’re going the other way, the twist should be counter-clockwise.) A figure-eight coil is a more neutral configuration. You need little or no twist to get the coils to lay fair. At most you’ll have to give a little quarter-turn counter-clockwise (if coiling from your left hand to your right) as you take up a coil. The line learns no bias, hence will not hockle and twist when run under load through a tackle.

On most modern cruising boats, the only line running through a tackle is the mainsheet, so it’s a good idea to at least coil this one line in a figure-eight when stowing it. On race boats generally all lines are stowed this way so there’s no confusion among the crew and lines are always likely to run fair. Also, this is often the only way you can get a hybrid line (with a low-stretch high-modulus core and a polyester cover) to coil neatly. Such lines are quite common on race boats, and are increasingly popular on cruising boats.

Related

shutterstock_1158262783

A Catamaran Takes on the American Great Loop

After completing the European Great Loop on our 1987 40ft Catalac catamaran, Angel Louise, my wife, Sue, and I sailed home to the States and spent two years sailing up and down East coast between Maine and Florida, like migratory waterfowl. Eventually, though, we decided to ...read more

01-LEAD_Alex_Irwin

Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image Competition

The Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image competition once again captures the excitement that is sailing from around the world An impressive 109 photographers from 25 countries took part in last year’s Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image 2018 competition. And while Portuguese photographer Ricarado ...read more

judges2-1024x319-0219-600x

2019 Pittman Innovation Awards

For the past couple of decades, the digital side of sailing has become increasingly important, to the point where it’s now almost inconceivable going offshore, even aboard a daysailer, without at least a modicum of electronics onboard—a trend that has been very much in evidence ...read more

Nathan-Bates-San-Diego,-CA

SAIL 2018: Reader's Photographs

Are you out there sailing, cruising and living the sailing life? If so, we’d love to see it. Send your sailing photos to sailmail@sailmagazine.com And don’t forget to sign up for our free eNewsletter. Check back for updates! I took this shot from Cooper Island Beach Club as my ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Fall in line In the days before GPS, the best trick outside the book for finding a harbor in dense fog went like this: if it’s surrounded by rocks, forget it; if not, in you go, but never try to hit it ...read more

190115-Mark-Slats-Golden-Globe-Race2048x

Photo-Finish in the Golden Globe Race 2018

With less than 1,700 miles to go to the finish in Les Sables d'Olonne, France, second-place Mark Slats of the Netherlands has cut another 393 miles out of the lead held by French sailor Jean-Luc Van Den Heede in the Golden Globe 2018 race.  Jean-Luc aboard the Rustler 36 Matmut ...read more

06-Heineken-1-R2018_1March_©LaurensMorel_LMA5965_p

Post-Irma Heineken Regatta

Even more than a year and half later, the scars from Hurricane Irma are still all too visible on the island of St. Maarten. But if Irma couldn’t prevent the famed Heineken from taking place in the winter of 2017-18, you can bet it’s not going to put a crimp in either the racing ...read more