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1979 C&C 30 Mk I - 2QM15
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm trying to figure out the lengths of dock line that I need to buy for when I get my boat to my slip.

It's a 30' boat, the slip is 40'x15', It's got 3 pilings on either side of the boat, and I'm assuming I'll be using the 2 closest to shore and the 2 furthest out to tie off to. What size docklines should I buy? And should I get 4 or 6 just for "permanent" tie up? (I plan on tying up stern to shore & bow out)

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I see websites online that show usage of spring lines for a boat that's tied to one side of a dock. But nothing for a boat that's in a slip surrounded on all sides by pilings. I've seen boats use spring lines over their primaries, but the vast majority in my marina don't seem to use them at all. For Chesapeake Bay tides, should I use them or no?

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And just to make this even longer... I see some boats that run a copper wire with an alligator clip from the dock to someplace on their rigging. I'm assuming this is to help with electrolysis and nothing more. Again, some people do this, but most don't in my marina. If dock power is going to remain connected to my boat to run the charger, does the ground from that cable serve this purpose? Or Do I need the separate wire with an alligator clip setup?
 

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I'd rather be sailing
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Just a quick recommendation - if you buy docklines of different lengths, use different colors. This way you'll be able to quickly determine what each line is. I use black for bow and stern and red for springs, plus my extra long lines are green, with my heavy duty lines being white/tan.
 

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Good info on the West link.

And should I get 4 or 6 just for "permanent" tie up?
To answer this, I personally use 8 for everyday use. Plus we carry an extra set for transient purposes. If we are expecting heavy weather we will add to the 8 as required.
 

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October Moon B43
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400 Posts
We use 6 lines all of the same length. Two stern lines, which we criss cross for better cross wind stability. Four lines on the outer most pilings. Two one each side. One set is for the bow, the other for the spring lines. FYI the spring lines keep the wind from pushing you back into the dock. They have nothing to do to offset the tide. As for the tides on the bay, they vary widely and you'll have to find out what the ranges are in your area. Annapolis has apx a 1 1/2' swing while the head of the Sassafras River in the northern bay can see 3-4' swings. Ask your neighbors what they see and then validate it yourself observing max lows and highs.

I've never seen anyone connect a copper wire from the rigging to the dock. I assume it's to ground the boat in the event of a lightning strike??? I can't imagine it doing anything unless it's attached to something metallic on the dock that leads to a substantial ground plane. Connected directly to the wood isn't going to do anything.
Mike
 

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Like others, I think you'll want 8 total: 2 each at bow and stern, and two spring lines each port and starboard. How long the spring lines are depends whether you have a mid-ships cleat or not. If you have to spring at the bow and stern cleats, you will need longer spring lines.

You might get away with single spring lines, but it will be harder to do in such a big slip.

A 40 foot slip can actually be a bit tricky for tying up a 30 foot boat. We were in a 40 foot slip this past winter, and it was not easy making it work. The forward pilings were almost too far out for tying the bow, and the middle pilings were not in a good spot either.

We have a heavy set of winter dock lines, and then a second set of lighter lines we use when we're in transient slips in the summer (we moor ordinarily). The winter docklines go in the garage during sailing season. If we had a slip, we'd leave those plus-sized lines affixed to the pilings.
 

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1979 C&C 30 Mk I - 2QM15
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172 Posts
Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
If I only have 2 aft cleats and 2 forward cleats, can I use my primaries as anchors for both the fore and aft spring lines? Or to they HAVE to be cleated off at the fore and aft cleats too to make them functional?

And I was planning on using 1/2" dock lines for both summer and winter as permanent lines. And probably the same for my transient set. Is that adequate?
 

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Abysmally Stupid
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I use a total of 10 permanent lines.

2 on each bow = 4 lines
2 on each stern = 4 lines
1 spring line aft
1 spring line forward

I always double up on bow and stern lines during spring and fall.

I have had one bow line break during a tropical storm (it was doubled up)and seen other boats without double ups hit the dock - not pretty.
 

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Telstar 28
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1,000 Posts
How heavy is your boat... :)

A good general rule of thumb is that your cleats should be 16x the diameter of your docklines in order to be able to handle two lines on each cleat. For instance, I use 5/8" lines for my anchor line, so I have 10" cleats at the bow. I use 1/2" lines elsewhere, so I have 8" cleats on the rail and on the transom.

However, one project this spring is to add more cleats to my boat, since the cleats are all on the primary hull and it makes it a PITA to tie off when the boat has the amas out. I'm adding cleats to both amas...

If I only have 2 aft cleats and 2 forward cleats, can I use my primaries as anchors for both the fore and aft spring lines? Or to they HAVE to be cleated off at the fore and aft cleats too to make them functional?

And I was planning on using 1/2" dock lines for both summer and winter as permanent lines. And probably the same for my transient set. Is that adequate?
 

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October Moon B43
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Backcreek, if you only have 4 cleats you could run the spring lines from the mid ship pilings back to the stern cleats. That's providing the cleats are large enough to handle both sets of your 1/2" lines. That would be 2 lines forward, two at the stern and two for spring lines running from the mid pilings back. If you back in, as planned, the stern lines will keep you from getting pushed out into the fairway. The spring lines should be set so they keep you from being pushed aft into the dock. I've used the same set up for years with both a 31' and 36' with zero issues. Both weathered the severe storms that crop up on the bay delivering 40-50kt winds. If a tropical storm is tracking your way you can double up on the lines. Again that's providing your cleats can handle two sets. Check with other boats at your marina. I think you'll get to see what is the standard for your area.
Mike
 

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Don't try to use the ty-up lines when you travel.

Docking in an oversized slip is a pain as it is. Get a travel set too. They will last a long time.

Lines don't fail, they chafe. Cover all chafe points with tubular webbing. It is better than hose. Cheap from REI or other climbing stores.

Springlines really help cut down on surging, and they make it possible to keep the boat closer to the dock SAFELY. My wife has arthritis, and so that is a big factor.

Catamarans are always in over-length slips, so I feel your pain. Rig 2 lines, from the outer pilings to the inners, as guides. BIG help in a cross wind, when the bow pilings seem SO far away while you are getting the stern pilings tied. there is simply no good way to control the situation short of single handed. Don't worry if they look uncool. Scratched gel coat and bashed docks are uncool.

Best tip. Spend several nights on the boat, evaluating how she lies as the tide and wind change. It can be both relaxing and informative.

Don't figure you will get it right the first try. That would make you a god. I like to set it up so that when I get in, all I have to do is drop loops through then over cleats, but getting ALL of the lengths right takes time.

Finally, getting under a dock on a low tide is worse than touching a piling. I've seen the aftermath.
 

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We move around a lot fulltime cruising and we do best adapting to any situation with eight dock lines on my 41' boat. Four the length of the boat and four half the boat length. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
 

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Telstar 28
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One thing that really helps is having an amidships cleat. Mine is a Schaefer rail-mounted cleat... and it is very useful.
 

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1977 Morgan OI 30
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Good Advice!

I appreciate having the longer lines for traveling. We visited Rockport last year and nearly had to overnight at the main dock. The tide was out and we must have been around 10 feet below. We ultimately chose a nearby anchorage but I was hustling for a bit looking for long lines. So I've got them now.
 

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Yes, I have used mooring lines for dock lines more than once!

I appreciate having the longer lines for traveling. We visited Rockport last year and nearly had to overnight at the main dock. The tide was out and we must have been around 10 feet below. We ultimately chose a nearby anchorage but I was hustling for a bit looking for long lines. So I've got them now.
It is inconvenient, but you probably have 2-3 150-300 foot lines there when you need them... unless you use all chain, then you have 1 less.

My first cat I used 4 lines, no springs and it was fine. My new cat I use 4 lines and 2 springs (outers, but not inners). Experiment. It all depends on weight, surge, and protection from wind and wave.
 

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1979 C&C 30 Mk I - 2QM15
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172 Posts
Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Nobody really touched on this, but is there any reason why I couldn't or shouldn't use my primary winches in place of using amidships cleats for springlines? (I know someone that does this on a 34' J105 just down the creek from me that has no amidships cleats either and it seemed to work ok for his boat).

BTW... The PO did leave a couple Schaefer nylon rail-mounted cleats attached to stanchions. But I don't think I'd want an 8000 lb displacement boat pulling on one of my stanchions or my railing via one of those things. So I think I'll just keep those for fender hangers.
 

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dock lines

Backcreek,
I have read that if you use the winches you should make sure that the lines enter the winches at the same angle they are normally used (within reason). They are designed and mounted to handle forces in that plane and direction.

I also have only fore and aft cleats, I have a 35' sailboat at a 40' dock with 3 inside and outside pillings. I use 8 lines. I run criscrossed bow and stern lines from the outer pillings. I started with 1/2" lines, but they looked funny (too thin), so I replaced all my lines with 5/8" (3/4 was too big to put two lines on each cleat). I use chaffing protection on the bow and stern lines, but not on spring as they mostly hang off the boat. I run my aft going spring lines to the forward pillings. These are the longest lines and have the most stretch, so the boat can move further into the dock area. For me that is not an issue as I have a swing keel and with it up I only draw less than 2'. I run my fwd spring lines from the mid pillings to the bow cleats. This gives me extra line there and when I leave I set the ends of these lines on the forward pillings. Then when I back in I can pick up these lines and walk the boat back into the slip. Also, the aft going spring lines lay on top of these spring lines (which are shorter) and keeps them out of the water when slack.

I am also new to this as this is my first boat and first year with it, so I don't have a lot of experience, but the boat has sat well for the last 6 months. The lines are set so that the boat can come to within about 8" of the dock or the pillings, but never touch them. I add an extra line from a midships eye on a slider track to a center pilling. I use this to pull and tie the boat closer to the dock for getting on and off.

:)
 
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