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Hi all,

We've purchased a waterfront property that includes a deeded slip on a private community pier. This spring I'll be leaving my marina (which has nice full-length finger piers) and moving to my own slip, which has a relatively short finger pier. If I back my boat into the slip, the entrance gate will need to be 10-12' down the finger pier thanks to a dinghy that hangs on davits and stern seats on the pushpit. That distance is probably too far (I still need to measure the finger dock). Because of this, I will likely need to pull the boat forward into the slip.

My boat currently lacks a forward entrance gate, and I need to figure something out. As a temporary measure, I'm considering replacing the lifeline clevis pins at the bow pulpit with quick-release pins to allow easy access to the bow aft of the pulpit (which ends about 6' aft of the anchor on its roller). Obviously I'll have to reduce the tension a bit to allow for removing/replacing the pin. In order to keep the entire lifeline from going slack, I'm thinking of attaching a cable clamp just in front of the stanchion to retain tension on the rest of the lifelines. (Unfortunately, the lifeline is not long enough for a pelican hook, and I've been unable to find coupling nuts to extend the threads enough for the pelican hook.)

If things work well with this temporary arrangement, I'll consider replacing the lifelines (which are due for replacement anyway) with ones that are appropriately sized for pelican hooks.

Any other thoughts on this? Have any of you had to add a forward gate to your boat?
 

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Hello Rick, if you are due for replacement you might consider making your own dyneema lifelines. Sea Dog makes nice pelican hooks that can be spliced or luggage tagged onto the line for gates. When I changed to dyneema I put hooks at the bow pulpit and as usual at the stern. Hard to explain but at the front and rearmost stanchion I attached climbing rings so the middle section doesn't completely slack when either or both ends are unclipped. The dyneema is tensioned with "whoopee slings" but rarely needs adjustment. Splicing is pretty simple, lots of good directions are online.
The lines are as strong as the stainless steel, an unexpected benefit is when open the "gates" are a small bundle of line, easily stashed out of the way.
IMG_1584.jpeg IMG_1588.jpeg IMG_1589.jpeg
 

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I have just replaced all my old wire lifelines with 1/4” inch Dyneema rope. I also had the same problem as the OP – my gate was too far back from the end of the finger dock. Now I just release the rear pelican hook and drop the lines like in the picture. The rest of the line also goes slack, but if we wanted to, we could tie a knot in the bight of the lifeline near the next stanchion aft, but we have grab-rails inboard, so it’s not a problem for us.

You can’t do this with wire, because it doesn’t bend.

I used CS Johnson Dyneema lifeline fittings, and their new pelican hooks, which have a piston pin like a snap-shackle and release even under extreme tension. Much better than the old style with a locking ring. They also snap-closed with the same tension, so you never have to adjust the turnbuckles at the other end to re-set the lines. Progress…
138941
Lines-lowered.jpg
 

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I have just replaced all my old wire lifelines with 1/4” inch Dyneema rope. I also had the same problem as the OP – my gate was too far back from the end of the finger dock. Now I just release the rear pelican hook and drop the lines like in the picture. The rest of the line also goes slack, but if we wanted to, we could tie a knot in the bight of the lifeline near the next stanchion aft, but we have grab-rails inboard, so it’s not a problem for us.

You can’t do this with wire, because it doesn’t bend.

I used CS Johnson Dyneema lifeline fittings, and their new pelican hooks, which have a piston pin like a snap-shackle and release even under extreme tension. Much better than the old style with a locking ring. They also snap-closed with the same tension, so you never have to adjust the turnbuckles at the other end to re-set the lines. Progress… View attachment 138941
 

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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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Hi all,

We've purchased a waterfront property that includes a deeded slip on a private community pier. This spring I'll be leaving my marina (which has nice full-length finger piers) and moving to my own slip, which has a relatively short finger pier. If I back my boat into the slip, the entrance gate will need to be 10-12' down the finger pier thanks to a dinghy that hangs on davits and stern seats on the pushpit. That distance is probably too far (I still need to measure the finger dock). Because of this, I will likely need to pull the boat forward into the slip.

My boat currently lacks a forward entrance gate, and I need to figure something out. As a temporary measure, I'm considering replacing the lifeline clevis pins at the bow pulpit with quick-release pins to allow easy access to the bow aft of the pulpit (which ends about 6' aft of the anchor on its roller). Obviously I'll have to reduce the tension a bit to allow for removing/replacing the pin. In order to keep the entire lifeline from going slack, I'm thinking of attaching a cable clamp just in front of the stanchion to retain tension on the rest of the lifelines. (Unfortunately, the lifeline is not long enough for a pelican hook, and I've been unable to find coupling nuts to extend the threads enough for the pelican hook.)

If things work well with this temporary arrangement, I'll consider replacing the lifelines (which are due for replacement anyway) with ones that are appropriately sized for pelican hooks.

Any other thoughts on this? Have any of you had to add a forward gate to your boat?
The concern that I would have is that most boats have a lot more flare in the bow, making it a little harder to get aboard. But In most cases it would be hard to get the bow close enough to get aboard without having the max beam hit the mid piling. To make that work, you would want a wider than necessary slip and would want to have a way of having the boat in a slip on an angle. The other issue might be height since the bow is normally higher then the rest of the sheer. It would make stepping aboard more difficult in an extreme high tide. You will have to play with it once you are in the slip, It might make sense to approach the community to discuss extending the finger.

Jeff
 

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This scenario somewhat makes me think of tying up to a fixed pier, with a huge tidal range, where the pier's low tide ladder ends up near the bow. It's always difficult, as it's so far from the deck, unless you tie up funny, or constantly pull the bow in, hold it, etc. Often not enough arms to hold the ladder, carry something and hold the bow in.

Any chance for a taller set of steps, from the dock, to walk over the stern rail and use the stern seat as a step inside?
 

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I second (third?) the recommendation for dyneema. I re-did the lifelines on my boat (which as a 22' barely even needs them) and decided to go with dyneema. There was a slight learning curve on the splicing, but once I had that down they went fast. They're strong, look great, and are nice to the touch.
 

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Hello Rick, if you are due for replacement you might consider making your own dyneema lifelines. Sea Dog makes nice pelican hooks that can be spliced or luggage tagged onto the line for gates. When I changed to dyneema I put hooks at the bow pulpit and as usual at the stern. Hard to explain but at the front and rearmost stanchion I attached climbing rings so the middle section doesn't completely slack when either or both ends are unclipped. The dyneema is tensioned with "whoopee slings" but rarely needs adjustment. Splicing is pretty simple, lots of good directions are online.
The lines are as strong as the stainless steel, an unexpected benefit is when open the "gates" are a small bundle of line, easily stashed out of the way.
View attachment 138931 View attachment 138932 View attachment 138933
Dfork,

I have a question. How long are your gates?
I want to replace the gates on our boat. They are only about 2’ wide and have rings welded onto the stantions either side. That means a “Whoopee loop” would be only 24” long. It strikes ne that is too short to get sufficient bury considering you also have the 4” pelican hook and the bury of the eye to that hook.
 

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Dfork,

I have a question. How long are your gates?
I want to replace the gates on our boat. They are only about 2’ wide and have rings welded onto the stantions either side. That means a “Whoopee loop” would be only 24” long. It strikes ne that is too short to get sufficient bury considering you also have the 4” pelican hook and the bury of the eye to that hook.
My "gates" are actually the sides of the cockpit, so probably 5 feet or so. You might manage, the whoopee sling part is about 8 inches or so. You could also splice one end onto the welded ring and Brummel splice a Sea Dog pelican hook on the other end. If you make it tight to begin with it won't stretch much and over such a short span a bit of sag shouldn't make a big difference.
Here is a link to a pretty short sling - Whoopie Sling
 

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Dfork,
Thanks for that quick reply. I like the idea of the whoopie and think I can find various uses for it. Not sure the gate is a good candidate. That link had a super short bury. I see various recommendations for bury, I don't recall ever seeing one that short. But will see.
 

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Hi all,
... My boat currently lacks a forward entrance gate, and I need to figure something out. As a temporary measure, I'm considering replacing the lifeline clevis pins at the bow pulpit with quick-release pins to allow easy access to the bow aft of the pulpit (which ends about 6' aft of the anchor on its roller). Obviously I'll have to reduce the tension a bit to allow for removing/replacing the pin. In order to keep the entire lifeline from going slack, I'm thinking of attaching a cable clamp just in front of the stanchion to retain tension on the rest of the lifelines....
Yes, I did it just that way, the only difference being I just replaced the clevises with pins with a ~ 1" diameter finger loop in one end (beach cat trapeze dogbone cut in half and drilled for a retainer pin), a hitch pin where the cotter would be for quick release, and retainer cords on both. Worked just fine. We only used it for docking in certain odd locations (my young daughter was bow crew and she could not step over the lifelines).
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Yes, I did it just that way, the only difference being I just replaced the clevises with pins with a ~ 1" diameter finger loop in one end (beach cat trapeze dogbone cut in half and drilled for a retainer pin), a hitch pin where the cotter would be for quick release, and retainer cords on both. Worked just fine. We only used it for docking in certain odd locations (my young daughter was bow crew and she could not step over the lifelines).
Thanks, it's good to know that I'm on the right track.

By the way, that's a nice little article you did on whoopie slings in the April Practical Sailor. Timely for us here.

FYI, I made my way down to Swan Creek a few days ago (90 minute drive from my current home) and the winds were tame enough for me to get out on the finger pier and measure its length. It's longer than I expected - about 14' - so I should be able to back my boat into the slip with the dinghy hanging off the davits and still exit the boat through the cockpit gate. Nevertheless, I will probably rig a forward gate just in case, for certain times when I may have to pull in forward (perhaps at extremely low tide, if I find that the water is deeper at the outer part of the slip).

I have other responses for the other posts, including some satellite pics of the slip, but I'm out of time for tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Yes, I did it just that way, the only difference being I just replaced the clevises with pins with a ~ 1" diameter finger loop in one end (beach cat trapeze dogbone cut in half and drilled for a retainer pin), a hitch pin where the cotter would be for quick release, and retainer cords on both. Worked just fine. We only used it for docking in certain odd locations (my young daughter was bow crew and she could not step over the lifelines).
OK, I have a few minutes for more details and questions:

First, I've never been a fan of quick-release pins, but I think they're the simplest way to provide an emergency back-up gate at the bow, much like you use it on your boat. I'll definitely get tethered pins and zip-tie them to the lifelines. I'm considering two types, both of which I have some experience with. Both of these match the 1/4" diameter of the current clevis pins, though I need to verify the required length once I pull the cover off my boat. Of these two, which do you like best?

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In my experience, the second one is a little more difficult to remove, but more secure once in place. So I'm leaning toward that one unless you have additional comments on the design and engineering of these types.

As for the slip, I measured that it's 17' wide inside the pilings, and it measures up as 47' long on Google Earth. My boat is only 34.5' long (about 39' with dinghy hanging off the transom) and 11.75' beam, so the slip is plenty long and has ample width if I should need to pull in forward and angle it over to exit off the bow. The finger pier is 14' long, so it should be just long enough to exit from the cockpit gate. Just like Dfok's C28, the C34MkII gate is the full length of the cockpit (less the railing for the transom seats and pushpit).

The picture below shows the homeowners' association dock. My slip is highlighted in the picture (fortunately, on the deep side of the dock). My slip neighbor's former sailboat is shown in this 2013 picture, but he is now 90 years old and no longer has a boat. For a few years he rented out his slip, but the HOA has banned seasonal rentals, so unfortunately that slip will likely be empty for awhile. That's a shame, because I always feel more secure walking down a narrow finger pier with boats on both sides.

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