Dock line size question

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Tomfoolery
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Dock line size question

Post by Tomfoolery » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:28 am

I've never actually seen a discussion about this, so I'll ask - what size line are folks using for dock lines. WM is selling bulk line for 40% off (today only), and my permanent dock lines are getting old and frayed, so I guess it's time to replace them. I also have a WM gift card sitting in a drawer, waiting to be spent. :D

My old lines are at least 1/2" three-strand, but I left them in the boat and can't get to them now. The eye splices just fit through the cleats, and I loop them over the horns. Could be 5/8" I suppose. Most guides suggest 1/8" per 9 ft of boat, which puts them at 3/8". Looks kinda puny, even though the (new, unweathered) breaking strength is 4400 lb, probably enough to rip the cleat off. I've even seen power boats larger than my Mac in the marina using 3/8", though it is fairly protected in there. And I do use a spring line to relieve the one stern line, which is closer to vertical than horizontal, of the job of keeping it from moving forward. And I use a rubber snubber on it, since it's so short. :P

I've also noticed that it's cheaper to buy 50 ft 'premium' dock lines and cut them in half or thirds and eye splice them than it is to buy bulk line of the same spec, by the foot. Go figure. :|

Anyone out there using 3/8" three-strand on a Mac or T power sailor? I know it sounds like a rookie question, but I've always wondered and never asked.

p.s. I don't care for braided, as I like the stretch you get with three-strand. And it's easier to splice. :wink:

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Seapup
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Re: Dock line size question

Post by Seapup » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:37 am

I used both 3/8 and 1/2" on my :macx: Both worked. The 3/8 is easy to double up on 6" deck cleat and will have more stretch, 1/2" fills the cleat. The lines I left attached and set on my dock so the loops went to the boat cleat were 1/2" and I carried longer 3/8" for traveling.

One thing I noticed is not all 3 strand nylon is the same. Some are much softer and chafe/snag quicker than others. I had a spool of New England that had a nice coating and lasted longer/noticeable better than standard issue nylon. I picked up a 200' spool of 100% nylon on ebay - it floated :| .


I have sore fingers from splicing the last few "snow days" off of work. I just made 4 new lines for locking and transient docks, spliced an eye in both ends. I like larger loops than standard and having 2 "grab" lines that are perfect length to run from the bow to stern cleats port & starboard with eyes in both ends. Easy to pull into a dock, grab the line to control both ends of the boat and no excess or knots hanging.

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sailboatmike
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Re: Dock line size question

Post by sailboatmike » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:00 pm

Yes, we run 3/8" (10mm) dock lines, it seems a good size, big enough to do the job without all the extra bulk and weight of needlessly thick lines.

I did read a article that said overly thick lines are actually worse because they have no snubbing effect (read stretch) which puts a lot more strain on the deck gear when the boat moves

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Re: Dock line size question

Post by Bill at BOATS 4 SAIL » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:56 pm

I use 3/8" x 15' dock lines. You want to have some stretch. If you used a much larger dock line, instead of stretching it would pop your cleats off (1" steel cable would be an extreme example).
I tie the ends of the 15' lines together so that when I launch I can control both ends of my boat, throwing them over the cleats or posts on the dock, at least temporarily, if convenient, while I park my trailer.
Bill at BOATS 4 SAIL :mac19: :macx:

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Highlander
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Re: Dock line size question

Post by Highlander » Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:18 pm

Hi Tom
I use six 1/2" dock lines two r 15ft aft & four r 25ft mid ship & bow lines

J 8)

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RussMT
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Re: Dock line size question

Post by RussMT » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:00 pm

Good question.

I use 1/2 braided. I think they are too thick. Especially with the short ones.

Braided is still my preference. It looks nicer. But 3/8 seems to be the best choice.

--Russ

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Re: Dock line size question

Post by Tomfoolery » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:37 am

Thanks, all. 3/8" it is.

But I forgot to place the order last night and missed the 40% off sale. Dumbadze. :P

I'll probably go another year on my 1/2" lines, as the two bow lines are still in pretty good shape, but the stern line needs replacing. I might have some new(ish) line in one of my giant boxes of line, collected over the years. I just seem to collect line. It's a sickness. :|

Anyone need 100+ ft of 1/2" (I think) braided climbing line? Only used once, to ascend the mast on my last boat. Now just sitting coiled in a storage box for at least 8 years. :D

I'll use the gift card to replace my hand held VHF, which I'm storing on the bottom of Lake Ontario for safe keeping. I just forgot where exactly I put it. Dumbadze. :P

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Re: Dock line size question

Post by K9Kampers » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:44 am

Tomfoolery wrote:…my hand held VHF, which I'm storing on the bottom of Lake Ontario for safe keeping. I just forgot where exactly I put it. Dumbadze. :P
Sounds like it failed the float test... faggeddaboudit!! :wink:

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Re: Dock line size question

Post by Bill at BOATS 4 SAIL » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:00 am

Tomfoolery wrote:the two bow lines are still in pretty good shape, but the stern line needs replacing
Put the two bow lines on the stern and the two stern lines on the bow (if the lengths will work).
Kind of like turning your sheets or halyards end-to-end if there is wear in a section.
Bill at BOATS 4 SAIL :mac19: :macx:

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Tomfoolery
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Re: Dock line size question

Post by Tomfoolery » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:22 am

Bill at BOATS 4 SAIL wrote:
Tomfoolery wrote:the two bow lines are still in pretty good shape, but the stern line needs replacing
Put the two bow lines on the stern and the two stern lines on the bow (if the lengths will work).
Kind of like turning your sheets or halyards end-to-end if there is wear in a section.
Bill at BOATS 4 SAIL :mac19: :macx:
I don't have the pics on this computer, but it's a floating dock with the stern dock cleat right below the stern boat cleat, so the line is almost vertical. I use a rubber snubber on it for compliance, and a spring line off the bow cleat to relieve it of the forward component. The two bow lines flare out at roughly a 90 deg. included angle to two dock cleats, so they can handle the side-to-side as well as the fore-aft movement (well, aft only) easily, and they're fairly long so there's some compliance there, even for 1/2" line.

But that short stern line is too short to exchange for another, and too chewed to even consider using again. I'll just toss it (horrors - maybe I can find a use for it in the garage :D ). But I'll still use a snubber, as it's literally only a couple of feet long between the boat and the dock cleat.

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