Leav­ing a lee­ward berth: spring­ing off the bow

Yachting Monthly - - EXPERT ON BOARD -

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

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