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When holding tension w mole grips how do you keep from damaging your line? Are there plastic tip covers? Or do you wrap w piece of canvas? Sean

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We get our lines tight enough just using our hands.  I am below in the dinghy and Nev or a friend is on deck taking up the slack as I tweak and tighten the lashings for shrouds or crossbeams again and again moving around the boat and checking that everything is lined up properly as the lines get tighter and tighter.  Then, when I have that as tight as possible, I put on frapping turns using a lighter weight of line and make it a whole lot tighter while again and again checking that things are lined up properly.  By the time you finish, it will be nice to put some lotion on you hands and rest them, but it is not otherwise difficult.  Ann and Nev

I don't  use visegrips to hold the line. I find that with the friction of the line itself it is easy to maintain the tension.  I agree with Ann that at the end of the process ones hands will be tired.

Vise-grips didn't appear to damage the line. They hold the line without slipping, so there's no abrasion, and the line resumes its shape once the grips are released. We found we couldn't keep the tension without them when we were tightening the lashings. It takes a lot of tension to get the constructional stretch out of the line, so that the line feels almost like a solid rod with no give when you pinch it, and the line friction wasn't noticeable until we got to the last frapping turns. We did ours over the course of two days, and yes, your hands will be tired, but if you get them tight enough you won't have to do them again for awhile. Ours have been on the boat for about four years, the boat has been sailed a lot, and they still seem as tight as when they were first done. I have noticed that the aft inside lashing on the starboard side has started to make a little noise, but I can't see that it needs tightening yet. I added an extra (unauthorized) turn on the No 3 beam lashings, but I'm not sure it isn't causing the noise rather than adding strength.


We needed to tighten our beam lashings and also the shroud lanyards at the dead eyes every few hundred miles at first.  We again tightened them after the trans Atlantic and again when we were in New Enland  After about 10,000 miles, the lines have stretched about as much as they are going to stretch and will stay bar tight after that.  The frapping turns are the secret. 

We use Stayset for our lashing wraps then switch to spectra for the frapping turns. The stayset streches 3-5 %. this is 3-5 inches in a typical wrapping. The spectra doesn't stretch much at all and is also very slippery. We tie the wraps so-so tight. The tail of the frap is tied to the end of a 4-part block and tackle which is secured to another beam. We spary the whole wrapping frapping with soapy water to lubricate them and reduce friction. Now two of us will pull like Fitzcaraldo on the  block and tackle and they come up nice and tight. We will add sevral frapping turns and tension and then detach the block and tackle and add a turn at a time with more tensioning until we have the desired number of fraps. We also will tap the lashing with a rubber mallet  several times during this process to help things settle in. While detaching and reattaching the frapping tail to the handy billy we have been able to hold the knot buy hand while the tail was reattached after another turn.

Another thing to remember in getting them tight is to protect the beams. I talked to a builder in New Zealand whose lashings (after some time in the open Pacific) had started to crush the edges of the beams at the top. I don't know how severe the problem was, or why it occurred, but I put 3/4 inch white oak pads on the beams where the lashings go over the tops, and then three layers of glass over the oak and the sides of the beam. Probably overkill, but worth considering.

Thank you all for posting these tips,most helpful when you have no frapping idea.

There are a set of photos on my page demonstrating the technique Boatsmith described.  I use a "needle nose" Vise-Grip to hold tension when making a new turn and have noticed a teeny bit of crushing of some of the outer fibers on the Dyneema.  We break down the Hei Matau for winter storage, though, so I replace the frapping line each spring when we reassemble.  I have never tested it, but I do keep a few of the very large cable ties in my toolbox to use in an emergency if a frap ever broke.

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