What is a spring line, and how do I tie it? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 01-29-2009
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Question What is a spring line, and how do I tie it?

I was told that if I tied a "spring line", I could eliminate some of the rocking and rolling I experience tied up in my slip.

First, what is a spring line? I know it has something to do with my center cleat, but know no more.

Second, how do I tie it?

And third, will it actually help?

Additionally, at present, I have lines tying up only my starboard stern and bow, but -- backed into my slip -- I also have a slip cleat available to my port stern and midships. Should I be doing anything there to help with the rocking and swaying.

I am a newbie, so talk to me as if I was 12. (Actually, I know a 12 year old sailor more knowledgeable than I, so ... )

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Old 01-29-2009
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Check out this video: Forward Spring Line Video
A spring line basically stops your boat from moving further forward or further aft. It is a line taken from either your stern and lead to a dock or piling in front of your boat or from the bow of your boat and led and tied off to a dock or mooring behind your boat.

for instance if your boat was backed into its slip like you describe and only has 2 lines from the stern to the dock, nothing is stoping your boat from slaming into the dock with its stern. If you take a spring line - a line lead from one side of your stern, led forward and tied off to a piling or dock forward of your boat - it will prevent your boat from moving backwards stern first into the dock
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Old 01-29-2009
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Springs are used for limiting the fwd and aft movement; how they could limit "rocking" is questionable.
Springs generally run fwd and aft from the mid=ship cleat.

Take a walk down your dock to see how...
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Old 01-29-2009
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There are also many many books on the very basics of docking, lines, how to tie nots, and basic boat handeling for either sail or power-and are written in a very easy to understand manner. I would def recommend picking one of these up as it will help you tremendously if you are new.

They will also most likely have diagrams and pictures of spring lines for different docking arrangements
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Old 01-29-2009
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Fundamentally, your spring lines keep you from drifting foreward or backward at the dock, so they run at a shallow angle from the boat to the dock. Usually you have two at the midships cleat, one running forward (the forward spring) and one running aft (the after spring).

However, some people don't have a midships cleat, so they run a line forward from the quarter cleat (the forward spring) and back from the bow cleat (the after spring). In other words, the line is named by the direction it runs, not the position of its boat-end. They can be called "bow spring" and "quarter spring as well" if you need to specify where they are tied to the boat.

As for how you tie it, there are a few methods. You can put a half-hitch on the cleat (i.e. the free end goes under the standing end), or if you have an eye (loop), you can put the eye between the cleat's "legs" and then over both horns. For fast-removing but less secure hold, you can (on an after spring) put the eye over the after horn, then run the line around the forward horn, inboard to outboard, and then aft.

Again, spring lines are primarily for preventing fore-and-aft motion of the boat. Spring lines don't do much to prevent rolling or pitching of the boat, since those actions don't require the lines to stretch very much (mostly just change their angle to the dock slightly). They may help a bit with yawing, but if you have brest lines on (the lines that run more or less perpendicular from bow and stern to dock), that will do much more to prevent yaw.

One thing you might try to dampen rolling a bit is to run a line from the stern cleat that's not next to the dock at about a 45-degree angle to the dock. You might be able to use your "port stern" cleat for that. Another thing you could do is snug the boat a bit tighter to the dock.

Some more information would be helpful: what sort of a boat have you got? (hint: put it in your signature!) What is it tied to? (options are: pier on pylons, floating platform, seawall). If it's a floating platform, how is the platform secured? What have you got near you besides the "dock" itself? Some slips have freestanding pylons you can throw a loop over, for example.

Lastly, photos would be great.
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Old 01-29-2009
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They can ease the motion of the boat a bit. With just bow and stern lines, you are pulling straight out on the bow and stern lines creating a tugging jerky motion. With the spring lines in place you can ease up on the bow and stern lines a little bit (just a little, not quite taught all the time) as the springlines are holding you fore and aft and move more with the water instead of that half rock then jerk to a stop movement.

but yes, most importantly they will hold you fore and aft much better.

And i also agree with k1vsk that you should just walk around your dock and check out others mooring to see how it's done.
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Old 01-29-2009
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The red lines here are spring lines use the boat on the right as guidance since you have a midship cleat. Boats without midship cleats need longer lines run from the bow and stern as on the left.
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Old 01-29-2009
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Spring lines are also key to docking. If going bow first in, the aft spring is used to stop the boat, while the stern line is used to keep the bow from diving in toward the dock as you stop (short version, I'm sure someone else will offer the long version).
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Old 02-04-2009
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Thank you thank you thank you ... I am going to try it all and see what it works.

I do have some great "picture" books, and this spring I am going to take some classes and, if I am lucky, find some people in Newport or Waldport who will let me "crew" for experience.

I'm so tickled to be a "sail-er" again.
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