Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Never Saddle a Dead Horse

Now that winter is near, we want to make sure our float cabin is ready for heavy winds.  During my first solo trip to the cabin in 2001, one of the worst storms hit. The winds were so strong they broke two of our steel anchor cables (Up the Lake, Chapter 4). 

Now we've made some improvements. Of course, our good friend John did the work (with a little help from Wayne). He installed double cables at the critical end points.   Both are attached to the granite wall half way between the high and low water mark.

A year ago, one of the double cables broke.  We've been waiting for low water ever since to reach the attachment point.  After John installed a new (shiny steel) cable, he noticed that the loop of the other cable was frayed at the anchor bolt.  There was enough slack for a repair.

First they tied off the cable so it wouldn't fall in the water. Then John used a grinder to remove the rusted cable clamps.  Using muscle power, they pulled the cable up to a better spot. Then John used new cable clamps to make a loop through the anchor bolt eye.

He was very careful to follow the rule, "never saddle a dead horse."  As Wayne described in his book Cabin Number 5, "It’s a good way to remember how to install the cable clamp on the loop. The tail (dead end) gets the U-shaped bracket of the cable clamp, assuring maximum holding power. Each loop gets two clamps, with the bolts tightened to John’s industrial-strength torque standards." We should be set now! -- Margy


  1. I had wondered how houseboats stay put during storms. Now I know. Great post.

  2. Good maintenance is a never ending job!

  3. Very interesting to see how they do it.

  4. The things we never think of when we think of living in a float cabin. Your posts are so informative.

  5. Interesting Margy. Guess you could wake up one morning and find yourselves relocated if your not careful.

  6. Thanks everyone for your interest. I've learned so much over the last eleven years in a float cabin. John has been so good to share with us. We really couldn't have done it without his help.

    Paul - You are so right. Even when our improvements are done, the everyday things need to be tended to. Wind is our biggest enemy.

    Frugal - I've had dreams (nightmares?) about it happening. But it is a rare occurrence. That being said, I have seen free floating cabins after a particularly nasty wind storm. Fortunately, someone will capture it and tie it up for the owner. That happened to our woodshed once. A friend saw it heading south to the dam, tied it to a snag and called us to pick it up.



We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy