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To Splice or not to Splice

Updated: May 30, 2023

Splicing is an art in sailing that has developed over centuries. Often seen on new production boats where modern rope construction has made splicing faster and easier, we at East Coast Kit have found it essential in our day-to-day work with Elvstrom Sails (

Splicing is essentially a stronger, cleaner and more attractive alternative to conventional knots. Used to join, taper, loop and finish rope, splicing makes use of the ropes own construction to evenly distribute load (weight) compared to a knot. The main advantage being where a knot reduces the breaking load of a rope by 30 – 50% the reduction with a splice its more like 5 – 15%.

Companies like Kingfisher yacht ropes ( )in the UK work with boat builders and riggers to enable splicing in the mainstream. Sailors in general are learning about splicing through specific classes or through the web (a quick google on your phone will lead you to one of the best resources for learning the skill on your own).

Splicing is being demystified and is more applicable to sailors than ever before.

When I ran a splicing class at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club ( last month, it could not be clearer that there was an appetite amongst the members to learn or develop this skill. After the busy 2-hour lesson we were immediately asked when it could be run again.

It was also interesting to note some of the commonly asked questions in the class such as:

· What gear do I need to splice? This one is the most common, really you only need a length of rope, some sharp scissors and a fid of some kind to get started.

· This rope (Kingfisher Evo Splice) doesn’t have a jacket. Can you Splice jacketed rope? Yes, almost any quality rope can be spliced. However, most ropes strength comes from its core so when introducing splicing we focus on that part of the rope.

· How on earth do you tie a diamond knot? It’s not called the hardest knot to tie for no reason. Yes, they are tricky, fiddly and if you don’t have enough rope…. Impossible. With a good demonstration and practice however, you can get in the habit like any other knot.

· When should I splice vs tying a knot? This comes down to one thing, time. A good knot is still the best option if time is short. It takes seconds to tie a knot however it takes minuets to splice so if time is of the essence use a knot.

If after reading the above, you have more questions we will be running this class again and will be running a separate Maldon based class that anyone who’s interested can join. I will send out an email to confirm details so if you would like to come, please subscribe on our website for updates.

If you happen to need any specific splicing gear or have any further questions feel free to call or drop us an email at the following:

T: +44 (0)7834 667844

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