called a hawser. Remember, it is the size around (the
circumference) the line that is measured, not the
SIZE OF SMALL STUFF
To find the size of a piece of small stuff, open a
strand, count the number of threads it has, and multiply
this result by 3 for three-strand stuff. The largest small
stuff is 24-thread, with three strands each containing
USE OF SMALL STUFF
Certain small stuff used for special purposes is
designated by name, with no reference to size. Marline
is the most common stuff of this type seen aboard ship.
Dark brown in color, it is two-strand, left-laid tarred
hemp. It is inexpensive, fairly strong, and protected
against the weather by its tarring.
Housing line is three-strand, left-laid tarred hemp.
It is used for light seizings, serving pennants, riggings,
and outside work exposed to weather.
Round line is three-strand, right-laid tarred hemp. It
is used for seizings and servings on ships where
neatness is required.
Sail twine is small stuff laid up right-handed by
machine, like regular line, but it is not much larger than
fishing line. It is used for servings when a fancier job
than can be done with marline is desired.
Cod line is the light, white line formerly used in
hammock clews (lines for suspending a hammock). It
now is used for decorative purposes.
Rope yarns for temporary seizings, whippings, and
lashings are pulled from large strands of old line that has
outlived its usefulness. Pull your yarn from the middle,
away from the ends, or it may get fouled. Keep an old
strand about a fathom long hanging in the boatswain's
locker for this purpose.
Small coils of line may be loaded into a cargo net
and hoisted aboard. Large hawsers may be hoisted in a
sling placed around the ends of a piece of pipe or a
crowbar shoved through the center tunnel of the coil.
The large hawsers may also be rolled forward along the
deck, hoop fashion, and jiggered into place by the same
STOWING SMALL STUFF
Coils of natural fiber line should always be stowed
on shelves or platforms clear of the deck. They should
never be allowed to become covered with an
accumulation of junk that may prevent the evaporation
of moisture. Always remember that line composed of
natural fiber is susceptible to mildew and rotting.
Arrange the coils of small stuff along a shelf
according to its size. Set each coil up with the inside end
at the bottom of the center tunnel so it come open
properly. The burlap wrapper should be left on each
coil. You will find that the stoppers for securing the coil
are inside the wrapper. Cut these stoppers and draw up
the inside end so the line is started properly. It is a
common customand a good ideato set up a narrow,
flat strip of wood horizontally over the shelf containing
the small stuff, with a hole bored in the strip over each
coil. The starting end of the line is drawn up through the
hole, and is prevented from dropping back by an
overhand knot. This method ensures that anyone
coming down for a piece of small stuff need not grope
around inside the tunnel for the end, with the possibility
of getting hold of the wrong end when the coil is pretty
The most commonly used sizes of small stuff
should be put on reels; then you will not have to worry
about somebody fouling up a partially used coil.
Once the stoppers of the coil are cut, bights of
tightly wound coils of marline have a tendency to work
off the ends of a coil and become hopelessly snarled. To
prevent snarling, transfer the marline to a reel. Take a
short length of pipe or a squeegee handle, and shove it
through the center of the coil. Block it up so the coil is
free to turn. In this case, take the outside end of the
marline, secure it to the reel, and start laying it up. You
will need help with this job because the coils must be
tended carefully to prevent bights from slipping off the
ends of the coil.
Coils of large line should be stowed with their
proper side up for opening. Line from 2 to 4 inches or
so, which is needed in various lengths on deck, should
be opened and a few feet of the end led out.
When a new coil of line is to be opened, give it your
personal attention. Five minutes of your time here may
save hours later trying to work kinks out of an
improperly opened coil.
Whenever possible, wet line should be dried
thoroughly before stowing. Sometimes drying is
impossible, as with mooring lines that must be sent