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I ordered 100' of 3 strand nylon for dock lines. These lines will be carried on board for transients and dinner destinations. I wanted to know if there was a rule of thumb for finished length before I cut and splice one end of them. 4x25' seems like plenty to me. Is there a chance I could get a 5th line out of them to use as a spring? I didn't think a 20' line would be long enough for a spring though. That leaves me with 4x18 and a 25' spring with room to splice. Does this sound good, or should I just make 4 at 25' long and be done?

I know this isn't a very technical question, but I'm pretty bored at work.
 

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It may not be a technical question but sailnet will be able to turn it into a debate with many technical answers
 

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IMHO, you'd probably be better off with three 14' dock lines and two 24' ones. The breast lines generally don't have to be that long, but the spring lines often need to be longer. The ten feet unaccounted for will handle most of the splice length. :)

If you're going to go with four lines, two 20' and two 30' lines might make more sense than four 25' lines.
 

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I'm going to be a bit of a contrarian here.

I find lines less than 25' or so to be almost worthless. Even when we had a 24 footer, the 15 and 20' docklines we had always seemed to come up short.

I would go with 4 x 25' -- these should be fine as docklines. I would not try for the 5th line, especially when you consider that they will actually come up a fair bit shorter when you splice the eyes.

For spring lines, I think you want them to be more in the neighborhood of 30-35'.

Try to give them the biggest spliced eye practical, which makes it easier to "dip the eye".
 

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With a larger boat, I'd agree, but with the OP's 25' boat, I disagree.
I'm going to be a bit of a contrarian here.

I find lines less than 25' or so to be almost worthless. Even when we had a 24 footer, the 15 and 20' docklines we had always seemed to come up short.

I would go with 4 x 25' -- these should be fine as docklines. I would not try for the 5th line, especially when you consider that they will actually come up a fair bit shorter when you splice the eyes.

For spring lines, I think you want them to be more in the neighborhood of 30-35'.

Try to give them the biggest spliced eye practical, which makes it easier to "dip the eye".
 

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A smaller boat in a larger slip may actually need longer lines if you have to dock in a wide/long slip instead of one more appropriate to your boat. Also, lines too long are much less a problem than lines too short, especially if you have only one set. In my opinion, you need 6 lines, 2 bow, 2 stern, and 2 spring. Spring lines would want to be about 30 ft. minimum (assuming you have midship cleats, if not add another 5 ft.). 20 ft. minimum on bow and stern lines, but 25 ft. gives added insurance.
 

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yup. 35 ft. spring lines are a nice thing. there WILL be a time when the extra 5 feet will be what you need to tie up your boat properly. And if you are missing that 5 ft. you will curse yourself for not paying the extra $10 (or however much it is) for a line that is the right length.

Also, there are times it is nice to be able to double the line back to your boat so you can cast off from your own deck and pull the line back on board without needing to get on the dock.
 

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Just to throw in a wrinkle.

I do not like eye splices in a dock line. The line should be belayed so that it can be adjusted from onboard. Or in the oft chance that the boat adjacent to you in the slip catches fire, you can cast off without getting on the dock.

Jack
 

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I am with you on that. Despite the ubiquity, I have never seen any reason for an eye splice on a dock line. I think a cleat knot is more convenient and ultimately at lest as strong. Then again, I use bowlines for all my halyards, so maybe I am just too old fashioned.
 

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While not at my home marina, I will keep the lines tied aboard the boat, so I can adjust them more easily...but at my home marina, having the lines attached to the boat and tied at the dock often means that the staff can make adjustments, when necessary, without coming aboard my boat.

Eye splices are a good thing for most boaters, who have no clue how to do a proper cleat hitch and trying to get two docklines over a single, usually undersized, cleat is an impossibility for them. I prefer them for convenience.

Just to throw in a wrinkle.

I do not like eye splices in a dock line. The line should be belayed so that it can be adjusted from onboard. Or in the oft chance that the boat adjacent to you in the slip catches fire, you can cast off without getting on the dock.

Jack
 

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Just to throw in a wrinkle.

I do not like eye splices in a dock line. The line should be belayed so that it can be adjusted from onboard. Or in the oft chance that the boat adjacent to you in the slip catches fire, you can cast off without getting on the dock.

Jack

I agree that the lines should be capable of adjustment from on board, but I prefer eye splices in transient docklines (which is how the o.p. indicated these would be used).

Here in the Chesapeake, most docking is to pilings, rather than cleats on finger piers. We attach and adjust the whipped end of the docklines at our cleats. The spliced eye at the other end goes over the dock piling, after first dipping the eye. If you tie-off to the piling instead, you still have to dip your neighbor's dockline. So in most instances, it's just simpler to use a large spliced-eye.
 

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Lots of good points made - I would point out that it is easier to tie a long line shorter than it is to tie a short line longer. Every boater should know how to tie a proper cleat hitch.

Working in a marina, during a storm, we walk the piers and retie any boat that is rubbing. It constantly amazes how many boaters don't know how to tie up their boat, let alone how to tie a cleat hitch or a bowline, for that matter. When the wind is honking and the rain is drenching and a boat is nuzzling up to a piling scraping its paint off, it can be very trying to untie somebody's cleat hitch that's wedged tight because he started his hitch on the wrong side of the cleat. (Yes, there is a wrong side - for those few of you sailnetters who may not know, you always take the line to the far side of the cleat first, else when you take the first loop it wedges and jams.)

Regarding length of springline, ours is almost 60 feet long. (Out boat is 41'.) We tie it to pilings in front of and behind the boat and secure it to a cleat in the middle.

The reason for the extra length is that it makes it possible to single handedly turn the boat around on a face dock if necessary. Simply fasten the extra long springline to the bow or stern - depending, of course, on which way you're going to turn it. Run the line all the way on the outside and back to the dock. Untie the dockline at the end where the springline is secured to the boat and let the wind or current take that end out. (This only works when current or wind is cooperating.) Once the boat is about at a right angle to the dock start pulling the springline back in. In turns, walk the other end of the boat along the pier, and pull your springline (I'm calling it a springline even though it's a bow line or a sternline at this point) until the boat is back parrallel to the pier, then secure all lines normally.

Don't forget to unplug your shorepower cord before starting the whole procedure. (I've never done this, of course.):hammer
 

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I wanted to know if there was a rule of thumb for finished length before I cut and splice one end of them.
The boat's LOA is sometimes used if you double-up the bow line or stern line with a spring line.

We cleat the bow using the eye splice - then to a dock cleat as normal then take the bitter end back to the boat's center cleat and snug it up as a spring line. Same procedure for the stern line. Two lines serve the purpose of carrying four - though perhaps the same amount of material.

To Larry's cleat hitch point earlier...


Wayne
 

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We cleat the bow using the eye splice - then to a dock cleat as normal then take the bitter end back to the boat's center cleat and snug it up as a spring line. Same procedure for the stern line. Two lines serve the purpose of carrying four - though perhaps the same amount of material.


Wayne
Does that not make springing off more difficult? In order to spring off, you need to be able to leave a spring line attached after the breast lines have been removed.

Jack
 

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Jack,

Yep!

If conditions require springing off the dock, I would retie as you suggest. In fact however we rarely if ever need to (or want to).

Here on the Chesapeake you more often than not spring from unprotected pilings, a sure fire gouging, scraping mess for the topsides unless the spring line tender is also and simultaneously very diligent adjusting a fender between the hull and piling.

Wayne
 
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