Sailing Tips – Springing Off A Dock

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 11,429
    Kevin Wensley, Director of Operations with Offshore Sailing, provides tips and techniques for properly springing your sailboat off a dock.

    Kevin Wensley: Hello! My name is Kevin Wensley, I am the Director of Operations at Offshore Sailing School. And I am here today at one of our beautiful Southwest Florida locations of South Seas Island Resort. Today we are going to be talking about using spring lines to help you get on and off the dock. And we have got couple of feet spare at the front end of the boat, the bow. And we are going to imagine that we have only got a couple of feet spare at the stern end of the boat as well. The other thing we have got is we have got the wind and the wind is blowing the boat on to the dock and we want to leave. And the thing is how do we go about doing that, afts and some bow thrusters like some of these power boats might have, we don't have that, so we are going a use a technique called springing the bow out form the dock. To do that we are going to set up a number of lines we will be doubling back on the bow line, we will be doubling back on the forward going spring line and then we will be using the engine in reverse to enable a bow to pivot out and once we have the boat pointing in the direction we want it go then we are just going to be able to drive straightforward.

    Okay, so the first thing we want to do is put the boat in a position that makes it easy for the crew to do the work that's being asked for them. So we are going to be looking to double back on a forward going stern spring and we are also looking to double back on the bowline. To make that easy to happen and also to take the loads of those lines I am just going to ask the driver Brian, if you want to put the engine in idle ahead please, and then go ahead and turn the helm hard to start but hard towards the dock. And what you will see is happening here is that this line, the forward spring line has gone completely slack and if you look up to the bow there you will see the bow coming in and the bowline going nice and slack. And we have got plenty of fenders in place so the boat isn't rubbing up against the dock too much. To double back on the line what we want to do is have the line run from the cleat around the polling on the dock and then back to the cleat again. So what I am going to do is I am just going to take a little bit of slack out and great so I have got plenty here, so nice cleat hitch. And I am making sure that I put the long end of the line on first because this is the short end and this is the end that I want to release. I just go ahead and do another cleat hitch exactly the same as the first one, there we go, when the time comes I will be on to release the top part of this line, nice short piece of line and bring it way back to the bow. The other thing that I am making sure that I have done is made it possible for me to uncleat the long end because just in case this line gets stuck on the dock what I want to be able to do is take the remainder of the line and actually cast that off. Okay let's go ahead and do the forward stern spring. That should be it, if you go ahead and stick it or cleat hitch that and same again on top of that. Okay, so we have got the bow line in place, we have got the forward stern spring in place. What we could do now is actually put the engine into reverse and what we should happen is that the boat tries to do what we wanted to do, but what I can see here is that this part of the boat that stern quarter here is going to come up against this concrete dock, in order to protect the boat from any kind of damage I am going to go ahead and have them place what we call a roving fender we are just going to hang that at the stern of the boat head, he is placing it at just the right level so that you can see where the boat is going to be coming to the dock. The line that I would like to go to next is the off going spring line, it's the line that's actually going to stop the boat moving forward, but we don't have to worry about that now because the engine is in reverse. Obviously, we are going to have to clear those away before we leave. We have double back the bow, we have got the double back forward spring, we have cleared off the off going spring line. Looks like the marine is nice and clear, so the next step is to cast off from the stern line. Okay, so what we need to do now is make sure the crew is briefed and we are going to have my cup at the bow casting off from the bowline, I am going to have myself or maybe Mike's going to come back and he will be attending the forward going spring line, getting ready to release, just as the boat starts to drive ahead. Okay, so Brian as the driver, what we want to do is make sure that we have the bow of the boat pointing the direction we want to go and we want stay straight. So right now you want to make sure that your helm is centered, so go ahead and cast off of the bow and we can see the boat starting to pivot out. So the next step is going to be to release the forward going stern spring, so we wait until the boat is all the way out pointing the direction we want to go and then we drive straightforward. So there we have a great technique for getting your boat out of the tight spot and don't forget to double back those lines and be prepared to release both ends just in case one end of the line gets caught on the dock. 1