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Old 10-08-2015, 02:05 AM   #1
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Using Spring Lines

Anyone point me to an article online dealing with using spring lines when docking? I have looked, without much success.
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Old 10-08-2015, 02:33 AM   #2
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No, but I use one every time I dock. My wife ties the spring to the boat midships then leads it to the stern where she waits until I put the boat in such a position that she can step off in a dignified manner and tie the line to the dock. If all goes well, I go down and help her tie the rest of the lines. If it doesn't go well, I put the boat in forward gear with the wheel turned as if to turn away from the dock and the hull is pinned to the dock with the spring, then she ties the stern line and I take it out of gear. If I can't put her in such a position to step off, we go out and try again, no jumping leaping or fending off.

Probably not what you were looking for, but it works.

If you tie a spring midships and run it aft around a cleat or rail then back to the boat, where you can release it from on the boat, then put the boat in forward with the wheel centred, the stern will swing out without the boat moving forward. Take it out of gear, drop and retrieve the spring, then put it in reverse and back out. Same thing works in reverse with the bow, not quite as well. You can get out of a side-tie in your own length, like at a fuel dock, using a spring. Remember that unless you have a bow thruster, you are steering the stern and the bow follows along more or less obediently (cough).
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Old 10-08-2015, 07:56 AM   #3
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Chapmans.


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Old 10-08-2015, 09:53 PM   #4
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The techniques have been discussed many times on this forum. A search of the archives will call up the posts.

We have a permanent spring line hung on a pole at the entrance to our slip. With it and our engines and rudders we can pin the boat to the dock no matter how hard the wind is trying to push us off into our neighbor.
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Old 10-09-2015, 01:23 AM   #5
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Anyone point me to an article online dealing with using spring lines when docking? I have looked, without much success.
Here is a docking tutorial.
It's 1:22 long but if you just want to see the section on spring lines start at the 50 minute mark.
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Old 10-09-2015, 01:43 AM   #6
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Or you could just do it like this...
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Old 10-09-2015, 02:07 AM   #7
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Or you could just do it like this...
Thrusters do come in handy!
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Old 10-09-2015, 07:55 AM   #8
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After you've reviewed articles and tutorials...


The whole idea of spring lines should be "customized" (in your mind) to your particular boat... and then to various potential situations.


Spring lines can work using almost any cleat on your boat, but then it depends on what you're trying to do, and how that particular combination of line/cleat/pulling direction might affect any resulting pivot action.


Also, one big time concern is that your crew have a clue. Partly to understand and properly follow your commands about when to hold fast, when to allow slack, etc.


But especially important, too, is that crew know to keep hands/fingers (elbows, toes, whatever) safely our of harm's way. That's usually my biggest concern when warping against a spring line...


Anyway, the various instructions are all usually useful to get you started... but then you have to take all that on board and learn how (and when) to use all that one your boat and for various maneuvers.


FWIW, we have a twin-screw boat... and still use springs to dock about 50% (or more) of the time. Partly that's from habit, partly for training, sometimes even for need. We set a spring as the first line probably 95-98%% of the time.


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Old 10-09-2015, 08:27 AM   #9
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That backing in video tutorial was helpful to me. When I dock (stern in) the wind is almost always blowing across the slip from port to starboard. I have been trying to time it backing straight in, but after watching this video I will try to keep the bow pointed into the wind at an angle for more control and approach the slip from the port quarter and then get a spring line tied.

When backing from inside the PH (I have no flybridge) I can see my port quarter pretty well but not my starboard quarter, so when I back straight in I have a hard time seeing where I am on my starboard side and I worry about hitting the dock. Sometimes when solo I have to leave the PH to get a look at the starboard quarter, and if the wind is really blowing this short time away from the controls sometimes blows me into an abort situation.

If the wind is light backing in straight is no problem, but when it's blowing 10-15mph I struggle.
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Old 10-09-2015, 12:14 PM   #10
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When backing from inside the PH (I have no flybridge) I can see my port quarter pretty well but not my starboard quarter, so when I back straight in I have a hard time seeing where I am on my starboard side and I worry about hitting the dock. Sometimes when solo I have to leave the PH to get a look at the starboard quarter...
One day, just go down to the boat, stand at the helm, look out in all directions, find fixed objects that will always be there; a certain piling, mast, beacon, corner of a structure; stuff like that. Note where they are in relation to a window frame, a rail stanchion or whatever you can line them up with. Use them like range markers for when you back in.

Practice is key and you can never get enough of it.

It's probably hard to find empty dock space in your year round cruising area but if you can find a spot that duplicates your own dock without anything on your starboard quarter, go play with it in different wind and current conditions.

We are fortunate here because for 7 months there is always easy to find small dock space somewhere, to take the crew in the spring and just brush up on docking procedures that might have gotten rusty over the winter.
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Old 10-09-2015, 02:18 PM   #11
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That's a good idea. Thanks.
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Old 10-10-2015, 12:21 AM   #12
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The informative posts have been very useful, thank you all. Today at 0730 we met up with a guy who came highly recommended to us for his close quarters skills(plus his border collie dog we welcomed onboard). We did some modifying work on the lines we already set up, some tests using them, and 4 practice docking runs.
We now have a plan of action for docking we did not have before, in terms of required sequence, and getting the boat to a position it will hold, on a line with throttle applied, while we get the rest of the lines on.
A learning curve (much like life itself), but we have a good basis to build on, and the TF contributions including PMs have been a real help.
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Old 10-12-2015, 10:27 PM   #13
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Chapmans is a blessing. However, the real solution in practice, practice, practice.

Taking the time to make approaches and actually tying off and working on a line is most informative.

The knowledge that using the SIDE of your boat to spring in on is helpful. The rounded bow, and curve of the flare of the bow is really bad to use as a 'spring tool'.

Most of the visuals/diagrams used in tutorials are showing a 'sailboat' style hull, with huge flare on the forward half. The 'fastening points' shown on these sailboat pics are irrelevant. Trawlers are usually about 50% flat sided. With practice, and using spring lines from the after 50% of length one can gain efficiency in using them to dock.
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Old 10-13-2015, 01:57 AM   #14
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As Cappy 208`s was the second suggestion of Chapmans, I searched for Chapmans. Directed of course to Amazon,I found "Chapmans Piloting & Seamanship 67th ed, and in the "people who bought that also bought" section found "Chapmans Piloting Seamanship and Small Boat Handling" 62nd ed.
Are they the same, didn`t look like it, which to buy?
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Old 10-13-2015, 07:59 AM   #15
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Are they the same, didn`t look like it, which to buy?
Bruce, the 67th ed. is just an updated version of all the others. Probably added something new in there just for you.

Your local library or book store should have copies you can look at before you buy.
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Old 10-13-2015, 08:00 AM   #16
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Chapman's Piloting etc etc etc 67th is the latest. I got the softcopy -- to augment my much older hardback copy -- on Nook. At the time, neither Google Play nor Amazon Kindle had an electronic version.


The latest edition (67th) is a complete rewrite/re-org and with more modern stuff included. (The word "pods" shows up in propulsion.)


-Chris




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Old 10-13-2015, 08:03 AM   #17
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The rounded bow, and curve of the flare of the bow is really bad to use as a 'spring tool'.

I'd agree with that, except for when that's the way ya gotta do it.

That said, even when using a bow cleat (for example) as the spring connection, the flat side of the boat is often what lays up against the fulcrum (when there's a fulcrum in the equation)...

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Old 10-13-2015, 11:23 PM   #18
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Thanks guys, I ordered Chapmans 67th ed. With shipping, cheaper locally than from USA. That`s a first, I`m guessing the local supplier has stock from when the AUD was healthier.
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