Get­ting onto a wind­ward berth: us­ing a stern line

Yachting Monthly - - EXPERT ON BOARD -

We were aware of this method, which, like ‘sprong­ing’ off, is the most glo­ri­ous com­bi­na­tion of sim­plic­ity and ef­fi­ciency, but thanks to YM read­ers Peter Styles and Stu­art Tan­ner for for­mally sub­mit­ting it.

With a strong wind blow­ing off the pon­toon, the con­trol prob­lem fac­ing the skip­per is that, if you’re ma­noeu­vring rel­a­tively slowly at close quar­ters in a breeze, the bow wants to blow off un­til it is point­ing down­wind where it will stop be­cause the wind is the same on both sides of the bow. To neu­tralise the prob­lem – and this is the ge­nius bit – ap­proach the pon­toon stern to the wind and the bow will be­have it­self. It has to toe the line. Af­ter that, we use the same turn­ing mo­ment we use when ‘sprong­ing’ off. Hav­ing scouted the berth and worked out which pon­toon cleat you’re aim­ing for, one just aft of where the tran­som will end up ide­ally, rig fend­ers along the near­side, set up bow and stern lines and ap­proach your cleat with your stern into the wind.

Once within throw­ing dis­tance, and you can get very close, put the bight over the cleat, haul in the stern line and se­cure.

As the crew goes for­ward to man the bow line, all the skip­per needs to do is en­gage for­ward with the rud­der mid­ships and let the magic hap­pen. She will turn obe­di­ently into the wind. Ad­just the revs in pro­por­tion to the wind speed and wait un­til you’re along­side, when the crew will ei­ther step off to se­cure the bow line or, as we did, throw an­other bight and haul it in.

With bow and stern lines se­cured, drop off the revs and rig your springs.

With bow and stern lines rigged, ap­proach the pon­toon stern into the wind so the bow can’t be blown off. When within range, drop the stern line over your in­tended cleat

Nip up the stern line as short as you can and se­cure it wth a fig­ure-of-eight. That's the hard work done, the rest of the job is sim­ply a mat­ter of horse­power and ba­sic physics

While the crew am­bles for­ward to pre­pare the bow line, the skip­per sim­ply mo­tors ahead with the rud­der amid­ships and watches as she obe­di­ently comes along­side

The crew se­cures the bow line and that's you along­side. If the stern line is too long, just en­gage astern and nip it up un­til she's the right dis­tance off. Add springs and that's it

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