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post #11 of 50 Old 2 Weeks Ago
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Re: Docklines - How long should they be?

i have heavy dock lines which outlast my dock cleats in hurricanes. i use 3 strand and i use some 20 ft
1.25 inch mooring lines i saved from san diego. yes i still use those old things as they are still good for pilings... my lines are not sold as docklines, they are anchor line i make into dock lines. 3 strand for stretch. stretch is good . storms make stress on lines and stretch helps minimize breakage.
my shortest ones are midships to dock cleat as a stop line each side, 10 ft. barely long enough, but help the dock handlers to stabilize when i enter and exit marinas. they also prevent i hope the knock over into dock i found happened in patriciacane, unless cleat dislodges from dock, which did happen.
i like 50 ft lines for docklines. sometimes i even splice a loop into one end. most times not so i can use many different ways. for example, one from bits on bow to opposite side of dock midships cleat then back to stern cleat. i creatively spiderweb my boat because ... hurricanes... i cannot find my spiderweb prepared for canes barra de navidad pix, so i cannot post em.
i lost no lines during patricia, only a dock cleat midships opposite side of dock from boat...that is how my boat knocked over into the dock to break my boarding ladder.
so , to answer your question, mine are from 10 ft to 50 ft and anywhere in between. where i use each depends on the positioning of the dock cleats.
i have a 25 ft 1/5 inch hawse line for windy side use as a breast or spring line. this particular line is only 15 yrs old without any chafe. it is one of the few yacht braid lines i use. i love it. my 50 footers are 3 strand, 7/8inch lines.....i own no premade lines marketed as dock lines.


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Last edited by zeehag; 2 Weeks Ago at 11:12 AM.
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post #12 of 50 Old 2 Weeks Ago
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Re: Docklines - How long should they be?

I think it's a good idea to size the length of the bowlines so that they can't reach the prop. One less thing to worry about.

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Re: Docklines - How long should they be?

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Originally Posted by Northeric View Post
I think it's a good idea to size the length of the bowlines so that they can't reach the prop. One less thing to worry about.
sheets yes docklines--no, as that renders em unusable and worthless. a good line from bits to aftmost dock cleat is a good line for stabilizing boat. remove all but midships lines for departure and donot need your engine in use for docking boat once in slip.
paranoia runs deep but docklines aint sheets.
i also use a long line from sterncleat to forwardmost dock cleat....
use intelligence and sense and proper use of lines.


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Re: Docklines - How long should they be?

I think I remember reading in Chapmans that three-strand is preferrable because of the ability of the line to stretch, reducing shock to cleats. Tied to that I think it said to properly size the line; don't get too thick of a line because the snubber-quality of the three-strand dock line will be reduced/eliminated, and will increase the shock loads on the cleats. That's why I go with three-strand. I do, however, double up (loosely) additional lines when I leave the boat for the week.

As far as length, however long they need to be to adequately tie off to the cleats. I have some 15 footers, and some 20 footers.

I have a 36 foot boat.
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Re: Docklines - How long should they be?

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I do not have mid-ship cleats
Whaaaaaaaaaaa?!?!?!?

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Re: Docklines - How long should they be?

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Originally Posted by Minnesail View Post
Whaaaaaaaaaaa?!?!?!?
Whaaaaaaaaaaa?!?!?!? Do you mean "Whaaaaaaaaaaa?!?!?!?"

I only have bow cleats and stern cleats. I have no cleats amidships. Its not been a problem and besides there is less to stub toes or for sheets to catch on and also added cleats mean added weight.

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Re: Docklines - How long should they be?

Originally, when I outfitted this boat, I bought 4, 20' bow/stern lines and 2, 60' springs, all 1¼" 3 strand nylon. The dock in City Island was susceptible to some waves and that's the only place since where I felt the 1¼" line was warranted. Next time I'll buy 3/4". However, the 20' are too short though the 60' are OK for springs. Next time I'm going with 4, 40' bow and stern, so I can make an endless line when I need it on any of those lines.
I don't believe that the size of the boat has too much to do with the length of dock lines for a cruising boat, as we are always tying up in slips or on docks that may be too big or small for our boats. But I'll stick with 3 strand nylon and see no reason at all for braided dock lines, in that they stretch less than 3 strand and stretchy is what I want for dock lines.
I've had a length of Sampson 'Goldlon' for about 30 years and it is still as soft and strong as the day I bought it. I use it only as a docking spring and it just stretches and stretches without failing, so far. Amazing stuff, but out of my price range for all my dock lines.

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Last edited by capta; 2 Weeks Ago at 12:07 PM.
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Re: Docklines - How long should they be?

The more lines you have, and the longer they are, the better. You never know when you'll need to wharp into a tight slip, use a long spring line and your engine to come alongside the leeward side of a dock, or make a spider web in a slip to prepare for a storm.

The force from a dockline should not pull upwards on a dock cleat. Cleats are designed to take horizontal force, ideally parallel to the horns of the cleat. This means you need to use long lines with plenty of "scope." Also, the longer the line, the greater the shock absorption capacity (stretching) when the lines come under shock loads.

We have 8 docklines on our 37' boat: 2 that are ~65-75%, 3 that are 100%, and 3 that are 150% of the boat's length. We also keep a few of our older lines aboard as back-ups. When the forecast is calling for strong wind or when that boat next to you in the slip seems to be hanging on by a thread, you will want to have plenty of extra docklines.

But none of this will matter if you don't have decent chafing gear. Chafe happens!
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Re: Docklines - How long should they be?

A lot of coastal cruisers lack mid-ship cleats, which is too bad. Using a "brake" line fastened to a mid-ship cleat often eliminates drama when approaching a dock. Attaching a line to a sheet winch or putting a cleat on a jib sheet track can be a viable substitute for a mid-ship cleat.
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Re: Docklines - How long should they be?

I would say for spring lines at least the boat length and for bow and stern lines a bit less.

However, because I spend a lot of time in locks and canals, I would have a couple of long lengths of floating line like poly pro, maybe 100 ft or so. Doesn't need to be as strong as your primary mooring lines, but it can come in handy for screwed up mooring situations like spider webs and tieing off to trees or whatever comes up.

Last edited by Arcb; 2 Weeks Ago at 04:54 PM.
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