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Seaman - Military manual for the Seaman rate
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Use and Care of Line
CHAPTER 3 MARLINESPIKE   SEAMANSHIP Marlinespike  Seamanship  is  the  art  of  handling  and working all kinds of fiber and wire rope. It includes every variety of knotting, splicing, serving, and fancy work. Although canvas and leather work are not part of marlinespike seamanship, we will briefly discuss them in this chapter. You will find marlinespike seamanship easy to learn if you master the basic knots before you try the fancy  work. This chapter is important because you will handle and work with all kinds of line and wire rope aboard ship. For example, you will use line for tying up during mooring and docking and for rigging aloft or over the side during painting details. You will also use wire rope during replenishment of supplies and for highline transfers. These are only a few of the jobs that require you to use line or wire rope; there are many more. Learning the proper care and methods of handling line and wire rope and practicing these techniques are an essential part of your job as a Seaman. ROPE LEARNING  OBJECTIVE:  Explain  the  con- struction, use, care, and other characteristics of wire rope and line. Rope  is  manufactured  from  wire,  fiber,  and combinations of the two. Fiber rope–or line, as it is commonly  called–is  fashioned  from  natural  or  synthetic fibers. Lines made from a variety of natural fibers (cotton, agave, jute, hemp, sisal, and abaca) have seen service in the Navy in the past, and some are still used. For example, tarred hemp is known as marline and ratline. On the other hand, sisal may still be found as a wire-rope core. Manila (made from the fibers of the abaca plant) formerly was authorized for use only where great strength was required. Now, manila is authorized for lashings, frapping lines, and steadying lines. However, synthetic lines have replaced manila in most  applications. Rope, a general term, can be applied to both fiber rope and wire rope. In the Navy, sailors refer to fiber rope as line, whereas they refer to wire rope as rope, wire rope, or just wire. More clearly defined, a line is a piece of rope, either fiber or synthetic, that is in use or has been cut for a specific purpose, such as a lifeline, heaving  line,  or  leadline. This chapter discusses the fundamental uses and care of rope of all kinds. Knots and splicing may be difficult to understand, so do not hesitate to ask for help from a more experienced hand. CONSTRUCTION OF LINE Line currently used in the Navy may be three-strand line, braided, or plaited. In three-strand line, fibers are twisted into yarns or threads, the yarns are twisted in the opposite direction into strands, and the strands are twisted in the first direction, making line. Taking the process further, lines are twisted into cable. Line can have various numbers of strands, and the direction the strands are twisted determines the lay of the line. That is, if the strands are twisted to the right, the line is said to be right-laid. Four-strand line is right-laid strands around a center core. Each strand is aramid fibers laid into parallel yarns left laid helically around the strand core with a braided helical  of  alternating  aramid  and  polyester  yarns. Braided lines have certain advantages over twisted ropes. They will not kink nor will they flex open to admit dirt or abrasives. The construction of some braids,  however,  makes  it  impossible  to  inspect  the inner yarns for damage. The more common braided lines are hollow braided, stuffer braided, solid braided, and  double  braided  lines. Hollow braided lines usually have an even number of parallel, tapelike groups of small yarns braided into a hollow, tubelike cord. This type of construction in cotton  formerly  was  used  for  signal  halyards–a  purpose now served largely by three-strand and double braided nylon. Other uses are parachute shroud lines and shot lines for line-throwing guns. Stuffer braided lines are manufactured in a similar manner  except  that  the  braid  is  formed  around  a  highly twisted yarn core, which rounds out and hardens the 3-1

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