The Marlinspike Sailor
Hervey Garrett Smith

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This book is a real gem.  Like Mr. Smith's other book "The Arts of the Sailor" it is profusely illustrated with truly beautiful pen and ink drawings.  Also like that book it covers many of the basics of working with line, such as whipping, knots, and splicing.  Then it goes on and starts covering projects of the sort that sailors have always done, but which are often these days replaced with cheap plastic objects of poor function and limited life.

Some of the items covered that we usually don't see any more are:  How to lay up a grommet, which is the basis for making a lot of other ingenious items on board.  Making a proper heaving line.  An introduction to the wonders of the Turk's Head knot and other special purpose knots, many worked in the parts of the line itself.  Also covered are a ladder matt for better traction and two types of rope matt that can be at the boarding ladder to keep the boat clean.  Many a sailor carrying a cumbersome boarding ladder made of tubing and plastic bits, might well find that the rope ladder which is made entirely of rope would be functional enough for limited use and would stow much easier than its more bulky cousins with rigid parts.

Often to this day people puzzle over how to protect their sails from chafe, when a judicious bit of baggy wrinkle would save them a lot of sewing.

Then there are decorative covers for hand holds, wheels, etc., worked out of small stuff and various handles made out of rope and cord of various types in several different ways.

Deadeyes and lanyards are covered and then he goes on to a decorative "wall bag".  I'll particularly comment on that one in that so many stock boats these days are built cheaper by not taking advantage, as they should, of every bit of space not needed for something else.  One great example of this is that a section of the inside of the hull or a bulkhead rather than just being a blank space can have some variant on these canvas envelopes which can provide a good deal of storage of attractive appearance.

Then there are "ditty boxes", wooden bilge pumps that you could make up fast in your home shop for practically nothing.  Ditty bags and sea bags are described.  Bell ropes are a great source of satisfaction.  Make a really nice one and it will last for decades.  Then there are wooden cleats, rope stropped blocks, a collapsing easily stored canvas deck bucket.  Perhaps you want to cover a water jug with fancy work so that you can take it with you when going off for a sail around an island in the dinghy.

These are just some of the topics covered.  This is a great book and if you look about your boat for projects that can draw on the lessons of this book and do them evenings in a snug harbor rather than trying to carry along big screen TVs and other "entertainment devices" you will soon find that people start to regard you as some sort of "authentic" old salt who they feel undoubtedly is very wise in the ways of the sea.  ($16.95,  131 pages, profusely illustrated with line art)  (tm)

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