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post #4 of Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Cordage wrap on helm wheel

Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
The leather wraps on our helm are worn and I've struggled to decide what to replace them with. I've considered the kit from West Marine, but it looks like a pain and doesn't seem to cover the spokes.

I've also considered wrapping in small 3-strand line, which I think looks nice but gets dirty. I'm also wondering how tough it would be to do and look half was decent. Probably needs some technique I should learn.

They I considered whether wrapping in paracord made sense. It won't rot and, if colored, may not get as dirty looking. I suppose it could be cut off for a survival need, but that's not terrible likely.

How about Amsteel and have some rigging backup? I'm estimating that it will take 110 feet of 1/8" to wrap one wheel or could use a little less 3/16". Two or three lengths of the stuff could temporarily replace a broken stay!

Any thoughts?
I have used the white 1/8" "Messenger Line" that WM sells, usually in 50' lengths, to wrap the steering wheel on our prior boat and to create chafe guards on our whisker pole and reaching strut at the points where the poles might come into contact with the shrouds on our current boat. I used a fairly simple over-under single clove-hitch wrap that stays tight and creates a spiral effect as the length of the wrap extends. A 3 or 4 strand Turks Head knot at the start and finish of the wrap--or at the point were the ends meet on a wheel--makes a good start/finish and is easy to do. I have also used this wrap method on the grip of our emergency tiller and on the grab rails we fitted to the pilings on the key where we keep our boat. Many have complimented us on the look of these wraps although one friend opined that I obviously had "too much time on my hands" as it is a time consuming process (and will give you blisters if done without a glove!). Upon finishing the wraps, I gave them a very thorough soaking with "Scotch Guard" which prevents them becoming unduly soiled. Since then, a periodic scrub with a kitchen brush using warm water, 409 and a little household bleach, and a reapplication of Scotch Guard when they've dried has kept them quite clean and white. It is a particularly nice look on an older, more traditional looking, yacht but does look good on almost all. The wrap process does take time however so patience is required.


"It is not so much for its beauty that the sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."

Last edited by svHyLyte; 04-23-2013 at 11:10 AM. Reason: Addendum--correct name of knot
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