How to Make a Tow Rope [12]

Follow these easy steps to make a standard 7 metre long tow rope.

  1. You can buy all the necessary bits and pieces from a marine shop (These prices and catalogue numbers are from Whitworths winter catalogue)

    • 7m of water ski tow rope (cat 180927) at $0.65/m = $4.55
    • 1m x 6mm nylon covered shock cord (cat 181230) at $1.30/m = $1.30
    • 2 x 50mm stainless snap hooks (cat  43851) at $5.40ea = $10.80
    • Total Price = $16.65
  2. Melt the ends of the ski rope into points to make splicing easier
  3. Measure 250mm from the end of the ski rope and poke a pen or small stick through the weave of the rope
  4. Thread one of the snap hooks onto the pointed end of the rope and slide it down to the pen
  5. Now thread the pointed rope end through the hole made with the pen to secure the hook
  6. Make another hole 10mm further along the rope and pass the pointed rope end through, continue doing this until the rope end has been through 3 or 4 times
  7. Then open up the middle of the rope by compressing it and pushing the pen into the middle of the rope. Now push the pointed rope end up into the hollow until all the rope end is inside
  8. Finally stretch the rope out again to fix the whole lot together like a “chinese finger lock”
  9. Thread the remaining snap hook onto the shock cord before tying the ends together wit with a fishermans knot (look it up in a knot book)
  10. Splice the shock cord to the free end of the tow line
  11. Use electrical tape to bundle the two sides of the shock cord loop to prevent tangles

Because the rope will not support the weight of the hooks you should always keep one end attached to your boat or add one or two floats to the rope in case it is dropped overboard. You can use rubber bands to keep the rope bundled but I have seen ropes tangle when used on several occasions, so I use a small nylon bag with a draw string closure to keep everything neat and tidy and by stuffing the rope into the bag have never had any problems deploying it. (The shock cord end exits through a hole in the base of the bag)

Once Upon a Time [12]

By Ken McDonald

A group of paddlers sets off to explore a new section of coast, the chart shows no landing places on the cliff-bound shore for over 10 km, with seas running at 2 to 3 metres and a 20 knot southerly blowing the tops off the swell it promises to be an exciting trip.

After heading north with the swell for half an hour some of the more adventurous canoeists move in close to the rocky shore to enjoy the backwash from the cliffs and pass through a narrow channel between an island and the coast.

Meanwhile the the rest of the group continues around the outside of the island, surfing before the steep southerly swells, they round the northern tip just in time to witness a near disaster as 2 huge waves are forced through the channel on a collision course with another set which has refracted around the island from the north. Three unfortunate paddlers from the group passing through the channel are caught between the approaching walls of water and in the ensuing clapotis they are hurled like children’s toys high in the air to crash down into the turbulent foam streaked waters. Two manage to stay in their boats and after repeated attempts are able to roll up, however the third is left clutching his paddle and swimming for his life after being separated from the kayak.

The main body of paddlers watch helplessly as one of his companions attempts first to push then tow the capsized kayak to safety, but as he fumbles with a tangled mass of rope (which was stuffed down his buoyancy vest), he too is in danger of being swept onto the rocks at ‘the base of the cliffs. The third paddler is better prepared, quickly clipping her tow rope to the deck lines of the swamped kayak, she tows it clear of the channel while the owner lies prone on the rear deck. Sheltering in the lee of the island the swimmer is helped to clamber back into his boat and pump out the cockpit, rejoining the main group they continue to their destination still some 5 km up the coast.

This little story could have a rather different ending. Just what would happen if no one had a tow rope, or the swamped kayak did not have deck lines? Ours is a “risk” sport, chances are you will be caught one day with a sea sick or injured paddling companion. What will you do?

The moral of this story is, if you paddle on the ocean you must carry the necessary safety gear, and practice using it in as many situations as possible, to be ready when called upon in a rescue.

Winter Trips Calendar [12]

Please contact the Trip Leader before 8:00pm of the Wednesday before the scheduled trip.

Is there a trip that you would like to do? Why not lead a club trip? Call Ken McDonald on 520 5349 (H) to advertise on the calendar.


20-21/6/92 Broken Bay weekend paddle. Carry your camping gear and stay overnight. Contact Michael Richardson 907 0741 (H) 907 9766 (B)


Sunday 12/7/92 – Easy day paddle on Sydney Harbour, suitable for all levels of skill and fitness. Ray and Shirley Abrahall 528 9091 (H)

Sunday 26/7/92 – Training day. Learn the secret of the sculling support stroke, one day it may even save you a swim! Meet at Gunnamatta Bay boat ramp, Cronulla 9.00am. Contact Ken McDonald 520 5349 (H)


1-2/8/92 – Myall Lakes. Paddle from Port Stephens up the Myall River to camp near Mungo Brush. This trip will be suitable for inexperienced paddlers. Contact John Bamberry (065) 711 416 (H)

Sunday 16/8/92 – Start from Coogee beach to paddle the clean waters off the Sydney coast and see the backyards of the rich and famous in the eastern suburbs. Contact Peter Ingleby 363 2069 (H)

Sunday 30/8/92 – Training day, come along to practice your paddling and rescue skills. Meet at Gunnamatta Bay boat ramp 9.00am. Contact Ken McDonald 520 5349 (H)


Annual General Meeting at a time and venue to be announced.

This is your chance to have a say in the running of your club. Contact Ray Abrahall 528 9091 (H)