By Jan-Willem Polman
Published by Adlard Coles Nautical, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing, Plc 176 pages hardcover $30
The ability to splice rope has been an essential seafaring skill for centuries. But with traditional 3-strand rope becoming a thing of the past (for the majority of sailboats, anyway), few sailors know how to splice today’s braided ropes. If we want an eye splice in a braided rope, or perhaps a tapered sheet, most of us call a professional rigger. Not only is splicing braided rope is a fun thing to do, says author Jan-Willem Polman, most of the techniques are quite easy to learn.
Splices are better – and much stronger – than knots or shackles for joining or shortening rope. Even the best knot can reduce the strength of a rope by up to 50%, whereas a well-spliced rope only loses 5 to 10% of its strength. With clear, step-by-step photography and detailed instructions, this excellent book guides the reader through the stages of crafting strong, reliable splices. You’ll also learn how to select the optimal rope materials for your requirements, how to customize your lines for easier, safer use, how to optimize your deck layout, how to make tapered sheets for ease of handling, and how to splice extra covers on your ropes to provide better grip in clutches, reduce chafe, and make them last longer.
Even if you don’t own a boat, you’d do well to master the skills in Splicing Modern Ropes. Once word of your prowess with a fid gets around, you’ll be recognized as one of the most in-demand crews on the dock.
A sailor, author and journalist, Jan-Willem Polman is a specialist in synthetics technology who leads courses and workshops about splicing braided ropes. He has written several books for recreational boaters and magazine articles for the yachting press, and lives in the Netherlands. ■