It's easy to purchase dock lines that have been already made up or a prepackaged anchor rode complete with chain. But I find it satisfying to spend a quiet evening making ones that will fit my boat and are done the way I like. It's rare that those dock-lines-in-a-bag are the perfect length. They're either too short or so long you wind up with a messy coil on the dock. Store-bought anchor rodes are the same; it's unlikely that the included chain is right for your boat, anchor, and where you'll drop the hook. Making up these lines is simple; it's also a seaman's art that every boater worth his salt should know. The examples here are for 1/2" line because that's the most common size. The minimum for any boat is 3?8", as anything less is hard to grip.
CUTTING A LINE: Slip a 11/2" length of 1" heat-shrink tubing down the line to where the cut is to be. Apply heat so tubing contracts tightly around the line. Cut at the midpoint of the tubing. Seal ends with a butane lighter or heat gun to prevent unraveling. Use tape instead of tubing for ends with eye splices.
MAKING AN EYE SPLICE:
|• Three-strand 1/2" nylon rope • High-test/40-grade chain • 1/2" galvanized thimble • 5/16" galvanized shackle • 5/16" swivel||• Knife • Masking tape • Butane lighter or heat gun • 1" heat-shrink tubing • Monel seizing wire|
Wrap a strip of tape around the line 6" from the rope's end. Separate the three strands, taping their ends so they won't come apart. Of these three strands, one will be uppermost and in the center of the other two. This is your starting strand (yellow). Tuck it under the uppermost strand of the standing part of the rope. The tuck is made "against the lay," from right to left. Tuck the left-hand strand (red) under the next strand up on the standing part and over the yellow strand. Then flip the eye over and tuck in the remaining strand (green), still working from right to left. After the first three tucks, check what you've done. If the strands emerge symmetrically from the standing part, each coming out from under a different standing strand, you have it right. Complete the splice by pulling the first tucks tight, then adding four more tucks done in the same sequence as the first. When finished, cut off the strands and heat seal the projecting ends to 3?8".