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Old 08-13-2017, 01:53 PM   #1
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Lines for the Boat

All,
Buying some new lines for my 400 Mainship, and deciding what to get. Most of my old lines aren't too bad, but most of them are 1 in and just too huge and hard to handle, so I'm getting 5/8 nylon double braided.

This will be lines kept on the boat for traveling and docking.

I'm guessing that the majority of time more than 4 lines is not necessary. (I've never need more than 4 but can see a few situations where it would be nice.

So, looking at the attached diagrams for docking, the only time that over 4 is really nice if in a slip that's kinda small for the boat and need extra lines for stability. (boat B)

Most of my docking is abeam a dock and not in a slip.

So, I'm ordering 4 lines 35 feet, 5/8 nylon with a eye in them.

I'm going to keep a few old lines around, perhaps a 50 or 60 footer I have, in case needed, but that's about it.

Thoughts?

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Old 08-13-2017, 02:05 PM   #2
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If you're going to keep some of the old lines you should be fine.
In a storm I find myself adding lines as requiired.
Often 2-3.
If you're only getting four make them as long as the boat, minimum 2X the beam.
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Old 08-13-2017, 02:06 PM   #3
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Most of the time we use 3 since we are in the situation such a "C" above most of the time. However, sometimes extra springs are good and there is the situation at times when a boat may need to raft.

I think I have about 6 dock lines on board. I have some 3/4 which are bigger than I like, but they came with the boat. 5/8" is a great size.

Just make sure that the lines you buy or make have a large enough eye, if you go with a pre-spliced eye. A pet peeve of mine are eyes that are too small to easy go around the horns in my hawse holes.
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Old 08-13-2017, 09:57 PM   #4
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Thx, good replies.

As far "as long as the boat".... I've thought of that, but with my 40, would 35 feet be enough. Most of the time I dock, the 40 footers are dangling all over the place and rarely use have of it.

But, I'll have a 50 or 60 ft backup. Does that make sense?
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Old 08-13-2017, 10:17 PM   #5
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Thx, good replies.

As far "as long as the boat".... I've thought of that, but with my 40, would 35 feet be enough. Most of the time I dock, the 40 footers are dangling all over the place and rarely use have of it.

But, I'll have a 50 or 60 ft backup. Does that make sense?


Makes sense to me. I could use one or two shorter lines myself. It seems that on my sailboat I used longer lines more frequently. That may be due to the pointy nature of a sailboat, but for the power boat I usually only need one longer line.

Tonight I am rafted up alongside an old woody purse seiner. The boat is older than I am and has a high freeboard. I've used 4 lines to tie to her. Three could be short.
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Old 08-13-2017, 10:48 PM   #6
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When cruising we sometimes get placed on a side tie like your configuration C. In that case actually we almost always have five lines but perhaps it's because we have a frequent current to deal with. Anyway, we typically have a bow, stern, fwd spring, aft spring, and finally a far side transom spring to hold the stern secure.
We do have a single 1" line and we use that for the bow line as it tends to have an important job in many situations.
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Old 08-14-2017, 03:04 AM   #7
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We use three lines per side when as in situation B except docks are at least as long as the boat, so maybe it is more like A. Starboard and port bow and stern lines, plus midship line on each side. Have two widely-spaced midship cleats onboard which we align approximately equal distance from a dockside cleat. Run the midship lines from boat cleat to dock cleat and then to the other boat cleat. Midship lines control forward and backward movement. We have floating docks here. ... Dual midship lines are the most useful.
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Old 08-14-2017, 05:15 AM   #8
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If going looping, and depending which canal systems you are going to be in.....you may want a couple long ones for locking. You may want to think about fenders and disposable/washable fender covers too

While there are loopers snd highly experienced people here, you may want to join the Great Loop Association and check out their data bases and members info.
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Old 08-14-2017, 07:18 AM   #9
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We use 7 pre-positioned lines at our home slip: 2 bow, 2 forward springs, 1 aft spring, 2 stern. And I keep another short line pre-positioned on the aft midship pile to use as a forward spring to a stern cleat, for when I need a "brake" line while returning single-handed.

For traveling, we keep 8 new lines on board, plus some leftovers, in case we need to rig for especially heavy weather while we're away from home.

All our lines are double-braid, most with pre-spliced eye, becoming 5/8" as we replace older ones. I've tried 3/4" but a) they don't fit our cleats as well, and b) they seem to be stiffer. Most of ours are 35' but we also have one 60' (different color) line -- with a BIG loop in a bowline -- we always use as our initial spring, and a couple are 25' which is often sufficient for bow lines... unless we want to double up, and sometimes we need to use the longer lines for that.

I might mention that color thing again. 1) Apparently white and white-gold are usually stronger than all other colors. 2) We find it helps to have a couple different colored lines for different purposes, so our springs at home are white and our big traveling spring is white-gold... so if visiting crew simply must help and they don't know the terminology, we can point them to the right color.

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Old 08-14-2017, 08:11 AM   #10
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I would vote for one more line in most of your diagrams.
I am a strong believer in crossed spring lines. (the way you show your stern lines in your diagrams) Crossed springs actually tend to keep the boat off the dock, taking pressure off the fenders.
In scenario C, for example, you have only one line preventing rearward movement of the boat - I prefer two, and crossed springs would solve this. My boat usually has very tight spring lines, and the bow and stern lines are just a little slack.
Well, you did ask for opinions! .........
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Old 08-14-2017, 08:32 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
We use 7 pre-positioned lines at our home slip: 2 bow, 2 forward springs, 1 aft spring, 2 stern. And I keep another short line pre-positioned on the aft midship pile to use as a forward spring to a stern cleat, for when I need a "brake" line while returning single-handed.

For traveling, we keep 8 new lines on board, plus some leftovers, in case we need to rig for especially heavy weather while we're away from home.

All our lines are double-braid, most with pre-spliced eye, becoming 5/8" as we replace older ones. I've tried 3/4" but a) they don't fit our cleats as well, and b) they seem to be stiffer. Most of ours are 35' but we also have one 60' (different color) line -- with a BIG loop in a bowline -- we always use as our initial spring, and a couple are 25' which is often sufficient for bow lines... unless we want to double up, and sometimes we need to use the longer lines for that.

I might mention that color thing again. 1) Apparently white and white-gold are usually stronger than all other colors. 2) We find it helps to have a couple different colored lines for different purposes, so our springs at home are white and our big traveling spring is white-gold... so if visiting crew simply must help and they don't know the terminology, we can point them to the right color.

-Chris
Chris,

Explain how you use the 60 footer with the bowline in it. Do you use the loop to catch a piling? I've been using a long line and just throw a loop over the piling or cleat so both end of the the line are on the boat for a spring line and has worked ok. Often I can do that with a 35 ft line.

Might need to think about that....
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Old 08-14-2017, 09:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
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I would vote for one more line in most of your diagrams.
I am a strong believer in crossed spring lines. (the way you show your stern lines in your diagrams) Crossed springs actually tend to keep the boat off the dock, taking pressure off the fenders.
In scenario C, for example, you have only one line preventing rearward movement of the boat - I prefer two, and crossed springs would solve this. My boat usually has very tight spring lines, and the bow and stern lines are just a little slack.
Well, you did ask for opinions! .........
Slow,

Good points. I'm having a hard time grasping the concept that crossed spring lines keep the boat off the dock, unless you had 4 of them. Two crossed, and a bow and stern line... is this correct, or am I missing something?
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Old 08-14-2017, 10:42 AM   #13
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Perhaps it is becasue we do not have a home slip, that I find 4 lines to be inadequate. When we did have a home slip we always had 6. Two bow, two stern and two springs. We are cruising full time and tie up in 15 -20 different slips every year. Since the location of the cleats and pilings is different every marina we visit, having only 4 lines is just not an option. We like to have both end of our lines on the boat in a transient slip. It is easier to adjust. For our boat we have 8 x 25', 2x40' 2x60' and one 120' and one 150' The two longest lines are for storm conditions when you might have to tie off to pilings much further from the boat than normal. In 8 years we have only put those into action 3 times. But when yoou need a long line, you need along line. As others have said, if you are locking, you may have to run a line from the boat to a bollard and back. If the lock is moving you +/-20', a 40 foot line is almost too short.
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Old 08-14-2017, 11:25 AM   #14
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There are so many possibilities on docks, winds, currents, cleats, etc....there is no right or wrong.

Like anchoring, you can tie up for predicted conditions while tansient, or tie up for a hurricane.

I choose to look at the requirements necessary to safely hold the boat in predicted conditions, including the unexpected wake or thunderstorm....not follow worst case scenarios or generic diagrams.

While traveling, you need lines to accomodate most every possibility, but not every tie up.
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Old 08-14-2017, 01:04 PM   #15
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While traveling, you need lines to accomodate most every possibility, but not every tie up.

I agree. Even at my home dock the cleats aren't exactly where they would be ideal for my boat. So I make do. When away from home, there are all kinds of different configurations so you just need to have enough lines that you can adapt to the situation you are faced with.

In general, when I side tie against a floating dock, I want a short stern tie to keep the cockpit door convenient for my wife. Then I will use a bow line that will also tend to spring the boat fore or aft depending on the location of a dock cleat. I then will try to put a spring line that springs the boat the opposite direction that the bow is springing the the boat. Sometimes there just aren't many options so you make do.

When we have bull rails, then it is usually two breast lines and two springs and I can set them wherever I want. Often the two springs will be created with a single long line.
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Old 08-14-2017, 03:56 PM   #16
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Chris,

Explain how you use the 60 footer with the bowline in it. Do you use the loop to catch a piling?

The loop is about 4x the diameter of a single pile; or another way to look at it is that it would fit over about 4 piles if they were all together...

So we use the line in a number of ways. One is just directly over a pile, as you might also do with a normal dock line by pulling the running line through the spliced eye to create a larger loop.

(In fact, an incident related to that was what caused me to later make up the big loop, using a line we happened to have that had no pre-spliced eye. We were trying to dock at a local marina with wind blowing us off the face dock and toward a line of anchors in slips (with boat bows attached, aimed at us) on our port side, and the young dock hand simply couldn't grasp the concept of making a larger loop by pulling line through the pre-spliced eye. He could only see that the pre-spliced eye wouldn't fit over his pile. He also couldn't hear, apparently, since he was given explicit instructions... several times... while we drifted toward anchors on bow pulpits. We concluded afterwards that it was actually his first day of work at a summer job... Anyway, he finally did firmly (enough) attach the line to a pile so I could use that to spring into the wind, back across the small fairway and away from the boat impalers, to the dock we were aiming for. Yet another blood pressure incident, in a situation that should have been a snooze.)

Another way is by tossing the loop over a pile from a distance (lassoing the rascal, although that's easier with a stiff loop). This one sometimes helps when the piles are so tall wifey can't reach the tops very well.

Or we put the eye on our cleat, fling the running line over a pile and bring it back to the same cleat (i.e., doubling up that line).

Or we can often catch a cleat -- as on a floating dock -- with the loop, at least enough to get the boat stable. We'd usually "fix" that better, afterwards.

And the extra length can sometimes help in all those cases.

But usually we use that line as our first spring choice because crew (wifey) has so many options about how to use it. On an elegant day, I can just put the pulpit right next to the pile that line wants, she can easily reach the loop onto the pile (often attaching bow line to the same pile at the same time), and we can spring in (or whatever) from there. But 'for those inelegant days...



-Chris
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Old 08-15-2017, 07:31 AM   #17
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Quote:
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Thx, good replies.

As far "as long as the boat".... I've thought of that, but with my 40, would 35 feet be enough. Most of the time I dock, the 40 footers are dangling all over the place and rarely use have of it.

But, I'll have a 50 or 60 ft backup. Does that make sense?
My rule of thumb is that OK to be shorter than boat L as long as you can bring bow & stern lines together at the point you or admiral need to step off boat onto dock.
I also like lines long enough to go to dock and back to boat...makes adjusting and casting off easier when you or crewcan do it from the boat simply by pulling the bitter end back to the boat.
I also preferthat arrangement in a strange location where I don't want anyone adjusting or untieing a line. ..it requires someone getting aboard.
We have had mischievous teens untie us at night in a couple of towns.
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Old 08-15-2017, 07:53 AM   #18
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All our lines are double-braid, most with pre-spliced eye, becoming 5/8" as we replace older ones. I've tried 3/4" but a) they don't fit our cleats as well, and b) they seem to be stiffer. Most of ours are 35' but we also have one 60' (different color) line -- with a BIG loop in a bowline -- we always use as our initial spring, and a couple are 25' which is often sufficient for bow lines... unless we want to double up, and sometimes we need to use the longer lines for that.

I wasn't clear about our long line with the big loop; I think it's 3/4" line... even though that's approaching a bit large for our cleats... because we assume we will routinely put additional strain on that line while springing in our out.

Also happens it's a New England Rope double-braid line, nicely pliable, never as stiff as the other 3/4" lines we have, different brand (Samson).

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Old 08-18-2017, 10:30 PM   #19
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We have dedicated bow and stern lines on both sides of the boat.
The bows are about 45'.
TYhe sterns are about 35'.
Both come back to the cockpit and are secured there.

We also carry 4 ~ 50' lines, each with an eye on one end, which are hung from the bridge ladder so they are readily available. These are not often used yet there have been places where at least two of them were needed.
In addition there are a couple other lines, one about 100', which are in the lazarette.

All our lines are 1/2" for our 32' boat.

I do have other lines for winterizing but when not needed they stay home.
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Old 08-19-2017, 07:00 AM   #20
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I use both 1/2" and 5/8" lines. Varying from 20' to 30'. How many lines depends on how long I'm going to tie up for, and the specific dock.
A floating dock that will stay at same relative ht is easy, and requires less lines, length and can be tied up like C.
On a fixed dock with more than 2' of tide then crossed springs and long bow and stern lines. In a strange slip until you get IN you won't know where the lines go as I have not found much uniformity in cleat, piling and fender location ever. Even in the same marinas.

I never tie up anyone's boat like A. Outer pilings at marinas take a beating. Unless they are exceptionally stout I always put another backing spring line to prevent the stern hitting the dock if a piling failure occurs.
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