Catalina 34

General Activities => Main Message Board => Topic started by: Kevin Henderson on May 31, 2011, 09:52:11 PM

Title: DOCKING 101 -- Mid Ship Cleat and Aft Spring
Post by: Kevin Henderson on May 31, 2011, 09:52:11 PM
I looked like a frigging genius this weekend :clap :clap :clap

I have a rather challenging slip arrangement that has created a discernable amount of stress upon myself and the Admiral when docking.  And... as anybody here can understand... If the Admirals unhappy... everybodies unhappy.  Pulling into the slip after an afternoon of sailing should be a joyous occasion filled with fond memories of the excitement of being on the water.  Not a time of dread, fear, tension and more importantly, becoming a public display of ineptness at the voyeuristic entertainment of everyone else in the marina.  :D  But first let me paint the picture for you with my slip arrangement:  
1.  A downwind facing slip that, with prevailing winds, pushes my boat into the end of the dock.  This is a common problem and several other boatowners have elected to implement a device in the dock with a set of bumpers or glides at the end of the slip.  (see "docking aid" in this forum).
2.  Going into the slip 'bow in' presents two other hazards.  On the port side is my dock box that if unchecked, my rubrail can have definite contact with, and could damage either the box or the rubrail.
3.  The starboard side while going bow in is in very close proximity to a monster of a concrete pylon that the floating dock rides up and down upon.  Obviously any contact of my bow pulpit with concrete is NOT an option.   :shock:
4.  My skills are not at the level yet to confidently back into the slip.... besides I like having my cockpit in the Fairway to enjoy the water and not the dock traffic.

I have searched in the forum on a number of techniques to slay the beast safely docking.  Everything came back to two common methods combined.  Installation of a mid ship cleat coupled with the use of an aft spring line.
I was fortunate with Pau Hana that the previous owner had installed a toe rail for accommodating sliding cleats on both sides of the boat, and I already had one 1 1/4 inch sliding cleat.  (I know, I know... I should have had this Epiphany earlier).  Last weekend I took it upon myself to assemble my aft spring line based upon the design I found through links in this site.  The design is based upon the Nauti Duck Dock-A-Matic line

http://www.catalina-capri-25s.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=15645&whichpage=1&SearchTerms=dock-o-matic

I used a 15 foot, 1/2" dock line with one end kept cleated on the boat.  The bitter end of the line I wrapped with a 5/8" clear vinyl hose from Lowe's approximately 2-3 feet.  From that I tied a bowline to use as large rigid loop that can catch a dock cleat with ease.  After assembling my spring line and positioning my mid ship cleat as far forward, I began testing and customizing the length of the line.  I repeatedsly kept he boat tied in the slip with only the spring line and adjusting the length to keep me from hitting the end of the dock and the dock box and pylon.  This weekend with some pretty stiff winds, it was time to put it to the test.  

Making my approach to the slip with a steady 15kt wind pushing me in, and a friend of mine standing by with the aft spring line made up to the midship cleat. (The Admiral didn't want to see the carnage should this experiment fail), I eased the boat in.  Even with some reverse throttle I still felt as though I had too much speed.... This, was going to be an ugly docking.  My crew, standing comfortably on the deck, reached out and snagged the first cleat on the dock.  Suddenly what I thought was going to be an unpleasant "thud" at the end of the docking turned out to be delightful nudge of the bow to port, and fenders cushioning on the starboard quarter from the spring, and a look of awe from several of the marina spectators anticipating the impending doom.  Did I mention that my crew member that came along had never been aboard a sailboat?  He was utterly impressed.  Stunned and ecstatic over the success of the docking I immediately went below and pulled out some cold beer. 8)

For those that are "docking challenged".. like me.  The midship cleat and aft spring line fall into the category of "Critical Upgrades".
Next stop...... single handing :abd:
Title: Re: Mid Ship Cleat and Aft Spring Line
Post by: Stu Jackson on June 01, 2011, 05:24:25 AM
Congratulations, Kevin, well done.  You really should have a cleat on both sides on your boat.

Here's a thread on "Single Handing" that may repeat some of what you've learned:  http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,5445.0.html (http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,5445.0.html)

Keep up the good work. :D
Title: Re: Mid Ship Cleat and Aft Spring Line
Post by: Ken Juul on June 01, 2011, 05:54:21 AM
We have wood pilings rather than steel/concrete piles so was easy for me.  Could be possibly be adapted.  I installed  a long aluminium gutter nail into the stern piling.  When we pull out the permanent loop in the midship spring and stern line gets hung on the nail.  When returning to the dock, Admiral grabs both lines, puts the spring on the midship cleat, hands the stern line back to me and heads to the bow to grab the bow lines.  Boat gently snuggles up to the finger pier.

We find having fixed lines is much easier than trying to lasso a cleat on the dock.  Coming into the home dock is a breeze, transient docks without helping hands can sometimes be a challange!
Title: Re: Mid Ship Cleat and Aft Spring Line
Post by: Ralph Masters on June 01, 2011, 08:05:41 AM
Kevin,
I'll be by this week to check out your spring.  In my new slip, I've been moved to an up wind slip that is 60 x 18, I could use something like that to keep us from going in and getting turned at an angle by the wind.

BZ cheif.................

Ralph
Title: Re: Mid Ship Cleat and Aft Spring Line
Post by: Stu Jackson on June 01, 2011, 08:52:07 AM
In my new slip, I've been moved to an up wind slip that is 60 x 18, I could use something like that to keep us from going in and getting turned at an angle by the wind.

That's so big it qualifies as a side tie!  :D
Title: Re: Mid Ship Cleat and Aft Spring Line
Post by: Ralph Masters on June 01, 2011, 09:41:06 AM
We asked to be put on the wait list for an upwind slip and they said they could move us right away.  A 60 foot slip for the same cost as a 36, no problem.  What prompted the move is in the down wind slip our cockpit faced west, into the setting sun.  So in the summer time after we came back in we could not sit and enjoy a drink with out getting cooked.  Now by 3:30 the cockpit is shaded by the dodger enough we can enjoy our home away from home.
I could fit two 34's in here, the first one in backward the secone in front ways overlapping the bows.  Any body want to sublet??

Ralph
Ciao Bella
Title: Re: Mid Ship Cleat and Aft Spring Line
Post by: Lance Jones on June 01, 2011, 01:12:56 PM
Wow, 60 feet wide. Sounds short at 18 though...
Title: Re: Mid Ship Cleat and Aft Spring Line
Post by: Ralph Masters on June 01, 2011, 01:30:41 PM
Yeah Lance, I had to put it in sideways........ :clap
Title: Re: Mid Ship Cleat and Aft Spring Line
Post by: Kevin Henderson on June 01, 2011, 01:50:05 PM
Just came back from taking Pau Hana to Shelter Island Boatyard to get her bottom done.  While pulling into the dock at the travel lift, I had forward and aft mooring lines at the ready but more importantly, I had my crew standing by with the spring line made up on the starboard mid ship cleat.  Just as I was ready to "set the hook"... the dockmaster came out and told me I had to move over and moore to the port side.  With a quick boost of thrust in reverse and quickly shifting to neutral, the boat backed up straight and I was confidently in control (Thank You Ron.. for your backing tips :D).  Standing back safely from the Dock I had the crew quickly shift the sliding cleat to the port side and stand by.  with ease and confidence, I gently came along the dock and once again, my crew was able to loop onto a cleat and once again, the boat nudged to port gently stopping. Since I had no finger pier on my starboard side I turned the wheel sharply to port and kept the engine idling in forward gear.  The boat stayed put and I was able to walk forward and toss the docklines to be made up.
I can honestly say that the midship cleat and utilizing the aft spring line has been the single most beneficial boat handling tip that I have discovered. 
WOW!!! I love this thing :thumb: :thumb:

If your free on Monday Ralph... I'll need some help taking the boat back to the marina  8)
Title: Re: Mid Ship Cleat and Aft Spring Line
Post by: Joe Kern on June 01, 2011, 05:20:13 PM
Not sure why it is like this there, but I have yet to go to a marina in the Abacos Bahamas where there has been a cleat on any dock, piling or anywhere.  I use all these tricks to help get in unfamiliar slips but it can be a real challenge (especially with inexperienced crew) when the only way to tie up the boat are round turns and hitches, clove hitches etc around dock pilings.  Plus most of the slips are for much bigger (longer) boats so  trying to keep the boat in the slip and not flopping around while you try and get lines over pilings can be quite an adventure.   Usually a marina helper there for you but even then can be a challenge.  Fortunately any docking stress is usually overcome by the cold Kalik Gold waiting for you.   
Title: Re: Mid Ship Cleat and Aft Spring Line
Post by: Ted Pounds on June 01, 2011, 05:39:48 PM
  Fortunately any docking stress is usually overcome by the cold Kalik Gold waiting for you.   

Isn't that the solution to most of life's "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune"?   :D
Title: Re: Mid Ship Cleat and Aft Spring Line
Post by: Joe Kern on June 01, 2011, 05:46:35 PM
Well said
Title: Re: Mid Ship Cleat and Aft Spring Line
Post by: Ron Hill on June 02, 2011, 06:56:17 PM
Guys : Especially if you are are docking in a place that has a hi tidal range with an associated strong current (hi wind - same same) it's mandatory to dock using a mid ship cleat.  That way you can keep the engine in gear (fwd or reverse) and hold the boat to the dock. 

It's easy to practice and in most marinas on the ICW mandatory. 
Title: Re: Mid Ship Cleat and Aft Spring Line
Post by: Ralph Masters on June 13, 2011, 08:13:26 AM
Kevin, et al,
This weekends sailing was such a snap.  I have read all the posts about the mid-ship spring line, walked over and looked touched and played with Kevins and Friday in the mail my sliding rail cleat came in.
I installed the cleat on the port rail, took some line, bought a 36 inch section of clear water hose and a snubber and put the Dock-A-Matic together.
Sunday when returning to the pier I let the Admiral pilot the craft into the slip, her first time, she was not sure about doing it but I gave her the choice between steering or hooking the dock side cleat, she chose steering.
As we came abreast the aft cleat on the pier I dropped the loop over it via the boat hook, the Admiral put the engine in forward and left it idile in and turned the rudder to starboard and the whole thing worked beautifully.  The line came taught, the snubber kept it from jerking the boat and the forward motion eased us right up to the pier where I just stepped off and picked up the stern line and sauntered forward to pick up the bow line as the Admiral walked forward and toss it to me, engine still turning over in forward.
Who ever came up with this little device must be one of the Gods, right up there with Zeus him himself.
The only thing I need to do is adjust the overall length and cut the excess off the bitter end.
My motto used to be,"Life is good where liberty is cheap".  But now I think, "Life is good when you don't have stress in docking".

Ralph
Ciao Bella

Now to get the Admiral through the basic sailing course this coming weekend in a 16.5...................
Title: Re: Mid Ship Cleat and Aft Spring Line
Post by: Kevin Henderson on June 13, 2011, 11:19:55 AM
BRAVO RALPH :clap :clap :clap

1.  Electric Light Bulb
2.  Sliced Bread
3.  Mid ship cleat with aft spring line  :thumb:
Title: Re: Mid Ship Cleat and Aft Spring Line
Post by: Bobg on June 13, 2011, 06:34:57 PM
Kevin, your post couldn't have came at a better time, we have a new slip and after reading your post, I ran right out and made 3 of them with dock line I had laying around, 1/2" and 3/8" and clear tubing I had, heck a garden hose would work, I made mine a little bigger with 5' of tubing, as my cleats are pretty big,  we came in slick as could be,  she laid the loop over the cleat and leaving it in gear I gently nudged the dock, I had to use a lot of rudder as the bow did try to impact the dock more than I wanted but no more jumping off the boat for us.  I had Jack Klanges DVD on docking, although good, he never mentioned the looped line like you did,  Thanks from us   Bob and Eileen
Title: Re: DOCKING 101 -- Mid Ship Cleat and Aft Spring
Post by: rmbrown on May 09, 2017, 03:58:32 PM
I docked for the first time with a new boat in a new slip at close to midnight in a river that happened to be in flood stage with both wind and current across my slip setting me towards my neighbor boat in my well.  We were ready with the mid-ship spring but I just couldn't get the boat lined up right with any confidence of being close enough to the cleat to hook it.

I chickened out (or maybe acted with prudence?) and took the slip on the upwind and upcurrent side of a finger pier and tied up without incident.

The next morning, I moved over to my slip with many hands (all of which were required!) to get me secured before meeting my new neighbor the hard way.

On of the first things I did was to put that midship spring in place and see whether this whole "physics" thing worked.  Lo and behold... even with the worst current running in recent memory and a right fair breeze both working against me, I could hold that boat right where she needed to be.

So now I trust it, and know how to use it... now just have to master getting close enough to the dock to get that loop on the cleat, while being set sideways away from said dock by the current, without hitting it!
Title: Re: DOCKING 101 -- Mid Ship Cleat and Aft Spring
Post by: Noah on May 09, 2017, 04:54:09 PM
The length of your runway can be a big deal breaker. If you don't have enough time, or hands to lasso or hook the dock cleat, or to pick up a spring line already measured and cleated to the dock....then all bets are off. Then try plan "B", the hot stick landing with engine burst(s) in reverse.
Title: Re: DOCKING 101 -- Mid Ship Cleat and Aft Spring
Post by: KWKloeber on May 09, 2017, 05:12:20 PM
acted with prudence

DEFO,  I wish that we all had a Plan B available when it's prudent to use it.  Kudos

The GREAT thing about having a midship line, is to throw when approaching an unknown dock and you're unsure whether the hands there are going to "help" or "hinder."
They can't screw you up and dive your bow or the stern quarter into the dock, or end up turning you sideways.

ken
Title: Re: DOCKING 101 -- Mid Ship Cleat and Aft Spring
Post by: Jim Hardesty on May 10, 2017, 05:01:11 AM
Congratulations Ralph,
One of the great things about sailing, there is always something else to learn.
Happy docking,
Jim
Title: Re: DOCKING 101 -- Mid Ship Cleat and Aft Spring
Post by: Kevin Henderson on July 06, 2017, 03:05:06 PM
It's been awhile since I first posted this topic.  I'm glad to see it still relevant and helpful.  :D  My current home slip is now an upwind slip and an arrangement that does not allow me to use the spring line arrangement as much as I did.  However... My line is always made up and at the ready in the port locker just in case!  :thumb: 
Title: Re: DOCKING 101 -- Mid Ship Cleat and Aft Spring
Post by: C34 Owner on July 06, 2017, 06:07:31 PM
The boat I owned for just 2 months prior to my 34 had a midships cleat and I had spring lines. I suggested adding a folding cleat (or two) to the current boat.
I am not happy dangling fenders from the lifelines and figured deck cleats would be a better idea.
Title: Re: DOCKING 101 -- Mid Ship Cleat and Aft Spring
Post by: Stu Jackson on July 07, 2017, 07:07:06 PM
Sophie, the 101 Topics has a few singlehanding topics, one of which was not linked in Kevin's great story that started this topic, but that's where it started.  Easy to find.