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Old 10-07-2008, 01:29 AM   #1
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Permanent spring line

Chris asked me for some photos of the stand we use to hold our permanent spring line in our slip.* The prevailing wind in our area blows us off our finger so my wife puts this line on the midships cleat as we enter the slip and using the starboard prop in forward and the rudder hard over to port I can pin the boat to the finger in even a strong wind while we get the other lines secured.* A lot of boaters in our marina have these spring line holders which is where I got the idea.* Here are photos of our setup and couple of others on our dock.
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Old 10-07-2008, 11:55 AM   #2
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RE: Permanent spring line

We have permanent lines left on the dock and a set that we take with us.* We also have two sets of bumpers and ugly set left on the dock and a pretty set we take on the boat. The spring line is the first line we try to get cleated on the boat, which I can maneuver on.* Our present moorage is along side the walk way which most times also tie*a line to until we get the lines on the dock tied to.*
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Old 10-07-2008, 01:06 PM   #3
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RE: Permanent spring line

I finally spliced an eye onto the end of my permanent spring line.* Man, that made all the difference in the world for whoever my deck crew happens to be!* I found that no matter how many times you explain that a quick tie-off is all that's required then move to the other lines, it never worked.* Invariably,* I'd dash off the flybridge to find my helper still standing at the midship cleat, spring line in hand, thinking about what to do next. Now, even the most inexperienced help gets it.

-- Edited by BaltimoreLurker at 14:06, 2008-10-07

-- Edited by BaltimoreLurker at 14:07, 2008-10-07
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Old 10-07-2008, 03:09 PM   #4
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RE: Permanent spring line

When I was assigned to the Fireboat I fashioned an old ski pole into a line holder. It fit nicely into a single hole drilled into the wooden dock wailer and with a single cut thru the hand guard the spring line was held at the right height and was very convenient.

Ken
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Old 10-07-2008, 07:36 PM   #5
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RE: Permanent spring line

Thanks Marin - that's pretty much what I figgered, but sometimes I don't figger real good.

The next thing that I've got to figger is how to convince people that they just have to get the spring through the hauspipe and over one horn on the cleat.* I tell them multiple times as we're coming in, and even show them before we leave... but when the time comes, they always fucXXXX* er* mess around with trying to get the eye around both horns - so I don't dare put any strain on the line with their fingers in the way.* Sigh.

The holder looks like a sweet deal for me.* Siince I single hand a lot, I'd really like to get at least one line attached before getting off of the boat.* Had one time when I went to the potty pumper dock where the line slipped out of my hand just as the boat had bounced off of the fenders, and I was about six inches away from being separated (and stranded on the pumpout dock... what an ignomanious way to go).
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Old 10-07-2008, 08:50 PM   #6
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RE: Permanent spring line

Chris---

My wife is in charge of lines when we dock the boat. The procedure we use with our home slip spring line is pretty simple. I angle the boat into the slip so the bow is next to the line holder and she lifts the blue line off the holder, runs it through the midship hawse and puts it around the midship cleat from which she has already removed one of the two spring lines that we keep on the boat thus making it very easy to get the eye of the blue line on the cleat (which on GBs is quite large and easy to get an eye around).

In the meantime I'm still easing the boat into the slip. When the blue line is on the cleat she tells me that it is. Since I always conn the boat from the lower helm station, all this is going on right outside the door next to me. She then goes aft in preparation to stepping off the boat with the stern line. I lean out the door, in which position I can still manipulate the shifters thanks to the "backwards" control arrangement on earlier GBs, and watch the blue line as I take up the slack. During this time the wind is blowing us off our finger but no worries. As soon as the blue line is taut I set the power and rudders to move the boat over to the finger and pin it there. Ruth steps to the dock, secures the stern line, I go up to the bow and give her the bow line, and there we are.

Once the boat is secured with its own six lines we use the blue spring line as an additional stern line since that's the direction the often very strong winds come from.* When we take the boat out we hang it back up on the holder.


-- Edited by Marin at 21:56, 2008-10-07
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Old 10-17-2008, 07:24 PM   #7
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RE: Permanent spring line

OK, I need some docking advice. My slip is in a river which typically has a fairly strong ( 2 knots or so) cross current. When the wind and tide are going in the same direction, it can be quite a bit more.

Our slip is narrow, only about 5' wider than our beam. Pretty typical set up, a piling on each side forms the outside end of the slip, though the slip is a little shorter than I would like as well--my bow extends a few feet beyond the pilings when the boat is in the slip.

Because of a short finger pier, we have to back into the slip.

Most of the time I hit it pretty good, but when there is a strong cross wind and current it can be a bear.

I have twin engines.

How would you guys do it?

Thanks

-- Edited by Dougcole at 20:26, 2008-10-17
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Old 10-17-2008, 07:40 PM   #8
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RE: Permanent spring line

Is your slip defined by floating docks on either side of the boat? Or it is just the two pilings and a pier at the head end of the slip? The slips in the PNW are almost always defined by a finger float on each side and a main float at the head of the slip. So there is something on at least one side of the boat to help guide it in and that the crew (if there is one) can jump off onto with the lines. Because of the tide range boats rarely moor to piers or pilings up here. If you can define your setup a little more clearly (or post a photo) it would be easier to offer an opinon (which will be worth exactly what you pay for it).

In the meantime, just to make you feel bad (if you haven't seen this already), take a look at this video which is of a SINGLE ENGINE fish boat. The boat is being driven by the fellow at the control consol on the starboard side of the aft deck. He makes only one correction with power and rudder on his way in.** * .* There are other clips from the same contest on YouTube.


-- Edited by Marin at 20:46, 2008-10-17
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Old 10-17-2008, 07:43 PM   #9
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RE: Permanent spring line

There is a fixed dock on the port side that comes out about 1/2 the boat length. Also a fixed dock across the stern side of the slip.
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Old 10-17-2008, 08:12 PM   #10
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RE: Permanent spring line

When you say "fixed dock" I assume you mean on pilings, not floating? And which side does the current and problematic wind come from?

Actually, you can take a lesson from the "docking contest" videos on YouTube. What you don't want to do is back in too slow as that will simply give the wind and/or current that much more time to shove you out of alignment. Of course you don't want to back in so fast that you run the risk of damage if you misjudge something or a transmission craps out on you.

If you have a crew I suppose they could walk you back into the sip by pushing the boat off the downwind/downcurrent piling as you back in and control the position of the stern with differential thrust.

But based on the mental image I have of your setup I guess I'd do what you probably already do and that is get the boat as far upwind/upcurrent as possible as I started backing into the slip. I've found that backing a twin is really easy when it comes to controling the boat's direction since you're actually "steering" (with differential thrust) the same end that's going "forward." As opposed to going forward bow-first but what you're actually moving from side to side is the other end of the boat.

So the problem going backwards in a cross-wind or current is controlling the bow. The stern will go exactly where you want it to go.

Once the boat was aligned with the upwind side of the slip I would probably initially use the upwind engine to back and fill with (similar to the single-engine boat in the video) to keep the boat as much upwind in the slip as possbible and use the downwind engine only when needed to push forward with when necessary to try to pivot the boat and move the bow upwind if it's getting too close to the downwind piling.

I would also be tempted to start out with the boat diagonally positioned out front of the upwind or upcurrent piling so that the bow was upstream/upwind of the piling. As you back in the bow will start to move downstream/downwind but by starting out with it "too far" upstream this will give you a bit more time to get the boat back into the slip before the bow gets too far downstream and comes up against the downstream piling. How much off-angle you position the boat will depend on the speed of the current and/or the strength of the wind.

I can see how everything I said would work, but I can also see how it might not work. So it's probably not much of an answer.

Actually I'd probably put fenders (that won't move) on everything I'd be likely to hit and just slide the boat in on those


-- Edited by Marin at 21:15, 2008-10-17
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Old 10-17-2008, 08:18 PM   #11
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RE: Permanent spring line

Aw, heck, I could dock that good if I put up a wake like that, but...

I just solved one of my major docking problems, which was a frequent strong west wind, a double slip, and a very expensive slip-mate on my east side.* On the first, I'll be moving to a single slip that even comes with training wheels on the end.

Not without its challenges, however:* it's north facing, so I really need to back in (want the nose heading into the southerlies when they hit).* Backing in at should*also help *keep the #$#*!##%ing seals off of it in the middle of the night.

The spring holder (when I get around to building it) will still be useful, especially with backing into the slip - the swim step isn't gonna like getting cozy with the end of the slip.
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Old 10-17-2008, 08:50 PM   #12
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RE: Permanent spring line

That is pretty much what I do. Start up tide and upwind (sometimes it is one way, sometimes the other. I usually drift around a little to make sure.) Then as I slide down current, I goose her back in. Sometimes though I get pinned to the down current piling. Makes a loud squeak!

I've thought of using a spring line to the stern to swing her in, put I'm not sure the slip is wide enough for this to work?
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Old 10-17-2008, 09:21 PM   #13
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RE: Permanent spring line

Hmmm.. sounds opposite of* the way that I would approach it.* I'd start downcurrent/downwind.* Then I turn into the slip carrying a little momentum into the current/wind.*

Also, I don't turn completely at first - as the bow enters the slip, the boat is still probably 10 degrees or so from aligned with the slip.* As more of the boat enters the slip. I straighten out by kicking the stern into the wind/current with engine and maybe a bit of rudder.

So the idea (my idea - no authority to this whatsoever) is to have three things working against the prevailing wind/current:
- the momentum of your forward velocity prior to the turn into the slip
- "crabbing" as you enter the slip, so some component of the boat's motion is still into the wind/current, and
- the kick of the stern to align the boat with the slip, which will also be into the wind/current.

My problem has always been, as the boat gets about 2/3 of the way into the slip, the wind finally takes hold.* You may notice from my avatar picture that the flybridge is pretty far forward, and it really catches the breeze.* So now*the bow starts to swing downwind.* In the shared slip, this starts to move the bow towards my neighbor's boat.* And there really isn't anything that I know of that will counteract this:* any engine/rudder inputs that move the bow back into the wind end up causing the stern to move the opposite direction even farther.

As I mentioned earlier, that's why I*am moving*to a single slip.* Now as the boat gets blown downwind, my main goal is*to be certain that I have virtually no fore/aft speed, and I can just let the downwind fenders cushion me against the dock (with any fore/aft speed, the fenders will ride up after a couple of feet).* At this point, the boat's not going anywhere, not going to hurt anything, and can be manhandled into position with the lines and maybe a little engine burst here and there.

From your description of starting upwind/upcurrent from your slip, it sounds like you're carrying some momentum in the direction that you don't want to go as you start to enter the slip -- true??

I'm especially jittery about even lightly grazing my neighbor's boat because it's a nice, newer Pacific Trawler that was scratched up pretty badly in a mid-summer incident with a bareboat charterer at the helm.* A Mainship moored several slips down the dock was bow-out and sticking into the fairway a couple of feet.* I guess that the anchor was the farthest out protrusion, and it took out most of the railing on the starboard side of the boat as well as putting a nasty scratch in the side of the cabin.* The owner's a really nice fellow, and I'd hate like hell to have to call him up with a report that he's been dinged up yet again.
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Old 10-18-2008, 12:42 AM   #14
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RE: Permanent spring line

Chris, you bring up a good point about using the upwind momentum of the boat to counter the downwind push (or up-current, down-current). That's actually what I try to do when docking. Same as I do with a floatplane (which has no brakes and no reverse unless it's a turbine), I prefer to approach a dock heading into the wind as much as possible.

I guess I was thinking of having to approach the river slip from straight in for some reason. I didn't think of doing a curving approach from downstream/downwind up into the current/wind.* As I think about it, I think that would probably be the best solution, or at least the first one I'd try.


-- Edited by Marin at 01:44, 2008-10-18
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Old 10-18-2008, 06:05 AM   #15
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RE: Permanent spring line

I agree that on the surface the upwind approach seems best. When I am pulling sideways into a dock I always try to do it upwind, the theory being that you can use the wind to stop the boat.

The first few times I entered my slip that is how I did it. But I always seemed to get pinned to the downcurrent piling and had to rotate around it. It works, but I like to be prettier than that.

What do you guys think about the upwind/upcurrent approach with a spring the aft cleat?
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Old 10-18-2008, 12:56 PM   #16
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RE: Permanent spring line

I've changed my mind. If I was entering the slip bow first I'd use the upwind/upcurrent approach per Chris' suggestion. But since you're backing in you have no way to prevent the bow from being held downwind/downcurrent since you're starting from a downcurrent/wind position. Pivoting the boat with differential power can move the bow toward the upwind/upcurrent side, but while you're doing this the current/wind will move the whole boat down and you'll get pinned against the downside piling. So I'm back to my upcurrent starting point.

One thing I'd be tempted to try is to attach a permanent line to the upcurrent piling and hang it on a hook that can be reached but that won't damage your boat should you come up against the piling. Then as you start to back in a crewmember (if you have one) could lift the line off the hook and then go to the bow and use the line to prevent the bow from being shoved downcurrent against the downcurrent piling. Meanwhile you'll be able to control the position of the stern with the engines as you back in.

It's an interesting challenge--- let us know how you eventually resolve it.



-- Edited by Marin at 13:58, 2008-10-18
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Old 10-18-2008, 09:54 PM   #17
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RE: Permanent spring line

Take a look at Dave Pascoe's article at

http://yachtsurvey.com/docking.htm

Towards the end, he giveds a technique for backing into a slip similar to yours.* I don't entirely grok what he's suggesting, but his main thing is going ahead and letting the boat contact the piling, using it as a pivot.* It's interesting reading in any case.
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Old 10-22-2008, 06:32 PM   #18
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RE: Permanent spring line

Thanks Chris.* This is pretty much what I've done in a lot of tide/current.* What makes it a little tougher for me too (I forgot to mention this) is that we store our dinghy on davits on the stern.* It sticks out about 4 feet.* Adds to the fun.

Next time I'm going to try springing off the pivot piling to the stb strn cleat.* That way I think I can hit the piling less.

Doug
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