Some years back, I got tired of pulling splinters out of my fingers after coiling of “flemishing” docklines on old wooden docks whose splintered and worn board snagged the lines as they were wound into those neat but boring coils. I figured that there had to be a better way to handle the excess dockline that was left over after properly and neatly wrapping the line on the cleat when docking.

And so, I started to use designs and patterns which did not involve the winding of the line in an ever-growing helix coil, like wrapping a winch in the flat. The results over the past few years have been interesting and and sometimes gratifying for me and my crew. And now, they even compete to see who can finish the cleating process with the most interesting “dock art.”

Perhaps it’s hard to believe, but where crew were often hesitant to jump, springlines in hand, through the open gates in our lifelines onto an adjacent dock, now they are seemingly anxious to do so, wrapping the cleats, taking the bow and stern lines and then practicing our new art form to the delight of other crew members and the skipper remaining aboard, and more often than not, for the enjoyment of other sailors on their boats or strolling the dock. are some pictures of some of my dock art. Perhaps some of you can have some fun with this at the end of your day’s sailing next season.

Andrew Blackman has sailed and raced extensively on Long Island Sound for over 40 years aboard various boats named AIRPLANE and AEROPLANE, including a couple of Columbias, an Ericson 37, a J/41 and a Carrera 290. He sails his aluminum Dufour Valentijn 40 AIRPLANE from City Island Yacht club in City Island, New York.

Next Article