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post #24 of Old 08-17-2012
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Re: Knapps Narrows Incident - Post Mortem

Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
I’d caution against EVER using a spring line from a bow cleat on anything other than a twin-screw powerboat, I’ve never known that to accomplish anything but pulling the bow of a sailboat into the dock very sharply. In the situation the OP described, with a following current, that only would have exacerbated the loss of control and difficulty of keeping the boat parallel to the dock…

In general, I don’t even like the practice of handing off the bow line first to someone on the dock when coming along a face dock, in any situation other than in the most placid conditions… So often, the first thing they will do with it, is pull the bow in towards the dock in an effort to “assist”, which of course usually turns out to accomplish the opposite… Far better and safer in most cases to have a spring line from a midship cleat be the first line made fast to the dock…

One of my biggest pet peeves about most production boats, is the typically poor placement of midship cleats. Invariably, they are placed too far forward for effective use of springing the boat into the dock, and tend to pull the bow in instead when the spring line is snatched up. On most boats, the best placement will usually be back in the vicinity of Station 6 or 7, and sailors would do well to figure out the point at which leading a spring aft from will keep the boat straight/parallel to the dock when easing forward on it. Then, the placement of an additional chock, or snatch block or similar, should be employed to lead the spring line from there…
Don't you think that if the boat came alongside INTO the current and wind, a spring from bow to cleat with enough scope to reach amidships, the helm over to starboard with engine in gear just enough to keep from slipping back, and the help of current would keep the bow from angling in at too sharp an angle. I think it might work. It would be a balancing act for sure to get the motor idling at just the right rpm and I know exactly what you're saying but this may have been a way to at least get the boat in with no assist. There are no real good alternatives going with current and wind. Attaching a single spring to a midship cleat going into current would surely allow current to throw the bow out and wrench the stern into the dock, a real disaster.

I had a situation like this a couple of years ago where there was no room to swing into the current and wind. It was at a fixed dock with pilings to deal with. There was no quick jumping off with lines in hand because the dock was about 3' higher than the boat. Luckily the gas dock attendant was able and willing to handle lines. If he was not there I would not have even attempted it. Gave him a good tip.

I have no midship cleat and it IS a PITA when running springs. I wind up using the little inner jib block for a tie-off point. I actually bought two of those flush pop-up cleats but they're so deep and would protrude so far into the cabin that I probably won't install them. I'm also not sure they would not leak either. After recoring the decks, I'm loathe to putting holes in it. Putting a standard cleat there would invite lines getting caught. Have been thinking of just putting in a 1/2" high base with bolt holes to which cleats could be bolted onto when needed. I don't like those genoa track cleats.

Alberg 35: With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship.
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