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Date: 18 May 2018. Dock Lines from Halyards (snubber too)


One of my favorite activities is shopping. The thrill of the hunt is a great part of the experience. A while back I was fortunate enough to get to the Cortez nautical flea market. That is a once per year event in Cortez, Florida. One of the best finds of the day were some old halyards. Not all were in great condition so I fixed 'em. Today I will show you how.

Side Note: The next scheduled Cortez nautical flea market is 20 October 2018.

The Cortex nautical flea market is held on the Florida Maritime Museum grounds located at 4415 119th Street West, ↓ CORTEZ, FL 34215

I LOVED the museum. There is no admission charge, so please make a generous donation.

I had been looking for dock lines for quite a spell. Paying retail was not on the agenda. Thus, the nautical flea market had a special appeal. I was hoping to find several items on my Wish List. Details on how I keep track of this sort of thing is found in the
3x5 Cards article.

Aboard Seaweed I prefer braided lines, except for my snubber. A snubber is a line that attaches to an anchor chain.

The 3-strand rope I use as a snubber offers a spring. When the boat is at anchor and a wind comes up Seaweed naturally stretches out her chain. The snubber allows the boat to ride better with less abrupt movement when the wind blows.

When the boat comes to the end of her chain without a snubber in place there is a sudden stop followed by a jerk. It is unpleasant. This is a problem for those of us who prefer to anchor with an all chain rode. The solution is to add a rope snubber.

The chain is falling almost straight down while the snubber is extended out. My snubber is black.

Snubber Stuff: After my anchor is set I let out the chain until the length deployed is approximately three to four times the depth of the water. Then I attach my snubber to the chain. My snubber line is 15' long. Next I release about 20' more chain. I want the boat to ride on the rope versus the chain.

I am using and delighted with my Mantus snubber attachment. Previously I had used a rolling hitch but the Mantus chain grabber works better. It does not fall off. Contact Greg at Mantus Anchors for information. The man has great products. No affiliation, etc.


There are many schools of thought on snubber length. One that is popular calls for a snubber at least the length of your boat. Some recommend 40' or more for a snubber. I do not follow that way of thinking. My snubber is such that if it were to detach, it cannot possibly get tangled into my prop. Thus, 15' is enough for Seaweed.

Please bear in mind that I am coastal. I do not anchor in wide open places with lots of fetch unless the weather is favorable. Larger boats that venture further may chose to use a longer snubber.

But I digress...
When I was at the Cortez nautical flea market last autumn I found a pile of old sailboat *halyards. I bought ten lines, each between twenty and forty feet long. The total cost was $6. This was near the end of the sale which I am sure contributed to the lower price. I was naturally very pleased with my purchase.

*Halyards are the lines used to raise a sail. Side Note: One eBook I find useful when dealing with boating terminology was compiled by my friend Stuart Warren. His book is titled Dictionary of Nautical Terms. I use it to confirm definitions.

The halyards had been in the sun so I expected damage. What I found was that several lines had hard areas. That would have been caused by wear, strain or stress. Braided line has an inner core that when hot or stressed from applied tension melts. You can tell because the line won't be pliable in that one particular area. It will feel stiff.

You can see narrowed areas of line, plus some fraying. All that was removed.

Between the scissors and my X-Acto Knife (thanks Ken) I was able to eliminate the damaged spots.

This is my friend Ken. Skipper likes him too. Ken is an electrical guy and did much wiring on Seaweed.

Ken has two cats aboard his 40' Rhodes Bounty. Lessa and Erin are great felines.

This is Lessa:

This is Erin:

After I cut out the few bad areas on the halyard lines I took a lighter and burned the ends.

When finished I had 13 lines for my Seaweed at a cost of less than 50 cents each.

After I had coiled the lines I rinsed all with fresh water. Then I hung them in the cockpit to dry.

After the lines dried I attached a couple of eyebolts in my starboard side cockpit locker. A line looped between the two eyebolts allows me to hang all my new dock lines out of the way yet easily accessible. When I come into a dock it is a simple matter to retrieve a few lines. I place them where needed.

Storing your lines out of the sunlight will increase their usable lifespan.

Paracord keeps the lines tidy and allows me to remove one at a time.


Finding a bargain at a nautical flea market is always a good thing. People like me appreciate the affordable prices found at such places. I had a great time at Cortez and found some cool stuff.

To you and yours,  I wish you much success in your hunts for boat equipment.

What was what your  used boat find?
And, where did you find it?

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