New advice on arranging mooring lines

Flyfloat

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I have a Fairline Phantom 50 at Swanwick Marina and currently she is tied using two mooring mooring lines. Each of these are; boat to pontoon to create Bow / Stern and then back to midships on the boat to create springs.

Although this works, the kids find it a bit of a struggle, as the lines are very long and heavy and to adjust a bow or stern involves removing the spring. Equally the length of the lines leaves me paranoid that when one of the kids drops it on the deck, the next thing I know it will have slithered off and wrapped itself around a prop at a critical moment. As such it is not really satisfactory.

I have thought about a set of permanent lines left on the pontoon to make it easy for them to use. However I am worried about trapped fingers trying to fish lines through cleats when they are close to full extension and worse still falling in the ogin trying to reach the bow cleat. Plus this only works at home base and doesn't seem like the done thing.

As such what is the right way to do it, which is easy for the kids to use, doesn't have ropes tied over other ropes on cleats, and is easy for everyone to work out. Should all lines originate on board and terminate on the pontoon (i.e the opposite of my current setup for springs).

Typically for each distance between boat and pontoon cleat, how much longer should each rope be (i.e to allow for throwing etc)?

All help and suggestions gratefully received.
 

prv

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Unless the marina prohibits it (they might, if they use your berth for visitors while you're away), permanent lines at the home berth make things a bit easier. I don't understand why you would be "trying to fish lines through cleats" - just have a spliced loop and drop it over the top. The shore-side end is best done with a hard eye (ie, a splice with a thimble in it) and a large galvanised bow shackle round one leg of the cleat. Sometimes people incorporate short lengths of chain if there's a bit of pontoon frame etc that the line would otherwise chafe on. If you can't reach the bow cleat from the pontoon, have a light tag-line attached to the loop which you can walk up the boat and then pull in to retrieve the heavy line.

If you can't have permanent lines then it just comes down to ordinary good mooring practice. There are a lot of "rules" about this, which don't always need to be followed in all situations, but "one line for each job" is one I almost always stick with for the reason you've already discovered. In marinas, multiple shorter lines are more handy than a couple of long ones. Putting the end ashore (with a spliced loop or a bowline) and taking up the slack on board is another seamanlike practice, although on a finger pontoon it's not so important and having the ends ashore instead might help avoid doubling-up on the boat cleats.

Worth noting that you don't have to come alongside with the same arrangement that you finally tie up with - I land with long lines attached at bow and stern, which my crew step off with, but once we're secure I go round and swap them for shorter lines with the ends ashore and coils on deck.

Pete
 

ProDave

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Unless the marina prohibits it (they might, if they use your berth for visitors while you're away), permanent lines at the home berth make things a bit easier. I don't understand why you would be "trying to fish lines through cleats" - just have a spliced loop and drop it over the top.
+1 to that

Since moving from a harbour wall berth to a pontoon berth this season, I now have 4 lines like that all with a spliced loop.

It's so easy to come alongside and drop them over the cleats, knowing they are all the right length and that's me tied up.
 

Tranona

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Agree the permanent lines approach for your home berth - and only one line for each job, not using a long line for both bow/stern and springs. Sort out how best your boat lies in relation to the wind and then make up lines so that the boat is held close irrespective of the wind. I go further and have a hook on a pole so that I can pick up two lines from on board while coming in, one a spring that is just right length to stop the stern from hitting the pontoon. If you have a good crew and they are happy stepping off the swim platform then they can hook on the stern lines and a spring quite easily (assuming you reverse in). which is enough to hold the boat while you sort out a bow line, which itself can be permanently attached and handed up from the finger. Use the bow thruster to hold the bow in if necessary.

Best to experiment a bit and find a routine that suits you and your crew, but pretty sure you will find permanent lines all the correct length make life much easier.
 

tom52

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Whether or not you have fixed lines at your home berth, it is definitely "one line for one job". So separate lines for each spring plus a bow and a stern line.
 

salar

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Worth noting that you don't have to come alongside with the same arrangement that you finally tie up with - I land with long lines attached at bow and stern, which my crew step off with, but once we're secure I go round and swap them for shorter lines with the ends ashore and coils on deck.

Amen to that approach, in fact I go even more minimalist by using just a short breast line. Once that is fastened the boat is not going anywhere unlike a bow or stern line which, if things go wrong, could have you swinging around all over the place. The breast line approach is particularly handy if single handed and there is a current running or wind direction which could blow you off the dock. Once the breast line is secure you can then go round and affix bow, stern and springs at leisure.
 

Bandit

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All ropes stretch a bit, I like a boat held reasonably tightly on lines not swinging all over the shop in wind. Use polyester three strand rope, a bit of stretch but not too much, nylon is a nightmare as it keeps on stretching and recovers when not in use, nylon can also go hard.

You cant use eyes on a line going both ways, ie on a midships cleat one going forward to the cleat and one going from the end of the finger cack to the midships cleat as they are either too tight to both secure in a wind or too loose to hold the boat securely.

A lot of marinas wont let you use shackles or chain around a cleat and tying off a rope in figures of eight or bowlines works quite well from a wear point of view. This also allows you to adjust your line at the pontoon end in the future.

Assuming you are stern to in the berth, rig up hanging fenders or pontoon mounted fenders for your swim platform so that you can touch the pontoon with damage.

Have your lines with eyes at the boat end holding your boat onto the pontoon all going forwards with the tails of the lines tied to the cleats, so your kids or Mrs can just slip them on to the boats cleats and it wont go far, and the lines pulling the boat forward with tails at the boat end and tied to pontoon cleat to allow "you" as the larger stronger person on the boat to pull the boat forward so the lines are tight and the boat secure against the lines with the eyes on the boat and tie them off.

For lines going forward from the pontoon or finger with an eye on the end I would probably have a port and starboard stern line, a line with an eye from say half way along the finger to your midships cleat and one from the end of the finger to the bow. You may prefer to have the bow line with a tail to the boats cleat so that in wind so it can be secured initially on berthing and then tightened up later by yourself?

I would have a minimum of two springs with tails at the boat end pulling your boat forward against the spliced eyes, one from the half way cleat on the finger to your stern cleat and one from the end of the finger back to the mid ships cleat.
 
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