My Tow Rope [21]

By Patrick Dibben

Rope: I use waterski tow rope – 6mm poly braided ski line. Available from Whitworths Nautical World. Cost $0.80/m. Unlike high tech nylon ropes this floats. Being braided you can also make joins without knots.

Shock Cord: I use 6mm shock cord, Cost $2,50/m or less,

Floats: I use small fishing net floats made of a very hard foam. They don’t leak or break like the hard plastic ones. Available from the Fishing & Net supply shop at Sydney Fish Markets. Cost $0.60 ea. (You can also get small offcuts of netting for your deck at this shop)

Karabiners/Snap Hooks: I use aluminium snap link karabiners. These are much lighter than stainless steel. I use a Kong Accessory Crab rated at 650kg from Wildsports, Sydney $8.95 each. Some stainless steel snap hooks have an extra eye for the rope so it can’t be lost. This is an advantage over using aluminium crabs

Rigging: By using poly braided ski rope you can avoid using knots so your line is cleaner and easier to deploy etc. Melt the end of your poly rope, if necessary, so it is easier to thread. Thread your rope through the float. You could use knots to keep it in position if you like.

If you use a crab then you can put them on after. If using a snap hook with separate eye then thread the rope through this. Form a loop in the end of the poly rope then by compressing the rope at the long end the weave will open up. Thread the short end back into the weave. Thread it in and out about four times then back in and work the excess up inside.

The shock cord can go inside the poly rope. Open up the weave at some point and insert nearly all you shock cord (1 m or so). The ends of shock cord are then tied in a simple knot outside the weave.

Storage: A throw bag is best. This has a hole in the base of the bag with one end poking out and attached to your boat. The other end has a draw string. You stuff the rope in the bag it and it should deploy cleanly.