Cutter was vaguely annoyed with his crew of Joes and greenshirts on the WHALE. It didn't take much from each one to have the boat ready for the next mission but it seemed to be a day where everyone was trying to duck their tasks. They had been tied up at the dock for at least three hours already and still hadn't finished.

"You! You greenshirts! Have you even mopped the galleys down yet?" The guilty jumps from them answered his question without words. "Get to it!" He stalked his way down a ladder and barked at Torpedo and Wetsuit. "Why isn't all this gear stowed away yet? You should have had this done hours ago!" He got the two scrambling to put away all the gear used during the training mission and made sure they knew every bit needed to be fully inspected too.

The decks were strewn with lines everywhere. Half the practice had been men overboard drills and retrieving both men and equipment quickly resulted in a lot of loose line. Of course, every foot of it should have been neatly coiled up on the run back to the docks, but none of that chore had been done either.

After an hour, Cutter spotted Shipwreck and the other Joes headed for the docks and bellowed out of the bridge. "Where do you think you're going?!" The small group halted and Cutter came storming out of the wheelhouse and climbed down the ladder to the main deck.

"We're just going ashore, Cutter." Shipwreck's easy grin didn't soothe Cutter's anger in the least. Polly flapped her wings and shrieked. "ALL ASHORE THAT'S GOING ASHORE!" Shipwreck pinched her beak shut. "I figured that with the greenshirts aboard..."

"You figured WRONG. Get back to it! No one leaves this WHALE until every task is done and I don't care if all hands end up on this boat until the end of time. It's going to be done, and done right. Or it'll be done over again, until it IS done right."

There was some low grumbling from some but everyone went to find the undone chores and finish them. By the time Cutter had reinspected each area to see that it was all done properly, that every piece of equipment had been correctly stowed away and all the floors and kitchen equipment was cleaned, hours more had passed.

Everyone was on the main deck when Cutter arrived there. He waved at all the line still laying in heaps. "No one has coiled this? I really don't mind everyone staying all night on board..."

The greenshirts started to try to untangle the piles of line and one started to loop the ropes around his forearm. Torpedo sighed and took the bundle from him. "Not like that. You coil it on the deck." He began running the rope through his left hand to his right, flipping it into neat rounds on the deck, quickly stacking it up.

Two greenshirts tried to copy him with rather comically disastrous results. The rope rolled and tangled into a sloppy pile until Wetsuit grabbed it away from one. "Like this... you'd think you guys had never hand coiled line." He glanced over at Torpedo with a gleam in his eyes. "Of course, some of us can do it quickly..." He sped up and Torpedo narrowed his gaze and sped up himself as well.

Shipwreck straightened his sailor's cap and strutted over. "Let a real swabbie show you how it's done, boys." Cutter seemed about to make a smart remark but shut his mouth as Shipwreck began tossing coils of rope into perfectly aligned stacks at least twice the speed of the other two. Even with both the others struggling to work faster, Shipwreck didn't seem to even be making an effort.

One greenshirt was trying to shake the tangles out of more of the ropes to help feed it to the coilers. "I don't get it. When I try to do that, the rope just goes everywhere!"

Shipwreck flipped a end around the stack of coiled lines and tied it neatly before snatching up another piece to start a new coil. "Heck, ya land lubbers! It ain't rocket science, it's just winding lines."

Polly squawked from her perch on his shoulder. "Good thing, sailor don't do science! Awk! Awk!"

Cutter smiled at the scene. Two Joes were manfully trying to keep up with Shipwreck while the greenshirts did the grunt work of moving completed coils and dragging the piles of ropes to sort them out. At least they'd finally found something Shipwreck could and would do at top speed.


This is a skill that is essential on boats of all types. Hand coiling lines involves twisting and flipping the ropes as you throw them at the deck into a proper coil that stacks up in a really neat fashion. Then you simply tie the end around and you can pick the whole thing up and put it away. When you use the line later, it uncoils and doesn't tangle up like if you do the landlubber thing of coiling it around your elbow and hand. Properly coiling lines(ropes) is a key skill and one that long time sailors become expert at.

Also, it's not uncommon for men to race each other in hand coiling too. A loop out of place is a big point against your skill too. So you have to do it right and fast too.

Hope you enjoyed!