Docking lines & snubbers. Correct setup.

sprocker

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I wonder if anyone can advise on the correct use of snubbers. I have a 7m MF645 on a finger pontoon. The MF has 3 cleats (Bow, Mid, Stern) and my pontoon has 3 cleats.

My current setup is:-

Spring lines from boat Mid-cleat, forward & aft to pontoon end cleats.
Bow line from boat bow cleat to pontoon, at approx 90 degrees.
Stern line from boat stern cleat to pontoon, at approx 110 degrees.

Mooring.jpg

The spring lines are reasonably tight so they don’t have too much slack, and the bow & stern lines have a little more slack which allows the spring lines to do their job of inhibiting forward/backward motion.

I have snubbers on each line, larger ones on the spring lines, smaller ones on the bow & stern lines.

I have noticed that the boat seems to ‘bounce’ more than other boats in the marina, no doubt the snubbers are doing the job of taking the ‘snatch’ away from the boat cleats, but it seems that they are causing more ‘bounce’ and possibly causing more movement than they would without them.

First off do I have the correct line placement, or would the spring lines be better going from pontoon mid cleat to boat bow/stern cleats?

Do I need snubbers on all four lines?

Should the lines be very tight to inhibit movement, or have minimal slack?

All help and advice, as always, would be much appreciated.
 

pmagowan

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I would not put snubbers on the springs as their acute angle already acts as a 'spring' hence the name. I only put a snubber on the bow and stern line because these are short and taut and have little give. All my lines are reasonably tight.
 
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Cbjroms

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Sprocker, I have just purchased an MF645 which is sat on my drive waiting for launch in April next next year. Driving to work this morning I was just running-through, in my mind, the proper way to moor to my pontoon in Hythe Marina. Then I saw your post above - what a coincidence.
 

KINGFISHER 8

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The sainted Mr.Cunliffe recommends that springs should run from the ends on the boat to the centre on the pontoon ... don't know why, but he does. I always come in stern first and run 2 springs from opposite sides of the stern to the pontoon as well as alongside as above.
 

pmagowan

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The sainted Mr.Cunliffe recommends that springs should run from the ends on the boat to the centre on the pontoon ... don't know why, but he does. I always come in stern first and run 2 springs from opposite sides of the stern to the pontoon as well as alongside as above.

My springs run from the ends of my boat to the opposite ends of the pontoon on the basis that longer is better and it gets the most acute angle thus dealing most efficiently with the forward and back movement. I put them round a winch and give them a bit of a pull to get them reasonably taut, which helps to keep the boat in to the pontoon.
 

KINGFISHER 8

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Yes I tried that but they were so long they kept getting droopy during the week ... if you use non-stretch stuff presumably it's then too harsh and jerky! What's best I wonder?
 
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I don't believe that the snubbers will be causing what you describe as 'bouncing'. The only things that will be causing that are the location of your berth and the type of boat. Any motorboat is going to appear to 'bounce' more than a sailing boat because it hasn't got a keel damping it's motion

In your case, you definitely don't need snubbers in the spring lines because they're long enough and angled sufficiently to have enough give in them anyway. In principle the longer the line and the nearer it is angled to the horizontal, the more give it will have, in terms of damping the motion of the boat. The 2 lines that may require snubbers are the bow line and the stern line, particularly the stern line because it is usually the shortest. You could lengthen your stern line by taking it to the stern cleat on the port side but, if you have a dinghy, that might get in the way. This would be a good way to hold the stern tighter to the pontoon though. Motorboats tend to swing away from a pontoon at the stern

As for how tight to have the lines, you don't want to have your bow and stern lines too tight because they are already under more strain than the spring lines. You definitely don't want the bow line tight because all that will do is pull the stern away from the pontoon and make boarding more difficult. The spring lines should be relatively tight because you want those lines to take the strain first of the boat moving. You could lengthen your spring lines to make them even more effective by taking them to the stern and bow cleats respectively rather than the midships cleat.
 

l'escargot

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"Springs tight, breasts slack" - put the snubbers in the breast ropes which you leave slightly slack. The springs don't snub because the boat can twist slighty due to the slack breast lines, then the snubbers stop the snubbing when that slack is taken up.
 

sprocker

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Thank you for your replies everyone. It has certainly helped to clarify what I should be doing.

I will remove the snubbers from the spring lines and take them from the bow and stern cleats to the mid-dock cleat tomorrow, and see what difference it makes.

Very good point about the stern line being shorter as its closer to the dock, I maybe need to lengthen my bow line and shorten my stern line, hopefully that will limit some movement.

Good point also about taking astern line from the port side, the outboard may get in the way but I will check that out tomorrow also.
 

Mike k

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I wonder if anyone can advise on the correct use of snubbers. I have a 7m MF645 on a finger pontoon. The MF has 3 cleats (Bow, Mid, Stern) and my pontoon has 3 cleats.

My current setup is:-

Spring lines from boat Mid-cleat, forward & aft to pontoon end cleats.
Bow line from boat bow cleat to pontoon, at approx 90 degrees.
Stern line from boat stern cleat to pontoon, at approx 110 degrees.

View attachment 54340

The spring lines are reasonably tight so they don’t have too much slack, and the bow & stern lines have a little more slack which allows the spring lines to do their job of inhibiting forward/backward motion.

I have snubbers on each line, larger ones on the spring lines, smaller ones on the bow & stern lines.

I have noticed that the boat seems to ‘bounce’ more than other boats in the marina, no doubt the snubbers are doing the job of taking the ‘snatch’ away from the boat cleats, but it seems that they are causing more ‘bounce’ and possibly causing more movement than they would without them.

First off do I have the correct line placement, or would the spring lines be better going from pontoon mid cleat to boat bow/stern cleats?

Do I need snubbers on all four lines?

Should the lines be very tight to inhibit movement, or have minimal slack?

All help and advice, as always, would be much appreciated.

good visual Sprocker- I have exactly the same set up as you and snubbers all round with no problems for 5 years!
 

Greg2

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Thank you for your replies everyone. It has certainly helped to clarify what I should be doing.

I will remove the snubbers from the spring lines and take them from the bow and stern cleats to the mid-dock cleat tomorrow, and see what difference it makes.

Very good point about the stern line being shorter as its closer to the dock, I maybe need to lengthen my bow line and shorten my stern line, hopefully that will limit some movement.

Good point also about taking astern line from the port side, the outboard may get in the way but I will check that out tomorrow also.

I think your mooring set-up will always be influenced by the nature of the mooring and prevailing conditions as well as the location of cleats on your boat and the pontoon so no right answer for all occasions IMHO.

We moored in a coastal yacht club for five years and a combination of wind and swell made it a bit 'bouncy' at times. We had snubbers on both spring and head/stern lines and we found that leaving all loose enough to to allow the boat to move reduced the level of snatching and rubbing of fenders on the hull. We also had an additional stern line from the outside of the boat to the pontoon, which helps keep the stern reasonably close in but with the benefit of a longer line (so more stretch).

In general times the longer a spring is the better and they are what should be used to keep the boat close to the pontoon and as already mentioned they will normally be tighter than the head/stern lines. Leaving them looser when not aboard may be better though.

Looking at the cleat positions on your boat running a spring from the forward cleat will have the effect of pulling the bow in/pushing the stern out every time the boat moves forward. Far better to run springs to/from cleats that are on the full beam/straight part of the hull IMHO. Running both forward and aft from the centre cleat (as you originally were) is fine. Another option may be to run one from the mid-cleat running aft and one from the aft cleat running forward.

Hope this is of some help :)
 
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sprocker

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Looking at the cleat positions on your boat running a spring from the forward cleat will have the effect of pulling the bow in/pushing the stern out every time the boat moves forward. Far better to run springs to/from cleats that are on the full beam/straight part of the hull IMHO.

Another good point that I hadn't thought about.

I should have mentioned in my original post, that the prevailing winds are from top left to bottom right on my diagram, therefore blowing the boat off the pontoon. I'm not sure if that would make any difference to your suggestions?

I didn't get chance to go to the Marina this weekend, so my changes will have to wait until next weekend. Lots of food for thought here gentlemen, thank you very much for your advice.
 

Sailorsam101

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I've taught this very thing for years.

Springs and warps are very different things.

Warps should be tight and if non stretch rope...such as a yacht sheet or halyard.

Warps should be slack and have a slight dip in them. Also use rope with stretch in it.

You will see people using the same rope for both...this causes all sort of problems with noise and the boat moving about.
 
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