The rope fenders for Wisdom took much monger than expected! I thought they would take a few days to make and that it would give me something to do in my spare time last winter. The reality is they took up all my time last winter.
Each fender consumed massive amounts of rope and time, taking almost the entire winter to complete. Instead of being a "spare time project", they were the main project. I still remember staying in a few weekends to work on and finish the rope fenders.
When the massive sausage shaped behemoths were completed, worry about their weight was frequently asked. They weigh too much for Maddie to lift, so I am forced to bear their full weight. Luckily, being made of rope with hundreds of loops, I can grab on to them in any position; making manhandling them very easy.
While weight may seem undesirable, I actually wanted them to be quite heavy. I have no desire to store bulky fenders in the lazarettes, so I ended up keeping them on the side decks.
When we were in strong weather, these fenders would be picked up by the wind and dribbled on the deck like a bunch of basketballs. The constant pounding and smacking would make me want to throw them overboard! The only thing that stopped me was the fact that they are made of plastic and would only add to the already very serious problem of floating plastic debris in our oceans. For these reasons, I wanted to make fenders that were too heavy to float in the wind!
Now they remain in constant contact with the deck. I am concerned with a boarding wave washing them off, as well as them rolling about the deck when we heel; which is why I tie one of their ends to the toe rail.
When deploying them, having an end tied is also insurance against loss by dropping them in the water. Being made of solid rope, they do not float. Keeping one end tied ensures that if dropped, it can still be recovered.
Keeping that end tied is also helpful in reducing the amount of weight I need to bear when setting them. I can rest the fender on that tied end while I get it into position. Then the other end is tied to hold the fender at the appropriate height. While each fender is very heavy to dead lift, keeping one end tied to work off of greatly reduces the functional weight.
I like to set them right on the rub rail. This ensures that the maximum distance between me and the rafted boat next to me will be maintained. My rub rail also extends a few inches (it's wide enough to comfortably walk on) and I would hate for it to shoot over the fender and dig into someone's gel coat.
For added distance and protection, rafting boats can set their plastic fenders against my rope fenders. This way, none of the boats get hurt and we can all enjoy an afternoon together.