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Old 10-30-2020, 12:35 PM   #1
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Dock lines

What are the best dock lines available?
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Old 10-30-2020, 12:40 PM   #2
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New England Rope
Miami Cordage
Yale Cordage


Buy when on sale, makes for good lines.


Also, there's some cheaper stuff out there that's good value like Amarine Made. I've had that last for years and not bad, but like some better line if it's going to be critical.
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Old 10-30-2020, 01:10 PM   #3
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All nylon has a lot of stretch.
I put newish 3 strand nylon spring lines on Willy and was amazed how much they stretched. Many times going to the boat I saw the springs had stretched some more and needed to be re-tied to take up slack.

These lines are gold in color and wonder if gold colored line stretches more than white?
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Old 10-30-2020, 01:12 PM   #4
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I typically use any decent brand nylon double braid for dock lines. I've found they tend to get very slack when wet (rain or morning dew) and then tighten back up as they dry. In case color matters, my lines are all black.
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Old 10-30-2020, 01:41 PM   #5
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On boats under maybe 40 feet, you will probably use lines that are larger than strictly necessary because it's more comfortable to pull on a half linch or larger line, so the line is not as important as chafe protection. We use discarded fire hose, which you can buy very cheap on eBay.


Above that size, I would think very hard about using nylon for dock lines. The stretch is great until the line or a cleat lets go. People have been killed by nylon. If you use a spring line for docking (which is the only way to go), it absolutely must not be nylon.


We often cruise with friends who are not particularly nautical, so three of our four cruising dock lines is a different color 3/4" polyester. The bow aft spring is 1" Spectra.
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Old 10-30-2020, 01:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
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What are the best dock lines available?
Hard to say "best." I like New England Rope, and as far as I know that's what West Marine sells as their own brand, too.

I also prefer double-braid, too. Feels softer than three-strand... although it certainly will pick up splinters that can do a number on you...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad Willy View Post
These lines are gold in color and wonder if gold colored line stretches more than white?
NER says white and gold are the "strongest" (my paraphrase) and all other colors are less so. No clue why...

-Chris
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Old 10-30-2020, 01:47 PM   #7
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On boats under maybe 40 feet, you will probably use lines that are larger than strictly necessary because it's more comfortable to pull on a half linch or larger line, so the line is not as important as chafe protection. We use discarded fire hose, which you can buy very cheap on eBay.


Above that size, I would think very hard about using nylon for dock lines. The stretch is great until the line or a cleat lets go. People have been killed by nylon. If you use a spring line for docking (which is the only way to go), it absolutely must not be nylon.


We often cruise with friends who are not particularly nautical, so three of our four cruising dock lines is a different color 3/4" polyester. The bow aft spring is 1" Spectra.

Until you get into much larger and heavier boats than most of us here have, stretch in a dock line (including spring lines) is critical for safety. With a 300k lb boat, you don't want much stretch.



But with a 30k lb boat, the boat moves far more from wave action, wind gusts, etc. So having stretch to absorb that is crucial to not ripping out cleats, etc. You just want to size the lines so they're not excessively stretchy. My 5/8" double braid nylon is definitely not too stretchy and I sometimes route lines so they're longer (more stretch) to avoid shock loading.
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Old 10-30-2020, 03:11 PM   #8
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Our marina requires rope be 1 size up than would normally be used. i.e. 3/4" line required on a 36-46' boat, 1" for 46'-55', etc...

I found Knot & Rope Supply online. They provided quality ropes at a good value, quick turn around and great customer service.

Need rub protection? You can often find a large coil used firehose pretty cheap on a site called "Repurposed Materials".

In addition to cutting sections and sliding over my home lines, I also split-open several ~18" lengths and added velcro tabs. When at a transient dock, they are easy to place as-needed. (Also a great gift for your marina friends!).
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Old 10-30-2020, 03:13 PM   #9
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Our marina requires rope be 1 size up than would normally be used. i.e. 3/4" line required on a 36-46' boat, 1" for 46'-55', etc...

I'd consider that an inappropriate and dangerous requirement. That can lead to lines with not enough stretch, or that don't fit properly on cleats (cleats not big enough), etc.
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Old 10-30-2020, 03:14 PM   #10
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I like 3 strand for spring lines cause I like them to stretch a bit for a softer direction change, and I generally make up my own from a large spool.
I use braid where I don't have room for much stretch.
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Old 10-30-2020, 03:24 PM   #11
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I'd consider that an inappropriate and dangerous requirement. That can lead to lines with not enough stretch, or that don't fit properly on cleats (cleats not big enough), etc.
Agreed.

There are yachtie concepts of docklines and working commercial.

I don't favor either...somewhere in between seems to get the job done.

There's regular tie and storm tie. Guess which one gets the nod for better line with great chafe gear.
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Old 10-30-2020, 05:09 PM   #12
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I like 3 strand for spring lines cause I like them to stretch a bit for a softer direction change, and I generally make up my own from a large spool.
Bingo! Best and clearest answer so far.

You always want your dock lines to be able to absorb some of the shock loading from passing wakes, etc.

Some people think "best" means "strongest" or "most expensive." Use what meets the requirements. I'd consider it dangerous to buy anything that's so expensive you'd be reluctant to replace it as needed.
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Old 10-30-2020, 05:36 PM   #13
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While I think the OP was looking for the best brand (nicely answered already), TYPE certainly plays into the equation too. I tend to like twisted nylon for its stretchability and ease of splicing. If it's new, I can splice braided, and it handles better than twisted. There were times I needed the less stretchy braided nylon, and I moored my GB42 for fifteen years with a braided line across the stern to port and a twisted line to stbd because the pilings in my slip were 16 feet apart (beam was 13.8), and needed less stretch to the port piling because of the two mile fetch on that side and the likelihood of having some good sized sea from that direction. The bow lines were also this combo while the springs were twisted.
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Old 10-30-2020, 06:14 PM   #14
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I like New England Rope. Lasts longer than cheaper rope. I used to splice both 3 strand and double braid but with arthritis in my hands I donít do double braid anymore.
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Old 10-30-2020, 06:38 PM   #15
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rslifkin wrote;
“In case color matters, my lines are all black.”

Why black? Is this vanity or engineering? Or is black best because the bird s*it dosn’t hide.
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Old 10-30-2020, 07:19 PM   #16
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I buy a 300 ft spool of double braid from wherever when making up my home port slip lines. The last place was Miami Cordage. Avoid Chinese line at all costs. It does not hold up to Florida UV more than 6 months before turning to dust. Cut to size as needed. Use bowlines on the boat end and clove hitches on the pilings. No more splices for me. Preset to leave in place. Travel lines are store bought nylon double braid with an eye on one end. I carry 4 @ 25', 2 @35', and 2 @ 50'.
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Old 10-30-2020, 07:35 PM   #17
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My docklines are green to match the hull's color. The lines should be consistent with the docks' cleats, sized to be easily handled, and not so fat/strong that one loses spring-action. Mine are 3/8 and half-inch diameter.
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Old 10-30-2020, 08:17 PM   #18
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Quote:
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rslifkin wrote;
ďIn case color matters, my lines are all black.Ē

Why black? Is this vanity or engineering? Or is black best because the bird s*it dosnít hide.
Boat has black bottom paint and boot stripe with brown canvas, so black is the natural cosmetic choice. Plus, other than bird poop, they never really look dirty.
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Old 10-30-2020, 09:04 PM   #19
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rslifkin,
I’m in the black is for tugboats and old oil stoves camp.
Can’t understand why people like black.
But after the lines get a bit old and dirty you’re black lines may look better than my white.
I think black stuff is kind-of a fad. Don’t like the word but it may fit. Specifically though I’m not saying it is but if not ?........
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Old 10-30-2020, 09:28 PM   #20
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Great product and service from https://www.cajunrope.com. Bought my last set of dock lines from them. Very pleased. Free shipping from Canada.
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