Episode #036: Your Pocket Sailing Instructor Podcast

person standing on brown wooden dock
Photo by Gabriela Palai on Pexels.com

This week I’m sharing a recent experience where almost all of my dock lines snapped! I have never experienced that kind of #boatfail before! Basically we had a storm come through Nelson and my dock lines were not up to the task. The water was freezing on the lines and turning everything to ice. Yikes!

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PRE-STORM PREP

So, being the responsible boater that I am, I already knew that this storm was coming to town. In order to prepare I went out to Spindrift, made sure my sails were all secure, ensured my halyards were nice and secure, and also double checked my dock lines. For the dock lines, I made sure they were made fast to the boat and the dock with just enough movement for the boat within the slip. All looked good.

POST-STORM FALLOUT

I was lucky that a local lives in the marina and saw what had happened to Spindrifts dock lines. He went out and grabbed some of the extra lines I had available on the boat in my aft locker and tied her up again however he could. He then sent me a quick email to say I should head down ASAP to tie her up properly again.

So, what did I do? Here’s a list:

  • secured two port bow lines and two starboard bow lines
  • added another aft spring line and another stern line
  • removed any broken lines that were no longer service a purpose (provided they were not iced to boat or dock)
  • triple checked the cleats on boat and dock for wear and damage
  • triple checked the sails to ensure they were still secure (several boats had headsails unfurl and get damaged)

WHAT SHOULD I HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY?

The dock lines that I was using for Sprindrift are fine for daily use and ideal conditions, however they were way too light for heavy weather/wind holding. So I upgraded my dock lines to 5/8″ which are rated for 32-40′ boats. I also doubled up on my port bow line (along the finger dock) as well as my stern line and spring lines for good measure.

I also intend on purchasing a couple of snubbers to help take some of the load off of the dock lines in the future. Thankfully I live near the marina so I am in a position to check on the boat often, however we have also discussed installing a little security camera to be able to check on things as needed. Something I will revisit in the future!

Let me know if you have had similar experiences and what precautions you took to ensure your boat remained safe. Mother Nature can be really creative sometimes! Ice & cold on ropes = bad!

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