What is the issue?Departing a berth or pier can be difficult shorthanded or solo. The shorelines have to be manually released from the wall or pontoon resulting in a last moment dash by the releasing crewmember to jump aboard the departing vessel. This is made worse if two-handed, as with a cruising couple, because once you let one end of the boat off you then have to run to release the other and clamber aboard. This can be challenging with an offshore wind as the vessel might quickly drift once the lines are released leaving the crew member stranded.
Why address this?This can be a challenging operation shorthanded. When slipping the vessel you are most likely to be in a confined or busy area where maximum vessel control is required. Anything that makes un-tethering the vessel efficient will remove risk. With a high pier the final dash by the releasing crewmember can result in an injury as they jump aboard or have them in the water between the vessel and the pier.
How to address this?Use slip lines, also known as slip ropes, so that all the lines may be released from the vessel.
A slip-line is a looped shoreline that goes around the pier fixings and back into the vessel so both ends are belayed on the vessel. As they may be undone from within the vessel they make it very easy to slip when departing.
Most people rig a pair of slip-lines just before departing and then untie all the other lines (such as springs etc) to leave the two remaining slip-lines as the final step. You can set these in place from the outset, if not rig all the lines as slip-lines in areas where you are a little uncertain about mischievous youngsters .
There are two things to be mindful of when using slip-lines. If you deploy slip-lines on a permanent basis it is advisable to place a rubber hose around the line where it loops around the cleat or, bends upon a rough wall, to prevent chafe. Also be aware that you have double the amount of line to get in and you need to pull it in very fast once released. Otherwise, it could easily get around the propeller. This is a particular issue when operating shorthanded. However, a variant of the slip line called
'slip line docking' can be put to great effect in these situations.
With thanks to:Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.
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