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post #1 of 14 Old 03-17-2014 Thread Starter
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Docking questions

I have a Capri 22 that I have tied up alongside my dock (port side to dock) with 2 spring lines (attached to bow and stern cleats), mooring whips, and breast lines - all of which work very well. In an effort to make single-handed docking/undocking a possibility for even my low-level skills, I purchased a midships cleat that attaches on the genoa rail. I then attached a a spring line to the dock at a point just behind where the transom comes to rest - I attached the other end to my new midships cleat when docking/undocking. Theoretically, this should make single-handed docking/undocking easier even me, right?. The trouble is, I back the boat in alongside the dock which means I am going backwards when I attach the spring line to the midships cleat. I then have only about 2 nanoseconds to go from the genoa rail to the outboard to put it in forward before I crash into the wires that hold the dock to the shore. This makes things a little too exciting for my taste. So, could I make this work in reverse by attaching my spring line to the dock forward of where the bow will come to rest and attaching the other end to my midships cleat when I am backing in to the dock? I've never heard of using a midships cleat like this but with a light boat, do not see why it would not work. I realize my problem would be greatly simplified by simply heading alongside my dock bow-first. However, because of boat wake, I really prefer to back it in so that the bow is to weather when it is docked.

Any thoughts from this salty bunch would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Jeff
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post #2 of 14 Old 03-17-2014
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Re: Docking questions

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I have a Capri 22 that I have tied up alongside my dock (port side to dock) with 2 spring lines (attached to bow and stern cleats), mooring whips, and breast lines - all of which work very well. In an effort to make single-handed docking/undocking a possibility for even my low-level skills, I purchased a midships cleat that attaches on the genoa rail. I then attached a a spring line to the dock at a point just behind where the transom comes to rest - I attached the other end to my new midships cleat when docking/undocking. Theoretically, this should make single-handed docking/undocking easier even me, right?. The trouble is, I back the boat in alongside the dock which means I am going backwards when I attach the spring line to the midships cleat. I then have only about 2 nanoseconds to go from the genoa rail to the outboard to put it in forward before I crash into the wires that hold the dock to the shore. This makes things a little too exciting for my taste. So, could I make this work in reverse by attaching my spring line to the dock forward of where the bow will come to rest and attaching the other end to my midships cleat when I am backing in to the dock? I've never heard of using a midships cleat like this but with a light boat, do not see why it would not work. I realize my problem would be greatly simplified by simply heading alongside my dock bow-first. However, because of boat wake, I really prefer to back it in so that the bow is to weather when it is docked.

Any thoughts from this salty bunch would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Jeff
What you propose sounds absolutely fine. I back my boat into a slip and use a spring line similar to what you describe to stop my transom (with fragile rudder and outboard) from hitting the main dock astern, and to gently snug the boat over to the adjacent finger pier. I'm not aware of any requirement that a spring line has to go one direction or the other (toward bow or stern).

One added benefit of springing from midships to bow dock cleat is that you will not have a tripping hazard when you board/unboard from the cockpit. That's always a concern for me when I have a spring line going from midships to stern dock cleat.

There are no hard and fast rules for docking, aside from keeping your speed under control. You just do whatever it takes. For instance, I back my boat from the river all the way through the fairway. This avoids having to stop and change direction, which would cause me to lose rudder control and get pushed into other boats by the 2+ knot cross-current. Nobody else in my marina does that, and it gets funny looks from those who haven't seen me do it before ("breaks the rules"), but all the long-timers in the marina compliment me on being the least likely to ever lose control when docking.

Rick S., Swarthmore, PA
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Re: Docking questions

I would suggest that you do a couple things.
-Make up your spring lines so that they are attached to each other and have an eye at the location of the midships cleat.
-run a piece of low stretch line from your stern cleat to the midships cleat.
-Add a heavy duty carabiner clip on the eye where the bow and stern spring line join.
-Add a short length of line on the eye where the bow and stern spring line join.

So then, as you back in and the cockpit passes the spring line on the dock, grab the short length of line that is attached on the eye where the bow and stern spring line join. Then attach the carabiner clip to the line between the stern cleat and the midships cleat. The caribiner will ride up that line until it hits the midships cleat and then stop, which in turn will stop the boat. You will want a fender rigged near the stern because the stern of the boat will pivot towards the dock when it stops.

I have used variants of this for years now.

Good luck,
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Re: Docking questions

Many thanks!
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Re: Docking questions

Jeff_H's suggestion is a good one. I had considered that, but it did not work for me because I have stanchions in the way would that prevent a carabiner from moving along the low stretch line. I could have run that line along the outside of the stanchion, but that would create a tripping hazard on my boat, since the midships cleat is on the cabin top (no side decks) and the line would be a few inches above the gunwale. Maybe it will work better for your boat since you have nice wide, low side decks.

But if not, my alternative was to have a lazy tail on my spring line. Basically the loop is a cow hitch in the middle of the line, which leaves lots of tail. If I ever "miss" getting the loop over the midships cleat and the boat is still reversing toward the dock, I can quickly wrap my lazy tail around my winch (which is right next to the midship cleat) to quickly stop the boat. Once the boat is stopped and the motor in neutral, I can pull the boat forward to get the loop over the cleat, or if wind and current are too strong to do it by hand, I'll just winch the line in to get the loop to the cleat.

Rick S., Swarthmore, PA
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Re: Docking questions

Thanks to you both for the helpful info!
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Re: Docking questions

I agree that the advice Jeff H gave to Jeff h was solid.
Or was that the advice that Jeff H gave to Jeff H?

I gotta take five and see if i can figure this out.
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Re: Docking questions

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I would suggest that you do a couple things.

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That's a relief - I thought you had developed terminal "old timers disease".

I, myself, personally intend to continue being outspoken and opinionated, intolerant of all fanatics, fools and ignoramuses, deeply suspicious of all those who have "found the answer" and on my bad days, downright rude.
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post #9 of 14 Old 03-21-2014
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Re: Docking questions

If I understand what you are doing, I think you are making things a little more complicated than they need to be.
If I'm single handing my 30 footer, I put the boat in reverse (idle rpm of course!) while still attached with dock lines. Assuming I'm boarding on Port (as you would be), I place a single line from bow to stern on Port. I cast off the Starboard dock lines (they stay on the dock). I cast off the Port stern line, then the bow line, letting the boat back out of the slip while holding the single bow/stern line. When the shrouds get near the end of the dock I grab them and step onboard.

If you have piling at the end of the dock, you want to make sure to guide the boat (as you walk it out) so that the wind doesn't swing the bow and catch the piling after you have boarded. If this is an issue you want to lock (or have someone hold) your tiller to starboard (assuming the piling is on port).

Coming in, I use the same single bow/stern line in case I need to temporally tie the boat off to attach dock lines. The boat is idling in reverse to slow her down before I step off. For those who say "never step off a moving boat", I could bring her to a stop if I wanted to, but don't bother. Usually, I have the bow lines on by the time she stops, and starts backing up.
I don't subscribe to the mid ship cleat method to stop the boat, as I feel speed should be controlled before you get into the slip. If it's not, make another approach.

Last edited by L124C; 03-21-2014 at 06:20 PM.
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Re: Docking questions

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...I don't subscribe to the mid ship cleat method to stop the boat, as I feel speed should be controlled before you get into the slip. If it's not, make another approach.
Works fine as long as you don't have currents. If you have a 3 kt current pushing you into your slip, chances are you will enter the slip above 3 knots to have rudder control. Then you have to stop the boat within its own length, for which a spring line is very beneficial.

Obviously you can use prop walk to turn the boat without rudder control, but that is less effective for certain types of boats.

Rick S., Swarthmore, PA
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