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Old 30-01-2012, 11:03   #1
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Rat Lines and Netting

Can anyone here tell me where I can purchase Rat Lines for a sailboat or how to make them and where to purchase heavy duty safety netting? The netting I've seen in marine stores is pretty thin. I'm in New Jersey, USA The boat's a 33' Cheoy Lee Ketch.
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Old 30-01-2012, 14:34   #2
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Re: Rat Lines and Netting

sailorguy,
There are detailed explanations in Brion Toss "The Rigging handbook", p. 265 & sq. He recommends 1/2" 3-strand Dacron (polyester) or Roblon.

Alain
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Old 30-01-2012, 14:54   #3
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Re: Rat Lines and Netting

Quote:
Originally Posted by thesailorguy View Post
Can anyone here tell me where I can purchase Rat Lines for a sailboat or how to make them and where to purchase heavy duty safety netting? The netting I've seen in marine stores is pretty thin. I'm in New Jersey, USA The boat's a 33' Cheoy Lee Ketch.

Art of the Sailor:

Amazon.com: The Arts of the Sailor: Knotting, Splicing and Ropework (Dover Maritime) (9780486264400): Hervey Garrett Smith: Books
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Old 30-01-2012, 15:08   #4
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Re: Rat Lines and Netting

spozed to MAKE your ratlines....same with your belaying pin rails and pins.....and baggywrinkles....
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Old 30-01-2012, 16:14   #5
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Re: Rat Lines and Netting

Thanks for the info. Appreciate it much.
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Old 30-01-2012, 19:18   #6
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Re: Rat Lines and Netting

Nice boat!
I think the key will be to keep them from slipping on the stainless rigging. If it was me I'd try wrapping the rigging with self-amagating tape at the appropriate spots and then serving that with heavy nylon twine. tarred marline is the traditional stuff. You'd probably want each section to be @4" to have room to lash to. Put a eye splice in each end of your ratline, pull it taut and lash it to the serving. Try to remember the result of poor installation as you go. Frankly, it is a lot of work and does stress your rig a bit when you're on them. Bear in mind, the higher you climb the narrower they get and the less secure your position. They need regular attention as the lashings can rot or loosen.
I'm not trying to put you off here, but I made and used ratlines on a schooner with a 125' high rig and am not a fan for smaller boats. A couple to get a few feet up for a peek ahead would be my limit but YMMV. I have mast steps on my Cheoy Lee but an alloy mast too.
Best regards.
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Old 30-01-2012, 21:04   #7
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Re: Rat Lines and Netting

I experimented with using tape to keep the lashings from slipping, but it didn't work for me. I did not try self amalgamating tape, however -- I tried medical tape. What worked best for me was to use thick dacron thread and then use a screwdriver as a lever to make a series of underhand knots around the wire very, very tight. Traditional waxed twine stuff was the most slippery, and nylon thread seemed to stretch instead of get tight. The dacron thread seemed to have a way of holding knots tight.

The lashing for the three-strand dacron ratlines were only about an inch along the wire, so I would make the eye splices as small as you can, for aesthetics. I feel it looks more neat than large loops, even though it is hard to splice a small loop. Aesthetically, you also want the lines to be very tight, but you can cheat a bit by rolling the three strand in the direction of twist to tighten it up before you lash it to the wire.

The ratlines did not require any maintenance. Both the ratlines and lashings were dacron, which does not rot. They would occasionally slip if someone stepped hard right against the lashing, but this was only some of them, and it was easy to slide them back up. Stepping a few inches away from the wire would keep them from slipping. I intentionally backspliced much longer than usual to double up the rope at the edges, so that it was a little more comfortable to climb up in bare feet. Though of course we got used to it and would generally stand on the spreaders or the teak steps anyways. I never got comfortable standing on the middle of the spreader, it just does not seem strong enough, and so would keep my weight on the inside and outside edge.

I was very happy with ratlines on Boat #1, and this will be one of our first "non-criticial" projects on Boat #2. I think I've talked way too much online about how much I like ratlines, and so will stop now.

I am going to experiment with splices on double braid rope to see if there is a better way to do it-- a tree in my neighborhood has branches that are supported with an interesting splice that looks like a Chinese handcuff, it looks like they left a tail on the splice and then tightened it with ratchet straps, then snipped the tail off. I am wondering if that's possible with something like Dyneema, but will have to make up or figure out how to do that splice. It would be cool to have a more modern interpretation of ratlines that's also faster to splice and easier to make tight.
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Old 31-01-2012, 10:18   #8
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Re: Rat Lines and Netting

the ratlines i saw on my friends' schoooner were held in place by line and paint and epoxy
they are well affixed to the shrouds, as they are actually frequently used.\
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Old 31-01-2012, 11:50   #9
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Re: Rat Lines and Netting

I hadn't considered coating them with epoxy. I'm sure that would be cleaner than tar! Paint works too of course and protects the epoxy from UV. We used tarred marline and tar so they would rot out in time but it was a traditional schooner so we kept an eye on them.
As I've said I'm not a fan personally but they work fine. Some people hate mast steps and that's ok as well. I wouldn't like ratlines for my boat because as you got near the spreaders there would be little room to jam in a foot and little support to hang onto. Small shouds can be hard on the hands. Coated or not, they do require checking just like any other part of the rig. It isn't much fun when one gives out underfoot.
It sounds like a fun project and you'll be a faster splicer when you're done!
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Old 31-01-2012, 12:00   #10
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Re: Rat Lines and Netting

the best thing about ratlines is that you can place em where YOU want them,, not where they arrive. you make em yourself. they do not come pre-assembled. takes talent to create them as you like them. is what they are all about.
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Old 31-01-2012, 12:19   #11
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Re: Rat Lines and Netting

I came across this image of an Island Packet 38 a couple of years ago.

Richard
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