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Kaa
06-02-2008, 10:24 PM
Is there a generally accepted, or at least popular scheme for color-coding running rigging?

For example, three halyards come down my main mast (peak, throat, and jib), not to mention a topping lift, and it's really useful to be able to know what's what without glancing up to make sure.

Should I feel free to invent my own system, or there is something known/proper/traditional/yare/salty..?

Kaa

RodB
06-02-2008, 10:39 PM
Working on plastic boats etc... these are some observations I have made.... I commonly see the main halyard as a mostly white with small blue flecks..... also the jib halyard is commonly the same color scheme as the main halyard perhaps slightly smaller in diameter than the main. Roller furling lines are many times yellow flecked and white or gold flecked and white. Jib sheets are red flecked and white often... and mainsheets are usually blue and white... many times more blue than the halyards. Boom vangs are varied but often similar to the main sheets.

Traveler lines many times are white. Topping lifts and outhauls are many times solid colors, like light gray or blue or red flecked and white.

I don't think there is any set scheme but there are some trends I have seen on plastic boats.

RB

David Tabor (sailordave)
06-02-2008, 10:59 PM
Rod pretty much hit it. I know for the boat I am the boat captain of in my sailing club I used the following scheme when I replaced the running rigging.

MAIN: BLUE
halyard is white w/ blue flecks
sheet is white w/ more blue and bigger for ease on the hands.
traveller lines and vang are solid blue

Genny: White/RED
halyard and sheets white w/ Red flecks.

Reefing line White w/ GREEN flecks

Haven't replaced the spin halyard yet b/c we don't have a chute (yet!).

SPIN control lines are usually solid red and green for obvious reasons!

WHEN I replace the roller furling line it will be either all white or some off color like gold or purple flecked

Dock lines are usually black or white. Right now ours are blue.:confused: NOT my doing.

I have WHITE docklines in the locker for transient use. Never know when you might want to tie up somewhere that doesn't have lines. And I figure that's one time I would want WHITE so people can see them easily.


And I think it makes things look really good on a boat when it's all colorcoded/coordinated. ESP if you can tell someone "HEY grab the BLUE line"

bamamick
06-03-2008, 12:29 AM
It's up to you. There is no set guideline. Most people want it to look a certain way. All that I care about is that I can look down for a second and be able to grap the line I want. On racing boats a second spent finding a line is one second too long.

On the schooner when I replaced the lines I did have a system: they're all white :).

Mickey Lake

boylesboats
06-03-2008, 12:45 AM
Is there a generally accepted, or at least popular scheme for color-coding running rigging?

For example, three halyards come down my main mast (peak, throat, and jib), not to mention a topping lift, and it's really useful to be able to know what's what without glancing up to make sure.

Should I feel free to invent my own system, or there is something known/proper/traditional/yare/salty..?

Kaa
You're not alone..
There a person on "Chebacco" site.. Color coded his rigging..

http://i128.photobucket.com/albums/p182/boylesboats/image020r.jpg

Ian McColgin
06-03-2008, 04:46 AM
Feel free to invent. But color-coding will do you no good at all at night.

There are traditional ways to lay out the rigging that are enough in common boat to boat among different types that, if the boat's correctly rigged, a sailor will easily find the right line.

All right.

I'll say what I mean.

Color coded lines are mostly for weenies and Kansas farmers.

And high-tech freaks with mylar sails, ball bearing ratchet blocks and a real charlie foxtrot of stuff tumbling out of rope clutches into the cockpit.

For Marmalade's one sail there are 11 activly used control lines:
Sheet; peak halyard; throat halyard; port quarter lift; starboard quarter lift; first reef clew; first reef tack; second reef clew; second reef tack; third reef clew; third reef tack.

The sheet, halyards and lifts are 5/8" three strand while the reefing pendents are doublt braid but that's not how I tell them apart.

The halyards go to the starboard side of the mast, throat inboard of the peak if taken to deck, peak above throat and a little forward if on the mast. Were Marmalade a sloop, the jib halyard would go to port. A flying jib or spinaker halyard is distinguished as throat and pear are. Lifts and downhauls are located around the mast as fits their use.

If you can't operate your boat with your eyes shut, if you can't find each line immediatly in the dark, you might be an ok daytripper and maybe you have a performance sled that can really rocket, but you're not a sailor.

Also, color coded lines on a nice boat are obsenely garish.

G'luck

Nanoose
06-03-2008, 09:30 AM
We've had the same thought, but they absolutely wouldn't go with our very traditional 1800's boat design.

Thorne
06-03-2008, 09:42 AM
Yep, same problem with my little 1880's-design dory skiff.

So I use Hempex for halyards and steering lines, different diameters help a little bit. Hemp for reefing lines and nettles. Cotton line for jibsheets. Posh braid (brown) for mainsheet == the last isn't really correct but sure feels nice!

http://www.luckhardt.com/elk29.jpg

For a modern boat I'd sure go for solid color lines to clearly mark the differences whenever possible.

ron ll
06-03-2008, 10:03 AM
Thorne I gotta ask about your oarlock setup. Is that just a way to stow the oar or am I missing something there?

Thorne
06-03-2008, 10:16 AM
Yep, although I can row short distances from the front thwart in a pinch, but it dents the wood and varnish on the spruce oars.

Putting the mast partner in the boat pretty much killed any real rowing from the front thwart, but with a waterline of maybe 11' my dory skiff wasn't really suited for doubles rowing anyway...

In this shot taken a few minutes later you can see the horn oarlocks that are actually used for rowing -

http://www.luckhardt.com/elk_mesailingweb.jpg

Kaa
06-03-2008, 10:41 AM
Ah, a good old smackdown :D Get back to the cornfields where you belong, oh ye miserable landlubber! :D :D


But color-coding will do you no good at all at night.

It might or it might not. If I don't care about my night vision (e.g. just stepped out of a lighted cabin), I will probably be wearing a headlamp while messing on deck.


Color coded lines are mostly for weenies and Kansas farmers.

Don't hold yourself back, Ian, say what you really feel! :-)

But in my defense I want to point out that I sail far less than I'd like to, being a poor working stiff and all, not to mention all the other demands on my Copious Free Time (tm). I'm also new to gaffers and while the abundance of strings to pull is fascinating and useful, ways to help my brain sort them out on an automatic level are welcome.

My crew also tends to range from inexperienced to moderately hostile to proper marine terminology, so being able to easily identify lines verbally is a plus.


For Marmalade's one sail there are 11 activly used control lines:
Sheet; peak halyard; throat halyard; port quarter lift; starboard quarter lift; first reef clew; first reef tack; second reef clew; second reef tack; third reef clew; third reef tack.

Well, Ian, I think I have you beat there :-) Not only my boat has two upright sticks to your one and only, there is also the jib along with the furling gear... Eight spars for a 20-foot boat is pretty impressive :D


The halyards go to the starboard side of the mast, throat inboard of the peak if taken to deck, peak above throat and a little forward if on the mast. Were Marmalade a sloop, the jib halyard would go to port. A flying jib or spinaker halyard is distinguished as throat and pear are. Lifts and downhauls are located around the mast as fits their use.

Ah, thanks, I didn't know the traditional arrangement of lines on mast cleats. That is useful.


If you can't operate your boat with your eyes shut, if you can't find each line immediatly in the dark, you might be an ok daytripper and maybe you have a performance sled that can really rocket, but you're not a sailor.

Well, Ian, do notice that I made no claim of being a proper sailor. Maybe in ten years I will sail my boat blindfolded, identifying lines by touch and pattern of wear :-) but in the meantime I have to get there and I am in the learning stage. I like the idea of color-coded running rigging anyway, it's good user interface design.


Also, color coded lines on a nice boat are obsenely garish.

To each his own. Yes, I am aware that tarred hemp came in any color you wanted as long as it was black. But my boat, for example, at the moment has dark blue topsides with a deep red sheerstrake, and a grey weathered teak deck. I would argue that white lines would look garish on her and would prefer muted dark solid colors.

On a white plastic boat with an aluminum mast and stainless or chromed fittings, white lines are appropriate (if boring). On a traditional-looking boat with no white color anywhere, they are not.

And as to umm... faux hemp, it's fake. I dislike fakes.

Kaa


G'luck[/quote]

ron ll
06-03-2008, 10:43 AM
Arrrgggh. I should have been able to figure that out from the first picture. :o Great way to keep the oars.

martin schulz
06-03-2008, 10:54 AM
Is there a generally accepted, or at least popular scheme for color-coding running rigging?

That implies having colored lines, which of course is highly untraditional.

ron ll
06-03-2008, 10:59 AM
When I first set foot as crew aboard a three-masted barque, my very first assignment was to learn and memorize the names (and therefore the function) of each of the over 400 belaying pins that kept the running rigging. This was required of all crew and it had to be demonstrated that any pin could be found in the dark in a timely manner. All the lines on the pins were the same color, kinda manilla-ish :) .

There of course was a system to the names so it wasn't quite as daunting as it sounds. The name of a pin usually began with the name of the mast, then the name of the sail or yard, then port or starboard, then the function, i.e., fore lower t'gallant starboard brace.

Kaa
06-03-2008, 11:14 AM
That implies having colored lines, which of course is highly untraditional.

Just as the bright white sails are untraditional, no? :-)

But the word "traditional" has been overused to the point where it has little real meaning left. Traditional to which culture, to which era, and to which social level?

Kaa

martin schulz
06-03-2008, 11:18 AM
Just as the bright white sails are untraditional, no?

Yes as are stainless steel thingamagigies onboard!

Kaa
06-03-2008, 11:28 AM
Yes as are stainless steel thingamagigies onboard!

There we go! :-) But are galvanized fittings OK? How about dacron sails?

I've read a report of a fully traditional Norse boat coming to a boat festival in Scotland. The square sail was made out of either flax or wool (I don't remember) and it was liberally covered in some mixture of fats to keep it from rotting. Even very sympathetic observers pointed out that it was MUCH better to stay upwind of that boat and it's sail... :D

To repost its picture:

http://k43.pbase.com/o6/53/578453/1/82151482.t6s3u0YF.DSC_3381.jpg

Kaa

Canoeyawl
06-03-2008, 11:33 AM
All right.

I'll say what I mean.

Color coded lines are mostly for weenies and Kansas farmers.

And high-tech freaks with mylar sails, ball bearing ratchet blocks and a real charlie foxtrot of stuff tumbling out of rope clutches into the cockpit.


I agree with this except...
Most of the time I do not keep reef lines on the sail (too much windage) so for each reef I have color coded line so that they can be quickly sorted out by length and attached without fussing. Once they are on the oat they look a little silly to me but - it works.

ron ll
06-03-2008, 11:38 AM
Once they are on the "oat" they look a little silly to me but - it works.

See? Kansas farmers. :D

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
06-03-2008, 11:47 AM
SWMBO tells a colour code story.
She was invited to go sailing with a family - who had sailed together since the dawn of time.

Someone shouted "Pull the green rope", so she looked around and found - nothing, nil, nada - no green coloured rope on the boat...

A rope (she is to this day hazy as to which one) had been coloured green, not on this boat but on a previous one - and as a result the entire family "knew the ropes" but only by the names of the colour they had been...

If you do colour code the ropes - pick a system and stick to it.

martin schulz
06-03-2008, 12:43 PM
There we go! :-) But are galvanized fittings OK? How about dacron sails?

If one decides to buy a traditional (looking) boat, because of being fed up with the plastic stuff usually seen on the water, he should be consequent and not try to give a traditional boat the look of a modern boat, rendering his first decision as futile.

I don't have a problem with using modern materials, even on an old boat, but I do object to materials that are apparently too modern. There is traditional looking while modern stuff to get. Sailing a boat that is or looks like 1886 with kevlar sails, stainless steel fittings and colourful sheets doesn't make sense.

Yeadon
06-03-2008, 01:24 PM
I've got a sprit rig ... so all there really is to mess with is a snotter and a brailing line.

Often, I have a novice crew ... and it's nice to tell them to pull the blue line (brailing line) or to tension up the red line (snotter). Helps all around.

Tradition is nice and all, and so are aesthetics, but I value clarity and safety when there are inexperienced people on board who enjoy pulling a few lines on a sunny afternoon. I'd rather it was a positive experience for my friends, especially my friends from Kansas.

David Tabor (sailordave)
06-03-2008, 01:42 PM
Feel free to invent. But color-coding will do you no good at all at night.

Color coded lines are mostly for weenies and Kansas farmers.

If you can't operate your boat with your eyes shut, if you can't find each line immediatly in the dark, you might be an ok daytripper and maybe you have a performance sled that can really rocket, but you're not a sailor.

Also, color coded lines on a nice boat are obsenely garish.

G'luck



Ian, I would tend to agree w/ you. BUT, (that famous word!) I sail in a boat club w/ 19 other guys and the range of ability/experience is uh, rather broad. And we have 3 boats. So for the sake of consistency and ease of explaining when one of our seldomseen members takes friends out it does make for an easier day.

And for those Dark and Stormy nights when you're tucking another reef in, yes, I try to know the boat I'm on so I can do it more or less sightless.

On a traditional craft, absolutely all white. on the Catalinas/S2 we sail, I don't really care about the colors.

Kaa
06-03-2008, 01:52 PM
On a traditional craft, absolutely all white.

Don't you mean BLACK? :D :D

But I guess it depends on what you're trying to emulate. If it's a yaaaacht with brightwork and polished bronze, and generally gentlemany airs, then yes, probably all white. If it's a workboat, no way.

Kaa

Ian McColgin
06-03-2008, 08:37 PM
I've yet to change Marmalade's reef points which are way wrong to my mind. They are 3/8" three strand dacron terminated with colored tape - red, green and blue. My preference is three strand for first and third reefs, first reef terminated in a crown, third whipped. Second reef is 3/8" double braid. These can be told by feel.

The Wianno Sr I sail on has coloured lines. I have noticed that green crew (not color coded) have no more trouble learning "spinnaker pole lift" from "spinnaker pole guy" than "orange line (faded) from "naucious green line". Colour coded is for farmers.

Woxbox
06-03-2008, 09:30 PM
Traditional color codes:
Brown -- you can move it
Black -- you can't move it

The main course alone on the Kalmar Nyckel has 17 controls lines attached to it. How many colors are there? But as long as all those lines get belayed back where they belong, you can always find them at night.

http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f92/Woxbox/KNinNYC.jpg

SchoonerRat
06-03-2008, 09:43 PM
Traditional color codes:
Brown -- you can move it
Black -- you can't move it

The main course alone on the Kalmar Nyckel has 17 controls lines attached to it. How many colors are there? But as long as all those lines get belayed back where they belong, you can always find them at night.

That's a color scheme I can get behind.

Seriously though, color coding makes a lot of sense on a racing boat. A minor hesitation or grab for the wrong line can cost places, and many racers have a revolving door for crew. It can be tough to get the same dozen or so warm bodies for every race. On a traditional boat, colored lines can look a bit silly. But if you're a little green, and you are helped by the extra visual clues, by all means, getting to the right line in a hurry could avoid tragedy. Just be ready for the occasional sneer. It's kinda like going to the mall with plaid pants and stripe shirt so your friends can find you quickly. It works, but.........

martin schulz
06-04-2008, 02:48 AM
Often, I have a novice crew ... and it's nice to tell them to pull the blue line (brailing line) or to tension up the red line (snotter). Helps all around.

I bet it does "help around" and I am sure it would be much more trouble to get them to do all the work without help by colored lines.

The thing is...now they depend on those colored lines and concentrate just on the colour of the rope they are handling instead of the function the rope has. Your method is fine for practical and troublefree handling, but doesn't help in the long run.

I have written PORT and STARBOARD in huge letters on the sides of my boat, because the novices I often sail with always have problems with the terms...;)

P.L.Lenihan
06-04-2008, 03:41 AM
. Colour coded is for farmers.

:D:D:D AMEN!! :D:D:D


Peter

Ian McColgin
06-04-2008, 07:00 AM
I am fond of telling new crew that we use the Berlitz-American Tourist approach to nomenclature.

Berlitz - total immersion. I will always say, "Trim the main sheet please." Not, "Pull that line over there."

American Tourist - If you don't understand me the first time I will say exactly the same thing over again, but more loudly and more slowly.

A hot boat that needs myriad control lines still does not use most of those lines in evolutions. Even the greenest of crew can be trained in one or two discrete tasks. It's on the skipper to identify and break the evolution - say a gybe with spinnaker - into discrete bits where each crew member does only one thing at a time and the succession of tasks makes sense.

All too often you see the skipper give a hasty foredeck briefing to whomever is light enough without even getting the pole off it's blocks, much less having the shute up. Then instead of smoothly gybing, the whole crew joins in a vigorous charlie foxtrot accompanied by acapulco harmonies. Color codes don't help there either, though colorful language can relieve the skipper's blood pressure.

Wild Wassa
06-04-2008, 07:57 AM
"Colour coded is for farmers."

Cool. So that is why things are colour coded, it is something about being bucolic. I've always wondered.

It is really good to know that, because I was somewhat confused.

I thought it was about, cores and covers and tensile strength and percentages of stretch and pre stretch and what you can actually buy on the day if your rigging supplyer doesn't have what you want. Or you don't want to buy several hundred metres of various diameter ropes that have to be ordered in when you might only want 20 metres of aparticular diameter. What colour you can get the spectra in, and how to identify spectra over prestretched.

I'm glad high tech ropes are no longer needed ... I'll just go and see what historic and classic low water retention ropes are available for these yachts. Buff would be a good colour to get would it? I'd just hate to think fast boats looked truely rural.

Warren.

Tom Hunter
06-04-2008, 09:17 AM
In the spirit of friendly debate, Ian is just completely wrong. ;)

Color coding can be very helpful if you enjoy teaching people to sail.

I often take novices along, and have color coded a bit. But I'm judicious about it.

On my boat there are 3 halyards and two sheets that get a lot of use. Three of these, the jib halyard, jib sheet and main sheet are spaced far apart from each other so it is easy to get a novice to the correct sheet or halyard.

The peak and throat halyard are together on the same side of the mast. I know this is highly unusual, but having tried rigging her the other way, this works much better. I color coded the halyards to solve confusion on the part of novice crew and it is a huge help.

Like a lot of people here I grew up sailing, and understanding a boat or ship comes naturally. But for someone who is completely new a sailboat is often a confusing machine. I feel that a bit of sympathy is on order.

If you have the advantage of sailing with crew that knows there stuff color coding is not needed. But if your concerned about the over population of landlubbers and want to help people out of that benighted state judicious use of color coding can make things much easier for them. I do agree that the proper terms should be used at all times. I never say grab the red line, I always identify it correctly and then add the color if the person looks confused.

outofthenorm
06-04-2008, 10:47 AM
I agree with Ian, but I have to admit that mine are "time coded". New ones are pretty white, middle age ones are sort of dingy, and old ones are much dirtier. Oh, and there's thick ones and thin ones. :D

- Norm

Michael s/v Sannyasin
06-04-2008, 03:03 PM
I have to disagree with you Kaa, that color-coding is an improvement in the user interface. I design user interfaces for software programs for a living, and one of the major no-no's is coming up with fancy color-coding schemes... there is a high percentage of the population with "color confusion", often it is red/green, but it can be with other colors as well, and some people can barely see color at all. So, relying on color alone in a scheme is immediatly building a handicap into your user interface.

But, more than that, I think the problem with a color-code is that it forces the user to first learn the code and is therefore less intuitive. Unless the code has some other related association that the person might already know, such as "the port-side jib sheet is red and the starboard side is green", it will be harder to learn a color-coded system.

I was over looking at the Clipper Around the World race boats at the North Cove marina yesterday, and their color-coded lines looked like a nightmare to learn.

http://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/images/gallery_race_news/QD_Image_071210_foredeck_in_Southern_oceanIMGP0006 .jpg

http://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/

I think a more user-friendly system would be a positional system. I was just told, on a schooner I was crewing on, that all the throat halyards are on the port side pin rails because Port goes down the Throat best. I can remember that! (Peak halyards to starboard).

On my boat, I run both throat and peak to the starboard side, because I raise them both myself at the same time. So, to keep them straight, my throat halyard is forward of the peak halyard, as the actual throat is to the actual peak (easy to remember). Also, the lines run to the blocks better that way, anyway.

My staysail and jib halyards are on the port side, because that's where the available pins and cleats are, since the main sail has taken up all the space on the starboard side!

The schooner I was on had the staysail halyard on the port side, then alternated the jib halyard on the starboard side. Maybe that lets two people raise the sails at the same time.

The only color-coding I've seen that was really useful on a boat was for the reefing lines, helps you know which row of ties to tie, and which cringle you want to tie off.

Kaa
06-04-2008, 03:37 PM
I have to disagree with you Kaa, that color-coding is an improvement in the user interface. I design user interfaces for software programs for a living, and one of the major no-no's is coming up with fancy color-coding schemes... there is a high percentage of the population with "color confusion", often it is red/green, but it can be with other colors as well, and some people can barely see color at all. So, relying on color alone in a scheme is immediatly building a handicap into your user interface.

But Michael, nobody was talking about "relying on color alone" -- that would be a silly idea. The point is redundant identification -- color is an aid and a backup, not a primary way to identify a line.

To give a trivial example, links on rendered HTML pages are, by convention, underlined. But they are also almost always blue. Color here is not a primary identifier (not everything blue is a link), but an aid, a hint and a confirmation that this underlined text is indeed a link.

I continue to think color-coding is an improvement in UI in this case. Besides, since I'm talking about setting up a scheme for myself and my potential crew, the issues of color blindness in the general population are moot.



But, more than that, I think the problem with a color-code is that it forces the user to first learn the code and is therefore less intuitive. Unless the code has some other related association that the person might already know, such as "the port-side jib sheet is red and the starboard side is green", it will be harder to learn a color-coded system.

Not at all. It gives the user a choice of what to learn first -- color or, say, positional information. Eventually -- very quickly, I'd guess -- all the identifiers will merge together into a whole (e.g. "the peak halyard is the somewhat stiff not-too-thin blue line on the top cleat to starboard"). The advantages are redundancy (under stress you can just remember any of several identifiers, not the only one) and a built-in consistency check ("there's a red line on the top cleat? Um, stop. Something's wrong").


I think a more user-friendly system would be a positional system.

I would argue that both is the correct answer.


I was just told, on a schooner I was crewing on, that all the throat halyards are on the port side pin rails because Port goes down the Throat best. I can remember that! (Peak halyards to starboard).

On my boat, I run both throat and peak to the starboard side, because I raise them both myself at the same time. So, to keep them straight, my throat halyard is forward of the peak halyard, as the actual throat is to the actual peak (easy to remember). Also, the lines run to the blocks better that way, anyway.

Yeah, well, Ian's system is different :D



The halyards go to the starboard side of the mast, throat inboard of the peak if taken to deck, peak above throat and a little forward if on the mast. Were Marmalade a sloop, the jib halyard would go to port. A flying jib or spinaker halyard is distinguished as throat and pear are. Lifts and downhauls are located around the mast as fits their use.

When I get home I'll check Cunliffe's Hand, Reef, and Steer -- I am sure he had an opinion on the matter :-)

Kaa

outofthenorm
06-04-2008, 03:45 PM
My last comment was for fun, but now I'm wading in seriously on the same side as Ian. If your boat is properly rigged, with lines led through fairleads and keepers of various kinds, with stopper knots on their ends, they will always be in the same place every time. If the line that comes through THAT fairlead and belays around THIS cleat was the port side flying jib sheet last time you let it go, it will still be the port side flying jib sheet next time you let it go. I sail single handed with six halyards, three downhauls, furling gear, three sets of heads'l sheets, mainsheets, running backstays, a shifting vang and sometimes preventers, and I know I can do it in the dark with one eye tied behind my back. Most stuff is belayed positionally, Sheets are arranged with the most forward sail on the most forward cleat, as for Halyards - it's Peak to Port, aft pin on the mast band, staysail is stbd, fore pin, gaff tops'l halyard is on the second pin on the stbd shroud rack, jib tops's halyard is on the port shroud rack, same pin, for just a few examples - and they have all been that way for at least 24 years. Colour coded is for non-visually challenged farmers. Teach your students the real names and use of things and they will be better equipped to transfer their knowledge to another boat.

- Norm

rbgarr
06-04-2008, 04:06 PM
I learned to sail on Beetle cats and Wianno Seniors and Concordias (like Ian?) which as near-one-designs have a standard layout for halyards, sheets, etc. It's been mildly annoying to sail on other boats ever since, but all that means is that I became set in my ways at a very young age! :D

Michael s/v Sannyasin
06-04-2008, 05:49 PM
But Michael, nobody was talking about "relying on color alone" -- that would be a silly idea. The point is redundant identification -- color is an aid and a backup, not a primary way to identify a line.

I would agree that in many cases color can be an aid and a backup, though shouldn't be a primary way to identify a line.



I continue to think color-coding is an improvement in UI in this case. Besides, since I'm talking about setting up a scheme for myself and my potential crew, the issues of color blindness in the general population are moot.


Moot until that one day, when you've got a friend of a friend on board, and a squall line races up and you're telling him to uncleat the line with the green stripe to lower the jib and he's just looking at you with a wild-eyed stare, because you didn't know he was color-blind and you're used to calling it that line with the green stripe, as opposed to the line tied to that metal thing next to your right foot.



Not at all. It gives the user a choice of what to learn first -- color or, say, positional information. Eventually -- very quickly, I'd guess -- all the identifiers will merge together into a whole (e.g. "the peak halyard is the somewhat stiff not-too-thin blue line on the top cleat to starboard"). The advantages are redundancy (under stress you can just remember any of several identifiers, not the only one) and a built-in consistency check ("there's a red line on the top cleat? Um, stop. Something's wrong").


Well, at least in the case of computer software interface design the best design is the one where a user intuitively knows what to do. So, the judgement is that if a user has no training at all, and guesses correctly what to do, then the design is user-friendly. If they have to learn anything before-hand, it fails automatically.

The redundant example you give could work, but what if there was a difference between a white line with a solid red streak and a white line with a broken red streak and one was OK on the top cleat and one was not... the users going to be scratching his head trying to remember which was which because broken or solid doesn't intuitively mean anything to him.



I would argue that both is the correct answer.


I'd say that as long as the color scheme isn't overly complicated and confusing, then it probably won't hurt. I've seen some computer applications, we call them "disco applications" because they've got all sorts of flashing lights and color crap going on, and it is so distracting, the users hate using the system. Sometimes, less is more. If your color-code is more distracting than helpfull, get rid of it!



When I get home I'll check Cunliffe's Hand, Reef, and Steer -- I am sure he had an opinion on the matter :-)

Kaa

Now that, I'll agree with! Also, you might want to have a look at the Gaff Rig Handbook by John Leather, two of the best sources I know of.

:D

Kaa
06-04-2008, 11:18 PM
Well, at least in the case of computer software interface design the best design is the one where a user intuitively knows what to do.

Yep, the Principle of Least Surprise, aka software should conform to the expectations of the user. Unfortunately it doesn't work that neatly in physical reality which has problems with conforming to expectations :-)


So, the judgement is that if a user has no training at all, and guesses correctly what to do, then the design is user-friendly. If they have to learn anything before-hand, it fails automatically.

In very abstract theory. In practice, and even in less abstract theory, the user interface is just a certain way to do something. If the user doesn't know how to do what he wants to do, relying on his guesses isn't going to be helpful. In other words, the tasks that need to be accomplished have their own inherent level of complexity and even the best user interface cannot compensate for the lack of competence. Guiding the user could be helpful, but it tends to irritate the expert users and is out of the realm of the Principle of Least Surprise, anyway.

But we've strayed far afield :-)


Now that, I'll agree with! Also, you might want to have a look at the Gaff Rig Handbook by John Leather, two of the best sources I know of.

Well, with regard to positioning of halyards and such, Cunliffe says:

"...Throat was, and still is, always to starboard unless there is an excellent reason to the contrary. When hove-to in order to reef the main, a seaman wanted to be on the starboard tack so as to make the most of his collision rights. He also wanted to be working on the uphill side of the deck to keep his feet dry. Since many gaffers can tuck in two reefs before it becomes necessary to make more than minor adjustments to the peak halyard, it was sensible to keep the throat to the starboard and the peak to port. If the boat is small enough for one person to pull both halyards at once, which is generally the case below about 35 ft, both can be led to starboard.

By the same logic, if there is only one topping lift, it should be led down to the starboard side."

John Leather doesn't seem to say anything on the matter...

Kaa

martin schulz
06-05-2008, 07:32 AM
Its really fun to see how you guys are trying to think about practical/reasonable ways to improve sailing on totally unpractical/nonsensical boats.

If one wants to be practical/logical/seriously one wouldn't be sailing at all particularly not old wooden boats.

Kaa
06-05-2008, 10:18 AM
Its really fun to see how you guys are trying to think about practical/reasonable ways to improve sailing on totally unpractical/nonsensical boats.

I don't think so. I think my boat -- an Iain Oughtred's Eun na Mara -- is a practical boat that makes a lot of sense. It's not a racer or a passage-maker, but that never was a part of the design brief. It is, basically, a coastal weekender and for that purpose it is suited very well.


If one wants to be practical/logical/seriously one wouldn't be sailing at all particularly not old wooden boats.

Your understanding of practicality and logic is too limited :D But I am not sailing an old wooden boat, anyway.

Kaa

martin schulz
06-06-2008, 02:50 AM
Your understanding of practicality and logic is too limited

Not really. I am well able to com up with lots of practical inventions, even some that would be a great help on a boat.
The thing is: I don't want to sail in a practical manner.

To me sailing is sort of a time-machine. We (museumharbour crowd) are able to handle techniques and equipement often devised more than 100 years ago. What really bugs me is when I see old working boats with stainless steel stuff, colored rope, fender preservatives...thats like being part of a re-enacting company with uniforms and antique weapons where some show up with sneakers (practicall of course, esspecially when you are standing around the whole day).

And then the whole business of sailing is really quite stupid and very unlogical.
1. its expensive
2. its complicated (much easier to powerboat)
3. its uncomfortable

The only payback is the feeling of being on the water, driven by the wind alone, exposed to nature...and I won't ruin that feeling with any modern practical stuff from "the other world".

Ian McColgin
06-06-2008, 05:20 AM
I guess color-coding makes sense for people who sail in places with 24 hour daylight. For those who sail after sunset or before dawn, it's absolutely useless and when the sun does come out, the color coding makes the boat look like a cheap tart.

martin schulz
06-06-2008, 07:02 AM
...look like a cheap tart.

Or like the old-salt who does my rigging once said, when he saw a museumharbour boat with fender-condoms:

"This looks like grandma in a miniskirt"

Kaa
06-06-2008, 10:14 AM
...makes the boat look like a cheap tart.

I have a sudden urge to name something salty The Farmer Whore :D

But renaming boats is serious business, so maybe I'll just make flag to display if I and my boat ever find myself in the vicinity of Ian :-)

By the way, anyone knows if I can get 10mm braided dacron in hot pink with gold glitter thread..?

:D :D

Kaa