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:
Updated:
Original:

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.

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

210722_PM_Tokyo20_4910_5979-2048x

Olympic Sailing Guide

The Opening Ceremony for the Tokyo Games is finally here. From July 24 to August 4, sailors from across the world will be gathering on six courses on Enoshima Bay to race for gold. Ten classes will take part in the event: RS:X (men), RS:X (women), Laser Full Rig, Laser Radial, ...read more

01-LEAD-TobagoCaysHorseshoeColors

Chartering: Voltage is King

For some time now, both in the pages of this magazine and with individual charterers, I’ve talked about how important it is to pay close attention during a charter checkout. The idea is to listen “between the lines,” as it were, to be sure you aren’t missing any hidden red flags ...read more

AC75-No.-1

ETNZ May Abandon New Zealand

Remember when the Kiwis were the young, underfunded upstarts of the America’s Cup world, with right on their side as they took on the Big Bad Americans? Remember the withering criticism leveled at Larry Ellison when, in the wake of “The Comeback” on San Francisco Bay, arguably ...read more

01-LEAD-EX26_1119_dehler_30od_race_2nd_077_web_4zu3_300dpi2048x

Boat Review: Dehler 30 One Design

I’ve long believed that while they may not be as much fun, the best sail trials are the ones that take place in drifters since it’s then that a boat’s performance—or lack thereof—really becomes evident. Pretty much any boat is fun to sail in 15 knots of wind. That said, there’s ...read more

01-LEAD-Opener-DJI_0026-2048x

The Multihull Industry’s Major Builders

It’s a given that boatbuilding these days is a global industry, with sailboats going down the ways everywhere from the icy waters of Scandinavia to the South China sea. This includes the manufacture of multihulls—no surprise given their birthplace in the far-flung islands of the ...read more

01-LEAD-IMG_6614

Cruising: BVI Passage

Baking at the helm, watching a newly arrived bird eyeing me suspiciously—as if this was his ship, and I was the one who’d just flown in—I knew I was unraveling. For two days now we’d been becalmed, sails flogging on the open Atlantic, and in a snap moment, I saw—all too ...read more

00-silken_2012-08-19-0145

Cruising: Beetle Cat Sailor Families

When you talk to Beetle Cat sailors, it’s immediately apparent you’re talking about more than just a 12ft 4in catboat. “It began with my great-grandmother, who bought a boat for her four sons in 1928. They named it after her, called it the Queen Mary,” says New England Beetle ...read more

01-LEAD

Cruising: A Lake Superior Circumnavigation

By the time I awoke it was already too late. I knew something was wrong before I’d even fully struggled out of my sleeping bag, before I’d unzipped the tent and was standing out on the wet sand of the beach. In front of me there was only one boat where there should have been ...read more