shows by example how easily you can eliminate stress, become more independent, raise your children in a safer environment (while spending more time with them, instilling values not based on the mighty dollar) and avoid the traps of commercialism. Because we live and sail simply, we have been wandering for 11 years with no intention of stopping. This is not a trip for us; it is our life, and I hope to share our success with stories of laughter and tears, as well as how-to tips and DIY projects for preparing, sailing and making a boat a home, so that others can join us.

Dock Line Snubber

October 7, 2013

Because we live and sail so simply and frugally, we try to limit our stays at marinas. When there is no safe place to anchor near a town we want to explore, at a work stop, or before the arrival of inclement weather, we make exceptions. Southport Marina in North Carolina was one of those exceptions.

Free snubber

Unfortunately, the marina is so exposed to wakes from the ICW that even if we did not have some wind headed our way, it would have been an uncomfortable stay. Even before the wind started the wakes were shoving Walküre away from the dock, jerking her dock lines and causing them to put unnecessary strain on her kevils. Before we could leave the boat to explore town, we needed to dampen the shock loads and lessen the chafe; and before we could sleep that night, we needed to quiet the squeak as the lines stretched with each wake.

You have probably seen a product that is designed for this purpose: the stiff black rubber that you wrap your dock line around. They sell for around $50 at West Marine and (if the reviews can be believed) do not last very long. The theory is that the line will stretch the rubber which will lessen the load on the dock line and your cleats. Dock lines do not stretch quickly enough or far enough to act as shock absorbers, so the rubber is supposed to take the load instead.

Trying to keep it off Walküre's paint

Using this same principle, Dave used what we had onboard anyway and created his own way of quieting the line, lessening chafe, and reducing the shock load on our kevils that came with every wake (and then later with each gust). On the windward side of the boat, he passed the dock line though the hole at the end of a small fender (which we had onboard to act as a trip line for the anchor). He then wrapped the line around the fender, passed the line over the standing part and brought it back down through the other hole in the fender. Finally, he cleated the bitter end on the dock. It took a few trials to get the fender placed where it would not rub on Walküre's paint when the line stretched. By the time the wind started, however, the system worked perfectly. The wake or wind pushed Walküre away from the dock. The dock line stretched and tightened its grip on the fender. The fender was crushed by the line, absorbing the energy and shock load. The wind or wake subsided, the fender returned to its original form, the line slackened and all was ready for the next round.

This method was quiet, kind to Walküre (and the cleats on the dock), and free. When we left the marina we disassembled it so that all pieces could serve their original purposes. No extra gear to store or money wasted.

MONDAY's post will mark the end of an era for us, and the beginning for someone else.

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