I don’t really like carrying stuff on deck. It cuts into the walking around room and is one more thing to fret about when things get rough. But, if you’re going to cruise on a 28′ boat, chances are some stuff will end up topsides. Things like extra diesel jerry jugs, extra anchors and associated rodes, the dingy, etc. Are big and can be lashed down pretty effectively. But what about the smaller stuff? The little one-gallon gas cans for the generator and dinghy, extra lines, extra fenders, kickboards, life jackets for the dinghy, etc, etc? On the trip down the coast all this stuff was lashed to the top of the sea hood (turtle) and alongside it as well, basically the area between the mast and the dodger. It was all lashed down with a spider’s web of knots and actually made the trip quite nicely. But getting things in and out was always a puzzle. As soon as the load changed a bit, the knots had to be re-done in some new and creative way. There had to be a better solution.
One day while sitting outside trying to get my lily-white thighs closer to the color of the rest of my legs, it came to me: a cargo net! We used cargo nets made of nylon webbing a lot in the Navy for just this purpose. Well, we also used them as big bags to transfer loads from one ship to another but we probably won’t be rigging any highlines for something like that. What I needed was a cargo net that I could drape over the deck cargo and then just have to lash one end down.
I had some nylon line I’d bought a few years ago for new halyards, sheets, etc. It’s called Sta-Set X or something like that and is godawful strong. However, it’s also godawful stiff and I hate it. But I’m not about to throw usable line away so I needed to find other uses for it. So far it had mostly just been taking up space in the lazarette. Oh, I did make two boarding ladders out of the stuff but I still had a lot of it, mostly in relatively short pieces. I figured that I could knot these together in such a way as to make a large-weave net about 3′ wide by 6′ long. This would be just right for covering the deck cargo.
I tied a cross piece to the boom gallows supports and tied a bunch of 21′ long pieces, doubled, over this cross piece. Then, in good old macrame-er fashion, I started tying square knots. It was an unholy mess while I was doing it but, in the end it seemed to come out all right.
The port side is lashed to the handrail and the starboard side is held down by a trucker-style bungee cord. Most access is done via the starboard side although I can squeeze the lifejackets and kickboards in under the forward opening. The Sta-Set X doesn’t hold knots very well which is why some of the square knots are somewhat misshapen. But, I’m going to shape them right and then lash them with some tarred marline so they behave. I also still have some whipping to do to the ends on the port side. I was going to do this before I put the net to use but, while trying it on for size, it worked so well that it’s just been sitting there since. I’ll get to these finishing touches but, like so many things, that’s not likely to happen until mañana.
BTW: that white line at the top righthand side of the photo that looks like it’s just standing straight out on its own? It’s the bitter end of a piece of 3/16″ cord that is holding the front corner of the cockpit shade to the shroud. The breeze is keeping it aloft like that.