Cows tails are really useful for a wide range of applications. My primary use for them is for towing boats in rescue situations, however they can also be used for attaching a person to a throw bag for a live bait or clipping to a boat when getting out to stop it floating away if it is a difficult get out.
For a long time I just used a standard 2.4m sling for these applications however it did tend to get caught on things being a closed loop and it was a rather long and was generally rather annoying.
I decided I wanted an elasticated cows tail but being a stingy skint student and also having seen how short and useless for towing the commercially available ones are. I refused to buy on of the commercially available ones and instead I discovered how easy and cheap it is to make one yourself.
I started by buying the following materials;
— 2m of 26mm tubular sling – http://www.rockrun.com/beal-26mm-tube-tape/
— 1m of 4mm shock cord – http://www.rockrun.com/shock-cord-4mm/
— 2 screw gate crabs – http://www.rockrun.com/mammut-element-keylock-screwgate/
It took me ages to thread the shock cord through the tubular sling however in retrospect it would be very easy to do if you had a straight stick which you could tape the cord to and push it through. The tubular sling has to be scrunched up like this:
so that it is the same length as the shock cord.
To attach the crabs I first tried to sow it but without a sowing machine this was rather difficult and when you are intending on using it to take your weight in a live bait I wanted it to be strong enough.
I therefore decided that a simple overhand loop knot in the end as shown below
I had to make sure that the shot cord was trapped in the knot so that it didn’t pull out when it was stretched however with the the elastic running all the way round the knot it became too bulky and difficult to tie. I got around this problem by only having the end of the elastic in the half of the knot running from the loop part to the main length of the tape. This created some fairly tight small knots which reduces the chance of them becoming trapped between any rocks.
With the knots in it the stretched length of the sling is around 1.6m and the unstretched length is around 0.8m
It is really easy to make and you can attach whatever crabs you want to the ends of it. I use a screw gate on the end I attach to my BA and a palm large wire gate on the other end as it makes clipping boats easier.
It is so much more convenient than a sling and the materials excluding the crabs only cost £2.60 around a quarter of what palms cows tail is and it is much longer and more suited to towing boats while still being compact and easy to tuck in my BA. It is certainly strong enough for all the applications I use it for and doesn’t get tangled around me when I am trying to clip it onto a boat.
Here is a few more photos of the cows tail;