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Old 24-03-2023, 10:23   #1
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Best wearing dock line material?

My dock has new cleats that are heavily galvanized and have a fairly rough finish. Also, there is a lot of movement in the slip due to tides, so the back and forth with the rough cleats is seriously chewing through my dock lines. Currently they are unknown double braid, 1/2".

I want to upgrade to 5/8 but am wondering if twisted nylon would be more durable and resist abrasion a little better? Its also about a third the price of double braid so that helps or is there a better alternative?
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Old 24-03-2023, 10:35   #2
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Re: Best wearing dock line material?

3 strand and get some snubbers and old hose or fire hose to go over chafe points.
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Old 24-03-2023, 10:45   #3
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Re: Best wearing dock line material?

Emery cloth or a file to smooth out the cleat would be my go-to. In an argument between metal and rope the metal is going to win. Chafe guards or fire hose as a second choice.
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Old 24-03-2023, 10:56   #4
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Re: Best wearing dock line material?

Assuming you want the dock lines to stretch under load, use 3-strand nylon of appropriate size. (1/2"? 5/8"?)

Use long, tight (3-strand nylon) springlines to minimize movement at the dock.



For chafe resistance consider:

- Using tubular nylon, Dyneema chafe sleeve (close to line diameter) or the like. (e.g., Here are some of Sampson rope chafe protection products.)

- Treating the cleat portion of the line with one of the rope antichafe treatments.

- If the cleats have a captive opening, run a short length of chain through and attach both ends to a shackle. Attach docklines to the shackle.

In case any of this is useful.

Cheers, Bill
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Old 24-03-2023, 11:41   #5
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Re: Best wearing dock line material?

ok great, thank you for the replies. The place where it is getting really badly worn is where the rope wraps around the base of the dock cleat, at those two points and then where the rope exits the dock cleat and rises up towards the boat cleat. All the other parts of the rope are doing ok. I have highly polished stainless rope chocks on deck. There is a slight amount of wear there but not too bad. Will try some of the rope chafe ideas there. Might have to take a file to the dock cleat for sure.
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Old 24-03-2023, 11:43   #6
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Re: Best wearing dock line material?

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Originally Posted by wrwakefield View Post
Assuming you want the dock lines to stretch under load, use 3-strand nylon of appropriate size. (1/2"? 5/8"?)

Use long, tight (3-strand nylon) springlines to minimize movement at the dock.



For chafe resistance consider:

- Using tubular nylon, Dyneema chafe sleeve (close to line diameter) or the like. (e.g., Here are some of Sampson rope chafe protection products.)

- Treating the cleat portion of the line with one of the rope antichafe treatments.

- If the cleats have a captive opening, run a short length of chain through and attach both ends to a shackle. Attach docklines to the shackle.

In case any of this is useful.

Cheers, Bill
Thanks, i need to learn how to tie spring lines. I have not used those yet.
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Old 24-03-2023, 14:08   #7
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Re: Best wearing dock line material?

Bad Orca, do you take a full round turn around the cleat, or a half? For a cleat hitch, it should be a full round turn, and two half hitches to lock it.

Honestly, it will not hurt the cleat to take a small flat file to the sharp parts of the cleat, and once it is smooth, it will be far less prone to chafe the line. However, if you're presently using polyester double braid, it chafes more than nylon 3 strand, anyhow. There are uses for old sheet lines, but they tend to jerk on cleats.

You do not state your location or type of boat, so I really don't know what weather she has to be secured against. So, for reference, our boat displaces about 9 tonnes, and our nylon 3 strand lines are 16 mm, which we bought in New Caledonia when an early cyclone was approaching. It was the minimum diameter the marina will allow, and it required 4 of them (for all the corners). If side tying, like Denali Rose, the spring lines help take the loads, on the dock cleats. They also keep the boat "centered", fore and aft, so that your fenders stay placed where you need them when the tide changes, really important with fixed docks, rather than floating.

Ann
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Old 24-03-2023, 14:24   #8
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Re: Best wearing dock line material?

As mentioned upthread, the ultimate solution is to use a short chain strop around the cleat shackled to a thimble spliced into the dock end of the line. This is stronger than any of the other solutions offered, has zero chafe and will last until the UV kills the dock lines... and then be re-usable on the new line!

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Old 24-03-2023, 16:48   #9
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Re: Best wearing dock line material?

Just to reiterate a couple of comments up thread.

Three strand is the king of dock lines. It is cheap, durable, and most importantly, it has the best stretch which is critical to reduce shock loading. 8 Plait has almost as much stretch and is an absolute dream to handle, but costs dramatically more -- it shines for lines that you carry on the boat.

Dacron of any sort has no place in a dock line. It has no stretch and causes extremely high shock loading. Nylon is the place to be. As a bonus, nylon is cheaper and has better UV resistance than dacon.

And yet another point related to stretch. Use the smallest lines that you can. Smaller lines stretch more and have less impact loading on the boat. The trade-off of course is smaller lines are weaker and a little chafe weakens them even more. So in the quest for the smallest possible, be prudent in your choice. But without a doubt, bigger is not necessarily better!
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Old 24-03-2023, 17:21   #10
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Re: Best wearing dock line material?

Avoid running dock lines at 90 deg to boat. The farther aft of transom & forward of bow,the better-more spring & stretch.

3 strand medium lay nylon is my preference.
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Old 25-03-2023, 06:17   #11
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Re: Best wearing dock line material?

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Originally Posted by deblen View Post
Avoid running dock lines at 90 deg to boat. The farther aft of transom & forward of bow,the better-more spring & stretch.

3 strand medium lay nylon is my preference.
This one is a conundrum. You are absolutely correct that running at an angle makes them longer and allows for more stretch. Unfortunately, that makes them look more like a spring than a breast. If possible, it is better to make that effect by running to a farther tie point. The piling on the other side of the dock, if it doesn't cause a trip hazard. Or across the neighboring slip if the neighboring boat isn't there. For stern lines, running to the far side of the boat can add 10 ft of length.
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Old 25-03-2023, 08:11   #12
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Re: Best wearing dock line material?

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Originally Posted by BAD ORCA View Post
ok great, thank you for the replies. The place where it is getting really badly worn is where the rope wraps around the base of the dock cleat, at those two points and then where the rope exits the dock cleat and rises up towards the boat cleat. All the other parts of the rope are doing ok. I have highly polished stainless rope chocks on deck. There is a slight amount of wear there but not too bad. Will try some of the rope chafe ideas there. Might have to take a file to the dock cleat for sure.
I recommend short pieces of small chain and a bow shackle that closes the chain around the base of the cleat tight enough that it can’t get off. Also the same shackle holding a thimble to tie the dock line around (I wouldn’t splice it).
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Old 25-03-2023, 09:13   #13
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Re: Best wearing dock line material?

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Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
Bad Orca, do you take a full round turn around the cleat, or a half? For a cleat hitch, it should be a full round turn, and two half hitches to lock it.

Honestly, it will not hurt the cleat to take a small flat file to the sharp parts of the cleat, and once it is smooth, it will be far less prone to chafe the line. However, if you're presently using polyester double braid, it chafes more than nylon 3 strand, anyhow. There are uses for old sheet lines, but they tend to jerk on cleats.

You do not state your location or type of boat, so I really don't know what weather she has to be secured against. So, for reference, our boat displaces about 9 tonnes, and our nylon 3 strand lines are 16 mm, which we bought in New Caledonia when an early cyclone was approaching. It was the minimum diameter the marina will allow, and it required 4 of them (for all the corners). If side tying, like Denali Rose, the spring lines help take the loads, on the dock cleats. They also keep the boat "centered", fore and aft, so that your fenders stay placed where you need them when the tide changes, really important with fixed docks, rather than floating.

Ann
Thanks Ann. I do take a full turn around before securing my hitches. Im in Southern California but the channel my slip is in see's a fair bit of current in and out during tidal changes. I keep my lines slightly slack so the boat lurches for and aft all day. Also my boat is in an end slip so get tossed a bit whenever boats go by. The weather is usually fairly tame although this time of year we get the high winds off the desert which can bring 25-35 kt gusts. My boat displaces about 10-11 tonnes. Sounds like 5/8 might be a good fit.
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Old 25-03-2023, 09:14   #14
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Re: Best wearing dock line material?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
As mentioned upthread, the ultimate solution is to use a short chain strop around the cleat shackled to a thimble spliced into the dock end of the line. This is stronger than any of the other solutions offered, has zero chafe and will last until the UV kills the dock lines... and then be re-usable on the new line!

Jim
Interesting, thank you. I have to look into this to get a better understanding. I dont think i've seen an example of this yet.
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Old 25-03-2023, 09:15   #15
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Re: Best wearing dock line material?

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Originally Posted by sailingharry View Post
Just to reiterate a couple of comments up thread.

Three strand is the king of dock lines. It is cheap, durable, and most importantly, it has the best stretch which is critical to reduce shock loading. 8 Plait has almost as much stretch and is an absolute dream to handle, but costs dramatically more -- it shines for lines that you carry on the boat.

Dacron of any sort has no place in a dock line. It has no stretch and causes extremely high shock loading. Nylon is the place to be. As a bonus, nylon is cheaper and has better UV resistance than dacon.

And yet another point related to stretch. Use the smallest lines that you can. Smaller lines stretch more and have less impact loading on the boat. The trade-off of course is smaller lines are weaker and a little chafe weakens them even more. So in the quest for the smallest possible, be prudent in your choice. But without a doubt, bigger is not necessarily better!
Noted, thank you!
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