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Old 08-11-2013, 08:39 PM   #1
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Bow catcher or 'How to catch a Boomarang'

Most of my recent boating has been single-handed, and Boomarang is a single-screw boat without bow thruster. Operating exclusively from the pilothouse makes docking and line handling pretty challenging at times. One day after a particularly awkward arrival I came up with this bridle to help me get the boat into the slip. It looks kind of silly, but it really helps me when docking. I can just drive it right in. On arrival, if into the wind, I can leave the boat in gear and use the rudder to swing the stern to the dock. Reaching a line or stepping off the boat is easy. If the wind is from astern, no power is needed to keep the boat in the bridle. Departing, with the wind astern, the boat remains secure in the bridle and can be safely untied. If into the wind, I put the boat in gear and it remains in place while I untie. Once back in the pilothouse, I can swing the stern with the rudder and get a favorable angle to back out of the slip.

I thought maybe this could help if anyone else out there is as short-handed or maneuvering challenged as I am.

By the way, I have found that single-handing is much easier with extra crew . . . .



Now, what the heck do I call this thing? Bow catcher, docking assist bridle, cattle guard . . .

Larry
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Old 08-11-2013, 08:50 PM   #2
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It's a great idea...even more so for boats with nothing between them and their neighbor. You are lucky enough to have a finger pier there.
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Old 08-11-2013, 09:14 PM   #3
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Brilliantly simple!
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Old 08-11-2013, 09:31 PM   #4
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Great idea!
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Old 08-11-2013, 09:34 PM   #5
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You Sir, are a genius !

Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryM View Post
Most of my recent boating has been single-handed, and Boomarang is a single-screw boat without bow thruster. Operating exclusively from the pilothouse makes docking and line handling pretty challenging at times. One day after a particularly awkward arrival I came up with this bridle to help me get the boat into the slip. It looks kind of silly, but it really helps me when docking. I can just drive it right in. On arrival, if into the wind, I can leave the boat in gear and use the rudder to swing the stern to the dock. Reaching a line or stepping off the boat is easy. If the wind is from astern, no power is needed to keep the boat in the bridle. Departing, with the wind astern, the boat remains secure in the bridle and can be safely untied. If into the wind, I put the boat in gear and it remains in place while I untie. Once back in the pilothouse, I can swing the stern with the rudder and get a favorable angle to back out of the slip.

I thought maybe this could help if anyone else out there is as short-handed or maneuvering challenged as I am.

By the way, I have found that single-handing is much easier with extra crew . . . .



Now, what the heck do I call this thing? Bow catcher, docking assist bridle, cattle guard . . .

Larry
m/v Boomarang
I will be using this myself on my next trip to the boat....THANKYOU !!!
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Old 08-11-2013, 10:27 PM   #6
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'Docking Bridle' paints a good mental picture.

A bit concerned though that the ring(SS?) may do a bit of damage to the bow over time, especially in rough conditions. All in all though a great idea.
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Old 08-11-2013, 11:03 PM   #7
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Actually, covering the ring and ropes near the ring with those pool noodles or similar would save scuffing...and colored ones would make it more visible as well....
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Old 08-11-2013, 11:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
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'Docking Bridle' paints a good mental picture.

A bit concerned though that the ring(SS?) may do a bit of damage to the bow over time, especially in rough conditions. All in all though a great idea.
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Actually, covering the ring and ropes near the ring with those pool noodles or similar would save scuffing...and colored ones would make it more visible as well....
It is difficult to see in the photo, but the lines are joined with interlocking eye splices, no metal is involved. I am thinking that I will leave the 'V' the way it is and simply run a single line from the apex to the dock directly forward and draw it up really tight. It will then be in the shape of a 'Y' which also might look less cluttered.

In use, the bow contacts the bridle pretty gently when entering the slip. I back the boat up a few inches when I secure the mooring lines so there is no abrasion at rest.

I do like the idea of some padding or a soft sheath over the point of contact. I have some chafing gear I use on my mooring lines that I might try. It is split and secures with Velcro. Lots of possibilities.

I'll update this thread with photos of the updated bridle when I get a chance to play with it more.

Thanks for your comments.

Larry
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Old 08-11-2013, 11:46 PM   #9
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Boat bondage???

Hmm, who knew
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:02 AM   #10
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Boat bondage???

Hmm, who knew
You have been watching too many movies !!! thanks for the "Do not start" placards, they are currenty in use...
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:05 AM   #11
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Boat bondage???

Hmm, who knew
You have a warped mind.

sd
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:16 AM   #12
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Larry, if those are not floating lines, what keeps them up near the surface of the water so they just don't slide beneath the hull when you're coming in?
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:41 AM   #13
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Larry, if those are not floating lines, what keeps them up near the surface of the water so they just don't slide beneath the hull when you're coming in?
GFC,

The lines are tied to the finger piers which are about 24" off the water. I try to get them pretty tight, but they do sag to within a foot or so of the water. When the bow contacts the bridle, it does slide down the bow, but not very much at all. Mind you, I really try to have the boat stopped for the most part. There have been a couple of times, with a strong wind astern, that I was moving faster than I really wanted, and it simply stretched the bridle a bit and stopped. No muss, no fuss and remarkably, no scuffing. The lines are just old 1/2" nylon 3 strand dock lines. Boomarang displaces about 17,000# and they seem to be the right size.

Larry
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Old 08-12-2013, 01:11 AM   #14
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Great idea, Larry. I like simple solutions like yours.
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Old 08-12-2013, 04:48 AM   #15
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Any chance of a video showing the bridle in action?
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:01 AM   #16
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The first time I saw this set up was in the "notebook" section of Cruising World magazine back in the 80's. I know because I just threw away about 100 pounds of old torn out pages from boating mags back to the 70's.

It was more for single handling sailboats into slips with nothing between 2 boats. So it is nice to slip (no pun) into your slip like a hand in a glove. The original was just lines pulled tight to be just barely above the water at high tide. Readers wrote in that one big float at the apex worked for them if they couldn't get the lines tight enough. On a big slip you almost need a come-a-long to get them tight enough...others just used pool lane floats or noodles.
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:57 AM   #17
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Now, what the heck do I call this thing? Bow catcher, docking assist bridle, cattle guard . . .
I love it! Looks like you used the dock cleats that are already installed. Is that right?
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:20 AM   #18
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The first time I saw this set up was in the "notebook" section of Cruising World magazine back in the 80's. I know because I just threw away about 100 pounds of old torn out pages from boating mags back to the 70's.

It was more for single handling sailboats into slips with nothing between 2 boats. So it is nice to slip (no pun) into your slip like a hand in a glove. The original was just lines pulled tight to be just barely above the water at high tide. Readers wrote in that one big float at the apex worked for them if they couldn't get the lines tight enough. On a big slip you almost need a come-a-long to get them tight enough...others just used pool lane floats or noodles.
PSneed, I knew I couldn't have been the first to come up with this kind of rig. Having sailed most of my life, I have tried just about anything and everything you can do with a boat and some line. Especially when sailing solo. (Except bondage Craig)

I prefer that the lines remain high and dry. In our warm waters, the lines and pool lane floats would be nasty in just days.

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I love it! Looks like you used the dock cleats that are already installed. Is that right?
Walt, You are correct, I used the mid-ship dock cleats and the bow dock cleats to suspend the bridle. The lines were not that difficult to tension, but tighter seems better. Working alone it took a bit of fiddling to get the thing centered, but no more than 45 minutes start to finish.

By the way, that gordian knot is actually made from the intertwined eye splices of the aft lines and a continuous line forward that is woven into the thing with some sort of crazy hitch to keep it from sliding side to side. I doubt Brion Toss, the famous rigger would approve, but hey, it works for me.

Andy, as for the video, it might be hard to do single-handed, and nobody likes me on my dock anyway. They say I'm just too old and crotchety. Besides, who would ever want their clumsy docking adventures on You Tube for eternity? Now, maybe if I can just 'grease one in', I'll try to get it recorded . . .

Thanks everyone!

Larry
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:23 PM   #19
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PSneed, I knew I couldn't have been the first to come up with this kind of rig. Having sailed most of my life, I have tried just about anything and everything you can do with a boat and some line. Especially when sailing solo. (Except bondage Craig)

I prefer that the lines remain high and dry. In our warm waters, the lines and pool lane floats would be nasty in just days.



Walt, You are correct, I used the mid-ship dock cleats and the bow dock cleats to suspend the bridle. The lines were not that difficult to tension, but tighter seems better. Working alone it took a bit of fiddling to get the thing centered, but no more than 45 minutes start to finish.

By the way, that gordian knot is actually made from the intertwined eye splices of the aft lines and a continuous line forward that is woven into the thing with some sort of crazy hitch to keep it from sliding side to side. I doubt Brion Toss, the famous rigger would approve, but hey, it works for me.

Andy, as for the video, it might be hard to do single-handed, and nobody likes me on my dock anyway. They say I'm just too old and crotchety. Besides, who would ever want their clumsy docking adventures on You Tube for eternity? Now, maybe if I can just 'grease one in', I'll try to get it recorded . . .

Thanks everyone!

Larry
m/v Boomarang
Like they say...necessity is a mother (well something like that...)

Hey if you had never seen it before I applaud your creativeness and guts to put it in here....some people might say you can't or shouldn't do it because they never saw it at West Marine....

As to the lines getting nasty...yep tough to avoid for some setups... people that have tried it after I told them complained about the nasty lines....I just remarked ..."beats a gel coat repair bill from your neighbor!"

But nice job and hope it helps!
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:54 PM   #20
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Very slick! I can see where it would make cross-tying the stern a breeze. I have a similar system, my boat is 17' 6" wide and my slip is 18' ..... I need only remember to stop once I'm in : )
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