The Importance of Correctly Fit Bulldog Grips
- The saddle part of the bulldog grip should be applied to the “live” load bearing wire, whereas the U bolt goes around the “dead” tail:
- A useful way to remember this is by using the mnemonic “never saddle a dead horse”.
- Another good “aide memoire” is Saddle / Stressed, U / Unstressed.
- The distance between the grips is important and should be about six times the rope diameter; not significantly more or less.
- The length of the tail is also important and should be greater than five times the rope diameter.
- The tail should be whipped or bound to prevent it unravelling.
- The number of grips used depends on the diameter of the wire but at least three should be used for wires up to 19mm.
- It is important that the tightness of the nuts is checked periodically as the grips have a flattening effect on the wire, resulting in a reduced grip.
By using only two grips (instead of the recommended three), even correctly applied, the wire would slip at around 60 percent NBL reducing to 50 percent when reversed or staggered. With one grip, these figures were 25 percent (correct way around) and 18 percent (reversed).
The correct method of fitting bulldog grips is hardly ‘rocket science’ but the majority of those seen on board are, in some way, incorrectly fitted. Proper supervision in the builder’s yard should ensure that these are initially fitted correctly. Equally, stevedores/lashing gangs should be supervised and instructed to correct improper lashings.