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Old 31-10-2012, 11:30   #1
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How to Secure Boat to Piling

I seem to have insulted a good friend of mine. I will put it to the community to comment on my observation. The day after Hurricane Sandy, I was at the dock and heard my friend commenting on his frayed dock line. I noticed he had tied to the dock piling with a slip eye. That is taking the eye of his dock line and running the line though the eye and over the piling. In my experience this makes a substantial friction point at the bight, the point where the line exits the eye. I told him the proper way was to just loop the eye over the piling. Of course his lines where those commonly bought at marine stores, those common with small 12 or 18 inch eyes, too small to fit over most pilings. I told him he needed dock lines with larger eyes. I said he could splice his own (preferred) or tie a simple bowline to make up an eye. Of course the eye should be a minimum three foot eye measured tip to splice, preferably 4'. His reply implied he was correct in his application "then why do they make the eyes so small?"
I then withheld additional comment as I knew he was annoyed. He is in fact an experienced sailor. I'm from the commercial school where we don't make lines fast on a working cleat and always use a proper eye. What say ye?
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Old 31-10-2012, 11:47   #2
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Re: How to secure boat to Piling

This thread should get interesting.

Generally you are right. My experience is that most coastal sailors don't worry about chafe. They just replace the line.
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Old 31-10-2012, 11:58   #3
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Re: How to secure boat to Piling

I'm with you on using a proper eye on a working cleat or over a pile, but like you, Im from the commercial school as well
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Old 31-10-2012, 12:08   #4
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Re: How to secure boat to Piling

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Originally Posted by Tar34 View Post
I told him the proper way...
Nobody likes to hear, "you're not doing that right."

I do it the way you suggested, too, and think that is the best way, but a better way to tell him might have been something like...

"Perhaps it wouldn't have chafed so much if you had..."
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Old 31-10-2012, 12:11   #5
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Re: How to secure boat to Piling

I'm a fan of working a tool until it doesn't work, then figuring out a better tool. In this case he tried something, got chafe, and now needs a better solution.

How that is communicated to him in a non-threatening way is a different challenge.

-Scott
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Old 31-10-2012, 12:15   #6
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Re: How to secure boat to Piling

Yes I may have been a tad impolitic but I couldn't help myself at the time.
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Old 31-10-2012, 12:25   #7
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Re: How to secure boat to Piling

+1. In general I agree with you. As you know from working commercially (ships I assume) the eye goes ashore and the end of the line is made fast aboard. Not so critical in smaller boats I think, but still in general a better strategy....and less chafe.

Extra chafe protection on the line is of course a good idea -- especially when rigging for a storm.
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Old 31-10-2012, 12:26   #8
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Re: How to secure boat to Piling

Oh sorry, I didn't mean to insinuate that. It's just that everyone hears things differently, and you have to figure out the best way to communicate to people (within reason). My wife reminds me of this often - ha ha!

EDIT: Ah, I didn't see the post just ahead of mine from DenveredOn. I'll go back to work now...
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Old 31-10-2012, 12:34   #9
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Re: How to secure boat to Piling

Commercial ocean fishing boats and inshore tugs and crew boats. The idea applies as an eye can be thrown to a piling ( practice ) and easily slipped when getting underway. If a piling is occupied as they can be, if the initial occupant was prudent and used an eye, the second occupant can slip his eye through the original from underneath than over the piling leaving the original undisturbed and ready to slip away.
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Old 31-10-2012, 12:43   #10
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Re: How to secure boat to Piling

Slip eye maximizes the load on the rubbing area so maximizes friction heat into the nylon. Loggers use it for a vice like grip on logs but with steel rope. Is he a logger? If he's a logger maybe you weren't blunt enough.
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Old 31-10-2012, 12:43   #11
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Re: How to secure boat to Piling

In light of the the "Big Sandy", what happens when the boat floats above the top of the piles? Never having seen it I am curious as to how you keep the boat between the piles.
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Old 31-10-2012, 12:47   #12
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Re: How to secure boat to Piling

Dip the eye through itself to make a choker, it then does not matter how small the spliced eye is.
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Old 31-10-2012, 12:53   #13
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Re: How to secure boat to Piling

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Dip the eye through itself to make a choker, it then does not matter how small the spliced eye is.

Doesn't that cause chafe on the bight?
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Old 31-10-2012, 13:19   #14
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Re: How to Secure Boat to Piling

I totally avoid the eye splices altogether and, during the risk of storms, ensure that I am capable of adjusting the line from the boat or the dock. Of course the adjustment is not possible during a storm for a piling standing off the dock, but this is what many use at reachable pilings for storm preparation.



Assume the stainless pipe is the piling and the small line is the dockline. With several wraps aroung the piling before finishing with the clove hitch, it is possible to relaese the clove hitch; take in slack line or release line under load; and then retie. You are helpless with an eye splice.

The same technique can be the choice for some, like me, on board. If you lay an eye splice over a cleat or pull an eye splice through the eye of a cleat before circling the cleat; then, you can not release your boat or adjust the line other than with a knife. I choose to work without an eye splice, run the line once around the cleat and then belay it in the traditional manner. This way you can adjust the line under load. Sure, there are different procedures as standards for large commercial tugs where you are not adjusting lines by hand under load without the use of the engine power, but, for me...no eye splices.
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Old 31-10-2012, 13:47   #15
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Re: How to Secure Boat to Piling

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I totally avoid the eye splices altogether and, during the risk of storms, ensure that I am capable of adjusting the line from the boat or the dock. Of course the adjustment is not possible during a storm for a piling standing off the dock, but this is what many use at reachable pilings for storm preparation.



Assume the stainless pipe is the piling and the small line is the dockline. With several wraps aroung the piling before finishing with the clove hitch, it is possible to relaese the clove hitch; take in slack line or release line under load; and then retie. You are helpless with an eye splice.

The same technique can be the choice for some, like me, on board. If you lay an eye splice over a cleat or pull an eye splice through the eye of a cleat before circling the cleat; then, you can not release your boat or adjust the line other than with a knife. I choose to work without an eye splice, run the line once around the cleat and then belay it in the traditional manner. This way you can adjust the line under load. Sure, there are different procedures as standards for large commercial tugs where you are not adjusting lines by hand under load without the use of the engine power, but, for me...no eye splices.
This was a new use of a clove hitch to me. I've seen clove hitches with two half hitches to secure the bitter end but not with the wraps. I do like this and will blatantly steal this idea from you.

This is also the first time I've run across someone totally opposed to eye splices. I do see the point but can think of very few times where one could not adjust the lines from the boat. Even accepting that point I do have one fairly common situation where I strongly prefer on an eye on the dock side of the line. How often do you pull up to a slip or fuel dock where staff or helpful strangers wanted to take your dock line. Occasionally this is extremely helpful and appreciated, like docking in a strong wind or current but often not really necessary but I would feel rude refusing their assistance, like implying that the person on the dock is too dimwitted to know how to cleat a line (which unfortunately is often the case). In that situation I much prefer tossing the helper an eye and pointing out the cleat or piling where I need it. This leaves the maximum amount of control on my end of the line and minimizes the risk on the dock end.
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