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Old 02-08-2016, 11:13   #16
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Re: PNW bull rail docking

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
Anybody who purports to claim that there is ANY valid reason for these bullhead moosehead dock thingies to have any reason is a lunatic.

I am moving from Northern California to the PNW, and have boated for 50 years.

I have carefully researched these stupid things they call "potential for docking" nonsense, find could find NO reasonable answer. Other than: "We've always done it that way."

I did find an "Under vs. Over" YouTube thing. Quite handsome, but inconclusive. The two presenters showed how both worked, so well, in different conditions. And neither worked when the wind was pushing onto the dock.

I think we have two choices:

1. Bring your own cleats and drill and install them before you get to the dock


2. Get a big grapnel hook and use it

I am really open to suggestions here, but after thinking about moving North for over 20 years, doing a lot of boating while I spent time there, and doing a LOT of research I find it hard to

a) justify why they even thought about it

b) continue to use them when even weekend warriors have trouble with cleats

c) wonder why they don't put cleats in on TOP of the bullheads

Perhaps some of you more experienced Northwest boaters can attest to their superior attributes.

I believe that ANYTHING that requires a crew member to LEAVE the boat before it is stopped is nonsense.


I'm all ears.
The odd time these rails are seen around my area-rare-but occasionally
The first guy to dock takes some scrap rope ends ashore & makes loops that hang loose a bit & leaves them there.

Everyone then runs their mid,bow & stern lines thru the loop & back to boat cleats-so you can leave without having to go on dock.

It is best to always bring your ends back aboard,even on cleat eqpd docks, & tie them to your own cleats-unless you have a big crew.

When arriving at a "loop eqpd" dock,hopefully the "loop donater" made loops big enough that you can reach over & run your mid line thru & back to your mid cleat.

I don't care for bull rails because often your lines will jam in a rail/block joint. Loops help.

When you go outside of popular yachting areas,there are few marinas & even fewer staff to handle lines,etc.
You will encounter commercial type docks also & you just have to look at what the locals do.

You will be "roughing it". Plan to be on your own when handling your boat

Cheers/ Len


Edit:

Bring dock lines as long as your boat. Shorty "marina stall" are useless in many cases.
Place bow & stern lines 1/2 a boat length fore & aft of boat to give them some spring.

Leave mid ship line loose.Use it to winch in to dock in order to go ashore.

Often there is a run going & tying at right angles from bow & stern is a good way to part lines.
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Old 02-08-2016, 11:33   #17
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Re: PNW bull rail docking

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Originally Posted by Dave22q View Post
There are many small dinghy anchors that are like grapnels. I would toss one and pull snug before stepping off to secure my dock lines. Before cruising this area I would make sure I had at least 2 grapnels. Unless the wind/tide is cooperating I would never step off an unsecured boat. It is just too easy to use a boat hook to drop a loop over a pile.
I would do that and add chain for around the 6X6's. No chaff with that.

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Old 02-08-2016, 11:33   #18
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Re: PNW bull rail docking

The bull rails work very well for small and big boats alike. They are strong and well secured with infinite tying possibilities. Also low corrosion.
THE REASON? They allow a mix of different size boats on the same dock and a variable mix on another day. You might have a 21 footer bettwen two 52 foot fishing boats one day, and four 24 footers the next.
Having said that I don't like them that well.... but certainly have not found huge issues quickly tying up a boat really. Trying to lasso a cleat from aboard is not necessarily fool proof either! Where I see cleats on wood docks they are often loose and wobble.
I'd much rather tie to a PNW Bull Rail floating dock than most I found on the Eastern US that don't float and your boat is susceptible to grating on pilings, or the dock is 6 feet above deck!
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Old 02-08-2016, 11:55   #19
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Re: PNW bull rail docking

I would not start tossing grapnels. Your friendly marina owner might have something to say about that....I'm sure they dont want their rails chewed up
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Old 02-08-2016, 12:24   #20
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Re: PNW bull rail docking

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Originally Posted by Cadence View Post
Dave nailed it. Have a grapnel.
I have seen a boat hook with a very large hook used. A gaf would work.

I also have both bow and stern gates in the lifelines. Handy.
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Old 02-08-2016, 12:28   #21
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Re: PNW bull rail docking

I wonder what this guy would do with a bullrail.

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Old 02-08-2016, 12:32   #22
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Re: PNW bull rail docking

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Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
I have seen a boat hook with a very large hook used. A gaf would work.

I also have both bow and stern gates in the lifelines. Handy.
Wouldn't it be risky to try to stop or hold several tons of moving,wind & tide driven boat-using a gaff??
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Old 02-08-2016, 12:39   #23
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Re: PNW bull rail docking

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Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
I wonder what this guy would do with a bullrail.

Shouldn't he have used a figure 8 or one of the larger stopper knots??

Lunch knot??
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Old 02-08-2016, 12:43   #24
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Re: PNW bull rail docking

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Wouldn't it be risky to try to stop or hold several tons of moving,wind & tide driven boat-using a gaff??
Yes. It is common to have a rope on a gaff, because with big fish you have the same problem.

This is NOT just a PNW thing. Common on Chesapeake municipal docks. Not a big deal, I just dock.

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Old 02-08-2016, 12:53   #25
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Re: PNW bull rail docking

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Originally Posted by Schooner Chandlery View Post
Stu, I don't understand what you're getting at. We see very little difference between the bull rails and cleats regarding WHEN the deck person steps off the boat. For a moment, sure, there he's standing with two midships lines and he's got to do something with them. LOL, there's quick work required on his part to get a bight quazi-secured...but...it's not that bad. Really. Now having said that--I'm all comfy in the cockpit with the helm, I am not agile (see the cane in the pic of me above?) and while I HAVE been the deck person, it's always a bit dicey for me. But I'm a clutz like few others.

PS the biggest benefit I see to these bull rails is that any size boat can tie up and fairlead a line exactly where that boat needs it. 15 feet to 150 feet on the same dock. We saw that at Glacier Bay National Park, as a matter of fact. Seaplane, small boats, and a mini-cruise ship all on one big long pier with large (seemed like they were 12x12) bull rails.
SC, in earlier discussions here about bull rails, I linked to a letter I wrote that was published in Latitude 38:

HOPPING OFF THE BOAT IS UNNECESSARY

In the April issue, Mark Johnston asked about dealing with aging knees and boat docking in “Senior Sailors and High Freeboard.” He expressed his concern about docking (his Catalina 34!!!) with a potential future bigger boat, noting “…it’s not so easy…for my wife and me to jump down to the dock with lines in our hands.” We’ve had our Catalina 34 for the past 10 years, with a C22 for two and a C25 for twelve before that, sailing all over the Bay, the Delta and up & down the coast. We employ what we believe is the most useful and safe technique for docking that still seems to be a mystery to most sailors. It’s called the midships spring line. Our older Catalina 34s did not come with a midships cleat, so we added one on each side at the forward end of the jib fairlead track. Many newer boats come with them. There really is no reason to ever have to jump off a boat to dock it properly. I recommend that Mark Google “midships springline” – there is a wealth of information available, one of which is: http://www.cruising.sailingcourse.com/docking.htm.

The maneuver is simple: attach the springline to the midships cleat, run it fair outside the lifelines, as you approach the dock loop the springline over the aft dock cleat and bring it back to the winch. Snug it up and keep the boat in low throttle forward and the boat will sidle right up to the dock, no jumping is EVER required. A friend developed an enhanced springline arrangement with a prefixed length of line with a hose holding a lower loop of line open to assure that it catches the cleat on the dock, so that no line needs to be returned to the winch. ***

I do a lot of single-handed sailing and have found this invaluable in docking in all conditions. I’m sure that once this “trick” is learned and mastered it can be used in a wide variety of docking situations with all manner of wind and currents.

It’s not only safer, it’s a sure knee and back saver. The only drawback is when docks don’t have cleats, but have those nutty rings or the wooden raised runners so prevalent in the Pacific Northwest. I think that’s one reason they invented grapnel hooks!


*** Nautiduck, Randy Kolb's, "Dock A Matic" is described in the C25 Forum here: http://www.catalina-capri-25s.org/fo...TOPIC_ID=15645 I am sure it could be applied to our boats as well if you tried; I've thought about it, but am still using our 40 foot long 1/2 inch dockline for that purpose without the nifty "loop in hose" idea. Whatever works for you.

*****************
*****************

I almost never ever get off my boat until it is secured. I am not a cowboy (!!!) but I did get pretty good at lassoing the cleats. I also have a grapnel hook for use when I get up north.

From one to Klutz to yet another , I do understand the "advantages" of bull rails as so helpfully explained by many of the posters on this thread.

I also have experienced the blatant stupidity of those even dumber dock rings. Whoever thought that those would be useful should be keelhauled. They have them at Loch Lomand Marina on SF Bay. It is a wickedly windy place, and all the berths are cockeyed to the wind, i.e., no upwind downwind slips. A friend moved his Catalina 36 from our marina in the estuary up there a few years ago. He said it was horrible, and moved back as soon as he could!

I guess I'll learn the techniques necessary with bull rails, since that's all they have at my new marina on Vancouver Island, Maple Bay Marina. I should get there by mid to end of September. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Thanks to all of you who responded to my questions. Much appreciated.
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Old 02-08-2016, 13:35   #26
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Re: PNW bull rail docking

Well nobody told me as a kid not to jump of unsecured boat so I've been jumping over 50 yrs now, thou it's just me who jumps of my boat everyone else stay put.
For those worried about such and bullrails set the anchor and take a row ..

BR Teddy


ps. Correction, once I were rescuing stranded boat with 80yrs old chap and he did the jump of a boat to a boat..
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Old 02-08-2016, 14:03   #27
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Re: PNW bull rail docking

There is a big difference between step and jump. I never jump, I will step.
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Old 02-08-2016, 14:40   #28
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Re: PNW bull rail docking

A decent gaff

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Old 02-08-2016, 15:21   #29
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Re: PNW bull rail docking

In England I used to own a device intended for picking up mooring buoys. It was a galvanized hook with a 5" mouth, closed with a spring-loaded gate. It was attached to a line and could be slid onto a mounting plate attached to a pole. The gate was held open when it was mounted. You belayed the line, leant over the side, hooked the ring or whatever and pulled. the hook slid off the mount and the gate closed; the hook, the line and the boat were left attached, with the pole in your hand. Could be useful in situations like these. Unfortunately I don't know what it was called or where it came from.
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Old 02-08-2016, 18:12   #30
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Re: PNW bull rail docking

looks like a good use for the reef anchor in grapnel mode
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