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Old 02-26-2016, 12:26 PM   #1
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Question Dock Lines

Need your opinion TF. I had all of my dock lines off the boat yesterday and they need to be replaced. Currently they are 3/4in soft nylon.

I am trying to decide if I really need 3/4in lines.

Not that I am really worried about cost, but why spend more than you have too.

Do I need 3/4 or 5/8?
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Old 02-26-2016, 12:40 PM   #2
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In some marinas, boats sit nicely in a gale. In my marina the current runs through faster than any marina I have ever seen...enough to pull floating docks edges under water and have breakers on them.

So that's half the question.

Ultimately dock lines rarely snap if even close to their working load...it's generally chafe that spells disaster.

If you could eliminate chafe, 1/2 inch would be fine...it's what I had the first 3 years...and may go back to it with loops at either end so chafe is only 1/2 as bad.

But it ultimately is what you like for handling, looks and chafe. Strength unless continuously stressed isn't usually the determining factor.

Only caveat, is if you spring in hard or really stink at docking...heavier lines could be warranted....
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Old 02-26-2016, 12:41 PM   #3
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Here is a PDF of size recommendations, on our 38' boat we use 5/8" for our normal travelling dock lines and use 3/4" on our home dock.
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Old 02-26-2016, 12:51 PM   #4
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too thick and short...they don't absorb much shock loading.


So that article saying a dock line is never to big is just another boat article writing done by someone with lots of theoretical knowledge and little actual. The problem is there isn't always an infinite number of cleats or pilings to make everything work out textbook.
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Old 02-26-2016, 01:17 PM   #5
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The larger the line the more difficult it is to properly tie them to the cleats; dock and boat. Like Scott says, rarely do our dock lines need near the breaking strength. Therefore, I use smaller lines now than I did when I first got the boat. 5/8-inch, braided nylon works fine for me on my 42-foot boat.
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Old 02-26-2016, 01:59 PM   #6
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A couple years ago we replaced all four . We used 3/4"line with chafe protection and added 4 mooring snubbers ( I won't say what everybody else calls them on the dock). I think we spent 600$ and it's way overkill . The snubbers were a real PITA to thread. It makes for comfort while docked but we could have got by with a lot less .The dock handlers duck when Joy throws them a line .
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Old 02-26-2016, 02:08 PM   #7
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Tom, I use all 5/8" line that I make sure are plenty long between my cleat and the dock cleat to absorb shock. I do have one 3/4" that someone gave me because it was too big for his boat but I haven't used it yet. I heard once a long time ago that dock lines are not meant to be LIFTING the boat, only to hold it in place, so you don't need extra heavy lines. More lines of a smaller diameter and longer are better than a few short lines that are thicker, IMHO.
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Old 02-26-2016, 02:40 PM   #8
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When I purchased my 43 it had a mixture of 1/2, 5/8 and 3/4....I kept all of that to use when making day trips and temporarily docking. Replaced all of them with 5/8" x 25' braided nylon which works fine.
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Old 02-26-2016, 03:13 PM   #9
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40' sailboat that displaces only about 23000 lbs fully loaded. I use 5/8" three strand for permanent dock lines. I inspect these periodically for wear and replace as needed. They are ugly but functional.

I keep 5/8" braid on board to use when we are away from our home dock. I like the braid since it is easy to handle and easy on the hands. It never gets much wear so lasts forever.

5/8" is more than I likely need, but it provides a very nice margin and isn't so big as to make putting two lines on a cleat impractical.
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Old 02-26-2016, 03:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
too thick and short...they don't absorb much shock loading.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Giggitoni View Post
The larger the line the more difficult it is to properly tie them to the cleats; dock and boat.
+1 on the above, and the rest of the similar comments.

I think the PO of my boat had a secret fantasy to be a tug boat captain. I found all kinds of 1" and 3/4" line that was just too bulky to handle and difficult to tie off to many of the cleats we encountered on the delivery run.

It all went (except for a few pieces of 3/4" that were in good condition) and was replaced by 5/8" 3-strand soft nylon. I never once regretted it.

I know the discussion about laid vs braid vs brait line can get religious, but I find I like the ease of working with laid line, along with the extra shock loading. Plus, I can replace it all without having to take out a loan.
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Old 02-26-2016, 03:28 PM   #11
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Trawlers need 3/4" three strand nylon lines. White only. With bowlines instead of spliced loops. Unless the loops are hand spliced.

Trawlers are he-man boats. Get with the program.
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Old 02-26-2016, 03:59 PM   #12
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It depends on the size cleats you have on your boat. Generally, you should use 1/16" line per inch of cleat. Therefore an 8" cleat should use 1/2" line and a 10" cleat would use 5/8" line. You can usually go one size larger or smaller and still get it to hold properly on a given cleat. But you probably do not want to go with 5/8" on a 6" cleat. Or 3/8" line on a 10" cleat. This also assumes that you boat has properly sized cleats.
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Old 02-26-2016, 06:52 PM   #13
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While we're at it, do you use white or colored?

A couple of pieces of information. Double braid is stronger than the 12 strand multi-braid. Also, white is stronger than colors.
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Old 02-26-2016, 07:46 PM   #14
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A lot depends on how it is secured and what is used as terminal ends. If you are using a knot or a splice. While it is true that chaffing will be the biggest problem an immediate loss of strength is determined by the knot. If you don't splice a bowline is the strongest.
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Old 02-26-2016, 09:26 PM   #15
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While we're at it, do you use white or colored?

A couple of pieces of information. Double braid is stronger than the 12 strand multi-braid. Also, white is stronger than colors.
What? White, no way it doesn't match, mine are black.......
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Old 02-26-2016, 09:35 PM   #16
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While we're at it, do you use white or colored?

A couple of pieces of information. Double braid is stronger than the 12 strand multi-braid. Also, white is stronger than colors.
White for my permanent dock lines, 3 strand that I splice myself.

Black for the double-braid that we keep on the boat, those were pre-spliced. I splice double braid, but it is actually cheaper to buy ready made dock lines than to buy the double braid and make them up yourself.
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Old 02-26-2016, 09:39 PM   #17
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White vs colors on dock lines?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BandB View Post
While we're at it, do you use white or colored?

A couple of pieces of information. Double braid is stronger than the 12 strand multi-braid. Also, white is stronger than colors.
Why is white stronger than colored lines?
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Old 02-26-2016, 09:52 PM   #18
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Why is white stronger than colored lines?
The process of dying I suspect. It weakens them ever so slightly. I would not have suspected it, but I certainly know with fabrics, dying can stretch them sometimes. The problem with that is that at some point fabric will shrink back to it's previous size. I seriously doubt though that the strength difference is enough to ever be noticed. Just something I've heard from rope people and seen on some of their websites. Here's what Rope Inc/Nance and Underwood say.

"When making a choice of line for your boat, keep in mind that 12-strand (Mega braid or Brait) line is not as strong as double braid line and colored line is not as strong as white line."

I was first told by an older captain and thought he was just pulling my leg.

I imagine this information is of no use other than a very strange trivia game.
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Old 02-26-2016, 09:57 PM   #19
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I found this explanation on another site:

"The molecules for the dye do take up some room, that rope fibre now can't occupy. But, usually the losses are nominal."

I take it what he's saying is that a white 5/8" is 5/8" rope and a colored one is and 199/320" and 1/320" dye or something like that.
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Old 02-26-2016, 10:30 PM   #20
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44' Swift Trawler - large amount of windage area...........
5/8" double braid - home dock lines
5/8" double braid - travel lines - two colors on the bow and stern - no confusion with my boat owner when docking. 'Use the red", "Use the black", etc. No sense having a mad Captain when you are all docked and looking share an adult beverage!!!
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