Technique for Tying Boat to Dock in Surgy Conditions? - Page 2 - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #11  
Old 12-27-2008
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The key is to have enough scope on the lines to allow your boat to rise and fall with the tide. Keep it snug in the middle of the slip.
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Old 12-27-2008
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As NOLA says, longer leads on the lines can handle a multitude of conditions.
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Old 12-28-2008
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I think NOLA is talking about fixed docks, not floating slips. We don't have to worry about the rising and falling of the tide as our docks float up and down with it. Our problem is the surge, which pushes the boat hard horizontally; there is no vertical to worry about. There is no middle on our slips, as we have two boats per "opening". The convention in our marina is to not tie lines to the other guys finger pier and spiderweb him in, which most are happy with.

So the question is still whether it is better to be a slacker or a snugger. If the boat is slack it snaps the lines and cleats hard at the end of the surge, or bangs its fenders into the dock. But at least half the guys here say that is better to leave a fair amount of slack - they think the shove from the surge sorta dissipates and don't worry about the snapping or banging. The other half like the boat on a very short leash so no energy builds up, the horizontal energy of the surge pushes against lines that get taught before the boat moves much at all - why let 10 or 20 or 30 tons of boat build up a head of steam and come up short?

I'm a snugger, after seeing all those old time movies where somebody snuck under the cop car and tied a chain to the rear axle, so that when the cop took off the axle was jerked out of the car.....
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Old 12-28-2008
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If your boat is between finger piers. Moor you boat equal-distance between the finger piers and snug up your lines tight. The constant strain on the lines along with chaffing gear will save wear and tear on them.
If you have them loose. The lines will aways be jerking and this will cause chaff and lines parting.

If you are outboard on a face pier. Then tighten your inshore lines and offshore put out an anchor with heavy chain. This will hold your boat off the pier.

Note there are variations of the above and you will have to adjust to fit your situation.
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Last edited by Boasun; 12-28-2008 at 12:40 AM.
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Floating or fixed docks matter not for the motion you're describing. Long leads on bow and stern lines, which may be hard to achieve, may be supplemented by long leads on the fore and aft spring lines. You can then take a strain on them and rely on the elasticity of a long line to keep you positioned and alongside.

If you're on a floating dock you can snug up the breast lines as well. Long leads, possibly across to the offshore side of the boat, help there as well. I prefer them tight with suitable large fenders and tolerating the rubbing of gelcoat. Slack offers the opportunity for a fender to ride out of position as well as more potential for the hull to be holed upon something protruding from the dock. Others differ with me on this matter. I'm not cosmetically fixated. I am, however, structurally fixated and that's why I take this position. As always, different ships, different long splices.
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Using fairly snug docklines, but having them as long as possible, is probably the best choice for variable conditions. By this, I mean the stern lines should go from the port side of the boat to a cleat on the starboard side... the same with the bow lines. The spring lines should go from a bow cleat to a dock cleat that is as far aft as possible—and from the stern cleats to a dock cleat as far forward as possible. This will allow the boat to move up and down a fair distance, but not fore-aft or side-to-side much at all.
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Thanks, guys. The idea of snug lines that are longer so they stretch is good. Running mooring lines is always a compromise between what you would like and what the configuration of the boat and dock allow. Protecting the boat in general over protecting the gelcoat makes sense, but long term it is obviously better to protect the gelcoat, too. I'm still undecided on what is better for the gelcoat, snug but enough slack so that the fenders are working a slightly larger area and can drop back into place if they get rolled up, or really snug so they just work one area with the danger of them getting rolled out. Probably if it is snug enough the chances of the fenders getting rolled out of position is slim. I'm going to see if there is a way to rig the mooring lines in a longer configuration and still keep it quite snug...pin the fenders in.

Nobody here is voting for the slackers, so it looks like I get the case of beer before I sail away. Hot dog!
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If protecting the boat is the most important thing... get a decent fenderboard and use it. If you're really paranoid, you can put fenders on both sides of the fenderboard, and have it keep the boat even further from the finger piers and pilings....
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Old 12-30-2008
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You don't have a piling between you and the boat next to you, correct?
I spent a summer in a slip like that and always kept my boat OFF the fenders and off the dock.
Here's how:
We will assume your boat lies starboard side to the finger pier and bow to the main dock.
Tie bow lines port & starboard as usual to the main dock. Tie a long after spring line to starboard, running out to the end of the finger pier. Tie a stern line out to the port stern cleat from the end of the finger pier.
Here is the important part; run a long line from the port stern cleat to the main dock. If you can get it out away from your boat that is better. You are pulling the stern away from the dock with this line. You do not need to cross over the other boat and block him in but if you can cross over to his bow line dock cleat that is good. Perhaps he can cross over to your bow dock cleat. The more diagonal you can pull with this line the better. You will need the stern line to the finger pier to hold the boat in and you will need the spring line to keep from being pulled into the main dock by this last line. All the lines work together to keep the boat off the finger pier. The degree of success will depend on the width of the slip you have and the amount of current you are fighting. Rain will allow the lines to stretch more than when they are dry. I kept one fender near the port stern for times of maximum pull. When hanging around at the dock, I would slack off that last line to allow the boat to get close to the dock for easy on & off.
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