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Dock Tying Alternatives

YVRguy

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Jan 10, 2013
466
Hunter 34 Vancouver, BC
Our Hunter 34 has stern and bow cleats but no cleat at midships. As a result, we normally fix two lines to each cleat at the dock: A bow or stern line plus a spring line. The challenge is our cleats aren't very large and don't have a centre hole to thread through for a stronger hold so the two lines just barely fit together over the cleats.

A guy was telling me about a different sort of tie that only uses two (very long) lines. Using the bow line as an example, it starts fixed to the toe rail or stanchion amidships, down to the dock then up to the bow cleat and finally back to the dock immediately below. Same thing for the stern. In this way each line fills a dual function of bow/stern line and spring line. Has anyone tried this or have an opinion on it? My first thought is it would be more difficult to adjust so the boat is sitting just right at the dock. (We like to pull our stern in for easier boarding.)

Adding to this, he suggested that the lines be tied off at the toe rail amidships and coiled/stored hanging on the lifeline when not in use. In this way, when single handing I can grab one of the lines and loop it at the dock amidships first, which will balance the boat at the dock. Then run it back to he stern or bow cleat, and back to the dock. I suppose you'd need a set of lines hanging on both port and starboard lines to allow for tying on either side. As I write this it all sounds impractical but thought I'd see if anyone else has tried.
 

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DougM

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Jul 24, 2005
2,183
Beneteau 323 Manistee, MI
I bought a couple of Forespar folding cleats an attached them to the toe rail amidship. I run one spring line forward to a cleat on the dock and the other aft. Bow line goes forward at about a 45 degree angle, and the stern line aft at about 45 degrees. That keeps the spring lines on their own cleat and shorter. Occasionally, if its going to blow, I will attach a breast line to attenuate some of the fore/aft movement. I have a starboard tieup and pilings 20 feet out to which I attach a bow and stern line. I use rubber snubbers on the bow and stern lines and actually leave some slack in the lines.
My neighbor, on the other hand, actually keep his lines taut. Either way seems to work.
We don’t have to deal with tides as we are in fresh water. However we get occasional seiches which cause the water level to fluctuate a foot or more much like water sloshing back and forth in a bathtub.
 

Joe

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Jun 1, 2004
7,454
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
No need to get complicated. Keep the bow and stern lines separate from the spring lines for the reason you stated. There are a couple of ways to rig springs. You can cleat them at bow and stern for running to a center cleat at the dock. Or you can use the bow and stern DOCK cleats to run to a midship cleat, or even a winch. But I see no advantage to the system you've drawn.

I had a similar deck cleat restriction on my C27 and for years used my primary winches so rig springs until I found some very nifty adjustable genoa track mounted cleats from Garhaurer. Here's the folding toe rail cleat mentioned above:
 
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YVRguy

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Jan 10, 2013
466
Hunter 34 Vancouver, BC
I had a similar deck cleat restriction on my C27 and for years used my primary winches so rig springs until I found some very nifty adjustable genoa track mounted cleats from Garhaurer. Here's the folding toe rail cleat mentioned above:
Thanks, I will look for those cleats!
 

BarryL

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May 21, 2004
835
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409 Mt. Sinai, NY
Hi,

My current boat doesn't have midship cleats. When I need a spring line I tie it around the chainplates. You could also use a winch.

I would not trust one of those folding toe rail mounted cleats to take any significant load.

Barry
 
Oct 19, 2017
6,941
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
Tides? Floating dock? Wind and wave conditions? What do you need each line to do?

The theory is that spring lines hold you in place fore and aft and provide flexibility for tidal movement. The bow and stern lines prevent the end of the boat from straying too far into or away from the dock. In that job, they are usually left slack such that they tighten to their limits at the limit of allowed movement.

A midship line makes single-handed docking easier, but it isn't necessary for securing the boat in place. Keep it simple.

-Will (Dragonfly)
 

Tom J

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Sep 30, 2008
2,002
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
My first thought is it would be more difficult to adjust so the boat is sitting just right at the dock. (We like to pull our stern in for easier boarding.)
Our dock mates used this system. As you said, they had trouble adjusting the position of the boat. It tended to drift away from the dock, and then they had to stow a very long dock line. I installed mid ship cleats on the Genoa tracks and run spring lines forward and aft from them. We like to keep the stern close to the dock, like you do.
 
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Apr 21, 2021
43
C&C 30 Harrison Township, MI
I have a similar problem. Only bow and stern cleats, exacerbated by the dock cleats and posts cause the lines to be at exactly 90 degrees to the boat. This gives good side to side stability, but very little fore/aft stability. Want to add spring lines but intended to attach them to the toe rail with a snap shackle instead of a toe rail cleat. Is that going to be a problem?
 
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YVRguy

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Jan 10, 2013
466
Hunter 34 Vancouver, BC
I have a similar problem. Only bow and stern cleats, exacerbated by the dock cleats and posts cause the lines to be at exactly 90 degrees to the boat. This gives good side to side stability, but very little fore/aft stability. Want to add spring lines but intended to attach them to the toe rail with a snap shackle instead of a toe rail cleat. Is that going to be a problem?
I like the idea of the shackle. Makes it easier to stow the lines or transfer them to the other side of the boat if neccessary
 
Sep 25, 2018
244
Catalina Capri 22 Capri EXPO 14.2 1282 Stony Point
I added a mid-ship cleat on the jib track. Now I can easily dock unless I miss the dock cleat. The dock then stops me. Only going a knot so no damage. This year I'll add a fender where I may hit the dock if I miss.
 
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kbgunn

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Sep 19, 2017
147
2006 Hunter 38 4410 Lake Lewisville, TX
I added a mid-ship cleat on the jib track. Now I can easily dock unless I miss the dock cleat. The dock then stops me. Only going a knot so no damage. This year I'll add a fender where I may hit the dock if I miss.
Second this approach. Look for t-track mounted cleat and make sure you know the width of the track:
 

danm1

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Oct 5, 2013
125
Hunter 34 Mamaroneck, NY
The PO of my 34 installed Genoa track cleats that work well for spring lines. Docking single handed I often run a line from amidships under the lifelines and back to the cockpit. I can the hop off line in hand and snug to a mid-dock cleat, holding the boat steady while I secure fore and aft lines. Absent a mid dock cleat, I use the stern line and drop it aft the cleat or bollard before jumping off...if all goes well.
 
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Oct 22, 2014
16,125
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
I can the hop off line in hand and snug to a mid-dock cleat, holding the boat steady while I secure fore and aft lines.
This technique involves the skipper or crew “hopping” off the boat while moving. Perhaps a skill that looks good on a 20 something but a risk for the unskilled or aging individual. :thumbsdown:

The mid cleat and line is still a great tool for safely docking your boat. A safer technique is to use the mid cleat and line to stop the boat and hold the boat snug to the slip dock. Then the crew or line handler can step to the dock from a fixed boat. No hopping, jumping, slipping or falling into the water between boat and dock.

It is called the stern bridle technique. This or it’s variant are used by commercial fishermen and Tug boat crews.

Here is a simple video demonstration. I have been using the method for years. No more slips or falls. No need to grab the boat and pull it to the dock or try to slow the boat by pushing on the stanchions.


SFS Getting on - Stern Bridle on Vimeo
 
Oct 22, 2014
16,125
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
some docks only have a horizontal dock timber, especially in BC.
When I came up to the docks in Port Browning BC, the rails had an open end. I threw the line over the rail. It worked fine. When this is not possible I found this
1619050413606.png

A folding grappling hook.
Toss that sucker over the rail and you got a secure hold.
 
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Joe

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Jun 1, 2004
7,454
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
Want to add spring lines but intended to attach them to the toe rail with a snap shackle instead of a toe rail cleat. Is that going to be a problem?
I would discourage you from using a snap shackle on your mooring lines. Besides the abrasion of metal on metal, it may be inherently dangerous to the hand when attaching and detaching. I can't see the advantage of spending $60-100 plus for a snap shackle for this application. You can buy an adjustable genoa track cleat from garhaurer for only $50 and you don't have to splice anything.
 

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Oct 22, 2014
16,125
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
I like the idea of the Genoa track cleat suggested by @Joe.

Only draw backs are with the cleat in place you could loose some of your trim control of the Genoa. You might also want to add a backing plate to the Genoa track in the space used by the cleat. The track was not installed with the expected forces associated with a cleat application. In a bad storm the cleat and track might get ripped from the deck as your boat yaws about trying to pull itself free.

I’d prefer a specific cleat designed and installed for the purpose of holding the boat to the dock.

Your boat your decision.
 
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Apr 21, 2021
43
C&C 30 Harrison Township, MI
... The track was not installed with the expected forces associated with a cleat application. In a bad storm the cleat and track might get ripped from the deck as your boat yaws about trying to pull itself free.

I’d prefer a specific cleat designed and installed for the purpose of holding the boat to the dock.

Your boat your decision.
When considering a snap shackled spring line I thought about just what you describe but looked at the geometry and realized the stresses on the track would be closer to parallel than perpendicular, similar to the forces applied by the sheets. Heavy movement as you describe don't seem like they would change those angles more than a couple of degrees, unlike the increased stresses on mooring lines which would be appropriately cleated.
 
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