Deck line tensioning

Mike Lambie

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Joined
Nov 25, 2021
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1
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Lake Orion, MI
I am looking for a solution to keepi g my decklines under the appropriate tension. I have researched all different sorts of knots that might work, but predicted it will not satisfy the requirement. I am considering a turnbuckle near the stern. SS of course and with no snap points. Thought on the turnbuckle or the knot everobe uses to connect the ends of the decklibe and allow adjustment? Every article or video I have seen on decklines never mentions anything regardi g the knot or tensioning maintenance. Thanks
 

Peter-CKM

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Dec 1, 2011
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643
Location
San Francisco, CA
Interesting, I find that deck lines seem to tighten over time, so end up too tight. I put some plastic tubing over sections of the line, making what I have heard are called whirlpool loops, to ensure that the key areas aren't too tight to grab with gloved or bare hands.

I don't have any great photos of the set up. This pic you can partially see them down at the botttom of the photo:
P7040068.JPG
 

cougarmeat

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Sep 17, 2012
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885
Location
Bend OR USA
That’s an interesting solution. It is just the nature of the beast. That deck line is usually nylon. And nylon line/fabric (at least in the hammock world) stretches when wet. But then shrinks when dry. In order to put a commercial paddle caddy on my boat. I need to undo the bow deck line. But I’ll have to wet the line first so I can get enough slack to undo/retie the knot.

I’m a little concerned that if I tie it too tight when it is wet, the shrunk length will put too much stress on the eyelets. That could be because, as a kid, I watched too many westerns where the good guy had to escape from being buried up to his neck - or staked out - with a wet leather loop around his neck with the idea that as the leather dried, it would tighten and choke him.

But maybe the eyelet (or neck) just provides a “stop” for the shrinkage. That is, the line will be snug but it’s not going to rip the eyelet out or crack the plastic.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Dec 7, 2011
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3,152
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Victoria, BC
That’s an interesting solution. It is just the nature of the beast. That deck line is usually nylon.
I think most folks/companies are using polyester deck lines nowadays, though nylon was common in the past. I have a bagful of 1/4" white nylon line taken from older Mariner kayaks I've had.
Polyester does stretch but the wet/dry change is much less than with nylon.
For me it's polyester 'yacht braid' or Amsteel for deck lines these days.
The toggle attachment on the Aurora is Amsteel (or equivalent).
 

JKA

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Jul 25, 2016
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184
Location
Banks Peninsula, New Zealand
I just lash between the narrowing parts of the deck lines near the bow or stern, and tension as required. I effectively turn a V into an A, if that makes sense.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Dec 7, 2011
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3,152
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Victoria, BC
I just lash between the narrowing parts of the deck lines near the bow or stern, and tension as required. I effectively turn a V into an A, if that makes sense.
On some boats, I've used a short piece of hose at each end, with the lines passing through it. Sliding the hose toward the middle of the boat does something similar. A lashing would be less likely to slip.
mini-DSCN5374.JPG


And for Greenland-style enthusiasts, a vertebra from a recent kill would do! :)
 
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Kayak Jim

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Mar 5, 2016
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305
Location
Comox Valley BC
Good ideas here! What's the consensus on how tight is right? Sometimes one might just want fingers under, other times a whole arm...
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Dec 7, 2011
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Victoria, BC
Sometimes one might just want fingers under, other times a whole arm...
I wouldn't want to slide my arm under a deck line, but I want to be able to grab the line when wearing gloves (or perhaps even mitts).

If you put the line through a tube, you can 'snug up' the lines and still have clearance to grab.
mini-IMG_0465.JPG


If you have the common style of deck fititng with a black plastic fastener in a recess, you can have some line sections loose (behind the cockpit to slide a paddle under for some re-entries, for example) and others tighter, by tying knots in the lines. This makes different sections of the deck line 'independent' in tension.

Also, running continuous lines (past the cockpit) can change the setup.

On some boats with three deck fititngs in a row in front of the cockpit (like the Romany), it's a good idea IMO to 'skip' the middle fitting with the deck line to give a bigger length of line to grab. That's how Leon Somme changed the rigging on the Romany we bought from him, and I listened to anything he told me. :)

BTW, don't forget to add 'auxiliary' sections of (lighter) cord between deck fittings if you are going to attach a deck bag or compass with straps or elastic cords.. You don't want those attachments to tension your deck perimeter safety lines.
 
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Tangler

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Sep 5, 2016
Messages
106
Location
Nanaimo, BC
John. I have found that sliding my arm under a bungee gives me a free hand for putting on a paddle float etc.
One question that perhaps Peter, with his undoubted experience in rescuing swimmers in rough conditions, might be able to answer.
If you have a rescuee holding onto a deckline by your cockpit does this not interfere with your ability to perform the necessary paddle strokes? If you don't have swimmers holding on there what is the use of them?
 
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