On early sailing ships, a tailor would board the ship while in port to
measure men for new clothing and make repairs for those who could afford it. The crew got to knock off work early to mend old clothes. As thread they
would break out the rope yarns that were used for making ropes while underway and
use it for thread to mended clothes and hammocks. One afternoon per week at sea, usually a
Wednesday, was reserved for mending. Little understood in todays world, the men also knitted their own socks and sweaters, knitting was not looked down on as "sissy", but practical.
Since it was an afternoon for rest from the usual chores, many kept with the
tradition up to the years immediately after World War II; the men used Wednesday
afternoon for personal errands like picking up their laundry and getting haircuts.
They paid back the time by working half a day on Saturdays.
Today's uniforms require less attention and the men usually send the clothing
out for repair or purchase new to replace worn items, so Rope Yarn Sunday has been
turned to other purposes - mainly taking an early liberty or a time for catching
up on sleep. Some, however, still adhere to tradition by breaking out the ditty
bag for an afternoon of uniform repair. While doing so sailors can't resist telling
a few "sea stories", some true and maybe some 'not so true' but who knows.
So, in keeping with the modern tradition of kicking back for a little fun and story telling
here are our Rope Yarn Sunday offerings for your reading pleasure and entertainment.
The stories printed below are copyrighted and reproduced by permission of their authors.