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argofred 07-18-2009 10:32 AM

Dockline failure from snubber
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A few month's ago my number on the waiting list finally came up at the community marina so in I went. Not the best slip as it is somewhat exposed to the south during a blow (15 to 20 K +). Chop can approach 10 to 12" at worst. My boat is an oday 34.

I decided that snubbers from Custom Rubber Corp where in order to smooth out the surge during any weather so they were installed on bow and stern lines. I used some 1/2" braided line that although not new was in decent shape. At the time, I was not concerned that this line is not the stretchy
type but is more appropriate for halyards etc. I figured that the snubber stretch was enough.

Well, one morning a couple of months later to my horror (after a blow overnight from the south) the starboard bow and stern lines had chafed thru and failed! My saving grace was that I listened to my gut instinct and had put backup lines on in case of a primary (snubbed) line failure. Otherwise my boat could have sustained severe damage.

The lines had chafed thru the snubber end where it takes a couple of sharp bends (see pic). I contacted custom rubber and they where responsive. I sent two snubbers and parted line back to them. Since then they have cited that the snubbers where used "improperly "

Custom Rubber Corp said:"After reviewing the circumstances of where and how your boat was docked, we found that our snubbers did not fail due to a part defect. We found that the appropriate dock lines for the environment were not being used.Our snubbers stand up to diverse weather and sea conditions, but only when used with an appropriate dock line"

Another engineer at CRC suggested that the snubbers where not made for such conditions. Huh?

So I remain in a quandry. Would three strand dockline have made a difference? My feeling is that chafe would have occurred with any line. There is no disclaimer and info about dockline type to be used with them anywhere in the instructions or website. Input please!

PS: I have since moved the boat to a better slip and have three strand 5/8" docline with NO snubbers!

Vasco 07-18-2009 10:36 AM

Always use nylon for mooring lines.

knothead 07-18-2009 11:47 AM


Originally Posted by Vasco (Post 506459)
Always use nylon for mooring lines.

Yep. Wrong line for the application. These snubbers have been around for many years. I'm pretty sure that if they had a propensity for chafing through docklines, they would not still be in production.

argofred 07-19-2009 08:27 AM

When you say wrong line for the application are you referring to braid vs three strand? Vasco: this is nylon line in pic? Thanks all!

Vasco 07-19-2009 10:06 AM

If the braided line was more suited to halyards as you state in your post I would think it's not nylon. Halyard line should be low stretch.

hutch5151 07-19-2009 10:24 AM

I agree. Wrong type of line. I have used these snubbers for years with three strand nylon dock lines and have had no wear or abrasion at all where the lines contact the snubber.

SEMIJim 07-19-2009 11:02 AM


Originally Posted by argofred (Post 506625)
Vasco: this is nylon line in pic?

Are you asking us whether it's nylon or telling us it is?


Maine Sail 07-19-2009 01:50 PM

That photo
That photo looks a lot more like a shock loading failure ,due to a low stretch line, then it does chafe. Chafe failures tend to unwind a double braid line much worse than that. That line looks like Samson's a low stretch halyards from a few years ago.

sigmasailor 07-19-2009 02:23 PM

Have been using three strand nylon lines with similar snubbers for more than 10 years without any problems.

My guess is in line with earlier reactions: you have used the wrong line (looking at the pictures the lines you used are intended to be used as sheets and are low stretch).

imagine2frolic 07-19-2009 02:47 PM

The snubber wasn't the cause of failure, but the choice in line was the's a learning curve........i2f

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