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Old 06-04-2018, 04:47 PM   #1
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Whats up with marinas that have no cleats?

Been visiting a few marinas in the PNW including BC Canada and often find when you pull up; instead of cleats they just have wooden horizontal 4 x 4 or maybe horizontal metal bars. In most of these places we've found it sort of works to double the lines back to your own cleat but can be a little more work. the 4x4s are especially irritating as they can leave wood slivers in your lines.
Is it simply the cost of installing cleats or is there more to this...?
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Old 06-04-2018, 04:55 PM   #2
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I think it used to more common that it is now. La Conner just yanked out all those 4 X 4's and put in new large cleats. The round ones are the worst. When it's wet and you use that as a step getting off the boat... setup for a hurt. The 4 X 4's were OK for getting off our sailboat. Either of them were a pain to tie up.
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Old 06-04-2018, 05:38 PM   #3
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Been visiting a few marinas in the PNW including BC Canada and often find when you pull up; instead of cleats they just have wooden horizontal 4 x 4 or maybe horizontal metal bars. In most of these places we've found it sort of works to double the lines back to your own cleat but can be a little more work. the 4x4s are especially irritating as they can leave wood slivers in your lines.
Is it simply the cost of installing cleats or is there more to this...?

A bull rail can be nice in that you can tie to it at any point instead of only where a cleat is located. It helps avoid the hassles of putting multiple lines on one cleat. I'm not sure it is much cheaper in the long run, but it may be. We see these a fair amount in guest docks that are long here in the PNW. The further afield you go, the more you are apt to run into them.



I know what you mean about the splinters. However, the 4x4 rail will hold a line really well.
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Old 06-04-2018, 06:28 PM   #4
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Canada is a different country than the US, therefore, we do things differently
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Old 06-04-2018, 08:26 PM   #5
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Canada is a different country than the US, therefore, we do things differently
"Ouch"!

I prefer the bull rail so I can employ my primitive "Thruster" in the form of a grappling hook. The employment and purpose of this grappling hook has been described in several past post/threads. In a minute, the hook is thrown from the fly bridge helm over the bull rail allowing one to yard the boat into the dock/float, much as a thruster result.

Speaking to Canada being different, I recently read a blog of an acquaintance who recently spent time in a inlet lodge above Cape caution where the mooring was accomplished using chunks of line stapled down on the dock surface. The blogger was a bit apprehensive of using said "Eyes" yet they served the purpose.

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Old 06-04-2018, 09:05 PM   #6
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I am curious, are bull rails a Canadian thing or a B.C. Thing? I understand that B.C. Is a different country from Canada, just like Hawaii is a different country from the USA.
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Old 06-04-2018, 09:12 PM   #7
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I am curious, are bull rails a Canadian thing or a B.C. Thing? I understand that B.C. Is a different country from Canada, just like Hawaii is a different country from the USA.
We have them on some docks in Ontario in the Rideau and Trent canals.
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Old 06-04-2018, 10:28 PM   #8
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I despise bull rails, and am looking forward to the invention of cleats in Canada. You see them throughout BC, but also N.S., PEI, Newfoundland and other places civilization has not found. I note that several marinas in the BC area, as they update/replace their docks, are putting in cleats.

You can tie to a bull rail all along, but not with a breast line as it will slip, or an angled bow or stern line. Unless they use the normal wood for these things, which is so full of splinters your dock lines will need to be handled with gloves for months to come. Don't try to sweat a line in on a nasty bull rail, too much friction. Try to lasso one as you come into the dock single handed like you can a cleat? No way.

Did I mention I don't like them?
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Old 06-04-2018, 10:42 PM   #9
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As a beginning 'yachter' I was taught many things. Especially from 'Chapmans', USPS, and other fellow mentors.

Then I went into the US Merchant field. Totally different world.

Few examples.

The "correct way" to tie to a cleat is NOT what you see at most marinas. You don't put the eye on the BOAT cleat and pass the bitter end to the dock. Period. You never leave a boat secured so that 'in extremis' you have to jump ON the dock to let go your lines.
So... why does everyone do the opposite? There is a specific reason (IMHO) but won't get into that discussion!

Also, the correct way to tie to a cleat is not a half turn, one figure 8 and a half hitch in any direction. boatus explanation with caveatThere is a specific method of leading a line to the far horn of a cleat, one COMPLETE round turn, figure 8s to fill the cleat up. NO half hitch. Unfortunately yacht cleats are usually too small to not put a half hitch on. So the half hitch (locking hitch) is put on last, on the same plane as the last figure 8, so it falls in place and locks. I can't recall the last time I've seen it done correctly. Well, maybe one time out of ten.
Here's 5 out of 6 wrong: Name:  cleat mess1.jpg
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Size:  13.0 KB Name:  cleat mess 2.jpg
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Size:  7.6 KB Name:  cleat mess3.jpg
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Size:  11.2 KB Name:  cleat mess 4.jpg
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Size:  17.2 KBName:  cleat mess 5.jpg
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But sometimes a blind man gets a hole in one: Name:  cleat right .jpg
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Size:  14.0 KB

So your query about why no cleats is an indication that there's more than one way to skin a cat about how things are generally done around the 'rest of the waterfront'. But, it is more prevalent than one would imagine.
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Old 06-04-2018, 10:51 PM   #10
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... Then I went into the US Merchant field. Totally different world. ... You never leave a boat secured so that 'in extremis' you have to jump ON the dock to let go your lines.
So... why does everyone do the opposite? ...
Nevertheless, when cruise ships leave the dock, the lines are lifted from the dock's bollards as they are semi-permanently attached to the ship.
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Old 06-04-2018, 10:57 PM   #11
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They're great, especially for single handing.

I can ease up to and stop anywhere along a docks length I want, exit out of the pilothouse door, step down to the dock, and tie a quick line from the midship cleat. Takes maybe 3 seconds and the boat is secure. The bow and stern lines come to the dock with me as I tie the midship line, so those get tied quickly as well.

There are blocks between the bull rail and the dock about every 6 feet, so there are abundant choices for spring lines, bow lines, and stern lines.

We chose not to have permanent lines in our slip, as this would force us to learn how to tie up under all kinds of different wind/current scenarios.

Have never docked where there were cleats and no bull rails...not sure if I'm going to like it either.
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Old 06-04-2018, 11:12 PM   #12
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Nevertheless, when cruise ships leave the dock, the lines are lifted from the dock's bollards as they are semi-permanently attached to the ship.
Actually your comment makes my point exactly! There are always dock hands to take and let go a cruise ships lines. In extremis the cruise ship CAN leave. They just let the drums go and peel off the wires and lines and depart! If the lines were fast on the dock, with eyes on the ships bitts they would have to use an ax and cut them loose.
So the flip side would be, there is always a dock attendant where we tie up or let go our trusty yachts?
I always reverse the lines when I tie up at a dock for a long spell. Many times when coming to a dock and handing a dock hand an eye, they always look dismissive at me, and say: "put that on that thing there (cleat) and hand me the long end". There's a specific reason they do this. But from a practical standpoint I don't like to have eyes captive on the boat. I like to be able to untie, and flip eyes off dock cleats. If down to last line, in a windy or high current situation, I would gladly sacrifice a line by leaving it on a dock if I couldn't get the eye off a dock cleat, versus damaging the boat by a delayed departure and banging into the leeward boat/slip/dock.

I actually like the 'grappling hook' comment. That's a way to keep everyone at bay.
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Old 06-04-2018, 11:26 PM   #13
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Pet peeve!



It's amusing to watch folks make up a line to a cleat. They start off standing back and giving a good hard look, as if to make the cleat immobile, take a couple of figure 8's, stop, puzzle, then take a couple hitches, then wrap the remainder of the line around the whole mess. I try to remain silent. I did remark to one mega-knot tie-er that they must be planning a long stay with such a permanant lashing.... confused look....



Like the old saw... if you can't tie a knot, tie a lot.



And then you have the dock boys who can make a line up to a cleat without bending their back! Slick!
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Old 06-04-2018, 11:30 PM   #14
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They're great, especially for single handing.

I can ease up to a dock, exit out of the pilothouse door, step down to the dock, and tie a quick line from the midship cleat anywhere along the docks length I choose. Takes maybe 3 seconds and the boat is secure. The bow and stern lines come to the dock with me as I tie the midship line, so those get tied quickly as well.

There are blocks between the 4x4 and the dock about every 6 feet, so there are abundant choices for spring lines, bow lines, and stern lines.

We chose not to have permanent lines in our slip, as this would force us to learn how to tie up under all kinds of different wind/current scenarios.

Have never docked where there were cleats and no bull rails...not sure if I'm going to like it either.

I totally agree Murray,
Cleats are for yachties re small boats. Rails are a commercial boat thing mostly fishermen.

It problaly got started in the PNW where there were a lot of fishermen but the most likely scenario is that in the PNW there was extensive logging. Logs of Yellow Cedar and Douglas Fir were extremely plentiful. One could purchase for cheap and have enough rails cut before lunch to equip the whole marina w Bull Rails of whatever size.

What I’m say’in is that rails were a cheap substitute for lots of cleats. Put a big cleat every 3’ and I’ll be happy. But even galvanized cleats were probably too expensive for most of the little logging communities along the coast.

Because cleats aren’t cheap there’s rarely enough. And bull rails are several hundred percent better than cleats that are too small and put in stupid places. I’ll take Bull Rails any day.
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Old 06-04-2018, 11:45 PM   #15
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Just be great full that you dont have to tie up to a bunch of old tires!

Sometimes, I’m just greatfull to tie up, LOL.
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Old 06-04-2018, 11:49 PM   #16
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Good bull rail tips here: https://captnmike.com/2012/08/06/how...l-rail-part-1/
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Old 06-04-2018, 11:52 PM   #17
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Just be great full that you dont have to tie up to a bunch of old tires!

Sometimes, I’m just greatfull to tie up, LOL.
Butedale, anyone? Or how about a bunch of old "boom sticks" (the massive logs used to corral smaller logs into a log boom) that you sometimes find lashed together in out of the way bays?
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Old 06-05-2018, 12:44 AM   #18
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Butedale, anyone? Or how about a bunch of old "boom sticks" (the massive logs used to corral smaller logs into a log boom) that you sometimes find lashed together in out of the way bays?
Yep Murray, you read my mind! Those “Off the beaten path” places are the ones that leave a memory etched in the mind. Been there, done that!
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Old 06-05-2018, 12:42 PM   #19
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I prefer the bull rail so I can employ my primitive "Thruster" in the form of a grappling hook. The employment and purpose of this grappling hook has been described in several past post/threads. In a minute, the hook is thrown from the fly bridge helm over the bull rail allowing one to yard the boat into the dock/float, much as a thruster result.

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Al, my Admiral has the "Hook" and has saved us many times. Wind is howling, she tosses the "Hook" on the dock, pulls on the line until the hook catches the bull rail. Instant bow line!!

Bull rails are awesome and I see a lot of them in Washington and Oregon too.



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Yep Murray, you read my mind! Those “Off the beaten path” places are the ones that leave a memory etched in the mind. Been there, done that!
Isn't that the truth!
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Old 06-05-2018, 01:04 PM   #20
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Actually I prefer cleats .....
But they need to be closly spaced, fairly large and well fastened. I like two spring lines and often tie them off on a bull rail beyond my boat. If I did that w cleats I’d be often tying off on top of other skippers lines. Speaking of spring lines I’d either be putting two lines on one cleat (bow and spring) or tying my spring on cleats others may consider their cleat. Fishermen wouldn’t mind but some yachties probably would.

So if I approach a marina and see bull rails I’ll be happy but seeing cleats means I’ll have to wait till I’m tied up before being happy is possible. And if all marinas and harbors went to cleats I’d have foul things to say. But I’d probably never need to think about it again w rails.

I’m puzzled by the earlier comment about wood slivers from bull rails. Never have experienced that myself. Been using “Brait” line for a long time and possibly that has something to do w it. Or perhaps it has something to do w the way I make my ties .. knots ect. ???
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