Custom size dock ropes

Discussion in 'Modifications/Customizations' started by hynespa, Mar 19, 2021.

  1. hynespa

    hynespa Active Member

    285
    Jun 7, 2010
    Marina Del Rey, CA
    2005 420 Sundancer
    T-VD-8.1 S HO MerCruiser (T-420 hp)
    Hi all,

    Almost 11 years ago I decided to learn how to braid rope, and ended up creating custom length dock rope for my boat. I have used this setup now on two different boats - and although unconventional (e.g. does not use traditional spring lines or fenders) I can say over the last 11 years it has not let me down.

    Here are the advantages that have "paid" for themselves in time, hassle & appearance over and over:
    • It is simple for novice guests to help tie up the boat without understanding the intricacies of spring lines, proper rope length, or how to tie off or coil the rope.
    • I designed it so even in the worst weather conditions the boat stays in the middle of the slip and will not make contact with the dock.
    • I can keep my fenders stowed away which helps when it's time to wash the boat as well as the overall appearance off the boat when it's in the slip.
    • I don't have to worry about coiling excess dock lines on the dock.
    • I don't have to stow ropes after I untie and the boat is underway (the ropes stay on the dock - with the exception of the bow ropes which are Velcro' d to the railing when under way).
    Here are a few things about my dock setup:
    • I am on a fully floating dock - so I don't have to worry about tides / surges/ etc.
    • I have two fingers on my dock.
    • The boat is not overly "tight" or "loose" in my slip.
    • I rotate the boat half way through the year (in the summer the boat is stearn first in the slip and in the winter the boat is bow first).
    • There are 3 cleats on each finger - so I end up having six total ropes (3 on each side).
    Here are pictures of my setup (click for full image):

    IMG_8528.jpg - starboard looking forward
    IMG_8529.jpg - starboard midships
    IMG_8530.jpg - starboard looking back
    IMG_8531.jpg - port side looking back

    I utilized the following YouTube video's to teach myself the skill of rope braiding:
    • Part 1
    • Part 2
    I used all his techniques - except I found I could do it without having to use a fid.

    I also used New England Ropes for the dock line which has held up pretty good over the years (aside from getting a little stiff over time):
    https://www.neropes.com/products/anchoring-and-docking/product/detail/premium-3-strand-nylon/

    Interested if anybody is skeptical of this method - has tried it - or thinks it has any downsides. The only downside I can think of is the time investment up front to make the ropes (and the sore fingers for a day after all that braiding). If you think of others disadvantages - I'll be happy to share if I have experienced them over the last 11 years of using this method.

    I do keep a full set of lines coiled in my rope locker for situations where I have to tie up temporarily at a guest dock, pump out dock or gas dock. This is only for my "home" dock.
     
  2. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1997 Sundancer 400
    7.4L Gassers
    Ahhh the glories of floating docks....static lengths for your dock lines. Pure luxury! :)
     
    Chris-380 likes this.
  3. Henry Boyd

    Henry Boyd Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2007
    Newburyport, on the peaceful and serene Merrimack
    ‘09 Sabre 38 Hardtop Express “Serenity”
    Volvo D6 w/IPS450 Pods
    I did nearly the same with our 280 with custom length lines. With the current boat I (like most of my neighbors) leave a second set in place on the dock, and have “travel” lines. Because we are in a river mouth with tides the dock lines are also larger (¾”).
     
  4. Pirate Lady

    Pirate Lady Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2020
    Chesapeake Bay, Middle River
    '91 250 Sundancer
    7.4 Bravo 1
    For stiff lines, put in washing machine, lots is soap, lil bleach, lots fabric softener, makes them like new. Soft as your grandma’s ass.
     
    Chris-380 likes this.
  5. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport
    40hp 2-Stroke Evinrude
    Ummmm, Pirate Lady, how is it you happen to know how soft grannie's ass is? Do you have a confession to make?

    By chance, do you know the soon-to-be ex-govenor of NY???? :p
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2021
    Great Lakes, Chris-380 and tc410 like this.
  6. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport
    40hp 2-Stroke Evinrude
    Hynespa....
    • I rotate the boat half way through the year (in the summer the boat is stearn first in the slip and in the winter the boat is bow first).
    I'm curious about why you rotate the boat. Doesn't this mess with your line adjustments and power cord setup?
     
  7. Pirate Lady

    Pirate Lady Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2020
    Chesapeake Bay, Middle River
    '91 250 Sundancer
    7.4 Bravo 1
    dont know any governors, but i know lots of grannies. lonely old women love boat rides and sweet talk.
     
  8. 370Dancer

    370Dancer Well-Known Member

    Oct 2, 2006
    Florida - Alabama
    1998 370 Sundancer
    380hp MAG MPI Gen VI with V drives
    Trick taught to me by the river guys on the Tennessee, where the straight line winds can approach 75 mph on occasion, and always when you are not at the boat.
    instead of feeding the loop from the dock straight through the middle of your cleat and then over the horns, take the line over the top of the cleat, and feed through the "back side" of the cleat back towards you and over the horns. This will keep your lines off of your hull when the boat is bouncing around in the slip. That mileage will vary with the height of the deck vs the location of the cleat on the dock.
     
    hynespa and OllieC like this.
  9. bbwhitejr

    bbwhitejr Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Apr 14, 2013
    Lake Lanier GA
    2003 420DA, 6CTAs
    NA
    Great tip!. Gotta do this!!!

    Bennett
     
  10. b_arrington

    b_arrington Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Feb 21, 2007
    Setauket, NY
    Back Cove 37
    AB Ventus 9VL
    Cummins QSC 8.3 600
    I do the same.
     
  11. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1997 Sundancer 400
    7.4L Gassers
    I do this and most of the my slip neighbors think its silly. :)

    I actually started doing this to eliminate the noise. I'm a pretty light sleeper. When the wind kicks up in the slip I'll wake up to the sounds of the dock lines rubbing on the gunnel. This "over the top" trick takes care of that issue.
     
  12. hynespa

    hynespa Active Member

    285
    Jun 7, 2010
    Marina Del Rey, CA
    2005 420 Sundancer
    T-VD-8.1 S HO MerCruiser (T-420 hp)
    Hey @Gofirstclass - great question.

    Summer setup - I rotate the boat because in the summer months (e.g. Memorial Day - Labor Day) I pay a little extra to the yacht club to rent an extra spot on the dock to keep my dinghy in the water. This enables me to remove the dinghy davits and back the boat into the slip stern first. I find it easier to dock the boat by backing it in - and my wife and guests comment they find it easier to board the boat when it is stern first. This is our peak time to use the boat - and I find not having to drop the dinghy before taking the boat out - or being able to quickly jump in the dinghy to use it a nice little plus in the summer month.

    Winter setup - I save money on not having a separate dinghy spot - and save some wear & tear on the bottom of the dinghy by having it hoisted on the davits in the winter. We use the boat less often in the winter - so it really comes down to a cost-benefit sort of thing.

    Power cords - I have 4x total 25ft 30a power cords. In the winter I need all 4 and join the two together midway down the finger of the dock. In the summer I only need 2 and store the extra 2 away.

    Dock lines - 4 of the 6 docklines (the mids and the bows) work in either the summer or winter configuration. The stern lines I do swap out - as I use slightly longer ones when the boat is bow in.

    Since my boat is dark blue hull - I also theorize that by flipping the boat part way through the year - that I'm not overly exposing one side to the sun ...
     
  13. 370Dancer

    370Dancer Well-Known Member

    Oct 2, 2006
    Florida - Alabama
    1998 370 Sundancer
    380hp MAG MPI Gen VI with V drives
    Seriously, this is all that came to mind...........
     

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