Getting onto a windward berth: using a midships spring
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