So here’s my secret: When it comes to knots and rope work, I suffer from a mild form of, well, marlinespike dyslexia. When I get a knot, or splice, I’ve got it. But sometimes it takes me more than a few practice repetitions for the light bulb to click on. Even so, over the years I tried about a thousand different ways to coil halyards on mast-mounted winches. And I’d still never been able to come up with the perfect method. Until now.
I have sailmaker Carol Hasse of Port Townsend Sails to thank. In Maine last fall, in preparation for a transatlantic sail later this summer, crewmate Hasse took pity on me as I was fumbling around when we were cleaning things up after reefing the mainsail on Eleanor of Hewes Point, a Valiant 42. In seconds flat, she showed me how she does it. Voilà. It was so simple and sensible even I learned it straight away.
If you’re also afflicted by, well, Bitter End Syndrome, give this a try. You won’t be disappointed.
This article first appeared in the May 2015 issue of Cruising World. Herb McCormick is CW’s executive editor. Click here for more seamanship tips.