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Thread: What is the origin of the Cove Stripe?

  1. #1
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    Default What is the origin of the Cove Stripe?

    I am prepping the boat to paint which includes a simple cove stripe. It requires a little deftness to sand and collect the paint before it hits the water with one hand holding the shop vac hose. As i was sanding the cove stripe with a series of cut dowels rolled in the sandpaper - I was wondering what the cove stripe was originally for, where it came from and why the boats that have them have a notch more character.

    Any ideas?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: What is the origin of the Cove Stripe?

    Maybe... it is a carry over from the days of fishing boats. Or maybe it is affectation to reduce the apparent height of the topsides
    It used to be that your "bank" (which could have been anyone) held the paper on your boat and took a share in the proceeds until it was paid off. This arrangement was advertised by a "mortgage stripe" of different colors to identify different lenders.

    Usually this "stripe" was a Boot Top stripe above the real boot top or above the waterline whatever the case was. It was a day for celebration when you had a deck load large enough, or just finally had "paid off" and you could paint out the mortgage stripe.
    This probably applied to cargo vessels as well. Both banks and individuals acting as banks often held mortgages on many vessels in the same port and you could tell at a glance who was who. Perhaps it was a yacht racing thing that subtly advertised the real owner or a consortium of owners, gambling men.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: What is the origin of the Cove Stripe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Maybe... it is a carry over from the days of fishing boats. Or maybe it is affectation to reduce the apparent height of the topsides
    It used to be that your "bank" (which could have been anyone) held the paper on your boat and took a share in the proceeds until it was paid off. This arrangement was advertised by a "mortgage stripe" of different colors to identify different lenders.

    Usually this "stripe" was a Boot Top stripe above the real boot top or above the waterline whatever the case was. It was a day for celebration when you had a deck load large enough, or just finally had "paid off" and you could paint out the mortgage stripe.
    This probably applied to cargo vessels as well. Both banks and individuals acting as banks often held mortgages on many vessels in the same port and you could tell at a glance who was who. Perhaps it was a yacht racing thing that subtly advertised the real owner or a consortium of owners, gambling men.
    I think that the UK way of doing things was different.
    Cargo vessels were divided into 64 shares, which could be sold off to investors like widows and so on. I have never read of "Mortgage stripes" nor of boats being mortgaged. There is one reference to a community in the SW of England painting a mourning stripe on the shear when the boat's owner passed.

    Cove lines, like the white tash at the bow, may simply have been decoration. An owner/crew's pride in their craft. The transoms of Thames barges were works of art.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: What is the origin of the Cove Stripe?

    I always thought it was a decoration, a unique signature for the builder.

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    Default Re: What is the origin of the Cove Stripe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Maybe... it is a carry over from the days of fishing boats. Or maybe it is affectation to reduce the apparent height of the topsides
    It used to be that your "bank" (which could have been anyone) held the paper on your boat and took a share in the proceeds until it was paid off. This arrangement was advertised by a "mortgage stripe" of different colors to identify different lenders.

    Usually this "stripe" was a Boot Top stripe above the real boot top or above the waterline whatever the case was. It was a day for celebration when you had a deck load large enough, or just finally had "paid off" and you could paint out the mortgage stripe.
    This probably applied to cargo vessels as well. Both banks and individuals acting as banks often held mortgages on many vessels in the same port and you could tell at a glance who was who. Perhaps it was a yacht racing thing that subtly advertised the real owner or a consortium of owners, gambling men.
    That's interesting.
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    Default Re: What is the origin of the Cove Stripe?

    I've always assumed that it was an easier (or less-lumber) way of achieving the appearance of a robust sheer strake.
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    Default Re: What is the origin of the Cove Stripe?

    Related question (I hope I am not hijacking). I read a reference the other day on the forum to a "wash strake", which seemed to me to be a removable strake on top of the sheer line that you could take on or off depending on the conditions. If you wanted more freeboard you could add it.

    I googled this and tried to search the forum but I couldn't find any actual examples. It's an interesting idea for a smaller sailboat, either for a drier ride or maybe more comfort (I doubt it would supply enough resistance to aid in capsizing).

    Does anyone have any examples?

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    Default Re: What is the origin of the Cove Stripe?

    Wash strakes were used on some shore-based open fishing boats that tended to fairly low fairly low amidships freeboard and needed a little more when sailing, which happened on a reach or run.

    Another solution to this problem - low freeboard for hauling long lines aboard versus enough freeboard to sail - is the Block Island Cowhorn (name from the shape) that had such a trough between the bow and stern waves that the rail was below the mean water level.

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    Default Re: What is the origin of the Cove Stripe?

    Thanks, Ian. Has anyone seen a wash strake in real life? I've done a quick google search but I have not seen any pictures of one.

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    Default Re: What is the origin of the Cove Stripe?

    Quote Originally Posted by AJBTC View Post
    Thanks, Ian. Has anyone seen a wash strake in real life? I've done a quick google search but I have not seen any pictures of one.
    My grandfather's herring punt had washstrakes, but by the time she was built they were no longer portable.
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    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: What is the origin of the Cove Stripe?

    Quote Originally Posted by AJBTC View Post
    Thanks, Ian. Has anyone seen a wash strake in real life? I've done a quick google search but I have not seen any pictures of one.
    Like this?
    "Monterey Clippers" all had them and still do.
    There's a viable Anchovy fishery here and these little boats are still used most over a century old now

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    Default Re: What is the origin of the Cove Stripe?

    A yachty touch preventing dew from running down the topisides and creating streaks?
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    Default Re: What is the origin of the Cove Stripe?

    I could have been a detail to "pretty up" a thicker sheer plank by coving the lower edge of that plank to soften the transition.

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    Default Re: What is the origin of the Cove Stripe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Like this?
    "Monterey Clippers" all had them and still do.
    There's a viable Anchovy fishery here and these little boats are still used most over a century old now

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    Default Re: What is the origin of the Cove Stripe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    I could have been a detail to "pretty up" a thicker sheer plank by coving the lower edge of that plank to soften the transition.
    I have seen cove stripes above a rubbing strake set in below the shear strake. And yachts with a thicker shear strake, that was beveled down to the plank thickness, below the cove line.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: What is the origin of the Cove Stripe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Like this?
    "Monterey Clippers" all had them and still do.
    There's a viable Anchovy fishery here and these little boats are still used most over a century old now

    54773A98-1F1C-45DC-85E6-BA8FA11958F3.jpg
    Looking at the coaming running back from the wheelhouse, I suspect those are to stop the catch and gear from sliding about as she rolls, rather than to keep the water outboard. Basically long pound boards.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: What is the origin of the Cove Stripe?

    For years, merchant ships had a white stripe. Here’s London and Overseas Freighters’ “LONDON BANKER” at the fitting out berth in Vlissingen, about to set out on her first voyage, in 1963. You can see that she hasn’t been handed over yet as she is flying the Dutch ensign. She has a proper sheerline - an unbroken fair curve, beautifully set off by the white stripe and the white bulwarks. She is positively radiating the pride in their new ship felt by the Rethynmis and Kukukundis families, her Dutch builders (who had got an order from the part owners of the Austin and Pickersgill shipyard) and her crew. (“LOFs” were a good outfit to work for - their nickname was “Lots Of Fun”). Every detail of this ship is “just right”, for 1963. No money has been wasted and no expense has been spared, and the whole thing has been put together by experts.

    This was about the high point of good looks in merchant ships; this gorgeous creature is a 14,000 dwt ‘tween deck tramp:



    The white line was by tradition repainted blue or mauve as a sign of mourning when the owner, or an important member of the owning family died. This tradition did not survive WW2, and of course pre-War ship pictures tend to be black and white but anyway here is a painting of China Navigation’s fast coastal passenger steamer “SHENGNING” with the stripe repainted for mourning, just before WW2:



    The white stripe died out in the 1970s as a cost cutting measure. Strangely, people then had the idea of painting the name of the line or service on the topsides, as below, which must have cost more…



    So I think the cove line is there to set off the sheer…
    Last edited by Andrew Craig-Bennett; 07-22-2022 at 09:32 AM.
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: What is the origin of the Cove Stripe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Looking at the coaming running back from the wheelhouse, I suspect those are to stop the catch and gear from sliding about as she rolls, rather than to keep the water outboard. Basically long pound boards.
    Well maybe, but I'm thinking you haven't fished much in the placid Pacific...

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    Default Re: What is the origin of the Cove Stripe?

    And, what about that lovely canoe?!

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    Default Re: What is the origin of the Cove Stripe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Well maybe, but I'm thinking you haven't fished much in the placid Pacific...
    If it is that placid, you don't need washboards. I go for pound boards so that you can carry more stuff on deck.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: What is the origin of the Cove Stripe?

    Cove stripe IMG_2899.jpg
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    Default Re: What is the origin of the Cove Stripe?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Satter View Post
    Cove stripe IMG_2899.jpg
    Go faster stripe.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  23. #23
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    Default Re: What is the origin of the Cove Stripe?

    This caused me to look for go faster stripes on the great Transatlantic liners. The first Mauritania seems to have had a vestigial one at one point. Otherwise none.
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