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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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Old 03-09-2008
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Dock-side storm tactics...

A nasty little spring storm rolled through here yesterday and claimed two small sport fishing boats at our dock. Both had their open transoms exposed to the weather, while other similar boats with their bows to weather survived. I find the sight of a sunken boat -- any boat -- unsettling, and I thought it would worthwhile for folks to to post advice for dockside parking techniques for (non-hurricane) nasty weather.

When weather approaches, I've found it useful to tighten the docklines to lessen the shock of the port-to-starboard motion. To reduce fender rub, I try to adjust the docklines so that the fore-and-aft pivot point is the point that comes in contact with the dock. I also put a snubber on the line that's seeing the most abuse.

Other than that, my parking repetoire is pretty rudimentary, so I'll let the know-it-all freaks have their moment...
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Old 03-09-2008
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I'll add a couple of thoughts:
1. In many places water rises during a storm. Leave enough slack in your lines to allow for above normal rise and fall so as not to add strain to deck or dock fittings.
2. Double up on lines leaving a bit more slack in one set of lines so they do not take any strain unless something else breaks.
3. Don't assume dock cleats will hold under strain. Many dock cleats are simply lag bolted into wood rather than through bolted and backed up. I've had damage in the past when the lag bolts pull out under strain. Tie off to a piling if you don't trust the cleats.
4. Your regular docklines may show chafe as the result of daily use at their chocks. End over end your lines and provide chafe protection before a predicted storm.
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Old 03-09-2008
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JohnRPollard is a jewel in the rough JohnRPollard is a jewel in the rough JohnRPollard is a jewel in the rough
We are usually on a protected mooring, which is a good spot to ride out a blow. We have moderate weight three-strand docklines for tying alongside or taking the occasional transient slip.

But during the winter we are in a slip for four months, when gales will blow through typically every week or ten days. We also have a winter cover which adds a lot of windage. A few years back I purchased a set of extra-heavy braided winter docklines (which stay in the garage during the summer.) At the time I wondered if it was overkill, but I sleep better and it saves a lot of wear and tear on the lighter weight summer docklines.

We have four spring lines (two each per side, secured at the mid-ship cleat) and a pair of lines each at the bow and stern, with the stern lines criss-crossed, all led to pilings.

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Old 03-09-2008
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We had a Fall storm in my marina right before I was hauled out and one of my dock cleats tore out. Fortunately the yard people were working on the boat at the time and were able to recleat before I had any damage.
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Old 03-09-2008
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Long leads on head, stern, and spring lines will allow for storm-surging.
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Old 03-09-2008
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Don't let this...

You need long lines but be sure they CAN'T stretch too long..

This is the best way I know of to explain it...


Yes they both went to the bottom!
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Old 03-09-2008
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Memo: Keep the docklines slack and the spring lines tight!!
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Altough its sad to see those photos, it looks like the boats are smiling doesn't it???
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By "docklines" I presume you mean the breast lines.
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At my floating dock I've ridden out some nasties without issue. I have over sized lines, I have snubbers on every line, and make all the lines tight. You have to get snubbers on the floating docks because the boat moves at a different frequency than the dock (dock is bobbing up while the boats bobbing down). Without snubbers the boat tends to jerk at the dock cleats violently in a storm. Sometimes I'll double the lines toward the wind, there isn't much sense doubling lines on the slack side. That's what has worked for me.
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