Worm, Parcel, and Serve

Over the past seven months of cruising, our anchor snubber was starting to show some significant wear. The options were simple, either replace the snubber, or fix and protect it from further damage.

Being how we are cruising on a limited budget and marine supplies are not as easy to find in remote locations, such as uninhabited islands in the Bahamas, we decided to repair and protect our snubber with materials that we had on hand. 

Since the chafing that had occurred was still very superficial, there was no structural damage to the line and no need to perform a mending splice before the protective layers were added. The first step in the process is to worm the rope. This is where you lay a smaller line into the valleys of the lay of the rope. Three-lay requires three strands be wormed into the lay. The strands run in the direction of the lay and will nestle in nicely. The idea of worming is to make the outer edge of the rope more uniform and round. 


The next step is to parcel the rope. In historical times, this was done using tarred cloth. The tar helped seal water out from the line and protected the hemp from moisture and rot. In modern times, when the rope is made out of nylon, the purpose of parceling is to hold the worming in place. Hockey stick tape or friction tape works great for this application. The tape is to be wrapped in the direction of the lay. If on running rigging, the direction of wrap doesn't matter as the rope will move around. If on standing rigging, the wrapping is to go from bottom to top. This will create a shingle effect to help keep water out of the core. 


With the section wormed and parceled, the last step is to service the line. Service is the process by which a sacrificial line is wrapped around the line very tightly. Any chafe will occur on the sacrificial part that can be easily replaced at less expense than replacing the actual line itself.  

Service is always wrapped opposite the direction of the lay, so that as the rope is tensioned and pulled, the service will wrap tighter.  


In the end, the snubber is protected against future chafe and will continue to hold our ground tackle as we cruise new and distant waters.