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Stories are often told of unfortunate boaters who, after deploying their anchor, watch the entire rode (rope or chain which attaches the anchor to the boat) spool off the boat and disappear into the water. By failing to attach the “bitter end” of the rode to the boat, they have now lost an important and expensive piece of gear. We would never make so foolish an error, would we? Well, when it comes to our anchors, the answer is no. We are pretty careful about that and I can guarantee that the rode on both our primary and secondary anchors is well secured.


On the stern (back) rail of our boat we have a safety device that is carried by many vessels, a LifeSling. As the velcro which holds its case closed has worn quite a bit, Rebecca took the unit down to see if she could repair it.

Rebecca hamming it up for the camera while shaving her legs. 🙂
You can see the LifeSling in its case in the top right of the photo.

This sparked a conversation of how our LifeSling’s bitter end was attached to the boat, or was it? Um, no, it wasn’t. I guess that was one detail that we missed when re-rigging the boat this season. Good thing we found that out now and not at some time when we needed to deploy the LifeSling!


  1. I thought this post was being written from the Bitter End Yacht Club and I got all excited….So Rebecca found out that you did not attach it to the boat…..We guys always get caught……

    The Divorce Men’s Group of America (TDMGA)

  2. now that’s one piece of equipment I’m glad to see on board

  3. Ahh I just had my life sling repairs and also forgot to attach it to the boat. Thanks for reminding me too!

  4. BEYC? I’m a Leverick Bay Marina kinda guy,myself..

    A few years ago,our sailing club,a group of about 20 boats,stern anchored on a beach on Lake Champlain. A late arriving boat came in before dusk,and it was silent as they approached,ready to set the anchor.
    He:OK,drop the anchor
    She:It’s down,back off and I will run out the rode.
    After backing down for what seemed much too long….
    He:How much rode is out?
    She:(watching the bitter end fly over he rail)All of it! and I mean all of it!
    And we all had front row seats for this comedy…

  5. Now who got to dive for the end of the rode? The lifesling is a wonderful piece of gear. I always check the bitter end when I put it back on the boat. Mine is so old that it’s the original yellow case, as shown in the video! Of course, it’s only useful when I take someone with me besides the menagerie! Neither the cats nor the dog has ever shown any interest in learning to dfeploy the lifesling, or steer the boat! Guess I’m on my own. Must stay aboard, must stay aboard—-!

  6. Glad you caught that!

    Once you get to a more hospitable climate, you won’t be unrigging and rerigging the boat every year, so there will be fewer of these incidents to deal with. Hopefully!


  7. Once, a few years ago, I dropped an anchor with no rode attached, just a bit of chain. I’d been sailing for 20 years, clearly knew better, but we were moving at 2AM because I had anchored to shallow and the brain wasn’t working, OK?

    Years later I was sharing the story with a dock mate, trying to help him feel better, since he had just mangled a attempt at docking with twin screws. He said “No problem; what happens in Deale, stays in Deale.”

    I replied that actually, my daughter had written the episode up and got it published in Latitudes and Attitudes. She was only 10 but enjoyed satirizing her fathers foibles too well.

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