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You know, it’s exactly when things are going just a bit too smoothly that Mr. Murphy, of Murphy’s Law fame, has to show up! So it was yesterday as we worked to put the trampoline back on the boat. The tramp has, and I may be using the incorrect term here, a “bolt rope” which runs along the perimeter. This rope slides into a slot on the boat to secure it. We remembered just how difficult it was to remove this at the end of last season so we began the process yesterday by spraying the track with Dry Lube. This worked extremely well and the tramp slid in easily. This should have been our first clue that things would soon go awry!

Lacing the trampoline in is done with a fairly elaborate pattern. We prepared for this by loading photos of the lacing procedure (photos taken during last season’s tear-down) onto my iphone so that we could refer to them while at the boat. Although there were some moments of struggling when we had to force the rope through the same grommet twice, we managed. Just at the point when we were about to tie off the ropes to complete the install and pat ourselves on the back for a job well done… we noticed that we had tightened it so much that we pulled the bolt rope out of the track at one point! 🙁 🙁 🙁

Note: I had to use sad face emoticons there because WordPress doesn’t have a little angry-face, swearing emoticon!

How to fix this? Well, this basically required undoing at least half of the work that we had just completed. So much for finishing the job early. I should also mention though that during the process of redoing all that work we found about 20 bolts that we had loosened off during the tear-down process last year. So perhaps what they say is true… all clouds do have a silver lining? Thank you Mr. Murphy for your assistance with that!

If you look really closely at the above photo you’ll see that we reinstalled the top lifeline, even though it is fairly discolored. Walking around up there with just that one line sure does make it “feel” safer.

Inspired by my preliminary success with that bit of splicing yesterday morning, we picked up a few feet of 1/4″ Spectra to try the whole process shown in the video I linked. I am happy to say that this was the easiest bit of splicing that I have done to date. The instructions in those videos were perfect and end result is, if I must say so myself, beautiful. Based upon this success, and the fact that every other solution for our crappy lifelines either involves a lot of money or what people keep describing as “a lot of elbow grease,” Rebecca and I have decided that we will redo the lifelines with Amsteel rope. My confidence as a do-it-yourself-er must be growing for me to even consider such a thing!

Look at the beautiful taper on that splice. It’s almost a work of art. 🙂


  1. I am suitably impressed. Well done you!

    I can’t wait to try it out.

    • Thanks!

      I showed that video to my friend at the chandlery and he said that if I could do that splice (as shown in the video) than I could definitely splice spectra the way that he does it. He said that he felt the method shown in the video was perhaps more secure than his method, but that he has never had a splice come apart either. I think for the lifelines I will do it the video way (Brummel splice) as it was actually quite easy.

  2. Beautiful job Mike!

    Now you can call yourself an Olde Salt.

    s/v Eolian

  3. At least you won’t be taking the tramp off next winter! I had beach cats and the Stiletto and know the drill very well. Rubber-faced (Atlas Fit) gloves help a lot. So does beer.

    Some like to stay with light line and replace it every 2 years, not because it will break, but because the more elastic newer line keeps the tramp snug without it being over tight. It will make it a little bouncier.

    If you want to lubricate something for assembly, but don’t want the lube to help it slide back off, too, consider liquid soap. The residual either washes off in the rain, or dries and turns to glue. Water will then make it slide again. Additionally, many hoses and seals are not oil tolerant and grease or oil can destroy them. Good for tramps, pump seals, and hoses. This trick was learned not on boats, but through many years of refinery work.

    If you re-do the life line, consider a gate at the bows. My daughter asked me to add that (she is the one stepping off with the bow line, and she was ~ 5 feet at the time) and she was right. While bow gates may not be useful on a mono-hull because of the hull curve, it’s a really nice addition on the PDQ, even if it’s just the top rail. At home we back into a regular slip; when cruising it is mostly side-ties, and safest approach to an unfamiliar dock is usually to come in bow-first and have some one step off with a line. It’s the simple to pull the stern over with one engine.

    • Nice tips! Good idea about that gate. I remember seeing that on your blog. I’m going to have to give some thought on how to best put these together. I will be removing the fittings from the existing lifelines and will see what, if anything, can be reused.

  4. Hi Mike,

    We’re starting the conversation and making some early decisions on changes we want to make next year as our boat comes out of charter and we get ourselves onboard. One of the items will most likely be to replace the lifelines so I am wondering how your Spectra lifelines have held up and if you would recommend taking this route. I really like the idea of being self-sufficient on repairs and I’m getting pretty handy at splices, although I have yet to try the one you used above.


    • The lifelines have held up well. They are light, strong, relatively easy to install and cheaper than stainless. In addition to that, the line is reportedly chafe and UV resistant.

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