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post #1 of 16 Old 09-19-2009 Thread Starter
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Dock line requirements

I'm asking about dock line requirements for coastal crusing in Long Island Sound on a Catalina 30 but I'm also interested in other boats and venues.

How many dock lines should one have on board, what size and length?
What about some extra heavy duty ones for bad weather?
We usually have floating docks but I notice that Block Island has fixed docks only.
The C30 has rather light weight cleats so if you go heavier on the lines they will not thread into the hole in the middle of the cleat. In this case what do you do? Light line to snub up the loop over the cleat.
What about chafing gear?
Do you carry something suitable for towing?
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post #2 of 16 Old 09-19-2009
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Our boat is about the same size.

We have two sets of dock/spring lines.

The first set is our "transient" lines. These stay onboard in the cockpit locker and are used when we tie up in transient slips or when rafting with other boats. They consist of four 1/2"x25' three strand nylon dock and four 1/2"x35' three strand nylon spring lines.

The second set is our "winter moorage" lines. These are the lines that we use when tying up in a slip for the winter (we keep our boat on a mooring during the summer.) If we had a year-round slip, these would be our fixed slip lines, i.e. they would remain tied to the pilings when we departed the slip. These consist of the same number and length as the transient lines, only the diameter is plus sized and they are double braided instead of three strand.

We don't carry anything special for towing.


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post #3 of 16 Old 09-19-2009
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You do not use the hole in the center of the cleat. How many lines depends on what type slip you are going into. If you only have one side to tie up to then you will need aft and foreword lines and two spring lines and good fenders. If you can tie a line to anything foreword or aft do it. In most places this can be to the adjacent boat or to a dolphin pole or possibly another cleat on the dock. As far as lengths you can have all regular lines about the length of your boat but I typically have two half the length and two full size and two well over the boat length by 15 feet or so and can often use one as a double spring line or for assistance getting out of the slip in a narrow channel. I always carry one 150 foot line for use in a land base tie off point if needed. I can use a spare anchor line if more needed and they are all 150 min.

As you get familiar with the specific requirements of each location you can make adjustment

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post #4 of 16 Old 09-19-2009
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I agree with the previous posts regarding number, type, length of dock lines. I might add that I was tought that generally with a dock line that has a spliced in loop at one end and the other without, the loop on your transient lines should always go to the dock and the rest of the line brought aboard and cleated off(figure 8 style). In other words the adjusting of the length of the lines should bed done from aboard the vessel, not from the dock or at the piling. This allows you to be able to adjust all your lines as needed, incase of tide changes or other reasons from the boat. It keeps you from having to leave or get off the vessel to adjust lines. This could be very helpful in a number of scenarios. For instance if tied up alongside a quay or dock where there is a large tidal range and your vessel may be a large distance below the level of the cleats up on the dock..Also, if there is tension on the line,when cleated properly, you are able to release your lines, no so if you have the loop over your cleat. In case of some emergency, where you might need to release your boat quickly, you want to be able to do that right from your vessel.
For permant docking lines, I do just the opposite. The loops are thrown over the cleats onboard the vessel and the rest of the line brought ashore and the lines permantly adjusted for your particular dock and cleated off on the dock. Then when leaving you just have to pull off the loops at each onboard cleat and leave the lines on the dock. When coming back and docking, your lines are all ready set at the correct length and you just have to drop the loops over your onboard cleats, and your tied up. Oh, AND DON'T FORGET YOUR FENDERS!..Rick

Last edited by midnightsailor; 09-20-2009 at 11:22 PM. Reason: spelling, clarification
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post #5 of 16 Old 09-21-2009
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I would highly recommend your keep your bow dock line short enough that it will NOT go into the prop if the line falls over board. Invariably this only happens when the wind kicks up to over 30 knots and the s#%t hits the fan.

I just manged to cause a leak where the propeller shaft strut attaches to the boat. One full day moving, orchestrating the haul out. $40 to the yard fees, $100 to my friend/local expert who worked on the repair, $150 to the trailer and truck rental, $100 to fix the trailer got slightly damaged and another half day splashing the boat. And this was cheap! Not to mention I am now owe a bunch of friends favors. (Luckily it is great fun to help each other out but still they could have helped me do something else like install more beer holders )

This could all be avoided if you keep all lines just short enough to not reach the prop from the bow cleat. My friend likes a long bow line to grab a mooring from the cockpit single handing...I totally disagree with this concept.

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post #6 of 16 Old 09-21-2009
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I have a 27' boat and use 25' Samson braid dock lines with spliced eye in one end. Eye on boat and other tied to dock cleats. Around here docks float (Victoria, B.C.). Even if your bow line is too short to reach the prop, your stern line will. When sailing I remove lines and replace in advance of approaching dock. I usually singlehand. As an aside, I wish more sailboats had midship cleats for springs.
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post #7 of 16 Old 09-21-2009
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I agree on the midship cleats...I tend to use a line around the base of the shrouds or a stanchion base for the midship cleat.

Also, as a point of good seamanship I would agree on flaking and storing the lines while underway which could save the trouble I experienced!

But ensuring the bow line doesnt reach the prop is a little extra insurance in case the line ends up in the water immediately after leaving or while returning to dock,

"The sail, the play of its pulse so like our own lives: so thin and yet so full of life, so noiseless when it labours hardest, so noisy and impatient when least effective". -- Henry David Thoreau
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post #8 of 16 Old 09-22-2009
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Midship cleats would be useful but are rare on sailboats. More common on power boats. This would be useful if the average power boater knew how to tie up.
Never use old sheet ropes/halyards for dock lines. They have no stretch therefore all shock loading as the boat "snatches" in waves is transmitted straight to the fittings and hull. The weakest one will eventually fail.
3 stand nylon type rope is cheap, can be strong and UV resistant and some types will float which will reduce risk to props. It also means it can be picked up with a boat hook if it drops in the water when you throw one end to a jetty/other boat.
I always tie line from jetty to far side of the boat when along side. This allows more room for stretch as the boat snatches and also means that small to medium tidal movements are less of a problem.
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post #9 of 16 Old 09-22-2009
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I agree that dock lines should be nylon, 3 strand or braid like Samson braid. But if it floats I believe it's poly, not nylon. Makes the best tow rope for waterskiers.
Brian
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post #10 of 16 Old 09-22-2009
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MidShip Cleats!
I too noticed the lack of midship cleats and decided they would be a good addition, but how? I found these really cool portable SS cleats, they slide over a jib track or genoa track and they have a locking spring pin just like the jib and genoa blocks. The ones I found are for a 1" track which I have on my 26' boat. I like to use them when docking or getting under way because I can place them right about amidships and control the boat from there as I jump off and tie up the other lines. I have had numerous inquiries from other sailors as to where I got them but they don't like hearing what I paid for them. The only downside to them is that they would be really easy for someone to steal from you, so I tend to only use them while getting under way or docking. I have on occasion left them on and to this day they have not gone missing.
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