Leaving a leeward berth: springing off the bow
We choose to spring off the bow when the current is running against us, because its wash over the keel helps to bring the bow out into the stream.
With the engine running in neutral, we’ve taken off the bow spring and the stern line – the wind is blowing us on and the current pushing us astern so she’s not going anywhere. We’ve also doubled the stern spring and bow line, and hung our biggest fender at the nearside quarter. Note the stern spring outside the fenders.
Once the skipper is happy that all the lines are correctly rigged and that the crew has been briefed, he signals to the crew to release the bow line. Once the crew confirms that’s been done, the skipper then engages astern and starts easing on the revs until the bow starts to creep out. At this point the crew comes aft to keep an eye on the fenders. If one pops out, ease off the revs, let the bow drift in, add more fenders and start again.
When the bow is out far enough to clear the boat ahead with the rudder amidships, and there’s a big enough gap in the traffic, the crew releases the stern spring and the skipper engages neutral. Once the crew confirms the line is off – and it needs to be done quickly so the bow doesn’t blow too far back in – the skipper engages forward with a decent burst. It’s important that the bow is out far enough to clear the boat ahead because using the rudder will drive the quarter into the pontoon and scuff your gelcoat. Having released the stern spring, the crew gets it on board pronto.
We've removed the bow spring and stern line, and the wind is keeping us on the pontoon. Make sure that the doubled stern spring runs outside the fenders
Once the boat is set up and the crew briefed, the skipper checks that there's space to pull out, then he gives the crew the thumbs up - the crew's signal to let go the bow line
Engage astern and increase revs. When the bow is out far enough to clear the boat ahead, the skipper quickly engages neutral and tells the crew to let go the stern spring
Having checked there is space in the traffic, the skipper pulls out while the crew keeps hauling on the spring. It shouldn’t get near the prop, but get it on board smartly