Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: New Orleans
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Re: Yet another noobish question...
In ships, ya got yer head lines, stern lines, breast lines (keep her from moving sideways in a slip or off a dock) and your spring lines -- aft springs and forward springs, which keep you from moving longitudinally and screwing up the gangway and shore connections.
With small sailboats in a slip, we typically have as few as four "compromise" lines, leading outward at an angle from the boats four "quarters" (corners). They are like "sporks", doing the jobs of the six lines (times 3 for strength) you'd see on a ship. So each one serves a little bit as a bow (stern) line, and a spring, and a breast, even though the angles are less than ideal for any of these functions, but the loads aren't strong enough for that imperfection to matter in all but a gale of wind.
Larger sailboats typically add one or two spring lines to give the bow and stern lines a "break" so to speak. Typically we don't use true breast lines except temporarily to hold her next to the dock while you load/unload.
This unclear enough for ya? A pic would be worth a hundred words. But you did okay with your spring line, it's not just a temporary line (thought at times it can be, but that's another topic so I shall close now).