In the build up to Elizmor’s launch booked for December 10th, I keep having little panics about different things. Yesterday I was worried she would weigh more than we have planned for, as her weight is just an estimate and we won’t really know what she weighs until the crane  has her in slings, and by then it’s a bit late if we’ve booked a crane that’s too small. I’m sure it will be fine though, and as soon as I got over that panic, I had another one…

I started to think about the actual logistics of the day and realised I should go and have a look at the pile of warps and fenders under the boat to see if I need to get any more.

The rope situation was not good. A fairly small pile of various bits of rope, all pretty thick and hefty, but all (except one) made from polypropylene (one was even the dreaded blue stuff!) which was severely degraded with bits flaking off as you ran your fingers over them. Oh dear.

Straight on the internet to try and find some rope.

Jimmy Green wanted about £700 for the stuff I spec’d up, which is way out of my non-existent budget for this bit.

I had a look round the usual places – eBay, Boats and Outboards, and even a fishing boat website. No luck for the size & type of rope I was after – preferably black, that would look smart against her new black boot top.

And then I stumbled across a listing on Gumtree, selling ‘battling rope’, which looked exactly like a mooring warp. Luck would have it that the seller was based in Bolton, which is just 35 minutes down the M61 from Elizmor’s location in Preston Marina.

Luck would also have it that my friend James was staying with me for a couple of nights, so we drove there in his car, as I would be unlikely to fit all of the rope in my little two-seater MX5 with us both in it.

We arrived at a community centre building in the middle of a housing estate in Bolton, of all places. We met up with Mo, the seller, who ran an underground gym from the building. Mo uses thick rope as a training device, getting his athletes to pull them with weights attached, and had a whole load spare.

Half an hour later, James and I had managed to stuff the back seats of his Peugeot 205 GTi (an old classic, James keeps telling me… I wasn’t so impressed after having to jump-start him at the petrol station on the way home) with about 200 metres of mooring rope. It was perfect!

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I bought three ropes in total – one is roughly 100m long and 33mm thick, and the other two are each about 50m in length and 37mm thick. They are all black 8-plait, in a type of polypropylene (as is common in larger commercial mooring rope) in a much better condition than the stuff I found lying under Elizmor! In fact, the 100m line is brand new, so it will all have a good life ahead of it even if it isn’t quite as nice as nylon.

Unloading mooring rope

And for this massive pile of rope, I paid the grand sum of £200. A great price for exactly what I need – I couldn’t believe my luck. Now I need to think how I’m going to make best use of it all… the 37mm lines will be great bow & stern lines, and the 33mm ideal for springs, but that is currently 100m long so I will need to cut it in half or maybe even into thirds. I’m also going to need some rope for heaving lines, and maybe something a little easier to handle for slipping. We’ll see, but this is a very good start – I will actually be able to tie her up when she goes in the water!

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