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Old 02-08-2016, 18:35   #31
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Re: PNW bull rail docking

I often see bull rails up here in the PNW, but I much prefer cleats. As Stu explains the procedure in his post above (PNW bull rail docking), I also like to use a midship spring line that I can drop over a cleat as I come into a slip, or alongside a dock. This way there's usually no need to get off the boat before it's secure. With bull rails there's no good way to tie up from aboard the boat.

Paul Elliott, S/V VALIS - Pacific Seacraft 44 #16 - Friday Harbor, WA
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Old 02-08-2016, 18:47   #32
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Re: PNW bull rail docking

Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
There is a big difference between step and jump. I never jump, I will step.
The same goes for us.

The whole idea of trying to do everything from the boat itself without a crew member on the dock -- unless you've got a really low freeboard is just not practical either.

We unclip the midships guard wires (aka lifelines) when putting out fenders/preparing to dock so there's nothing in the way.

The deck person usually then just sits on the deck midships, with both (lengthy) midships lines in hand, and with their feet on our rubrail (it's 6" wide and about 16" below deck so a perfect height and good place for feet while sitting on deck waiting for the stepping off moment). Then, when the boat is close to the dock they STEP off to the dock. The act of sitting helps prevent people from JUMPING, too. The whole idea is to SIT and WAIT for the dock to be right there. No reason to jump.

With varying dock heights that STEP down can be 24" from the rub rail (low dock) or even with the rub rail (dock used for big fishing boats or mega-yachts). In Alaska, the bull rail tended to be the same height as the rub rail or a teeny bit below it.

Once the person is standing on the dock, they're still holding the long midships lines and have plenty to work with if the boat is being blown off. Our boat has a seriously cutaway forekeel and high bow so if it is being blown off it will be the bow with issues.

Even in very windy conditions and with a lot of current, the only times we have ever had problems docking have been when somebody is trying to "help" by taking a line and yanking the bow close to the dock. At rest, with our 15' beam, the bow tends to be, well, about 8 ft away from the dock. People who have little boats with 8' beams are trying to hold our boat with the bow about 3 ft from the dock. That makes it very difficult to bring the stern in. So, we do everything we possibly can to keep our lines out of the hands of anyone on the dock unless we really know that person and feel we can trust them. When traveling, you never know who is going to be standing there on the dock but they're typically a stranger. We two people manage the entire process happily.

PS this one minute video shows a fellow taking a bight of the line and looping, making a half hitch as I was trying to describe
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dock, Docking

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