How much spare rope is normal?

PaulMcC

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Hi All,
I emptied the lockers in the bow yesterday one of which was completely full of rope. Probably 30 or 40 different lengths in a variety of materials and sizes (and levels of mankiness). Once I've sorted out what's what I hope to only put back a fraction of what I found. This is all entirely spare rope in the sense that in the last two years I've never used any of it. I can see a good case for having extra bits, to have the potential to extend the anchor rode, as possible extra mooring lines, as a possible long shore line, and for 'just in case' but how much is spare is not enough and how much is too much?

Once you have taken care of the extra which you are keeping for a specific situation or job, how much extra rope for unspecified 'just in case' do you carry?

Paul
 

Sandy

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In my third year of owning the boat I am slowly coming to a point where I have thrown out all the old manky rope, aiminng for one spare line for each function.
 
D

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I don't carry much, 2 x extra springs really that are additional to my 4 x mooring lines and a 350' kedge warp/towing line, plus a long thin line for the dinghy anchor. I don't carry spare sheets as I have enough lines from the staysail and spinnaker sheets that I can use as spare sheets if required. I also have double halyards except for the main halyard but the topping lift could be used if required. I have a bag of string which gets used from time to time for various jobs but that's it really.
 

jac

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It's amazing how quickly good lines deteriorate into slightly tatty ones that then get replaced relegating the former to a deep dark locker never again to see the light of day!

I would suggest 2 x breast, 2 x springs, 2 longer lines for rafting purposes. 1 suitable for towing / anchoring in deep water. Then maybe something suitable as replacement sheets in an emergency ( I would press cruising chute sheets into service) add a few bit of thinner stuff for lashings - 4-5 mm and that should do most people. If you're going blue water or to remote places more would make sense but assuming you have spare halyards you shoul be able to get back to where ever if anything fails.

Incidentally - buy rolls of the stuff and make up your own halyards, sheets, mooring lines etc. Much cheaper and then you have a drums at home should anything start wearing too much!
 

prv

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I think Dylan did a video a few years ago about boatowners' tendency to accumulate ever more slightly-tatty bits of rope "just in case" :). I have two large (30"x18"x18") plastic tubs full to overflowing - but they are in my shed, not on the boat.

On the boat, most of my loose rope is in the form of mooring lines. They can be used for many other things if needed - lashing the dinghy on deck etc. I have 4 short lines (half boat length) and 2 long ones (1.5 x boat length) for pontoon mooring, in a quite posh-looking black 3-strand soft-spun polyprop. For more complicated mooring situations I also have four or five other lines in white nylon or polyester 3-strand or octoplait, lengths varying from boat length to maybe 2.5 times.

Tucked away in a deep locker I have a huge coil of thickish (18mm? 20mm?) 3-strand, 50 or 60 metres of it. This would be a long shoreline, a tow rope, or an anchor warp extension in seriously deep water.

I don't carry any dedicated spare running rigging, but a cruising chute sheet could be used in the unlikely event of anything failing during a cruise. The sailmaker who supplied them has a standard pack of chute lines for any size boat and they're enormously over-long for ours, so would even do for a halyard.

That's it for full-sized coils of rope - no dedicated spares as such, but enough flexibility to cover most forseeable needs. What I do have lots of are hanks of smaller stuff, or short lengths (two or three metres) of normal rope. Sometimes all you need is a foot of 3mm string to make sure a drying towel won't blow overboard, or four feet of line to rolling hitch around a spring and divert it to a fairer lead, or something to pull a banging halyard away from a mast. One of the cubbyholes in the cockpit is full of hanks like this and I use them all the time.

Pete
 

Cathy*

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We're on a motorboat. We have 3 lines fixed on our berth plus 2 short lines and 2 long springs which we take off and take with us when we leave. That's enough to pick up a buoy or tie up in another marina.
 

jac

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We're on a motorboat. We have 3 lines fixed on our berth plus 2 short lines and 2 long springs which we take off and take with us when we leave. That's enough to pick up a buoy or tie up in another marina.

So with only 4 lines - how do you run shore lines when rafted?
 

pagoda

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We don't go anywhere where we might need to raft with strangers. I'm not that sociable.

In Norway last summer, we ended up in rafts quite often. Almost nobody bothers to take their own lines ashore, So we were met with blank looks when we wanted to do it 3 out....
Maybe it is down to lack of long enough lines?
 

prv

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In Norway last summer, we ended up in rafts quite often. Almost nobody bothers to take their own lines ashore, So we were met with blank looks when we wanted to do it 3 out....
Maybe it is down to lack of long enough lines?

Do they have much tide where you were? It's when you have three knots running past the pontoon that shore lines really come into their own!

A lot of the lines put on in sheltered harbours in the UK are purely ceremonial anyway, visibly carrying no load.

Pete
 

jac

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Do they have much tide where you were? It's when you have three knots running past the pontoon that shore lines really come into their own!

A lot of the lines put on in sheltered harbours in the UK are purely ceremonial anyway, visibly carrying no load.

Pete

True - they do at the least though provide a limit as to how far a raft will sway when something happens. Of course that limit might be less than the distance to the downtide/wind raft but that's a different matter.
 

Leighb

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We do have some very long lines which we have used regularly as shore lines in Southwold and when rafted several out in Holland. Would also serve for towing or extra anchor line.
 

Poignard

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A lot of the lines put on in sheltered harbours in the UK are purely ceremonial anyway, visibly carrying no load.

Pete

The French don't seem to bother unless they think there's a need for them. I recently had to raft up five deep in Crouesty and nobody except the inside boat had shore lines rigged but on the outer pontoons at Isle au Moines in the Golfe du Morbihan they were used by rafts of two boats.
 

bbg

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In terms of running rigging, one spare masthead halyard will be long enough to do the job of any line onboard.

If anything breaks, that can replace it.

For mooring lines it is not so much a case of taking spares as taking enough.
 

KellysEye

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It depends on the type of sailing you do for long distance sailing we carried two spare halyards main and mizzen, four spare sheets main and mizzen and one spare set of mooring lines. We also carried a spare set of sails. For day sailing I wouldn't bother with spares.
 

bbg

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It depends on the type of sailing you do for long distance sailing we carried two spare halyards main and mizzen, four spare sheets main and mizzen and one spare set of mooring lines. We also carried a spare set of sails. For day sailing I wouldn't bother with spares.
For racing transatlantic I carried one spare halyard and a third jib sheet, which was not so much a spare as a sheet I used for reefing the jib.

And no mooring lines whatsoever. :D
 

Davegriff

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Must admit, I've never even considered a spare mainsheet. As I think is fairly usual with a small (8m) yacht, my mainsheet is way oversized for its job, which of course makes it confortable to handle.

Given its excess strength, I can't imagine a situation where I might need to replace it in an emergency, and at any rate I could do that with a spare, albeit smaller, halyard. Or have I missed something?
 

rptb1

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I have a small plastic tub labelled "string" with bits of string in it. Could be useful if I ever get really hungry.
 

jerrytug

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Just took the photos 5 mins ago, has anybody seen the anchor winch I cant find it.

Knowing you have plenty basically, what they call a 'robust portfolio', frees you mind from worry and opens your passage planning options, if you dont like rope try golf.
 
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