Leav­ing a lee­ward berth: ‘sprong­ing’ off the bow

Yachting Monthly - - EXPERT ON BOARD -

This is a very ef­fec­tive method sug­gested to us by YM reader Colm Cleary, who calls it ‘sprong­ing’, which, we have since learned, is also pop­u­lar in Hol­land. It works best with the cur­rent against you but it’s still ef­fec­tive with a slight cur­rent with you and it works so well that you can get the boat per­pen­dic­u­lar to the pon­toon if you so wish. Rig a dou­bled line from the out­side quar­ter to a pon­toon cleat, one that can be slipped from the cock­pit, and dou­ble the bow line back to the deck. Next, take off the springs and the stern line and fender the near­side quar­ter well. Once happy with the setup, the skip­per in­structs the crew to slip the bow line and when that’s done, en­gage for­ward.

On boats with nar­row tran­soms, it works best with the rud­der over to drive the stern away from the pon­toon but on our beamy Bavaria you’re bet­ter off with op­po­site lock. You could leave the rud­der mid­ships and it would still work, it just takes a lit­tle longer. Keep an eye on the fend­ers as they could roll out as the boat's aft quar­ter moves along the pon­toon.

It’s sim­ple physics. The power of the en­gine driv­ing along the cen­tre­line and the line at the out­side quar­ter cre­ate a turn­ing mo­ment that grace­fully sweeps the bow out into the stream al­most re­gard­less of the wind strength.

Once the bow is far enough off the pon­toon to com­fort­ably clear the boat ahead, ease off the throt­tle and get the crew to slip the line, or do it your­self if sail­ing alone, then en­gage for­ward, quickly haul in the line and away you go.

With all lines re­moved ex­cept a dou­bled out­side stern line and a dou­bled bow line, and the quar­ter well fend­ered, the skip­per gives the sig­nal to drop the bow line

With the wheel driv­ing the stern into the pon­toon, the skip­per eases on the power gen­tly, un­til the quar­ter is rest­ing se­curely on the fend­ers. Then the skip­per builds the revs

With the engine power on the cen­tre­line and the stern line out­board, a turn­ing mo­ment drives the bow into the wind. Now clear ahead, we can slip the stern line

With the stern line slipped, the skip­per cen­tres the wheel as the crew hauls in the stern line. As the boat is never out of for­ward gear, the skip­per al­ways has steer­age

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