“Explains how to care for, inspect, and use fiber ropes; compares sisal, manila and jute; and shows methods of splicing and eyeing.”
US Navy Training Film MN-2340b
Originally a public domain film from the US National Archives, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).
Rigging (from Anglo-Saxon wrigan or wringing, “to clothe”) is the apparatus through which the force of the wind is used to propel sailboats and sailing ships forward. This includes masts, yards, sails, and cordage…
Parts of rigging
The term cordage refers to the ropes, called lines, that connect and manipulate sails. Cordage is attached to the spars and sometimes the sails by systems of metal pulleys and clips. The materials chosen for cordage are determined by the strength and weight of the rope. Cordage is divided into two types: running rigging and standing rigging.
Standing rigging is cordage which is fixed in position. Standing rigging is almost always between a mast and the deck, using tension to hold the mast firmly in place. Due to its role, standing rigging is now most commonly made of steel cable…
Running rigging is the cordage used to control the shape and position of the sails. Running rigging must be flexible in order to allow smooth movement of the spars and sails, but strong enough for the role it plays. For instance, a halyard, used to hoist heavy yards up and down, must be very strong and durable. On the other hand, a sheet, used to control the orientation of a triangular sail, must be very flexible and smooth, and need only be strong enough to support the tension caused by the wind…
A rope is a group of plies, yarns or strands which are twisted or braided together in order to combine them into a larger and stronger form. Ropes have tensile strength and so can be used for dragging and lifting, but are too flexible to provide compressive strength. As a result, they cannot be used for pushing or similar compressive applications. Rope is thicker and stronger than similarly constructed cord, line, string, and twine. Ropes made from metal strands are called wire rope…
Rope made from hemp, cotton or nylon is generally stored in a cool dry place for proper storage. To prevent kinking it is usually coiled. To prevent fraying or unravelling, the ends of a rope are bound with twine (whipping), tape, or heat shrink tubing. The ends of plastic fibre ropes are often melted and fused solid; however, the rope and knotting expert Geoffrey Budworth warns against this practice thus:
Sealing rope ends this way is lazy and dangerous. A tugboat operator once sliced the palm of his hand open down to the sinews after the hardened (and obviously sharp) end of a rope that had been heat-sealed pulled through his grasp. There is no substitute for a properly made whipping.
If a load-bearing rope gets a sharp or sudden jolt or the rope shows signs of deteriorating, it is recommended that the rope be replaced immediately and should be discarded or only used for non-load-bearing tasks.
The average rope life-span is 5 years. Serious inspection should be given to line after that point.
When preparing for a climb, it is important to stack the rope on the ground or a tarp and check for any “dead-spots”.
Avoid stepping on rope, as this might force tiny pieces of rock through the sheath, which can eventually deteriorate the core of the rope. Ropes may be flemished into coils on deck for safety and presentation/tidiness as shown in the picture…
In addition, ropes should avoid sudden load, as a shock load can destroy a rope easily. Any operation of ropes should obey the principle of safe working load which is usually much less than its ultimate strength. The rope should be replaced immediately, if any evidences of shock load have been found.
“Rope” refers to the manufactured material. Once rope is purposely sized, cut, spliced, or simply assigned a function, the result is referred to as a “line”, especially in nautical usage. Sail control lines are mainly referred to as sheets (e.g. jibsheet). A halyard, for example, is a line used to raise and lower a sail, and is typically made of a length of rope with a shackle attached at one end. Other examples include clothesline, chalk line, anchor line (“rode”), stern line, fishing line, marline and so on…