Edgewater Yacht Club, Inc.
6700 Memorial Shoreway NW
Cleveland, Ohio 44102

Yard / Service / Gas Dock:                                 216-281-1518 x 29
Office: 216-281-6470
Bar: 216-281-2441 x 27
Guard: 216-281-5013 x 28
Pool: 216-281-1091 x 30

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**Please Note: The following article was written by Past Commodore Gary Eby many years ago however; many of our newer members especially ones who are new to boating have found it very useful. In addition, surge conditions are NOT what they were many years ago this article is just to be used as a guideline for tying up at EYC.

It's always difficult to safely secure our boats in docks at EYC. The challenge is even more in October and November when the cold gale winds are more frequent and often more fierce. We've already had two gales in October as of the 24th, and we will probably have more. Walking the docks following the last gale, I found six boats with damage due to broken or stretched dock lines, and several more which were hanging on by just one strand of their lines. Besides deep scratches in fiberglass, several boats had stanchions broken or ripped out of the deck.

So if you are sill in, please read on. Even if you are out of the water, you may find this advice useful (as passed down to me through the years from other members who had more EYC docking experience).

1st - Obviously you need bigger lines at EYC than you might in other harbors for the same size boat. Try to get as large of lines as you can handle on your deck cleats. Some boats at EYC should probably install larger cleats. If necessary, thinner lines could be looped to heavier dock lines for smaller cleats, but then you might be concerned that the small cleat may not be sufficiently secured to the deck to take the beating that EYC surge can deliver to docked boats.

Besides the increased holding power, larger lines have other advantages. Larger lines can withstand more chafing. Small lines need to be replaced more frequently, so it may be more Dock cleateconomical to get more expensive, larger lines which might not have to be replaced as often. Also, in heavy winds and raging surge, a large line is much easier to grab and hold on to than thin lines.

2nd - Important when securing dock lines to the large cleats on the dock. MAKE ONE COMPLETE WRAP ALL THE WAY AROUND THE BOTTOM OF THE DOCK CLEAT BEFORE STARTING ANY CRISSCROSS. While not necessary in calm or moderate weather, when working in strong winds and surge conditions, the full wrap around the cleat will make it possible to undo the crisscross and hold the boat with the "bite" around the cleat. Without the full wrap, either you may not be able to undo the crisscross under load, or you may not be able to hold the boat after releasing the last cross.

3rd - Do not use loops, or bolts, or shackles on the dock cleats or fasteners on the dock. Often strong winds change the water level in the basin. Strong NW winds push water in front of it, raising the water levels in our harbor (sometimes, also, low pressure of a storm is lower than the barometric pressure at other places on Lake Erie, causing the water to rise -- ask Past Commodore Rolf Krotseng). When the water rises in the basin, dock lines on many (probably most) of our boats go slack, enabling the boat to be tossed about in the dock and against the catwalks in the surge. Being able to easily tighten loose dock lines from the dock is very important. Often in heavy surge and high wind conditions, it is very difficult and dangerous to get on a surging boat at an EYC dock. Therefore, making adjustments to the dock line tension from the boat can be a problem.

Enabling dock side adjustments in line tension has another advantage. Often during gales or prolonged storms, members come to the Club to check their boats, and often walk the docks to spot other boats which may have problems. If adjustments in line tension are necessary and are doable from the dock, these volunteer members can make the needed adjustment and immediately correct the problem. If the adjustment requires climbing on someone else's boat in tricky dangerous conditions, the fix is usually not as fast and often involves a phone call to the boat owner (even at midnight or later).

I personally don't like running the dock line through the hole in the large dock cleat. A few members do this for some reason. I think the line coming through the dock cleat makes it more difficult to tighten the lines in heavy weather conditions.

4th - If you double up your bow lines, do not wrap both of them together, at one time. It is good during 2 linesthe late season, to add extra dock lines all around. However, last night while tightening dock lines on boats at the Club, I found several members who had two lines to each dock cleat, but who had (when tying up) simply held the two lines together and wrapped them to the dock cleat at the same. While this improves the protection from line breakage and holding power, tying up like that looses several other advantages you can get from double lines.

Besides the additional holding power, double lines can be a great help in tightening loose lines in heavy weather, if you tie the lines individually... i.e. first fasten one line to the dock cleat completely (don't forget to make one complete wrap around the cleat before any crisscross), with the other line kept away from the cleat. After the first line is completely secured, then take the second line, wrap it completely around the cleat and the first line, and then crisscross on top of the first.

Tying the double lines separately makes it possible in the storm to tighten the top line (2nd line), while leaving the underneath line (1st line) in place. This ensures that you cannot loose control of the boat while tightening the lines. Also by tugging on the secured first line (maybe your partner can do that), you can often take up additional slack against strong winds and surging waves, when getting your bite with the second line and tying it down.

Tying double lines separately can also provide you with another benefit. With double lines, I often fix one to the lines slightly tighter (shorter) than the other. I find in surge, this seems to adsorb some of the shock, with one line tensioning and stretching before the second (looser) lines goes taut. This seems to reduce some of the abrupt stopping snap which happens when the boat slides back against a strong surge wave and is abruptly stopped by two or more lines hitting their full extension at the same time.

5th - Be aware of the weather forecasts from TV and radio broadcasts or newspapers, especially if your boat is in our docks during October or November. Northwest winds generate the huge surge in our basin. Winds from other points of the compass can cause problems with loose sails, etc., but do not generate the surge. Clearly, the biggest problem with EYC docks is the surge from winds and seas coming in from 300 to 330 degrees (305 to 315 the worst).

A final word on safety. Be careful. Boats are not as valuable as you are. During storms, you should wear a life jacket on the docks, and take someone with you. Volunteer to help someone else who is going out to look at a boat, in exchange for their assistance in looking at yours. Wet docks can be slick (especially now when2 lines tied covered with bird droppings), and 35 to 40 plus winds can nearly push a person off their feet. Add to that any attempts to get onto a violently rocking boat to adjust stern lines or whatever, and the need for a second person, even if just watching, is obvious. On Saturday night October 23, 1999, a volunteer walking the docks to check boats fell into the water while getting off a boat. Wearing a life jacket, the member was able to swim to the dock ladder even with the heavy water soaked winter clothes weighing him down. He was helped up onto the dock and to the clubhouse by the second member making the rounds with him. The member was wet, embarrassed, and a little cold after getting up into the chilly 40 degree wind; buy was unharmed and laughing about the "slip-up". Without the life jacket and the partner, the result might have been tragic.

Past Commodore
Gary Eby