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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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  #1  
Old 10-09-2012
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Boat Bondage!

I was at a public dock with major surge this weekend. My strategy with surge (and in general for that matter) is to use big fenders, spring lines, and give the boat lots of dock line so she can move independently from the dock. Another boat owner saw my boat dancing around, and asked if I shouldn't pull the boat tighter to the dock. I explained my method, and he seemed to buy it.

An impressive 60-70 foot power yacht was tied to the same dock. IMO, it didn't have large enough fenders (and possibly the wrong type), and was taking a beating from the surge (yeah...it was THAT bad). Three guys came off the yacht and started cinching down on the dock lines, trying to make them as tight as possible, then went back aboard. I thought: "guys...you are not going to win that battle!" Five minutes later...BANG...BANG...the lines started snapping (and they were good sized lines!). The guys came back out and started untying the Yacht. I thought "Good, they are going to take her out of here". They did, and proceeded to turn her around and tie her up in the same spot (Presumably so the new side would match the beaten up side? She HAD a lovely Navy blue hull BTW!). Seems like a classic case of more money then sense.
In any case, how do you deal with surge? Put her in bondage, or let her dance?

Last edited by L124C; 10-09-2012 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 10-09-2012
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I would let her dance around but clearly away from hitting anything.

Good luck
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Old 10-10-2012
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Re: Boat Bondage!

Was the power boat moving around so the bow would face the surge? That's a good idea.

I guess, I'm an "everything in moderation" kind of guy. In those conditions, I don't want the lines so tight that a jumped fender has no chance of slipping back in, nor do I want so much slack that the lines are getting too much momentum when snapping on their cleat. Also don't want so much on the bow and stern that the surge can lift the topsides above the bottom of the fenders.

If conditions are bad on a floating dock, my preferred method is to secure the fenders directly to the dock in a way that they can't jump. All of our fenders are the type that the line passes through, so they could be hung horizontally, when desired.
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Old 10-10-2012
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Re: Boat Bondage!

I fender the dock because you KNOW where it is, then tie the boat to keep it in range of where I've fendered.
If snapping a line is even an option I move the boat, including off to the anchor.
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Old 10-10-2012
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Re: Boat Bondage!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucklesR View Post
I fender the dock because you KNOW where it is, then tie the boat to keep it in range of where I've fendered.
If snapping a line is even an option I move the boat, including off to the anchor.
+1.

For me, docks are for tying up to while loading/unloading, embarking/disembarking or while fueling...the rest of the time I want to be underway, on a mooring or on the hook!
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Old 10-10-2012
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Re: Boat Bondage!

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Originally Posted by jimjazzdad View Post
+1.

For me, docks are for tying up to while loading/unloading, embarking/disembarking or while fueling...the rest of the time I want to be underway, on a mooring or on the hook!
+1 to both. Learned the hard way that a floating dock is not friendly in a surge or when you can only tie one side. Much better to anchor. Will be erasing the evidence of that lesson by replacing the stripes this winter.
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Old 10-10-2012
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Re: Boat Bondage!

I cinch her down tight in the direction of the surge (for and aft in my case) to prevent movement, we get a lot of tidal surge which stretches and cuts lines very quickly if left unchecked. I also use heavy chafe guards at all the turning points.

We survived the Japan tsunami surge using this method. In fact, it just occurred to me I haven't had to replace lines since before the tsunami.
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Old 10-10-2012
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Re: Boat Bondage!

When I was on a floating dock I'd double up lines before a storm. My normal 1/2" lines, then my 5/8" storm lines tied with a little slack. As the 1/2" lines started to stretch the 5/8" lines would start taking the load. Seemed to work well and prevented that sharp jerking motion.

I also doubled up my fenders at different heights, so if one popped up above the dock the other would still be in place.
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Old 10-10-2012
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Re: Boat Bondage!

I get surges all the time...really
I am tied up on a comercial dock, 25' under me, on average, so when the swell is running, she prances...
The water literally moves along the dock about 6' back and forth. The only workable solution for me are long, stretchy spring lines. I dont mind the boat moving, a few feet at the most, but if you let her pick up speed, she will ripp the lines and take the dock with her. So, the idea is to dampen the motion, without presenting anything hard to oppose it. Spring lines do it best... and vertically hung fenders, allowing the boat to roll.
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Old 10-10-2012
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Re: Boat Bondage!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Was the power boat moving around so the bow would face the surge? That's a good idea.
That is probably what they were thinking, as it's the only reasonable explanation. However, this surge was off the beam, and I don't see boat direction making much difference in this case. It actually seemed like the only reason they realized there was a problem was because their Martini's were spilling inside the yacht!
They were using those orange ball fenders, which were getting tossed up on the dock, which was apparently why they cinched the boat down. At that point the tension on the lines was completely vertical. Had it not been a commercial dock, I think they would have pulled the cleats out of the dock if the lines hadn't snapped first.
What is the theory behind of those ball fenders? I've always thought they would be prone to exactly this problem. I see them on commercial boats, so I know they must have some use. They seemed too small for this boat anyway.

Last edited by L124C; 10-10-2012 at 01:50 PM.
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