Get­ting onto a wind­ward berth: us­ing a mid­ships spring

Yachting Monthly - - EXPERT ON BOARD -

In­spect the berth first so you know more or less how long the mid­ships spring needs to be and which pon­toon cleat you’re aim­ing for, one next to the cock­pit would be ideal. If you’ve a good eye for that sort of thing you could just rig a bight, as we did for the bow spring method. A more for­giv­ing method is to se­cure one end of the bight to the mid­ships cleat and put the other on a winch (both run­ning through the mid­ships fair­lead), which means we have more con­trol over the fi­nal po­si­tion of the boat along­side. Err on the side of cau­tion so you can ease the line out round the winch to bring her for­ward rather than hav­ing to winch her back against the en­gine.

Again we threw a bight of line and again it worked but you’ll have your own favoured method of se­cur­ing to a cleat.

As soon as the spring pulls taut, the skip­per should add a few revs and lock the wheel over to keep the stern in, as it’s the prop­wash over the rud­der that is forc­ing the stern into the pon­toon and the for­ward gear that's bring­ing her along­side. Now the crew can ad­just the length of the spring, just be care­ful eas­ing the line as there will be a fair load in it.

Once you’re in the de­sired spot and still be­ing held along­side by the en­gine, step safely onto the pon­toon and rig bow and stern lines, and springs, as you usu­ally would. Us­ing a lit­tle nouse, a big diesel en­gine and a spring, we’re safely along­side with­out hav­ing to make any lem­ming-like leaps into the un­known with a moor­ing line in our hands and fear in our hearts. You should try it.

Again, scout the berth first to spot the pon­toon cleat you want to use, then set up a bight of mid­ships spring. Se­cure one end of the mid­ships cleat and put the other on a winch

The thrown bight method isn’t with­out its is­sues but we've found it to be re­mark­ably re­li­able. If you've some­thing that works bet­ter, stick with it and write in to let us know

With the mid­ships spring on a cleat, the skip­per puts the wheel over to drive in the stern. The crew at the winch care­fully ad­justs the spring to po­si­tion the boat per­fectly

With the en­gine run­ning ahead, the boat sits se­curely along­side de­spite be­ing blown off the pon­toon. You can now step off safely and rig the rest of the moor­ing lines

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