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Thursday, November 30, 2006
Splicing and Sculling
Sculling was a skill my brother and I learned when I was eight and he was six. My Dad carved out a three inch wide quarter moon in the transom of our row boat and found an extra long oar with no leather in the middle to use for the sculling oar. He demonstrated the technique and we practiced until proficient. We sculled so hard the bow of the boat swerved back and forth and we left a wake behind. By the time we got to Maine on the famous cruise of 1956, my brother and I hardly rowed anywhere. We wanted to see where we were going. Maneuvering into a dock was simpler with sculling. The old fishermen in Camden, ME said, “Ayuh, scullin’ is fastuh."
The first splice I learned from my Dad was an eye-splice. He explained that the three strands of rope were like a chicken’s foot. A better way to show it is on a website called Animated Knots by Grog. Most often we used an eye-splice on tie up lines. The ends of the line were usually whipped with waxed thread. The ditty bag held a lump of beeswax, a sailor’s palm, linen thread, and a big needle which had three sides. This skill of splicing is a prerequisite to fishing and I still think of the three strands laid out to splice as a chicken’s foot.

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