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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Docking with a spring line questions
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Topic Review (Newest First)
06-09-2013 03:58 PM
brianc
Re: Docking with a spring line questions

capecodda - I think that's basically what happened, yes. I'll keep playing around with it but I'm glad to be making some progress, it was getting a little frustrating ;-) Thanks for all the suggestions.
06-09-2013 03:23 PM
capecodda
Re: Docking with a spring line questions

Brian,

If I understand what you did, I think it worked because you effectively had a more aft mounted spring line, attached to your winch or winch cleat. A winch if you can get a fair lead to the dock is certainly a nice place to attach a spring because it's well fastened to the boat, and you could use the winch to adjust it even under load. I knew a captain who operated a big boat with power winches this way, and it worked out nicely.

Singled handed, I've never found it "easy" to attach to a cleat on a float. With 2 people it's easy. Get the person with the spring line forward on your boat, and have them step off or loop the cleat way before the line gets taught.

Keep experimenting with attachment points for your spring, you're getting there. Every boat I've owned behaved a little differently (now on number 5, yea, I'm nuts).
06-09-2013 01:38 PM
brianc
Re: Docking with a spring line questions

capecodda - so yesterday I went back out, waited for most of the people/boats to head out for a fun race so as to cause myself the least embarrassment, and tried some more stuff. I went back to the standard midship spring line, tied a butterfly knot to make a loop at the correct length (or at least where the stern would be close to the cleat where the loop was attached) and ran the remainder of the line to the aft most winch, which is just slightly forward and inboard of the stern cleat, figuring that when the bow started to turn I could control it with the horizontal pull from the dock cleat to the winch. It turns out I tied the spring just slightly long so when I came in, dropped the loop over the cleat, the pressure came on to the winch-cleat line instead of the spring and the boat pretty much just nestled up to the dock, as you described. So...getting closer!! Do you see any issue leaving the spring and then hauling in the stern line using the winch as the boat gets further in to the slip? I like the idea of being able to use the length of the spring to get the line on the cleat earlier rather than waiting to get far enough in to loop the stern line. Anyway, progress is good ;-)

Ulladh - yes, I understand that, but with this boat, for whatever reason, when tension comes on the midships spring line, the bow dives in toward the dock and the stern swings out, potentially damaging me and my starboard neighbor.

sailingfool - I can get "control" with the propwash/rudder but only with a big burst of power. With my new neighbor being considerably bigger than my old neighbor, I need to be more careful so I'm hesitant to gun it like that if something were to go wrong.
06-09-2013 11:30 AM
RobGallagher
Re: Docking with a spring line questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by brianc View Post
Hi all - I went back out to the boat and while I was able to get it to balance after it had "settled" by making sure the spring was tied aft of the widest part of the boat (it probably only narrows a couple inches from there to the stern) the first thing that happens as soon as the spring is tensioned, is that the bow wants to swing to port in to the dock (port tie)...and not just a little.

I did all this while I had a stern line tied so even if the bow swung hard toward the dock it wouldn't hit. No matter where I tied the spring (I started from the widest part and moved backwards, in all cases along the toe rail or stanchion base) as soon as tension came on it, the bow swung to port. In some cases it didn't go far enough to tension the stern line, in others it did, so it's definitely capable of hitting the dock even with the spring tied aft of the widest part of the boat with forward throttle and the wheel turned away (or any rudder position, I tried many.)

So it seems the sweet spot is not along the rail aft of the widest part of the boat. I'm thinking maybe I should move it inboard to one of the winches (or would that make it worse?) The other thing I thought was that the spring needs to be longer so it is cleated just behind the stern at stasis but I only have about a foot an a half left in front of the bow so I'm not sure that's the best idea. My genoa tracks and toe rails are solid so I'd have to invasively install something and I don't want to do that until I know something is going to work!

Any thoughts on this?
The prevailing wind or current may still affect your boat, even if the spring line is balanced. It does not always work perfectly.

Also, keep experimenting. It may help to move that line inboard as you stated.
06-09-2013 09:59 AM
sailingfool
Re: Docking with a spring line questions

Yes, as mentioned in my earlier post use right rudder and prop wash to line the boat parallel to the dock the doc and keep it so before you apply power to bring it into the dock. If the issue is that with your sail drive unit you don't have enough water flow past the rudder to give you control with right rudder then I think you're outta luck. Maybe another knock on sail drives...

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
06-09-2013 08:05 AM
Ulladh
Re: Docking with a spring line questions

brianc
You may be over thinking.

The intent of the single mid-ship spring line is to be the first dock line to secure, which then provides some breathing room to secure the other dock lines.
06-09-2013 07:57 AM
capecodda
Re: Docking with a spring line questions

Man, your boat acts funny. OK, one more idea. The profile of your boat is very full aft. So, try this.

Put fenders along the aft half of the boat on the dock side. Who care's if the aft side comes in cause the fenders will stop it, what you don't want is the bow to head towards the dock. Given the profile of your boat, even if you compress all the aft fenders, it will still sit pretty close to parallel to the dock. Then, try attaching a stern line only, and power forward. Make sure the stern line has a relatively steep angle to the dock (running to a cleat on the dock which is way behind where the boat will end up). If the bow comes out (away from the dock) too much, move the line marginally forward on the boat till it doesn't.

If the bow comes into the dock with just a stern line attached, you'll have the first boat I've ever seen that does that. But I've been surprised before
06-08-2013 12:44 PM
brianc
Re: Docking with a spring line questions

Hi all - I went back out to the boat and while I was able to get it to balance after it had "settled" by making sure the spring was tied aft of the widest part of the boat (it probably only narrows a couple inches from there to the stern) the first thing that happens as soon as the spring is tensioned, is that the bow wants to swing to port in to the dock (port tie)...and not just a little.

I did all this while I had a stern line tied so even if the bow swung hard toward the dock it wouldn't hit. No matter where I tied the spring (I started from the widest part and moved backwards, in all cases along the toe rail or stanchion base) as soon as tension came on it, the bow swung to port. In some cases it didn't go far enough to tension the stern line, in others it did, so it's definitely capable of hitting the dock even with the spring tied aft of the widest part of the boat with forward throttle and the wheel turned away (or any rudder position, I tried many.)

So it seems the sweet spot is not along the rail aft of the widest part of the boat. I'm thinking maybe I should move it inboard to one of the winches (or would that make it worse?) The other thing I thought was that the spring needs to be longer so it is cleated just behind the stern at stasis but I only have about a foot an a half left in front of the bow so I'm not sure that's the best idea. My genoa tracks and toe rails are solid so I'd have to invasively install something and I don't want to do that until I know something is going to work!

Any thoughts on this?
06-05-2013 05:49 PM
brianc
Re: Docking with a spring line questions

Thanks all for the additional input - this has been a very helpful thread.

MarkSailor - I'll try using the stern cleat too. I'm going to wait until I can take it to a spot with nothing in front of me to try some stuff out...

I have a slip neighbor to starboard so unfortunately I can't create a simple setup like you have!
06-05-2013 04:15 PM
MarkSailor
Re: Docking with a spring line questions

If you want to use a spring line to dock, consider buying some genoa track cleats. They slide forward and back, and might help you to find the elusive "sweet spot" for a single spring docking. With a boat that has a beamy stern, a spring line from the stern cleat leading aft can actually pull the whole boat to the dock the way a spring line from amidships aft can do if the wheel is turned away from the dock.

However, there is another method you can use at your home slip that may be even easier, although it requires a little more advance set up. I use it all the time to single-hand my Catalina 320 into the slip with no drama or rushing.

If you have a cleat or piling approximately amidships on both sides of your slip, and you are docking bow in, take a line from each of the midships cleats/pilings forward, so that it makes a "V" at the front of your slip. Run another line from one of the cleats at the inside end of your slip to the point of the "V", and then back to the cleat on the other side of the inside end of the slip. Adjust the 2 lines so that the "V" from the midships cleats/pilings will stop your bow just short of the inside end of your slip, and the line from the inside end cleats holds the point of the "V" out of the water. Then when you dock, ease the bow into the "V", and you can hold it there by letting the motor idle in forward. The bow will remain centered in the point of the "V". If there is a cross wind, turn the wheel away from it and your stern will swing the opposite way from your wheel. With a little adjustment you can balance the forces to center the stern in the slip, or swing over to the dock without fear of the bow getting away from you. After I pick up all the dock lines, I cut the motor and adjust the boat a little in the slip, but it is always under control. Leaving the slip is the reverse -- I ease forward into the "V", cast off the dock lines, then back out when I am ready.

I finished the set-up by putting a "hole through the middle" fender at the point of the "V", and tying knots on either side of it to keep it in place. I also padded the lines on either side of the fender by running them through pool noodles I bought at Walmart. (They also protect the line against UV degradation.)

This set up has worked fine for me, and might save you some worry about finding just the right spot for the spring line (which can be a challenge on a boat with a lot of beam aft).

Good luck, and never let the lack of a crew keep you off the water.
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