Thursday, January 9, 2014


Mention tape to a sailor and they think of rigging tape, sail repair tape, and tell tail tape. If they're working on a project, perhaps luff tape or fiberglass tape. Maybe even duct tape.  But those aren't what we use the most of.

Athletic tape. Not very durable, in fact, down right temporary. It's purpose is one-day application for the treatment of prevention of sprains and strains.

I suppose I got the habit back in my climbing days, when taping for abrasion protection was standard for the rough crack climbing we were exploring at the time. Taped up like a boxer (not as thick), we would plunge our hands into 1- to 2-inch cracks lined with razor sharp crystals, twist and cam, and pull ourselves up to crazy heights. I could go through 2 roles in a day if the climbing was tough. Today we went ice climbing; the sole of my boot decided to peal wide as a whale, leaving me flapping and clownish. Tape to the rescue.

Uses on a boat?
  • Tiller grip. Doesn't last too long, but renews in seconds.
  • Securing rope ends while coach whipping.
  • Protecting stitched eyes from UV. Conforms nicely and holds-up if painted.
  • Rigging tape. Doesn't last, but is also porous and does not deprive stainless of oxygen.
  • Pre-wrap in stainless tubing, so that clamps hold better.
  • Protecting stainless from scratching under clamps
  • Non-scratch bottom on anything you don't want scratching the varnish or gelcoat.
  • Tape your knuckles before sanding; can save a lot of lost skin (as strip over the areas to be protected, then a thing ring between the fingers to keep it in place).

Like duct tape, but cloth, there are many uses. Keep a could of rolls handy.

And the "athletic" uses are endless, treating the bumps and bruises that come with cruising. Almost as vital as ibuprofen.
... and many more.

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